2001 volume 33(12) pages 2205 – 2218

Cite as:
Marche J L, 2001, "The space of the surface" Environment and Planning A 33(12) 2205 – 2218

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The space of the surface

Jean La Marche

Received 23 October 2000; in revised form 26 June 2001

Abstract. In this paper I examine how notions of the surface are being reconstituted in architectural theory and practice. Specifically, I contrast how modernist-influenced theory treated surfaces with how some architectural theorists today are beginning to think about them. Whereas modernist theory saw surfaces as dedicated to the expression of interior volume, recent interactive technologies such as 'smart walls' mean that surfaces no longer are fixed but can, instead, be changed in ways that are beyond the control of the architects who designed the structures of which they are a part. This means that surfaces are much less predictable and much more subject to transformation by individual users than in the past. Such a technological revolution, I argue, is 'de-authorizing' architecture as it is understood in conventional, professional, and disciplinary terms, and is bringing about new conceptions of time and space in architectural practice.

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