The first publication of artist and architect Frederick Kiesler's epoch-spanning history of human architecture, largely unknown but still relevant.
Magic Architecture was the architect Frederick Kiesler's most ambitious book project, an epoch-spanning history of human housing from prehistory to the atomic era—and yet it was never published, as Kiesler moved on to other exhibitions and projects. Kiesler's comparative exploration of the quasi-“magical” effects of atomic technology and contemporary telekinetic military systems and the alternative epistemology of “magic” practices associated with cave drawings and protohistoric subterranean settlements reflects his profoundly interdisciplinary perspective on the evolution of art, architecture, and design.
This edition preserves Kiesler's conception of the book as a neo-Vitruvian Renaissance treatise divided into ten parts or books that narrate an alternative history and theory of architecture. Also included are sixty composite illustrations, cut and pasted from books and popular science journals, with elaborate captions. The editors have reassembled the book's text and illustrations from archival material, supplementing them with notes that document the evolution of the work. Introductory essays provide a chronology of Kiesler's research and an interpretation of key themes. Appendixes offer additional textual and visual material gathered by Kiesler for the project.
Frederick Kiesler (1890–1965) was an Austrian-American architect, theoretician, theatrical designer, artist, and sculptor.
Spyros Papapetros is Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at Princeton University and the author of On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life and coeditor of Retracing the Expanded Field: Encounters between Art and Architecture (MIT Press).
Gerd Zillner is Senior Archivist Researcher at the Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation in Vienna. He has lectured and published on Frederick Kiesler and curated shows on Kiesler and contemporary art.