Critics, part 2

“Gissen’s book is a timely and important text in shifting our attitudes towards more holistic, interdependent, and pluralistic views of nature”-A daily dose of architecture (John Hill)

In case you missed a Daily Dose of Architecture’s review of Subnature, it’s a genuinely thoughtful review. It’s interesting that Hill sees Subnature as part of a broader concept of sustainability. This comment came up again at a recent lecture about the book. I more than welcome those interested in sustainability to find something in this book that extends the arguments of an earlier book such as Big and Green. I’m not certain that the technical aspects of sustainability are entirely compatible with the representational and historical problems of Subnature, but I welcome the effort to provide another rapproachement here. That’s an interesting thought project.

I just returned from the University of California Santa Barbara’s Humanities Center event on environmentalist thought in architecture (where I spoke about the Subn) — a very enjoyable group of speakers and locale. In particular, the work of Kennedy Violich Architecture (KVarch), presented by Sheila Kennedy, demonstrates how certain fundamental architectural theoretical concerns (at their most raw) can be absorbed into an environmentalist practice. The constant turn to the Semperian dressing/scaffold concept in their work, as the site for an environmentalist expression, is extremely intriguing. And, if that particular concept was not played out in project after project, this firm often literally works with textiles in metabolized forms. It’s just another example of how the technology/autonomy divide may be morphing into something else right now, via a qualified return to 19th century theoretical conceptions.

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