The work of the architect is conditioned by a number of parameters and variables that delimit and demarcate the designer's field of action. These parameters may relate to site, climate, budget, regulations, material availability, construction technique, etc. Architects often refer to them in order to justify unsuccessful aspects of their designs but the steepest of sites, the extremest of climates, the skimpiest of budgets, the strictest of regulations and the most severe material and technical limitations could instead be transformed into springboards for unique design opportunities. It is my contention that architects can achieve greater freedom in their work through an apparent limitation of that very same freedom. The title of this piece, "Exercises in Style", was also the title of a seminar that some colleagues and I taught in Barcelona, under the direction of Enric Miralles, in 1995. The title was borrowed from a book by Raymond Queneau, published in 1947, in which an event of the utmost banality is told in 99 different ways. The idea for the book came to Queneau in the 1930s after attending a concert together with his friend Michel Leiris at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, where Bach's "The Art of Fugue" had been played. He entertained the idea of exploring the notion of the variation on a theme in the territory of literature. The event described in the book consists of only two short paragraphs and is about a young man on a crowded bus at peak time who gets into an argument with another man. Two hours later, the writer sees the same man in another part of Paris speaking to a friend who suggests he should have an additional button put on his overcoat. The story is then told in 99 different ways. The inconsequentiality of the event is key to the exercises and allowed Queneau to concentrate on the literary investigation. The large number of variations chosen by Queneau forced him to explore new and unexpected approaches to the production of text.

Exercises in Style

Carles Muro
2019-01-01

Abstract

The work of the architect is conditioned by a number of parameters and variables that delimit and demarcate the designer's field of action. These parameters may relate to site, climate, budget, regulations, material availability, construction technique, etc. Architects often refer to them in order to justify unsuccessful aspects of their designs but the steepest of sites, the extremest of climates, the skimpiest of budgets, the strictest of regulations and the most severe material and technical limitations could instead be transformed into springboards for unique design opportunities. It is my contention that architects can achieve greater freedom in their work through an apparent limitation of that very same freedom. The title of this piece, "Exercises in Style", was also the title of a seminar that some colleagues and I taught in Barcelona, under the direction of Enric Miralles, in 1995. The title was borrowed from a book by Raymond Queneau, published in 1947, in which an event of the utmost banality is told in 99 different ways. The idea for the book came to Queneau in the 1930s after attending a concert together with his friend Michel Leiris at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, where Bach's "The Art of Fugue" had been played. He entertained the idea of exploring the notion of the variation on a theme in the territory of literature. The event described in the book consists of only two short paragraphs and is about a young man on a crowded bus at peak time who gets into an argument with another man. Two hours later, the writer sees the same man in another part of Paris speaking to a friend who suggests he should have an additional button put on his overcoat. The story is then told in 99 different ways. The inconsequentiality of the event is key to the exercises and allowed Queneau to concentrate on the literary investigation. The large number of variations chosen by Queneau forced him to explore new and unexpected approaches to the production of text.
Enric Miralles: Conversations and Allusions
978-1-94029198-7
Miralles, Constraints, Oulipo, Queneau
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1132100
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