From Writing Architecture


Topographies of Contemporary Architecture

By Ignasi de Solà-Morales

Translated by Graham Thompson

Differences brings together ten essays written over the past decade by the distinguished Spanish architect and theorist Ignasi de Solà-Morales.





Differences brings together ten essays written over the past decade by the distinguished Spanish architect and theorist Ignasi de Solà-Morales.

Differences brings together ten essays written over the past decade by the distinguished Spanish architect and theorist Ignasi de Sola-Morales. Many of the essays have never previously been translated, and the author has provided a new introduction especially for this English edition.

Contemplating the panorama of contemporary art and architecture, de Sola-Morales posits that there is no one way to describe today's practice; instead he concentrates on elucidating the present dynamic of contrast, diversity, and tension.

In an unorthodox pairing, de Sola-Morales derives his inspiration from both phenomenology and Deleuzean poststructuralism. Combining these philosophical inheritances allows him to reinvoke the human subject without referring to classical humanism or announcing the death of the object. His retrospective review of the disciplines of art and architecture, particularly as they have developed since World War II, provokes him to design, draft, and ultimately build a description of Modernism¹s lineage of subjectivity. The result is a provocative construction of fluid "topographies" that articulate, rather than depict, the shaky ground on which our current artistic and architectural production rests.

The essays:Sado-masochism: Criticism and Architectural Practice. Topographies of Contemporary Architecture. Mies van der Rohe and Minimalism. Architecture and Existentialism. Weak Architecture. From Autonomy to Untimeliness. Place: Permanence or Production. Difference and Limit: Individualism in Contemporary Architecture. High-Tech: Functionalism or Rhetoric. The Work of Architecture in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262540858 172 pp. | 5.375 in x 8 in


Graham Thompson.


  • The writtings of Ignasi de Solà-Morales are far more true to the real diversity and spread of recent architectural theory than we have been accustomed to by the posturing of a few '-ists' and '-isms.' Grounded in close readings of architectural objects and design practices, his analyses map out the different ways in which individual decisions concerning a local site, a moment in time, a particular task, flow out into the whole of cultural and intelllectual history. This collection is a reminder of the extreme generosity of architecture - its working through the immense variety of human cultural production and offering new ways of thinking and inhabiting.

    K. Michael Hays

    Professor of Architectural Theory, Harvard University Editor of Assemblage

  • Following traces that are neither modern nor postmodern, Ignasi deSolà-Morales opens a deterritorialized territory harboring richpossibilities for architectural theory and practice. Philosophically astute and critically savvy, Differences resists the fashionableallure of nihilism by discerning creative resources circulating in thechaotic currents of contemporary culture.

    Mark C. Taylor

    Preston S. Parish Professor of Humanities, Williams College

  • Ignasi de Solà-Morales' term starting points perfectly captures the light and acute temperament of these essays. With the nimbleease of Deleuzean vectors, these writings start from contemporary practiceand move into fresh horizons of architectural thinking. At a time when mostarchitectural writing seems to fall within either the limits of journalismor the rigorous territories of academic research, this collection of textsdraws an unfrequented path of discourse, a topography that becomes aninvitation to approach architectural ideas through pleasures of reading.

    Xavier Costa

    Head, Department of Architecture,Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain