Theatres of Architectural Imagination  book cover
1st Edition

Theatres of Architectural Imagination

  • Available for pre-order on April 11, 2023. Item will ship after May 2, 2023
ISBN 9781032286112
May 2, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
312 Pages 155 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume explores connections between architecture and theatre, and encourages imagination in the design of buildings and social spaces.

Imagination is arguably the architect’s most crucial capacity, underpinning memory, invention and compassion. No simple power of the mind, architectural imagination is deeply embodied, social and situational. Its performative potential and holistic scope may be best understood through the model of theatre. Theatres of Architectural Imagination examines the fertile relationship between theatre and architecture with essays, interviews and entr’actes arranged in three sections: Bodies, Settings and (Inter)Actions. Contributions explore a global spectrum of examples and contexts, from ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy to modern Europe, North America, India and Japan. Topics include: the central role of the human body in design; the city as a place of political drama, protest and phenomenal play; and world-making through language, gesture and myth. Chapters also consider sacred and magical functions of theatre in Balinese and Persian settings; eccentric experiments at the Bauhaus and 1970 Osaka World Expo; and ecological action and collective healing amid contemporary climate chaos. Inspired by architect and educator Marco Frascari, the book performs as a Janus-like memory theatre, recalling and projecting the architect’s perennial task of reimagining a more meaningful world.

This collection will delight and provoke thinkers and makers in theatrical arts and built environment disciplines, especially Architecture, Landscape and Urban Design.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  Part 1: Bodies  2. The dramatization of architecture: bodies in the drawings of Álvaro Siza  3. Die Turnstunde: Hans Hollein’s museum performing itself  4. Theatrical metaphors in Bruno Schulz’s prose: a play of imagination for potential architecture  5. Lecoq's Mimodynamics for architects: practicing a renewal of architectural imagination  6. Projecting the eccentric theatre: representations of the synesthetic experience at the Bauhaus  7. Performing the common: political imagination of protest in place  Entr’acte A  Constructing table – between anamorphic disguise and dissection: a polyphonic drawing experiment  Part 2: Settings  8. Roman theatre’s scaenae frons as a thematic edifice  9. A Question of décor: political theatre in Renaissance Ferrara  10. Public spaces as theatres of action: Lawrence Halprin’s phenomenological perspective on cities  11. "The play’s the thing": on theatricality and modern public space  12. Imagining a participatory theatre in Ahmedabad  13. Relations among things: Aldo Rossi and Seville’s Semana Santa  Entr’acte B  Manifestos on architecting social imaginaries  A Good Host   Black Box of Imagination: deconstructing the notion of theatres of imagination  Part 3: (Inter)Actions  14. A Tale of two foyers: on space between thresholds  15. The palace and the plaza: a post-war convergence  16. A delegated performance for public space: The Mile Long Opera  17. Monsters of architecture and the magical function of theatre: a look at Balinese temples  18. An encounter with wholeness: Vis and Ramin at Persepolis  Entr’Acte C Drumming in the hall of the mountain  19. Earthly theatres: moving grounds, suffusing airs, sentient surrounds  20. Janus / In Time: universal openings via live arts – theatre, dance and architecture

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Lisa Landrum is Associate Professor and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carleton University, and a post-professional Master’s and Ph.D. in Architectural History and Theory from McGill University. She is a registered architect in New York State and Manitoba, and a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Her research on architectural agency and the theatrical origins of architectural acts is published in several books, including Reading Architecture (Routledge 2019), Confabulations: Storytelling in Architecture (Routledge 2017), Architecture’s Appeal (Routledge 2015), Architecture as a Performing Art (Routledge 2013), and Architecture and Justice (Routledge 2013).

Sam Ridgway is an architect and Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Adelaide. He has a Master of Architecture from the University of Adelaide and a PhD from the University of Sydney. His research and publications have focused on a theorization of factory-made buildings, construction theory, architectural representation, and the texts and buildings of the remarkable architect and academic Marco Frascari. Recent work explores architectural imagination by enquiring into the complex relationship between architecture and theatre. His publications include: Architectural Projects of Marco Frascari: The Pleasure of a Demonstration (Ashgate/Routledge 2015), and "A Theater of Architectural Monsters," Ceilings and Dreams: The Architecture of Levity (Routledge 2020).


'Readers in architecture, theater, anthropology, philosophy, and other fields will discover here not only the interdependencies of these disciplines, but their roles in the configurations of imaginings that endow human life with its most eloquent communications. Face-to-face, hand-to-hand, at rest or while moving, dramatic actions performed spontaneously or seasonally, in houses or on streets, are shown to situate and orient us in the world, as we alternately succeed and struggle with interpersonal and environmental justice.' - David Leatherbarrow, Emeritus Professor, University of Pennsylvania

'This collection establishes embodied architecture as an essential theatrical, imaginative and compassionate practice. The sacred, the magical and the political appear with surprising architectural relevance and dramatic force. The scholarship is impeccable; the stories engaging and inspiring.' - Marcía Feuerstein, Associate Professor at Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture, Washington Alexandria Architecture Center, and co-editor of Architecture as a Performing Art, among other publications.

'From the performativity of public spaces to theaters of the world reinterpreted as eco-ethical dramas, this highly original book puts into play new notions of memory theater for contemporary architectural discourse. Critical examples from antiquity to post-colonial contexts provide timely reflections that will enliven readers’ architectural imagination.' - Federica Goffi, Professor of Architecture at Carleton University and editor of Marco Frascari’s Dream House: A theory of imagination, among other publications.