Architectural Agents: The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives Of Buildings by Annabel Jane WhartonArchitectural Agents: The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives Of Buildings by Annabel Jane Wharton

Architectural Agents: The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives Of Buildings

byAnnabel Jane Wharton

Paperback | February 15, 2015

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Buildings are not benign; rather, they commonly manipulate and abuse their human users. Architectural Agents makes the case that buildings act in the world independently of their makers, patrons, owners, or occupants. And often they act badly.

Treating buildings as bodies, Annabel Jane Wharton writes biographies of symptomatic structures in order to diagnose their pathologies. The violence of some sites is rooted in historical trauma; the unhealthy spatial behaviors of other spaces stem from political and economic ruthlessness. The places examined range from the Cloisters Museum in New York City and the Palestine Archaeological Museum (renamed the Rockefeller Museum) in Jerusalem to the grand Hostal de los Reyes Católicos in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Las Vegas casino resorts. Recognizing that a study of pathological spaces would not be complete without an investigation of digital structures, Wharton integrates into her argument an original consideration of the powerful architectures of video games and immersive worlds. Her work mounts a persuasive critique of popular phenomenological treatments of architecture.

Architectural Agents advances an alternative theorization of buildings’ agency—one rooted in buildings’ essential materiality and historical formation—as the basis for her significant intervention in current debates over the boundaries separating humans, animals, and machines.

Annabel Jane Wharton is William B. Hamilton Professor of Art History at Duke University. Her most recent books include Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture, selected by Economist as one of the best books of 2001, and Selling Jerusalem: Relics, Replicas, Theme Parks.
Title:Architectural Agents: The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives Of BuildingsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.9 inPublished:February 15, 2015Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816693390

ISBN - 13:9780816693399

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Architectural Agency
Part I. Death
1. Murder
2. Spoils
Part II. Disease
3. Amnesia
4. Urban Toxicity
Part III. Addiction
5. Gambling
6. Digital Play
Conclusion: Buildings/Things, Bodies/Texts, History/Theory

Editorial Reviews

"Provocative and entertaining . . . a tour de force, richly imaginative, and full of warmth and insight."—Times Higher Education"Wharton upends new stones of inquiry and exploration."—Art Libraries Society of North America"This is an important book for architectural historians and Preservationists."—CHOICE"These are all well-researched and entertainingly written pieces ... indeed, the delightful and richly annotated essays in this volume make their arguments and methodology perfectly clear on their own."—Traditional Dwellings and Settlements review"An insightful analysis of the political and social history of space and architecture in American, Middle Eastern, and European urban cultures."—Reading Religion