Volume 1

Edited by Alberto Pérez-Gómez and Stephen Parcell

Contents and authors

CHORA: The Space of Architectural Representation
Alberto Pérez-Gómez

alberto.perez-gomez [at] mcgill.ca (Alberto Pérez-Gómez) was born in Mexico City in 1949. He obtained his undergraduate degree in architecture and engineering in his native city, did postgraduate work at Cornell University, and was awarded a master of arts degree and a Ph.D. by the University of Essex in England. His numerous articles have been published in various North American and European journals. His book Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (MIT Press, 1983) won the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award in 1984. Polyphilo or the Dark Forest Revisited, which deals with Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499), was also published by MIT Press in 1992. Dr. Pérez-Gómez lectures extensively in Europe and North America. He has taught at universities in Mexico City, Houston, Syracuse, and Toronto and at the Architectural Association in London; he was director of the Carleton University School of Architecture from 1983 to 1986. In January 1987, he was appointed Saidye Rosner Bronfman Professor of the History of Architecture at McGill University, where he is currently director of the graduate program in the history and theory of architecture. He was also the director of the Institut de recherche en histoire de l'architecture from 1990 to 1993. At present, he is working on a major book on the history and theory of modern European architectural representation, with special reference to the role of projection in architectural design.

The Measure of Expression: Physiognomy and Character in Lequeu's "Nouvelle Méthode"
Jean-François Bédard

Jean-François Bédard recently obtained his Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University (NYC). He has been curatorial assistant in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. Mr. Bédard received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from McGill University in 1987 and a Master's degree in Architectural History and Theory from the same institution in 1992. He has been an editor for the magazine Architecture Québec and curated a retrospective exhibition of the work of the American architect Peter Eisenman, "Cities of Artificial Excavation: The Work of Peter Eisenman, 1978-1988," for the CCA.

Michaelangelo: The Image of the Human Body, Artifice, and Architecture
Helmut Klassen

Helmut Klassen is a graduate of Carleton University (B.Arch.) and McGill University (M.Arch. History and Theory of Architecture). He is engaged in architectural practice and has taught both design and history/theory courses as visiting professor at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. He is pursuing doctoral research in Toronto.

Architecture as Site of Reception-Part I: Cuisine, Frontality, and the Infra-thin
Donald Kunze

dek4 [at] psu.edu">Donald Kunze was born in North Carolina, where he received his bachelor of architecture degree in 1970. He later received a master's and a doctoral degree in geography. He teaches architecture theory and general arts courses at the Pennsylvania State University. He has lectured and published on the subjects of architecture's relationship to language, theory, philosophy, and perception. Dr Kunze is currently studying the structure of artifacts of travel and tourism, developing interactive courses for distance education, and completing a book on architecture theory. He lives with his wife and three cats in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of Memorial Day.

Fictional Cities
Graham Livesey

Graham Livesey is currently Program Director of architecture at the University of Calgary, teaching architectural design and history. Born in Vancouver, he received a bachelor of architecture degree in 1984 from McGill University and a master's degree in architectural history and theory from the same institution in 1991. He has worked for a number of years in private practice, most notably for Arcop Associates in Montréal and Rick Mather Architects in London, U.K.

Instrumentality and the Organic Assistance of Looms
Indra Kagis McEwen

Indra Kagis McEwen holds an Honours B.A. in English and Philosophy from Queen's University, a Professional Degree in Architecture from McGill University, a Master's degree in Architectural History and Theory, and a Ph.D. in Art History, also from McGill. She is the author'of Socrates' Ancestor: An Essay on Architectural Beginnings (MIT Press 1993) and of a translation of Claude Perrault, Ordonnance des cinq espéces de colonnes (Paris 1683), entitled Ordonnance for the Five kinds of Columns, with an introduction by A. Pérez-Gómez (Getty Center 1993). She currently teaches architectural history at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal and is engaged in work on Vitruvius.

Space and Image in Andrei Tarkovsky's "Nostalgia": Notes on a Phenomenology of Architecture in Cinema
Juhani Pallasmaa

office [at] pallasmaa.fi (Juhani Pallasmaa) was born in Hämeenlinna, Finland, in 1936. He obtained a master of science degree in architecture from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1966. He has been the principal of Juhani Pallasmaa Architects since 1983 and professor of architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology since 1991. He was "State Artist Professor" from 1983 to 1988, director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture from 1978 to 1983, associate professor at the Haile Selassie I University (Addis Abeba) from 1972 to 1974, director of the exhibitions department of the Museum of Finnish Architecture from 1968 to 1972 and from 1974 to 1983, and rector of the College of Crafts and Design (Helsinki) from I970 to 1972.

