Poetics of Underground Space : Architecture, Literature, Cinema book cover
1st Edition

Poetics of Underground Space
Architecture, Literature, Cinema

ISBN 9781032103624
Published November 5, 2021 by Routledge
160 Pages 118 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book investigates the relationship architecture has with the underground. It provides a broad ranging historical and theoretical survey of, and critical reflection on, ideas pertaining to the creation and occupation of underground space. It overturns the classic dictates of construction on the surface and through numerous examples explores recoveries of existing voids, excavations, caves, quarries, grottos and burrows.

The exploitation of land, especially in areas of particular value, has given rise to the need to reformulate the usual approach to building. If the development of urban sprawl, its infrastructure and its networks, generates increasingly compromised landscapes, what are the possible strategies to transform, expand and change the usual relationship between abuse of soil and unused subsoil?

Psychological, philosophical, literary and cinematographic legacies of underground architecture are mixed with the compositional, typological and constructive expedients, to produce a rich, diverse and compelling argument for these spaces. As such, the book will appeal to architecture students, scholars and academics as well as those with an interest in literary theory, cinema and cultural studies.

Table of Contents

  1. Huddling
  2. Notes from the underground
  3. The city other
  4. Mimicry
  5. Novelty is but oblivion
  6. Stone skies
  7. Sensations
  8. Sous passages
  9. Buried high-rises
  10. Brightening the dark



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Antonello Boschi (1964) studied in Florence, where he graduated with Adolfo Natalini and gained a Ph.D. in Architectural and Urban Design. His essays, works and reviews have been published in Abitare, Area, Archi, Architécti, Arquitectura Viva, Bauwelt, Casabella, Detail, Diseño Interior, Interni, Materia, On Diseño, Rassegna, The Architectural Review. Major writings include Fenomenologia della facciata (Milan 2010), Ri-scritture/Re-Writings (Milan 2011), Filosofia del Nascosto. Costruire, pensare, abitare nel sottosuolo (Venice 2015), L’architettura della villa moderna (Macerata 2016–2018), Abbandoni e resistenze. Note per una fenomenologia della facciata nel Novecento (Pisa 2020). He is currently Associate Professor at the School of Engineering in Pisa, where he lectures on Architectural Composition.


"Antonello Boschi investigates the subject in a wide-ranging interdisciplinary, historical and theoretical survey. Inverting the classic dictates of surface construction, he explores possible strategies for transforming, expanding and changing the typical relationship between the mistreatment of land and unused subsoil."

Francesca Tagliabue, Abitare, excerpt from The charm of underground, https://www.abitare.it/en/research/publications/2022/05/27/antonello-boschi-underground-architecture-strategies/

"Quarries, subways, cellars, grottos and underpasses seem to overturn the rule that says buildings only exist above ground, facing the need to exploit urban space down to the last square centimetre. As Michael Jakob reminds us in his introduction, "architecture has always been lair, cavern, shelter, also and above all. So thinking about the underground means thinking about architecture."

Elena Sommariva, excerpt from domus 1069 June 2022