We are beset by unspoken rules. As a result, we learn to find consensus in nots and to seek refuge in don’ts. A taboo is a restriction invented and agreed upon by a social group that maintains stability (disciplinary order) but also induces transgressions (the possibility of an avant-garde). Taboos structure our thinking and frame our discussions. In architecture, taboos create an operative way of thinking about and making architecture through unspoken agreement. This issue of Perspecta tackles architectural unutterables. In articles and projects, historians, theorists, and practitioners investigate contemporary and historical instances of taboo, aiming to uncover its function in the pedagogy and praxis of architecture. The contributors, asked simply “What is Taboo?”, respond with a range of examples. These include an examination of the relatively unknown work of the Italian architect Rinaldo Semino; photographs documenting the unseen, peripheral spaces of American life; a series of marginalia illustrating certain typographic don’ts in all their absurdity; a study of memorials erected to Maoist insurgents killed by police and paramilitary forces in India; and a critique, by redaction and reconstruction, of Rem Koolhaas’s essay “Typical Plan.”
Marcel Vellinga—"Marked Off: On Taboos in Architecture"
Neri Oxman—"Per Formative: Toward a Post-Formal Paradigm in Architecture"
Alicia Imperiale—"Organic Italy? The Troubling Case of Rinaldo Semino"
Keith Krumwiede—"[A] Typical Plan [s]“
Arindam Dutta—"On the Way to the Thousand-Pillared Mandapam: Travelogue on the Monuments of Agrarian Insurgency”
Taryn Simon—"Selections from ‘An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar’“
Mario Gooden—”_orm is a Four-Letter Word (That Starts with ‘F’)“
Thomas H. Beeby—Interview
Thomas de Monchaux—"Sordid, Fashionable, Brutal, Poetic, Domestic, Sybaritic, Comfortable: Seven Notes on Style”