September sees the publication of the latest volume in the Ashgate Studies in Architecture series edited by Eamonn Canniffe
No Matter: Theories and Practices of the Ephemeral in Architecture by Anastasia Karandinou
How do digital media (mobile phones, GPS, iPods, portable computers, internet, virtual realities, etc.) affect the way we perceive, inhabit and design space? Why do architects traditionally design, draw and map the visual, as opposed to other types of sensations of space (the sound, the smell, the texture, etc.)? Architecture is not only about the solid, material elements of space; it is also about the invisible, immaterial, intangible elements of space. This book examines the design, representation and reception of the ephemeral in architecture. It discusses how architects map and examine the spatial qualities that these elements create and questions whether - and if so, how - they take them into account in the designing process.Karandinou argues that current interest in the ephemeral in contemporary culture and architecture is related to the evolution of digital media; and that it is related to the new ways of thinking about space and everyday situations that new media enables. With sound and video recording devices now being embedded in everyday gadgets and mobile phones, capturing sounds or ephemeral situations and events has become an everyday habit. New animation techniques allow designers to think about space through time, as they are able to design dynamic and responsive spaces, as well as static spaces explored by someone over time. Contemporary video games are no longer based on a simple visual input and a keyboard; they now involve other senses, movement, and the response of the whole body in space. This book therefore argues that the traditional binary opposition between the sensuous and the digital is currently being reversed. Subsequently, new media can also function as a new tool-to-think-with about space. Designers are now able to think through time, and design spaces accordingly. Time, temporality, ephemerality, become central issues in the designing process. The notion first claimed by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s, that the emergence of new digital media caused a 'shift in the sensorium', is more relevant than ever, and can be expanded in order to accommodate the new emerging technologies. Through analysis of theoretical concepts, design case studies, and real-life observations, this book challenges and inspires architects, theorists, researchers and students both about the above-mentioned series of questions, and also about possible methodologies for addressing them.
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.