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NCCR Mediality

Die Nationalen Forschungsschwerpunkte (NFS) sind ein Förderungsmittel des Schweizerischen Nationalfonds.
X. Display
X.2. Writing Medium Architecture

The project deals with the medialization of architecture in the industrially and technically accelerated medial environment of modernity (approximately 1890-1940). In particular, it focuses on the salient role of literature and writing in respect to this process. During the decades in question, a new architectural discourse was emerging in works of fiction and non-fiction, in newspaper feuilleton and professional journalism, through public exhibitions and housing models, as well as in advertising and the cinema. This particularly modern discourse was rhetorically conceived and typographically modeled, and it multiplied with and through writing. Based on two exemplary fields of research, the housing discourse and the new imagery of the subway, the present study will examine this discourse’s typical forms and strategies of (re)presentation, its characteristic narratives of belonging, provenance and prevalence, as well as its socio-political and economic pre-conditions. On the one hand, the prominent discussion of housing and accommodation during modernity is witness to how the reform of modern life by architectural means was accompanied by and not infrequently based on sophisticated medial campaigns. On the other, visual and textual documents concerning subway systems developing in the growing metropolises of the time exemplify how novel needs of mobility, engineering techniques and infrastructural politics medially merged into a singular urban-social imaginary. When viewed from a medial-aesthetic perspective, both of these fields allow for a correlation between ‘classical’ modernity and contemporary trends in our late-modern information society. Thus, in addition to highlighting historical processes, this study will also yield fundamental insights into the often-underrated medial effectiveness of writing in the discourse of architecture in the digital age.