Marginalized due to the deployment of both a highly specialized jargon and a novel stylistic approach meant to upset established norms and conventions, Baudrillard's thought has suffered from the lack of an accessible, consistent and comprehensive exposition able to make it relevant to diverse contemporary disciplines. As a result, its impact on architecture has always been confined to academia.
By presenting an introductory but in-depth formalization of Baudrillard's interest in architecture and related fields, this book makes intelligible his philosophical premises thus showing, through the prism of architecture, their relevance and persuasiveness today. Key concepts such as the object system, the code, simulation, hyperreality and precession, to name a few, are addressed in the light of the specially reconceptualized key construct of ambience, thus emphasizing how the mutual concerns of architecture, urban studies and cultural studies provide a fertile ground for debate.
Such an approach, which focuses on the contradictions inherent in contemporary society from the vantage point of Baudrillard's original involvement in architectural analysis, philosophy and criticism, is one which students, practitioners and scholars alike from as diverse disciplines as architecture, interior design and urban studies – but also fine art, anthropology, sociology, economics, human geography, social psychology and cultural studies to start with – will benefit from immensely.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Planet Baudrillard 1. The Alibi of Function 2. Semiotic Disarticulations 3. Profusion and Display 4. The Metro Area 5. Reality As-If 6. The Global Imaginary Conclusion: The Nine Billion Names of Baudrillard Appendix: Keywords Bibliography Further Reading Index
Francesco Proto is an architect and Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University School of Architecture, as well as a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. He has published widely on Jean Baudrillard and his previous book, Mass Identity Architecture, was the first to foreground Baudrillard’s interest and concern with architecture. His current research focuses on the relationship between subjectivity and the city and Baudrillard's re-reading of Jacques Lacan.
"Baudrillard for Architects presents a provocative recalibration of Baudrillard’s thought around design, urbanism, and architecture. Using ambience as a keyword, Francesco Proto traces the expansion of a totalizing semiurgical manipulation of the real along an increasing scale from objects, modular components of systems, buildings, campuses, suburban shopping centres, theme parks, cities, countries and the entire planet. A welcome renewal of the Baudrillard Scene."
Gary Genosko, Professor of Communication Studies, Ontario Tech University, and author of Baudrillard and Signs and McLuhan and Baudrillard: The Masters of Implosion
“Baudrillard for Architects is not just a "let me explain this to you" kind of book, it's a treatise that truly has the potential to impact theoretical discourse in architecture. The examples are so powerful and simply put that they compel the reader to re-think things at large and small scales. This is an outstanding addition to an already well-respected series, and I'm grateful to find that Baudrillard is a thinker who should really move to the head of the line.
The format, brevity, and style of presenting the ideas is also very original and effective.”
Donald Kunze, Professor Emeritus in Architecture and Integrative Arts, Pennsylvania State University, and author of Architecture Post Mortem and Thought and Place
"A broad-spectrum analysis of Jean Baudrillard’s theoretical discourse, Baudrillard for Architects demonstrates a systematic and imaginative understanding of the relevance of Baudrillard’s thought today. The analogy between the biological, architectural, and digital code, as originally theorized by Baudrillard, has the potential to clarify the ongoing spectacularization, virtualization and contamination of a space which is no longer public or private but rather ‘publi-vate’. Alongside 9/11 and the 2008 economic crash, architecture is brought back to the centre of everyday aims and concerns, and is acknowledged as the most vivid and graphic exemplification ever of Baudrillard’s concepts."
Nello Barile, Associate Professor of Media Sociology and Cultural Politics at the Libera Universitá di Lingue e Comunicazione in Milan (IULM), and author of The Fashion System: from Hyper-luxury to Low-cost Society and Brand-New World: Consuming Trademarks as a Worldview