Architecture and Field/work
(Routledge 2010)
Edited by Suzanne Ewing, Jérémie Michael McGowan, Chris Speed and Victoria Clare Bernie
Positioned at a point of interchange between the disciplines of architecture and anthropology, this book is the first to identify and to critique key terms, techniques, methodologies and habits comprising our understanding of fieldwork in architecture. In the wider context of interdisciplinary spatial practice, this book explores the potential of the term ‘field’ and offers insight into how future research in architectural design and other practice-led disciplines might make productive links between academia and design professions.
Essays by established and emerging international scholars are arranged into three parts introduced by the editors, which move from practices to site to techniques, and are interspersed with field notes by experienced voices: Andrea Kahn (New York), Alan Dein (London) and Can Altay (Istanbul) with an afterword by Jane Rendell (London).
For students, academics and reflective practitioners in architecture, art history, theory, landscape and urbanism, this book offers a reassessment of methodologies, forms of aesthetic production and creative activity in architectural design, theory and practice.
Within this co-edited project my particular responsibility was for the first, four-chapter section of the book ‘Field/work practice’. My editorial introduction outlines differences and affinities between the generally unregulated approach to fieldwork in architecture and the more formalised practices of other disciplines. Selected contributions by Martin Beattie, Michael Ostwald and Michael Chapman, Catharina Gabrielsson and Emily Scott follow. Mapping out an itinerary through the rich ethnographic,  historical and theoretical material presented, I read these chapters in relationship to the anthropological tradition in particular. Suggesting ways anthropological understandings of fieldwork might challenge and inform architectural thought and practice I explore what contributions and provocations architecture might offer in return.
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