APPROPRIATION The action of appropriating something. The deliberate reworking of images and styles from earlier, well-known works of art. Take (something) for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. According to the Oxford Dictionary In 1980, the American architect Steven Izenour started designing a vacation house for his father. In this small house, […]
The action of appropriating something.
The deliberate reworking of images and styles from earlier, well-known works of art.
Take (something) for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission.
According to the Oxford Dictionary
In 1980, the American architect Steven Izenour started designing a vacation house for his father. In this small house, Izenour takes a seemingly common Connecticut cottage and mixes it with elements from classical architecture in a playful interpretation of what he thought his father’s house should be. The specificity in this act of appropriation lies in the freedom Izenour allows himself in the process. For instance, he deprives columns of their materiality, of their structural function, keeping their form—in the case of the porch columns, only their outline—in order to distill these elements to an almost comedic state where they are but an ironic nod to the “real”. Throughout the project, the same exercise is repeated, appropriating elements and giving them new functions, proportions, and scales whilst keeping their defining traces. Izenour proposes an original building which feels uncannily familiar but is in fact an empty vessel, waiting to be filled anew. We thus define Appropriation as this condition of simultaneity produced through the co-option and re-articulation of architecture for unanticipated agendas, alternative expectations, and unintended identities.
The haunting photographs Hélène Binet took of Cairo’s City of the Dead, where more than half a million people permanently dwell, speak to us of the unforeseen use of the spaces while whispering about the intrinsic relation between time and perception. Andreas Papadantonakis discusses Schinkel’s proposal for Athens’ Parthenon as the epicenter of cultural appropriation in the XIX century. Brittany Utting and Daniel Jacobs frame Appropriation through the political and urban ambitions of Pouillon’s Climat de France housing project in Algiers’ Casbah. Ibai Rigby analyses the appropriation of the Ottoman mosque typology as a geopolitical tool, and Dennis Lagemann opens a new chapter on his four-part reflection on Identity, describing Nicolaus Goldmann’s methodology of abstraction and appropriation in developing a grammar for Renaissance architecture.
It is then clear that, within the scope of architecture, Appropriation takes on multiple shapes: the blunt repurposing of structures, the knowledgeable, subtle borrowing of elements, the ill-informed replication of structures or typologies, or simply straightforward copying of whole buildings into a different context. With this issue, beyond the identification of case studies, we intend to look into both the motivations and consequences of Appropriation, suggestive of an old method but new framework for architectural design and research.