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Actions of Architecture: Architects and Creative Users
Actions of Architecture: Architects and Creative Users (London and New York: Routledge, 2003) is a 70,000 word authored book. Central to it is the idea that architecture is made by use and by design. Drawing on the work of a wide range of architects, artists and writers, it considers the relations between the architect and the user, which it compares to the relations between the artist and viewer and the author and reader. The book’s thesis is informed by the text ‘The Death of the Author’, in which Roland Barthes argues for a writer aware of the creativity of the reader. ‘The Death of the Author’ is an important influence on artistic production, encouraging less didactic subject-object and artist-viewer relations than ones familiar in the art gallery. Its relevance to architecture is equally strong but largely unnoticed. Actions of Architecture argues for an architect aware of the creativity of the user. With a role as important in the formulation of architecture as that of the architect, the creative user either produces a new space or gives an existing one meanings and uses contrary to established behaviour. Actions of Architecture begins with a critique of strategies that define the user as passive and predictable, such as contemplation and functionalism. Subsequently it considers how an awareness of user creativity informs architecture, architects and concepts of authorship in architectural design. Identifying strategies that recognize user creativity, such as appropriation, collaboration, disjunction, DIY, montage, polyvalence and uselessness, Actions of Architecture states that the creative user should be the central concern of architectural design.
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