1st Edition

Speculative Coolness Architecture, Media, the Real, and the Virtual

By Bryan Cantley Copyright 2023
    278 Pages 289 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    278 Pages 289 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Cantley’s work offers a unique and critical insight into the emergence of a liminal territory that exists between the real and the virtual that mainstream architecture has yet to exploit. Speculative Coolness surveys and collects a highly experimental architecture/design praxis.

    This book presents a selected body of his work, showcasing projects which seek to understand and explore the conditions, contexts, and media logics which govern this new territory, and to speculate on the Architecture[s] which it might occupy, and which might occupy it.

    Featuring both resolved projects and work[s] that are under development, this anthology represents constructs that locate themselves somewhere between architecture and its documentative media. The projects are presented alongside a series of critical essays written by pre-eminent architectural practitioners and theorists. These essays explore the disciplinary, social, and cultural context of the work, serving to underscore the importance of these explorations to the expansion of disciplinary knowledge.

    Foreword: ‘Architectural Cymbalism and the Caress of Steel

    Neil Spiller 

    Editorial: ‘Read Me’ Instructions for Proper Use 

    Peter J. Baldwin 

    1. Emergent CONditions + Media Logics

    ME-di@ Logics + Being in the [k]now

    Bryan Cantley 

    Alice [2.0] 

    CSFU Sentinel 

    ‘Ten Years After’ 

    Dora Epstein Jones 

    2. Dirty Geometries + Mechanical Imperfections

    Social AMPs 01,02 + 03 


    Wes Jones 


    3. Towards a Taxonometric Architecture

    Tree Hugger 

    On the Move

    Rana Abudayyeh 

    Palimpsestuous Relationships 

    Ideal for frequent drawers. Not for any use on skin, including tattoos 

    Bob Sheil 

    4. rE-mergent CONditions

    Ozone Metric Anomaly

    Ministry of [w]Hore-2:culture

    Calibrating Space 

    Nat Chard 

    Towards a s[Y/N]thetic Reality 

    Peter J. Baldwin and Bryan Cantley 

    5. Speculative Conditions

    ‘S(y/n)taxo[G]nome + (taxon objects)’ 


    Martin Summers 

    Camera Noxoculo



    Eye, Hand and Mind: an interview with Bryan Cantley

    Helen Castle 

    Afterword: Human Error

    Thom Mayne 


    Author: Prof. Bryan Cantley:

    Bryan’s work attempts to blur the undefined zone between architecture and its representation. In 1992, Bryan Cantley established Form:uLA, a practice that explores the boundaries of architecture, representation and the role of experimental drawing, within the discourse of visionary space. He is a Full Professor of Design at California State University Fullerton. Bryan has lectured at a number of architecture schools internationally including The Bartlett School of Architcture, SCI-arc, and UCLA. He has been visiting faculty at SCI-ARC and Woodbury University. Bryan was the recipient of a Graham Foundation Grant in 2002. His work is in the Permanent Collection at SFMOMA, as well as the personal collection of Thom Mayne. Bryan has shown work in a number of institutions, including SFMOMA, and solo exhibitions at The Bartlett, SCI-arc, and UCLA. His first monograph, Mechudzu, was published by Springer in 2010.

    Editor: Peter J Baldwin:

    Peter is a registered and chartered Architect and Senior Lecturer in Architecture, M, Arch Programme Leader and Director of Scholarship and Professional Practice at the University of Lincoln’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment. Peter has taught and lectured at Schools across the UK. Peter’s research explores the role of the drawing as an environment for speculation and the generative potential of non-traditional modes of architectural representation. Peter has lectured and taught in schools of architecture across the UK and his work has been published and exhibited internationally, most recently as part of the "In Memoriam" Exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture 2020.

    "Bryan Cantley’s latest book Speculative Coolness is a tour de force in speculative architectural representation. Through an impressively displayed selection of Cantley’s work, it critically explores the liminal realm that separates—and integrates—the digital and analogue voices of architectural representation. For those readers who have been unable to acquire Cantley’s first book Mechudzu: New Rhetorics for Architecture—now long out of print—Speculative Coolness will be a revelation."

    Daniel K. Brown, Architecture New Zealand May/June 2023

    "For decades, Bryan Cantley has been coolly speculating about architecture that surfs through the suburbs with expressive technology. His beautifully layered drawings, combining computer generation with the craft of hand delineation, manage to evoke without designating, and are in themselves objects of architecture. This book collects some of his best work in an accessible and seductive manner."

    Aaron Betsky, Professor, Virginia Tech.

    "Delectable, deliberate and dizzying in equal parts, Speculative Coolness is […] a requiem for the masses where promiscuous marks, coded indexes, innovative formations, linguistic shenanigans, and seemingly mystical calibrations are rendered visible in a mind-warping collection. These extraordinarily tantalizing speculations are protests against the spatial and representational straitjackets that for too long have plagued architecture’s visualized and material agency."

    Perry Kulper, Architect and Professor, Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Michigan