December, 2016

We meet buildings only at their surfaces: feet to floor, eyes to walls, hands to handles. 
We breathe their air; we hear their echoes.
But buildings are also objects, busy in ways that do not occur to us: protecting, quivering, heating, decaying, storing, piping, embracing, rejecting, organizing and flattering…these among many actions on our behalf, and more on their own.
Buildings are real, not just special effects.
They have attitudes; they exemplify as well as underwrite as well as undermine social arrangements.
We do not completely understand them and they do not completely understand us, in part because history fades and in part because patience is unevenly distributed

Center 22: The Secret Life of Buildings is devoted to imagining that buildings and the things in and around them not only promote human life (earning the name Architecture when doing so justly and beautifully), but also have lives of their own.

These lives require bringing-into-being as well as care and regard thereafter, out of respect, in return for their services. ‘Speculative Realism’ and within that, ‘Object Oriented Ontology,’ name trends in recent philosophy that seem especially suited to thinking of architecture in this non- anthropocentric way.

This book aims to find out more.

CENTER 22 will present the results of the 2016 ‘Objects’ design competition, essays by the four keynote speakers at the Secret Life of Buildings symposium ( and up to six supplementary essays—one of which might be yours—engaging object-oriented philosophy and architecture’s overlooked dimensions. Length: 3,000–5,000 words. Illustrations. 

Deadline for submission is February 28, 2017. Send submissions via email to with Secret Life Essay as the email title. For questions, please contact Leora Visotzky:

CENTER: Architecture & Design in America is the multi award-winning, peer-reviewed book series published since 1985 by the Center for American Architecture and Design (CAAD) at the University of Texas at Austin. The editor of CENTER 22 and executive editor of the book series is Michael Benedikt (