It is often suggested that architecture is more “real” than the other arts, more grounded and definitive. Yet even the most fundamental and concrete elements of architecture are often designed to conceal. This issue of Perspecta embraces the paradoxical nature of the real, presenting it as a lens that magnifies the strategies and tactics of architecture, past, present, and future. How does architecture create real effects, change our built environment, and respond to crises? What are the tricks and trompe l’oeils of contemporary practice? Amid fake Europes, shape-shifting materials, and underwater asylums, Perspecta 42 navigates architecture’s disciplinary boundaries to locate the real in the most unlikely of places. The real has been central to our understanding of architecture for the last hundred years, even if the discussion has been couched in other terms. While architecture anxiously situates itself between building and discourse, it never fully capitulates to either side. Through historical inquiry, theoretical writing, and contemporary projects, Perspecta 42 asserts that now, more than ever, architecture is in search of the real. The issue revolves around three encounters with the real. First, the physical: texts, projects, and conversations that relate to issues of material properties and our bodily surroundings—thoughts on such topics as sensory environments, smart materials, and the floor as a landscape of logistics. Second, authenticity: explorations of representation and hybrid realities, including the digital and the surreal. And, finally, institutional failures and man-made or natural crises: considerations of war, the current economic calamity, and racial politics.
Armin Linke—"Eight Photographs"
Lorens Holm—"Glimpsing the Real in Architecture, or the Sun Always Rises"
François Roche—"Nine Apparatuses"
Lucia Allais—"The Real and the Theoretical, 1968"
Bill Rankin—"Cartography and the Reality of Boundaries"
Damon Rich—"Real Estate and Liquid Architecture"
Andrew Blauvelt—"Inflated Realities"
L.E.F.T.—"Offshore Urbanism: An Evacuation Plan for Lebanon"
Keller Easterling—"Some True Stories"
Mirko Zardini—"A Crisis That Made Architecture Real"
Mario Ballesteros—"Elemental—Lessons in Pragmatism"
Jun Jiang—"Ten Architectural Stories on the Real: From Reality to Surreality and Back"
BIG—"The Real Deal"
Spyros Papapetros—"MICRO/MACRO: Architecture, Cosmology, and the Real World"
Hal Foster—"New Monumentality: Architecture and Public Space"
Albena Yaneva—"The ‘Architectural’ as a Type of Connector: A Realist Approach to Architecture"
Antoine Picon—"Continuity, Complexity, and Emergence: What is the Real for Digital Designers?“
Höweler + Yoon—"Verify in Field”
Emmanuel Petit—"On the Entrails of Architecture’s Organism"