Roger Connah

Writer and filmmaker Roger Connah is Visiting Lecturer at the Stockholm Royal School of Fine Arts.

  • How Architecture Got Its Hump

    How Architecture Got Its Hump

    Roger Connah

    Fables of content and undoing on the current state of architecture.

    In How Architecture Got Its Hump, Roger Connah explores the "interference" of other disciplines with and within contemporary architecture. He asks whether photography, film, drawing, philosophy, and language are merely fashionable props for architectural hallucinations or alibis for revisions of history. Or, are they a means for widening the site of architecture? Connah shows how these disciplines have not only contributed to new developments in architectural theory and practice, but have begun to insinuate new possibilities of space. Sometimes seamless, sometimes awkward like the hump acquired by the camel in one of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, these disciplines have had their own responsibilities and excesses grafted onto architecture, just as architecture has tried to shake off their limitations. Taking interference a step further, Connah also considers the implications of philosophical incongruity and architectural unrest. He asks how architecture loses its head, transcends the dead language it now entraps, and houses meanings it wants to contest. Hardly bleak questions, suggests Connah, for they point to ways for architecture to rescue itself.

    • Paperback $20.00 £15.99
  • Welcome to the Hotel Architecture

    Welcome to the Hotel Architecture

    Roger Connah

    A rollicking tour in the form of a long poem, and a tour de force in the form of a poeme à clef, through twentieth-century architecture at the end of millennium.

    Departing from conventional genres of architectural writing, Roger Connah presents an original and wry reflection on the fickle but exciting role that language, semantics, and philosophy have played this century in relation to architecture. Welcome to the Hotel Architecture is a five-part "anti-epic" poem on the culture of architecture—its tribes and inventions, the spectacular and vernacular, and the processes through which names and movements are secured, erased, forgotten, and manipulated.Using various styles and poetic approaches mimetic of the restless adventures, swerves, and hijacks of language and philosophy in architecture, Connah takes us on an eccentric hop, skip, and jump along the compound walls of architecture and eventually to the Hotel Architecture itself, where we witness a New Year's Eve symposium on December 31, 1999, that is truly carnivalesque. As we wander through the foyer to the Digital Lounge, where the DITTO conference is taking place, we hear some guests raising their glasses to Gin and Tectonica, others saying good-bye to the rhetoric of the last century, while others still cling to literary theory and philosophical thinness. Following the midnight hour, the crews finally arrive to clean up the mess left over from the architecture wars of the last century. Welcome to the Hotel Architecture! A project to build, a new accommodation, from degree zero to top speed, an architecture of true "unrest" for the next millennium.Along with Paul Valéry's Eupalonius, or the Architect, Le Corbusier's Poem of the Right Angle, and Paul Muldoon's Shining Brow, this is one of only a handful of long poems devoted to the subject of architecture written in the twentieth century. Certainly, it is one of the most unorthodox treatments of architecture in any genre since Connah's last tour de force of criticism, Writing Architecture: Fantomas Fragments Fictions, insinuated itself upon the discipline. Writing Architecture (MIT Press, 1989) won the International Congress of Architectural Critics Book Award and prefigured the name of the series in which this work appears.

    • Paperback $5.75 £4.99
  • Writing Architecture

    Writing Architecture

    Fantomas Fragments Fictions - An Architectural Journey through the 20th Century

    Roger Connah

    In this tantalizing work, Roger Connah explores the peculiar odyssey of twentieth-century architecture through the buildings and writings of Finlands iconoclastic architect, Reima Pietilä. Among architects, Pietilä is a cult figure, a respected but often misunderstood outsider and "arctic shaman," only recently granted the international acclaim and appreciation that are his due. Pietilä's complex, geomorphic structures have been compared to the work of Gaudi and Bruce Goff and variously labeled surrealistic, romantic, or expressionistic. Writing Architecture positions Pietilä at the heart of contemporary architectural debates - the carnival of conflicting isms, modern post-modern, post-structuralist, deconstructive. From his relative isolation in Helsinki, he is thrust into the community of this century's most revolutionary artists and thinkers, including Wittgenstein, Einstein, Beckett, Borges, Magritte, and McLuhan. Through Pietilä Connah reflects on architecture's progress and excess in this century, tracing a path through multiple meanings and intellectual adventures. More metaphysical inquiry than conventional monograph, this extraordinary study draws from various sources to "read" architecture as Pietilä does, as a form of cultural composition in which all theory, literature, music, art, or natural phenomena are potential sources for architectural meaning. Like the existential detective in the pulp crime novels on Fantomas, the elegant French philosopher-thief, Connah offers fragmentary clues, contradictory solutions, and digressive speculations on the particular mystery, misery, and miracle that is modern architecture, but wisely leaves the final verdict up to his discerning readers.

    Roger Connah's extensive collaboration with Reima Pietilä has provided him with a unique opportunity to trace the architect's inimitable approach to architecture and culture. Since 1986 the author has been living in India working as a freelance writer; he is visiting Professor at The National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and The Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi.

    • Hardcover $95.00

Contributor

  • Perspecta 38 "Architecture After All"

    Perspecta 38 "Architecture After All"

    The Yale Architectural Journal

    Marcus Carter, Christopher Marcinkowski, Forth Bagley, and Ceren Bingol

    The practice of architecture after the breakdown of consensus: designers, theoreticians, and scholars consider architecture's divergent ideological landscape in this issue of America's oldest and most distinguished student-edited architectural journal.

    The profession of architecture is increasingly characterized by divergent architectural ideas and divergent political, social, technological, and economic agendas. Much of current practice focuses on the process of architecture (its how) rather than its meaning, effect, or reason for being (its why). This issue of Perspecta—the oldest and most distinguished student-edited architectural journal—explores the practice of architecture after the breakdown of consensus. Designers, theoreticians, and scholars investigate an architectural landscape devoid of a dominant ideology or ethos. Their essays take specific points of departure—globalization, urbanism, pedagogy, irony, as well as form, theory, and ideology—to address broader questions about the social, economic, and political fallout from these modes of practice, considering whether the lack of an overriding ethos in architecture is liberating or limiting for the profession. And, after all, is it conceivable, or desirable, to return to an architecture derived from a single, dominant mode of operation?

    Contributors Authors: Roger Connah, Winka Dubbeldam, Dawn Finley + Mark Wamble, Christopher Hight + Chris Perry, Sam Jacob, Emmanuel Petit, Michael Speaks, Ashley Schafer, Noriyuki Tajima, Tom Wiscombe, Lebbeus Woods, Stanley TigermanRoundtable participants: Michael Speaks (moderator), Hernan Diaz Alonso, Winka Dubbeldam, Mark Goulthorpe, Gregg Pasquarelli, David Serero

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