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Hardcover | Out of Print | 526 pp. | 7 x 9 in | November 1997 | ISBN: 9780262161695
Paperback | $49.95 Trade | £41.95 | 526 pp. | 7 x 9 in | August 2000 | ISBN: 9780262661133
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Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge


Writing from inside the discipline of architecture, rather than from the more common extrapolations from the history of painting and philosophy, Alberto Pérez-Gómez and Louise Pelletier focus on the implications of the tool of perspective (and the hegemony of vision) for architectural representation. Their primary thesis is that tools of representation have a direct influence on the conceptual development of projects and generation of forms, and that there are alternatives to the reductive working methods of most contemporary practice.

The book examines textual evidence across a broad historical period, concentrating on the relationship between drawing and architectural space in the period from the seventh century to the twentieth century. The book discusses such issues as optical correction and the nature of architectural drawing in selected treatises, revealing the complexity and potential contradiction inherent in any linear history of representation. The authors' ultimate aim is to probe the possibilities of the constructed world--that is, architecture--as a poetic translation, rather than prosaic transcription, of its representations.

About the Author

Alberto Pérez Gómez directs the History and Theory of Architecture Program at McGill University, where he is Saidye Rosner Bronfman Professor of the History of Architecture. He is the author of Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science, Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics (both published by the MIT Press), and other books.


“This is a book of extraordinary historical breadth that astutely explores cultural continuity and transformation within architectural representation.”—Parachute


“Alberto Pérez-Gómez and Louise Pelletier’s book, Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge, can be thought of and seen as oceanic in its fluidity, and its solid depth. The authors’ thinking leads us into the dark opacity of light and through the opal luminosity of the mind’s eye, producing an architectural joy! The book is built by the block of time…in time. The work extends the vanishing point to the otherside, that is, to the mystery of pure creation.”
John Hejduk, Architect
“Alberto Pérez-Gómez's and Louise Pelletier’s searching explorations of different practices of architectural representation and their implications let us understand both need and possibilities for an architecture that would once again restore a depth to buildings unknown to cyberspace and help human beings to return to themselves. No one who cares about the genesis of the world we live in will want to miss this always thought-provoking, immensely learned historical study; no one who cares about the future of architecture can afford to do so.”
Karsten Harries, Department of Philosophy, Yale University
“Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge impressively surveys the development of architectural representation from Renaissance perspective to the virtual reality of today’s computerized architectural practice. The book reveals that architectural representation is not a mere neutral application of a technique; it is deeply fused with our understanding of the world as well as architecture and its essence and a man-made cosmos.”
Juhani Pallasmaa, Architect, Professor of Architecture, Helsinki
“This impressive and scholarly work adds a thirteenth month to the extant twelve of phenomena in architectural representation.”
Steven Holl, Architect