Surface reflections


“Today fashion may again offer a model for architecture… . The fluid
boundaries in contemporary women’s fashion underscore the continued rigidity
in architecture discourse, an avant-garde moralism that is all too evident
in the peculiarly puerile debates – deconstructivism versus postmodernism,
abstraction versus figuration, technology versus decoration, and modernity
versus history – that continue to plague the profession. Just as the lines
between dress reform and fashion, function and fantasy, have blurred, so too
have oppositions between surface and substance lost their meaning. Both the
exterior and interior are part of architecture. Surface is as much substance
as any other dimension of architecture.”

Mary McLeod “Undressing Architecture: Fashion, Gender, and Modernity” in
Fausch, Singley, El-Khoury and Efrat (eds) Architecture: In Fashion
Princeton Architectural Press 1994

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3 Responses to Surface reflections

  1. Judy Ledgerwood says:

    I am a painter working on issues of decoration that’s resistant to the conventional hierarchy between disciplines. I make paintings that are decorative without behaving decoriously. In my paintings, surface is more than superifical- it defines the space the viewer shares with the painting. Does that make these paintings architectual? I find your comment that oppostions betwn surface and substance is meaningless very encouraging. thanks.

  2. Crouchback says:

    It would be interesting to see your work. It would seem that a painting could be used illusionistically to create 3D space or as colour and surface (Rothko’s chapel?)..There must be many other examples. Obviously an issue is the separation of disciplines – architect, artist, craftsman….and scale, subservience to structure etc.

  3. Eamonn Canniffe says:

    Given that the world we inhabit is formed by a surface, and the spaces we occupy are bounded by surfaces, is there a difference of substance between the two terms? Our studio projects in Milan might speculate on this issue.

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