Site-Writing

This paper is entitled ‘Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism’ and suggests that writing is the site of building, design and thinking. I wish to draw attention to the architectural aspects of the practice of writing, a practice which, like architecture, is both spatial and material, and with which historians, theorists, critics and designers all engage, and yet is usually rendered invisible – often considered antithetical to designing, sometimes irrelevant to building. But most architects communicate their conceptual design ideas in words as well as images, and the legal documents of the building profession – contracts, specifications etc – occur as written texts as well as drawings. And most importantly it is through writing, as well as speaking, that thinking takes places. I would like to suggest today that writing, particularly the writing of art criticism is an architectural practice, in the sense that it involves the processes of thinking, designing and building – in short it can be understood as a spatial construction.

‘Site-Writing’, publication of my invited contribution to Building, Designing, Thinking, 3rd International Alvar Aalto Meeting on Modern Architecture, Alvar Aalto Akatemia Academy, Tiilimäki, Helsinki, Finland, (August 2008) as part of the conference proceedings: Kari Jormakka and Esa Laaksonen (eds), Building, Designing, Thinking (Helsinki: Alvar Aalto Academy / Alvar Aalto Foundation, 2008).

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