Professor Pallasmaa has been involved in architecture, graphic design, and town planning since 1963. He has designed exhibitions of Finnish architecture, planning, and fine arts that have been shown in more than thirty countries. His design works have been published in numerous exhibition catalogues and publications in Finland and abroad. He has written many articles and lectured in various countries on cultural philosophy and the essence of architecture and fine arts.

Juhani Pallasmaa is member of the Finnish Architects Association, honorary fellow of the AIA, invited member of the International Committee of Architectural Critics, invited full member of the International Academy of Architecture in Moscow, and was the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor at Yale University in 1993.

The Momentary Modern Magic of the Panorama
Stephen Parcell

Stephen Parcell is associate professor of architecture at the Technical University of Nova Scotia and an external advisor for the graduate program in architectural history and theory at McGill University. He previously taught at Carleton University, after receiving a bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Toronto and a master of architecture degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His research on natural history dioramas is part of a series of representational studies involving other perspectival institutions - panorama buildings, stereographic images, and a late Renaissance perspective treatise. He is presently doing research towards his Ph.D. on the relationship between music and architecture.

The Building of a Horizon
Louise Pelletier

louise.pelletier [at] mcgill.ca (Louise Pelletier) graduated from the Laval University School of Architecture in 1987. She completed a Master of Architecture degree with honours in the History and Theory of Architecture at McGill University in 1990 and a Ph.D., also with honours, at the same institution. She is currently teaching a design studio in the graduate program at McGill, and courses at the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She is the co-author of several books, including Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge (MIT Press), Architecture, Ethics, and Technology (McGill-Queen's University Press); and an annotated bibliography on Anamorphosis and Architectural Representation,(Fontanus Monograph Series, McGill University Libraries). At present she holds a post-doctoral grant to transform her Ph.D. into a book.

Anaesthetic Induction: An Excursion into the World of Visual Indifference
Natalijia Subotincic

subotinc [at] cc.umanitoba.ca (Natalija Subotincic) was born in Alliston, Ontario, in 1959 and teaches architecture at the University of Manitoba. She began her university studies in science, transferring to architecture in 1980. She completed her Undergraduate degree in architecture at Carleton University in 1985 and obtained a Master's degree in Architectural History and Theory from McGill University in 1989. After graduating, she worked as a visiting professor at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbour, Maine, in 1989-90, and at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1990-91. Much of her research over the years has involved both photography and architecture - in particular, the Canadian Industrial Heritage Project, a Canada Council-funded photo documentation of industrial installations across Canada; and a 168-page continuous collage of photographs for Alberto Pérez-Gómez's book Polyphilo or the Dark Forest Revisited: An Erotic Epiphany of Architecture, published by MIT Press in 1992.


CHORA, the Greek word for "space," is the title of a new collection of books devoted to exploring the potential of architecture beyond conventional aesthetic and technological reductions. In a world where unabated scientism and irrelevant nihilism are prevalent, where the supposed alternatives to the rationalist and functionalist building practices of modernity are often no more than empty formalism and extrapolation of deconstructivist positions into architecture, CHORA offers a forum for pondering other possibilities. It is possible to affirm the specificity of architecture vis-a-vis both technological building and the mass media, while avoiding futile turns into nostalgia? Can we recognize the truth present in our architectural tradition and the hope revealed in our presence as embodied human beings, while rejecting the dangerous delusions of absolute, transparent truth and logocentric power?

Architecture is at a crossroads. If its role as a stage for the perpetuation of human culture as not recognized and redefined, its demise will be inevitable. The work of the architect, a work of imagination, cannot be simply a dominating gaze, a solipsistic play of mirrors, or a manifestation of the will to power. It may yet be something different, something that must be expored and that may, as a reconciliatory action, point to a referent other than itself. In a world where the media establish new paradigms of communication approaching the ephemeral nature of embodied perception and the primary orality of language, architecture may indeed be able to carry intersubjective values, convey meaning through metaphor, and embody a cultural order beyond tyranny or anarchy.

CHORA will offer a space to meditate on the possibility of such an architecture, capable of both respecting cultural differences and acknowledging the globalization of technological culture. Interdisciplinary by definition, and reflecting a veriety of cultural concerns, its essays will operate from within the discipline of architecture. Generated by personal questions of pressing concern for architecture and our culture, these radical explorations of form and content may suggest alternatives for a more significant practice. While the main philosophical framework for CHORA stems from phenomenology and hermeneutic ontology, the architectural pursuits in this collection could be placed generally in the broad context of European philosophy, which demands a fundamental redefinition of thought and action, and a substantial rethinking of traditionally accepted values.