Category Architecture as Experience Radical change in spatial practice

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Reading two: frontier behaviour on the margins of civilization

A second reading of the wooded islands can be found in the popular detective novels written about the fair. In this penny literature, these islands, like the ‘frontier’ regions of the fair, serve as a site for lawlessness, inversions of proper behaviours and freedom for those who seek it.

Certainly, the best-known feature of the Chicago fair was its ‘white city’ – an urban ensemble that glorified Anglo-Saxon civilization and American empire. But the outermost margins of the fair displayed exhibits of raw materials and people that seemed far removed from western civilization (see

Figure 8.2). On the southern margin of the fairgrounds [A], ‘Indian villages’ were erected next to miniature replicas of Yucatan pyramids and Colorado cliff houses...

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An urban analysis extended

In positing a ‘socio-spatial dialectic’ the urbanist David Harvey and others have sought a rapprochement between sociologists’ analyses of urban space and geographers’. Nevertheless, Harvey is careful to avoid defining the relationship between social processes and spatial form as uni-directional in causal terms.43 It may be instructive, therefore, to perform a chiastic inversion of his terms, transforming ‘social processes and spatial form’ into ‘social form and spatial processes’. Apparently whimsical, such a move, in fact, reveals further aspects of the society and the urban environment in question...

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Unique and ordinary, all at once

Contrary to expectations, suppressing the memory of its existence as a prison does not seem to be necessary for a comfortable sojourn at the hotel. Although in its initial season, the hotel’s use as a prison was de-emphasized,
the management, having realized that it actually adds to the hotel’s cache, does not try to hide the history of the building. As a matter of fact, nowadays the transformation is touted as a remarkable success story. The well-stocked folder guests find in their rooms contains – in addition to maps, city guides, informational fliers about the hotel’s amenities, and magazine offprints about its award-winning design and service – information about the building’s history as a prison...

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Misprisions of Stonehenge

Andrew Ballantyne Merlin

In legal terminology, a ‘misprision’ is a theft – the taking of something without permission. In the essays that follow, buildings have been taken up without the permission of their designers, and have been made to mean things that their designers did not have in mind. The first of these thefts was the most literal – the actual removal of a monumental building from one kingdom to another: Stonehenge was forcibly removed from Ireland and re-erected on Salisbury Plain as a memorial to the British dead. That is what Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us in his account of 1136.1 What happened was that the British king, Aurelius, was going round his kingdom repairing damage done by the Saxons...

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The mediated Pope

But what is the Church? And where, and in whom, does the Holy Spirit dwell? Does God’s presence in the Church permeate downwards and outwards – as nowadays it seems – exclusively from the Holy Father in Rome? Or does God dwell in all the faith communities of the world?28

The major achievement of Vatican II was in popularising an ancient conception of the Church: as Cornwell continues, the Council affirmed ‘that each group of Christians gathered around its bishop is in that place, "the fullness of the Church, the Spirit’s temple, sacrament of Christ".29 It is in this vein that many reformers, unhappy at the increasing conservatism and centralisation of the Church in Rome sought to remake the role of the global Church. In many ways the debate was an echo of the key question facing all faith

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