Undoing Architecture

‘Undoing Architecture’ is a complete reworking of a text I first wrote in 1998 on how architecture can be made by those other than architects. I re-wrote this essay for a conference organised by Doina Petrescu in Paris in June 1999 entitled ‘Feminine Practices of Space’. This is a key essay for me in number of ways. It is the first piece of writing where I draw directly upon my own experience of space and lay this down next to academic theory and more rational considerations of architecture. My recent rewriting of this essay develops a changing narrative relationship between three voices. First is the voice of conventional architectural theory with its rules and hierarchies. Second is the voice of French feminist theory that posits critical thinking as creative practice – that ideas have their own aesthetic and spatial language. Third is a personal account of a house once lived in, whose occupants undid architecture through their unruly inhabitation of domestic space.

This is a new version of an essay first published as ‘Doing it, (Un)Doing it, (Over)Doing it Yourself: Rhetorics of Architectural Abuse’, Jonathan Hill (ed.), Occupying Architecture, (London: Routledge, 1998) and republished as ‘(Un)doing it Yourself: Rhetorics of Architectural Abuse’, Journal of Architecture, (Spring, 1999).

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