CENTER 9: Regarding the Proper


How do we value the built environment? Financial considerations aside, what criteria are used to determine if a building is good or bad, beautiful or ugly? Architects are constantly confronted with these concerns, and it is in relation to propriety that they are often addressed. But what is proper in architecture is, in fact, the consequence of an underlying system of value that remains hidden, and whose veracity, and indeed appropriateness, is not altogether obvious.

This collection of essays, projects, and proposals frame propriety as a filter through which to view and examine issues of meaning in architecture, thereby providing a window into the relationship between architecture and society. Each article locates its respective discussion of meaning in the tangible world of material artifacts and actual circumstances. Absurdity, irony, and perversity are not off-limits when it comes to questioning of propriety.

ISBN: 0-292-71176-X


Introduction, by Kevin Alter and Elizabeth Danze
Henrietta Chamberlain King: A Portrait in Propriety, by Lisa Germany
What's Proper to Architecture, by Catherine Ingraham
Battle Lines: E. 1027, by Beatriz Colomina
Homebodies on Vacation, by Diller + Scofidio
Figures Doors and Passages, by Robin Evans
Alien Art, by Krzysztof Wodiczko
Adam's Bed: 16 Varieties of (Im)propriety, by James Coote
Baker's Loos and Loos's Loss: Architecting the Body, by Kim Tanzer
Resemblance and Desire, by Ann Reynolds
Wind + Eye: Adjusting Windows, by David Leatherbarrow and Mohsen Mostafavi
Some thoughts on the problem of HOUSING at the Century City SHOPPING CENTER and Marketplace, LOS ANGELES 90067, by George Wagner
Morpheus Mépris: The Murphy Bed and Obscene Rest, by Henry Urbach
The PanTopicon and The Architecture of Noise, by Marcos Novak
Homes and Outcomes - Some Notes on Propriety of Houses, by Elizabeth Danze
Provisional Architecture, by Kevin Alter



Michael Benedikt


Kevin Alter
Elizabeth Danze


Chris Begley
Suzanne Najarian

Center 9: Regarding the Proper

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1996 American Association of Museums First Prize Award for scholarly publishing