Magic mirrors

Reconstructing lost interiors from instructional and constructional writing

Authored by: Ed Hollis

The Routledge Companion on Architecture, Literature and The City

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781472482730
eBook ISBN: 9781315613154
Adobe ISBN:


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Every story must begin with ‘once upon a time’, and histories, fictional or factual, are usually written in the past tense, referring to things and places, real or imagined, that are ostensibly anterior. What happens, however, if we write stories of the future? In architectural literature, if writing precedes building, which one represents which? This is not an essay on utopian architectural writing. Adolf Loos wrote: ‘I do not need to draw my designs. A good architectural concept of how something is to be built can be written down. The Parthenon can be written down.’ 1 This chapter will address what is more literally creative writing: the specifications and instructions that generate buildings and their occupation.

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