1st Edition

Theatres of Architectural Imagination

Edited By Lisa Landrum, Sam Ridgway Copyright 2023
    328 Pages 155 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    328 Pages 155 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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, Iran, 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.


    Significant Actions: On theatre and architecture

    Alberto Pérez-Gómez

    1. Introduction

    Lisa Landrum and Sam Ridgway


    2. The Dramatization of Architecture: Bodies in the Drawings of Álvaro Siza

    João Miguel Couto Duarte

    3. Die Turnstunde: Hans Hollein’s Museum Performing Itself

    Eva Branscome

    4. Theatrical Metaphors in Bruno Schulz’s Prose: aA Play of Imagination for Potential Architecture

    Anca Matyiku

    5. Lecoq's Mimodynamics for Architects: Practicing a Renewal of Architectural Imagination

    Laura Gioeni

    6. Projecting the Eccentric Theatre: Representations of the Synesthetic Experience at the Bauhaus

    Jodi La Coe

    7. Performing the Common: Political Imagination of Protest in Place

    Paul Holmquist

    Entr’acte A

    Constructing Table – A Polyphonic Drawing Experiment Between Anamorphic Disguise and Dissection

    Bahar Avanoğlu and DrawingConstructions


    8. Roman Theatre’s Scaenae Frons as a Thematic Edifice

    Dagmar Motycka Weston

    9. A Question of Décor: Political Theatre in Renaissance Ferrara

    Indra Kagis McEwen

    10. Public Spaces as Theatres of Action: Lawrence Halprin’s Phenomenological Perspective on Cities

    Gaia Piccarolo

    11. "The Play’s the Thing": On Theatricality and Modern Public Space

    Alexandra Stara

    12. Imagining a Participatory Theatre in Ahmedabad

    Daniel Williamson

    13. Relations among Things: Aldo Rossi and Seville’s Semana Santa

    Lily Chi

    Entr’acte B

    A Good Host

    Roger Watts

    Black Box of Imagination: Deconstructing the Notion of Theatres of Imagination

    Marianne McKenna


    14. A Tale of Two Foyers: On Space between Thresholds

    Adam Sharr

    15. The Palace and the Plaza: A Postwar Convergence

    Marcela Aragüez

    16. A Delegated Performance for Public Space: The Mile Long Opera

    Alessandra Mariani

    17. Monsters of Architecture and the Magical Function of Theatre: A Look at Balinese Temples

    Tracey Eve Winton

    18. An Encounter with Wholeness: Vis and Ramin at Persepolis

    Negin Djavaherian


    Entr’Acte C

    Drumming in the Hall of the Mountain

    Stefan Jovanović

    19. Earthly Theatres: Moving gGounds, Suffusing Airs, Sentient Surrounds

    Frédérique Aït-Touati and Andrew Todd in conversation with and introduced by Lisa Landrum

    20. Janus/In Time: Universal Openings via Live Arts: Theatre, Dance and Architecture

    Jacqueline Loewen and End of the West Collective, Avinash Muralidharan Pillai Saralakumari, David Thomas, and Scott Henderson in conversation with and introduced by Lisa Landrum


    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 PhD 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, Australia. 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 (Routledge 2015), and "A Theater of Architectural Monsters," in 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, USA 

    '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, USA 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, Carleton University, Canada and editor of Marco Frascari’s Dream House: A Theory of Imagination, among other publications