The Architect as Magician  book cover
1st Edition

The Architect as Magician

ISBN 9781138326712
Published May 28, 2020 by Routledge
208 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Architect as Magician explores the connection between magic and architecture. There is a belief that a greater understanding of the meaning of magic provides insights about architecture and architects’ design processes. Architects influence the effects of nature through the making of their buildings. In an analogous condition, magicians perform rituals in an attempt to influence the forces of nature. This book argues that architects could gain much by incorporating ideas from magic into their design process.

The book demonstrates through historical and current examples the important influence magic has had on the practice of architecture. The authors explain how magic helps us to understand the way we infuse architecture with meaning and how magic affects and inspires architectural creation.

Aimed at architects, students, scholars and researchers, The Architect as Magician helps readers discover the ambiguous and spiritual elements in their design process.

Table of Contents

Chapter ONE, Introduction

Chapter TWO, Origins

Chapter THREE, Foundations

Chapter FOUR, Shift

Chapter FIVE, Loss

Chapter SIX, Return

Chapter SEVEN, Conclusion


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Albert C. Smith is a tenured Associate Professor in the Architecture Department at Ryerson University. His PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology is in Architecture with a subject area of History, Theory and Criticism and has a main interest in Representation. During the past thirty years he has taught architecture full-time at Ryerson University, the University of Hartford, the University of Utah, University of Minnesota, Georgia Tech and Texas A&M University. He has successful experience developing and teaching graduate and undergraduate architecture design studio and elective courses.

With a rich and diverse background in both practice and teaching, Albert C Smith has published numerous articles and been the keynote speaker at various international conferences on architecture and representation. He is the author of a several books and the newest titled, Building an Architect’s Character; an exploration in traits, is in publication.  He is a registered architect in New York State and his professional experience includes four years in the design section of the office of Kevin Roche.

Kendra Schank Smith held a Ph.D. in History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture from Georgia Tech. Her focus was Representation, specifically studying drawings and sketches under the direction of Dr. Marco Frascari. She had a professional Masters degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Education, concentrating on drawing and ceramics. 

Dr. Smith had over twenty-five years of experience at several universities in North America, including the University of Minnesota, University of Buffalo and the University of Utah. She had practice experience in the architectural office of Kevin Roche John DInkeloo and Associates in Hamden, Connecticut. She published on topics that pertain to visualization and representation, urbanism, diversity, architectural history and pedagogy. These publications include two books on architectural sketches and a third book pertaining to design process. Her fourth and most recent book is currently in production with Routledge Press and is entitled; Building the Architect’s Character; an exploration in Traits. Researching architectural meaning in cultural artifacts of the built environment, Dr. Smith also wrote on interpreting the construction techniques of the Dong communities in Southwestern China in the article published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians: "Time, Space and Construction: Starting with Auspicious Carpentry in the VernacularDong Dwelling."

Dr. Smith was a Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies. She served on the national/international boards of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the Journal of Architectural Education. In 2014, she was elected to the RAIC College of Fellows. 


"In this work, Kendra Schank Smith and Albert Smith provide a compelling critical reflection on the intertwined histories of architecture and magic. In focusing attention on the transformative capacities of each, their work sheds new light on fundamental practices of interpretation. Their exploration discloses persistent yet ambiguous processes capable of sustaining architectural meaning across cultures and epochs."
- Mike Christenson, AIA, NCARB, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies School of Architecture, University of Minnesota

"Once it is understood that even the simplest building has an intimate and mostly hidden relationship to Infinity, architects can become the new priests and shamans of our society, since they are speaking to and with Cosmos, recording its magnificent presence. It is my very strong belief, that architecture will encompass more esoteric aspects in the future! That is why I greatly recommend this book from Kendra and Albert who write about these mysteries of the past with the greatest poetic insights and disciplined scholarship."

- Peter Magyar, FRIBA, AHA, Professor Emeritus of Architecture