The Architectural Consequences of 'Theatrum Mundi'
March will see the publication of the latest volume in the Ashgate Studies in Architecture
(edited by Eamonn Canniffe)
ARCHITECTURE AS A PERFORMING ART edited by Marcia Feuerstein and Gray Read
How do buildings act with people and among people in the performances of life? This collection of essays reveals a deep alliance between architecture and the performing arts, uncovering its roots in ancient stories, and tracing a continuous tradition of thought that emerges in contemporary practice. With fresh insight, the authors ask how buildings perform with people as partners, rather than how they look as formal compositions. They focus on actions: the door that offers the possibility of making a dramatic entrance, the window that frames a scene, and the city street that is transformed in carnival. The essays also consider the design process as a performance improvised among many players and offer examples of recent practice that integrates theater and dance. This collection advances architectural theory, history, and criticism by proposing the lens of performance as a way to engage the multiple roles that buildings can play, without reducing them to functional categories. By casting architecture as spatial action rather than as static form, these essays open a promising avenue for future investigation.For architects, the essays propose integrating performance into design through playful explorations that can reveal intense relationships between people and place, and among people in place. Such practices develop an architectural imagination that intuitively asks, "How might people play out their stories in this place?" and "How might this place spark new stories?" Questions such as these reside in the heart of all of the essays presented here. Together, they open a position in the intersection between everyday life and staged performance to rethink the role of architectural design.
Eamonn Canniffe leads the Architecture Research Centre and the MA in Architecture + Urbanism at the Manchester School of Architecture. He was educated in Architecture at Cambridge and Harvard Universities. In 1996 he held a Rome Scholarship in the Fine Arts at the British School at Rome. Between 1986 and 1998 he taught at the University of Manchester School of Architecture, and between 1998 and 2006 at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. He is the author of Urban Ethic: Design in the Contemporary City (Routledge 2006) (Chinese edition 城市伦理--当代城市设计 2013) and The Politics of the Piazza: the history and meaning of the Italian square (Ashgate 2008). He is co-author (with Tom Jefferies) of Manchester Architecture Guide (1999) and (with Peter Blundell Jones) of Modern Architecture through Case Studies 1945-1990 (Architectural Press 2007), (Chinese edition 现代建筑的演变 1945--1990年 2009) (Spanish edition Modelos de la Arquitectura Moderna -Volumen II 1945-1990 2013). For a number of years he has served as Architecture Series Editor for Ashgate Publishing.