Jo Odgers, Flora Samuel, Adam Sharr
Routledge | 0415385385 | 2006 | PDF | 284 pages| 8 MB

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This innovative edited collection charts the rise, fall and possible futures of the word primitive.

The word primitive is fundamental to the discipline of architecture in the west, providing a convenient starting point for the many myths of architecture's origins. Since the almost legendary 1970s conference on the Primitive, with the advent of post-modernism and, in particular, post-colonialism, the word has fallen from favour in many disciplines. Despite this, architects continue to use the word to mythologize and reify the practice of simplicity.

Primitive includes contributions from some of today’s leading architectural commentators including Dalibor Vesely, Adrian Forty, David Leatherbarrow, Richard Weston and Richard Coyne. Structured around five sections, Negotiating Origins; Urban Myths; Questioning Colonial Constructs; Making Marks; and Primitive Futures, the essays highlight the problematic nature of ideas of the primitive, engage with contemporary debate in the field of post colonialism and respond to a burgeoning interest in the non-expert architecture.

This now controversial subject remains, for better or worse, intrinsic to the very structure of Modernism and deeply embedded in architectural theory. Considering a broad range of approaches, this book provides a rounded past, present and future of the word primitive in the architectural sphere.

About the Authors

Jo Odgers is an architect and lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. She previously worked in architectural practice for 15 years. She is currently working on the architecture and writings of John Wood of Bath in relation to the tradition of Occult Philosophy. She is Associate Editor of arq (Cambridge University Press). Her next project (with Flora Samuel) is a book entitled Facades.

Flora Samuel is an architect and senior lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. Co-author, with Sarah Menin, of Nature and Space: Aalto and Le Corbusier and author of Le Corbusier: Architect and Feminist she is currently writing Le Corbusier in Detail as a Leverhulme Fellow. She has a particular interest in the narratives implicit within the construction of buildings and was one of the original initiators of the Primitive conference from which this book has evolved.

Adam Sharr is a lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture and principal of Adam Sharr Architects, based in Cardiff. His book Heidegger’s Hut will be published by The MIT Press in 2006. He is Associate Editor of arq (Cambridge University Press), editor of made and Joint Secretary of AHRA (Architectural Humanities Research Association).


Part I: Original Matters
Part II: Negotiating Origins
Part III: Questioning Colonial Constructs
Part IV: Urban Myths
Part V: Making Marks
Part VI: Primitive Futures?


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