Review/Response to “Towards a Minor Architecture”

Towards a Minor Architecture

I’ve just finished reading Jill Stoner’s excellent ‘Towards a Minor Architecture’. It’s an argument for a politicized conception of architectural practice drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of ‘minor literature’ as described in their book Kafka. Like Deleuze and Guattari, Stoner conceives minor architecture as a counterpoint to the majority of cultural production in that field. Where architecture is most often the preserve of wealthy elite, and is most often the expression of – following Bataille – the physiognomy of power and capital, Stonor argues that a minor architecture echos the triumvirate established by Deleuze and Guattari in that it 1) deterritorializes a major language – in architecture a semiotic mode 2) is thoroughly political in nature and 3) has collective value.

I won’t go too thoroughly into outlining her argument, if you’re curious there are reviews here and here, though it isn’t a long work and well worth reading in its entirety. Stoner outlines and argues against three myths that pervade architectural production – the myth of the interior, the myth of the object and the myth of the subject. The myth of the interior addresses the permeability of the architectural production, against the seeming opacity of the object. The myth of the object confronts the mistaken idea of the wholeness of the architectural production and the non-relation of the object to other parts of the city. The myth of the subject confronts the ideal of the professional architect, seeking to replace this ideal subject with an anonymous fleeting figure who accepts incompleteness and rejects the language of masters.

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