Journal
Thresholds 45: Myth

Venturing into the proposition that architecture is as much constituted of stone, wood, and steel as the myths that propel it into existence, thresholds 45: MYTH will explore how architecture makes myth and how myth makes architecture.

More than stories, myths explain the inexplicable, order the seemingly unordered, and make palatable the otherwise unpalatable. Myths are evidenced in and born from both narrative and seemingly non-narrative sources; they are the collective tales which order our worlds. Some are products of long histories, so entangled in our understandings they are difficult to parse. Other myths emerge as rapidly as the ascendant hero.

Glass and steel towers grew forth from Chicago and New York becoming architectural gods of prosperity and progress. Rising around the world in efforts to summon about these gods, these towers now marginalize—and make romantic—vernacular forms rendering their histories ever more mythic. They slither through the collective unconscious, construct societal visions of worlds, and speak to truth through the collective imaginary. Myths present the opportunity to expand, and link, stories to the social, cultural, and political worlds they engage. 

Palladio’s I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura propelled him into his role as an archetype of the classical architect in the western tradition. In a modernist rebellion, partially of his making, Corbusier became the prototype for the modern architect. Ayn Rand wrote Roark into existence as the epitome of the independent modern architect. Akin to rock-stars or royalty, these characters are known by mononyms and have fundamentally shaped popular and disciplinary understandings of the architect.

What of rebellious reactionaries seeking to unveil myth’s operation or bias? Those who seek, or find, disenchantment? What myths spread forth from instances of rebellion, schism, or opposition? Which media, theories, or events cause myths to spread or dissipate? Where is architecture’s underworld? What myths have been woven about architectural theory and practice and why? Who are architecture’s villains and its anointed heroes? Why, and how, have histories been mythologized to justify contemporary positions or operations? How was myth and mythologizing made unacceptable by certain rises in rationalism?

With a taste for the fantastical, thresholds 45 invites submission of scholarly articles, creative contributions from the fields of architecture, art, and literature, and narrative content which clarifies or complicates our understanding of myth and architecture.

Title
Publication TypeJournal
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsAngles Z
ISBN Number1091-711X
Abstract

Venturing into the proposition that architecture is as much constituted of stone, wood, and steel as the myths that propel it into existence, thresholds 45: MYTH will explore how architecture makes myth and how myth makes architecture.

More than stories, myths explain the inexplicable, order the seemingly unordered, and make palatable the otherwise unpalatable. Myths are evidenced in and born from both narrative and seemingly non-narrative sources; they are the collective tales which order our worlds. Some are products of long histories, so entangled in our understandings they are difficult to parse. Other myths emerge as rapidly as the ascendant hero.

Glass and steel towers grew forth from Chicago and New York becoming architectural gods of prosperity and progress. Rising around the world in efforts to summon about these gods, these towers now marginalize—and make romantic—vernacular forms rendering their histories ever more mythic. They slither through the collective unconscious, construct societal visions of worlds, and speak to truth through the collective imaginary. Myths present the opportunity to expand, and link, stories to the social, cultural, and political worlds they engage. 

Palladio’s I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura propelled him into his role as an archetype of the classical architect in the western tradition. In a modernist rebellion, partially of his making, Corbusier became the prototype for the modern architect. Ayn Rand wrote Roark into existence as the epitome of the independent modern architect. Akin to rock-stars or royalty, these characters are known by mononyms and have fundamentally shaped popular and disciplinary understandings of the architect.

What of rebellious reactionaries seeking to unveil myth’s operation or bias? Those who seek, or find, disenchantment? What myths spread forth from instances of rebellion, schism, or opposition? Which media, theories, or events cause myths to spread or dissipate? Where is architecture’s underworld? What myths have been woven about architectural theory and practice and why? Who are architecture’s villains and its anointed heroes? Why, and how, have histories been mythologized to justify contemporary positions or operations? How was myth and mythologizing made unacceptable by certain rises in rationalism?

With a taste for the fantastical, thresholds 45 invites submission of scholarly articles, creative contributions from the fields of architecture, art, and literature, and narrative content which clarifies or complicates our understanding of myth and architecture.