Peripheral Imaginary: Towards an Architecture of the Periphery

Cameron McEwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This essay develops a preliminary theory for an architecture of the periphery by reflecting on the relationship between peripheral monuments and the peripheral imaginary. It uses architect Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the City as a key text of the urban archive but transposes its concepts from a focus on centres to peripheries. A subtext of the essay is to test a writing practice that uses the urban archive—Rossi’s book—and transgresses its ideas, subverting authorship and scholarship. It extends a writing practice I previously called authorship without aura, a critical yet speculative type of writing that is collective rather than individual. I argue that peripheries embody an interstitial quality of entanglement and contain a type of transgressive urbanism, a trans-urbanism, and with it a transgressive practice of writing is needed. It seems close to the disillusion of authored works in the periphery—the suburbs, exurbs, favelas, fields, big boxes, infrastructures, logistic hubs, supermarket cafes—yet all those low typologies are also peripheral monuments that produce the collective knowledge of architecture, cities, their peripheries. This essay presents a suite of interpretive categories for understanding the architecture of the periphery in the time of the Anthropocene.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)45-48
Number of pages4
JournalLo Squaderno
Issue number67
Early online date10 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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