Edward Eigen

Edward Eigen is Associate Professor of History of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Associate Editor of Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. His writing has appeared in Cabinet, Pamphlet, Grey Room, and other publications.

  • On Accident

    On Accident

    Episodes in Architecture and Landscape

    Edward Eigen

    Engaging essays that roam across uncertain territory, in search of sunken forests, unclassifiable islands, inflammable skies, plagiarized tabernacles, and other phenomena missing from architectural history.

    This collection by “architectural history's most beguiling essayist” (as Reinhold Martin calls the author in the book's foreword) illuminates the unfamiliar, the arcane, the obscure—phenomena largely missing from architectural and landscape history. These essays by Edward Eigen do not walk in a straight line, but roam across uncertain territory, discovering sunken forests, unclassifiable islands, inflammable skies, unvisited shores, plagiarized tabernacles. Taken together, these texts offer a group portrait of how certain things fall apart.

    We read about the statistical investigation of lightning strikes in France by the author-astronomer Camille Flammarion, which leads Eigen to reflect also on Foucault, Hamlet, and the role of the anecdote in architectural history. We learn about, among other things, Olmsted's role in transforming landscape gardening into landscape architecture; the connections among hedging, hedge funds, the High Line, and GPS bandwidth; timber-frame roofs and (spider) web-based learning; the archives of the Houses of Parliament through flood and fire; and what the 1898 disappearance and reappearance of the Trenton, New Jersey architect William W. Slack might tell us about the conflict between “the migratory impulse” and “love of home.”

    Eigen compares his essays to the “gathering up of seeds that fell by the wayside.” The seedlings that result create in the reader's imagination a dazzling display of the particular, the contingent, the incidental, and the singular, all in search of a narrative.

    • Paperback $26.95 £21.00

Contributor

  • Perspecta 40 "Monster"

    Perspecta 40 "Monster"

    The Yale Architectural Journal

    Marc Guberman, Jacob Reidel, and Frida Rosenberg

    A monster is in our midst, and its name is Architecture.

    Contemporary architecture is in many ways a monstrous thing. It is bigger, more broadly defined, increasingly complicated, more costly, and stylistically and formally heterogeneous—if not downright unhinged. Not only is the scale of the built environment expanding, but so is the territory of the architectural profession itself. A perfect storm of history, technology, economics, politics, and pedagogy has generated a moment in time in which anything seems possible. The results have been at times strange and even frightening.

    Long ago, the birth of an abnormal creature was interpreted as a sign of looming trouble. These monstra—from the Latin monere, “to warn” and monstrare, “to show”—were viewed with both fear and fascination. This fortieth issue of Perspecta—the oldest and most distinguished student-edited architectural journal in America—examines architecture past and present through the lens of the monster. The contributors—a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, and artists—embrace the multitude of meanings this term carries in an attempt to understand how architecture arrived at its present situation and where it may be going. Perspecta 40 represents in itself a kind of monster—a hybrid, jumbled, conflicting amalgamation of work and ideas that looks at the past in new ways and tells of things to come.

    Contributors Philip Bernstein, Mario Carpo, Arindam Dutta, Ed Eigen, Mark Gage, Gensler, Marcelyn Gow and Ulrika Karlsson (servo), Catherine Ingraham, Mark Jarzombek, Terry Kirk, Leon Krier, Greg Lynn, John May, John McMorrough, Colin Montgomery, Guy Nordenson, Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Emmanuel Petit, Kevin Roche, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) and Ryuji Fujimura, Michael Weinstock, Claire Zimmerman

    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00