Horror In Architecture

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Our first book, Horror in Architecture, is about to go into its second printing, and a German edition is due in 2014. This project started as a series of conversations about a very basic problem: how to talk about architectural form. These mainly took place in our car, to or from the office, to site, or to meetings. Throughout our years in practice together, Shing and I have always been frustrated about the difficulty of communicating architectural language in words. Especially to “Muggles”—that is, to non-architects. We found ourselves often comparing buildings to other things in order to make them more understandable. They were described in terms of food, cartoons… and, increasingly, monsters from horror flicks.

For many reasons, modern buildings seemed especially clear when related to horrible types—to zombies, psychotics, giants and homunculi, and Frankensteinian composites, for example. We started to wonder why this was the case. Does something about Modernity make buildings monstrous? Horrifying? In fact, yes. We now believe that a number of forces, economic in particular, lead to this result. This book describes these, and shows a huge number of examples in modern building. These range from the famous to the obscure, the ugly to the beautiful and the sublime. Horror In Architecture is not a manifesto, per se; but it is our own treasure trove of amazing architecture, our canon.

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