Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture

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Coach House Books, 2006 - Social Science - 276 pages
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What if there is no ‘space,’ only a permanent, slow-motion mystic takeover, an implausibly careening awning? Nothing is utopian. Everything wants to be. Soft Architects face the reaching middle.

If architecture is the language of concrete and steel, then Soft Architecture needs a vocabulary of flesh, air, fabric and colour. It’s about civic surface and natural history. It’s about social space and clothing and urban geography and visual art, and some intersection of all these.

This delectable book collects the rococo prose of Lisa Robertson, the ambulatory Office for Soft Architecture. There are essays on Vancouver fountains, the syntax of the suburban home, Value Village, the joy of synthetics, sca×olding and the persistence of the Himalayan blackberry. There are also seven Walks, tours of Vancouver sites – poetic dioramas, really, and more material than cement could ever be.

Soft Architecture exists at the crossroads of poetry, theory, urban geography and cultural criticism, some place where the quotidian and the metaphysical marry and invert. The most intriguing book you’ll encounter this year.

‘We say, on almost every page and with utmost reverence, Holy shit. … Ever since, we have wanted to think like Robertson, write like her, maybe even be her.’ – The Village Voice, listing it as a top pick of 2004

‘She plucks a subject (object) from the quotidian and banal in order to move through it, uncovering layers of the historical, the lyrical, and the political. The result feels somehow psychedelic.’ – The Stranger

  

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Contents

A Manifesto
5
Pure Surface
19
New Brighton Park
31
The Fountain Transcript
45
Introduction to the Weather
63
A Theory
71
A Congenial Soil
83
A Common Architectural Motif in the Temperate Mesophytic Region
117
Atgets Interiors
189
The Value Village Lyric
207
FIRST WALK
222
SECOND WALK
230
THIRD WALK
240
FOURTH WALK
248
FIFTH WALK
252
SIXTH WALK
260

How to Colour
133
Doubt and the History of Scaffolding
153
A Brief Account of the Idea of the Shack
169
SEVENTH WALK
266
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Lisa Robertson is the author of Debbie: An Epic, The Weather, and Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture.

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