12 nov. 2012

Minor is Major

Toward a Minor Architecture
Jill Stoner
The MIT Press, 2012-11-07

“I take enormous pleasure in orchestrating dialogues among writers who may never before have occupied the same page”. Con esta confesión Jill Stoner nos invita a acercarnos a su libro Toward a Minor Architecture, una delicada aproximación a la interpretación del espacio a partir de una selecta colección de ficciones literarias. | “I take enormous pleasure in orchestrating dialogues among writers who may never before have occupied the same page”. With this confession Jill Stoner invites us to come to her book Toward a Minor Architecture, a delicate approach to the interpretation of space from a select collection of literary fiction. 



No es la primera vez que esta profesora de la facultad de arquitectura de la Universidad de Berkeley se adentra en las relaciones entre la arquitectura y la literatura. “Poems for Architects”, una antología de poemas del siglo XX seleccionados por Jill Stoner en 2001 ya abordaba el espacio contemporáneo desde los versos de poetas y poetisas como William Blake, Octavio Paz o Sylvia Path.

Toward a Minor Architecture conserva gran parte de la poesía de Poems for Architects, aunque en esta ocasión el origen de las reflexiones sea la prosa de Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Italo Calvino, John Cheever o Raymond Carver, entre otros. Stoner bucea entre descripciones y reflexiones de estos autores para establecer una conceptualización del espacio absolutamente original y personal, que trasciende las clasificaciones arquitectónicas convencionales.

 ¿A qué se refiere Jill Stoner con “arquitecturas menores”? La expresión tiene su origen en el concepto de “literaturas menores” utilizado por Deleuze y Guattari: “A minor literature doesn’t come from a minor language; it is rather that which a minority constructs within a major language”. Para Stoner, muy crítica con el “lenguaje de maestros” de la arquitectura contemporánea, la reducción del lenguaje de la arquitectura a sus elementos primitivos puede acercarnos a una arquitectura menor. Es una arquitectura que emerge desde la base, de manera opuesta a las estructuras de poder habituales; una manera de hacer que va más allá del “arte de construir edificios”.

 Su clasificación de arquitecturas menores se plantea como reacción hacia cuatro mitos heredados de la cultura occidental: el mito del interior, el mito del objeto, el mito del sujeto y el mito de la naturaleza. Las arquitecturas menores permiten desplegar el interior, fracturar el objeto y disolver el sujeto. Es una visión fresca y politizada de la arquitectura, que utiliza la literatura como herramienta de percepción del espacio.

“Minor architectures will emerge through (and as) the substance of architecture. This is their nature”. Esta es la esencia de un relato exquisito que permite al lector viajar momentáneamente a espacios literarios e interpretarlos como materiales de creación arquitectónica poco explorados.

David H. Falagán
It is not the first time that this professor in the Architecture School at the University of Berkeley delves into the relationship between architecture and literature. "Poems for Architects", an anthology of twentieth century poems selected by Jill Stoner in 2001 already addressed the contemporary space from the verses of poets such as William Blake, Octavio Paz and Sylvia Path. 

Toward a Minor Architecture retains much of the poetry of Poems for Architects, although this time the source of reflections is the prose from Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Italo Calvino, John Cheever and Raymond Carver, among others. Stoner dives between descriptions and reflections of these authors to establish a completely original and staff conceptualization of space, that transcends conventional architectural classifications. 

What does Jill Stoner mean with "minor architecture"? The term comes from the concept of "minor literatures" used by Deleuze and Guattari: A minor literature doesn’t come from a minor language; it is rather that which a minority constructs within a major language". For Stoner, very critical with the contemporary "language of masters", reducing the language of architecture to its primitive elements can approach us to a minor architecture. It is an architecture that emerges from the ground, as opposed to the usual power structures, a way of making architecture beyond the "art of making buildings." 

Her classification of minor architectures is proposed as a reaction to four inherited myths from Western culture: the myth of the interior, the myth of the object, the myth of the subject and the myth of nature. Minor Architectures allow to deploy the interior, fracturing the object and dissolving the subject. It is a fresh and politicized architecture, using literature as a tool for the perception of the space. 

“Minor architectures will emerge through (and as) the substance of architecture. This is their nature”. This is the essence of an exquisite essay that enables the reader to travel temporarily to literary spaces and interpret them as unexplored architectural building materials.