Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Of libraries and layers

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges

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I was just going through the brilliant CCA library catalogue, in preparation for my upcoming visit. I'm going to research some architectural theory on mobility and the urban imaginary, and am looking forward to checking out some old Archigram collages, audio/visual kits by Cedric Price and Adolfo Natalini, and some of Gordon Matta-Clark's films.

On a related note, Dan recently posted some interesting thoughts on the Smithsons and adaptive architecture. As I unpack what a "digitally layered" city might mean, he mentions the Smithsons' "layers of strength," by which they advocate an architectural "frame of permanence with 'lighter' layers of transience overlaid, shifting in response to functional needs (laboratories become studios etc.) or organisational change (faculties merging and reforming etc.)."

Hmm. In socio-cultural terms, what might "providing a frame of permanence with 'lighter' layers of transience overlaid" imply? I can easily imagine the transient layers, but what would constitute the stable or permanent part(s)?

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"To those with ears to hear, libraries are really very noisy places. On their shelves we hear the captured voices of the centuries-old conversation that makes up our civilization." - Timothy Healy

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