A 'Discourse' on Authorship

John Hill
14. February 2020
Photo courtesy of Princeton School of Architecture

Discourse is a new biannual publication series from Princeton University School of Architecture under dean Mónica Ponce de León. The first issue explores authorship through essays, interviews, and projects — and an impressive design that inserts posters, gatefolds, and other special pages into the book.

Authorship, as the back cover asserts, "critically examines emergent themes in contemporary architecture by revisiting the seemingly defunct notion of design authorship." Ponce de León then asks in the introduction, "As we revel in the death of the master architect, how do we come to terms with the shifting role of creativity in architecture's cultural production?" 

This theme and question are addressed by sixteen architects and critics across 156 pages — 156 pages with various papers and sizes. The diversity of voices is paralleled by the book's design, which has at least three types of paper and a plethora of inserts — multiple books within the book. Though a scholarly publication, flipping through the book can be giddy, as each turn of the page reveals something new, unexpected. Below is a quick tour through a few parts of Discourse 1—Authorship

The list of contributors is on page one, behind the smaller cover whose top edge defines a datum for many of the special inserts. (Photo courtesy of Princeton School of Architecture)
From page 4 to 13? An eight-page color gatefold with images of some T+E+A+M projects sits in the middle of Ellie Abrons' two-page essay. (Photo courtesy of Princeton School of Architecture)
Following this spread are five "centerfolds": fold-out posters and gatefolds of drawings and models by Thom Mayne's practice. Fans of Morphosis will find this section alone worth the book's cover price. (Photo courtesy of Princeton School of Architecture)
An interview with Peter Eisenman, who has had a long relationship with Princeton School of Architecture, is printed on double-fold vellum pages, as is a discussion "on the ownership revolution" earlier in the book. (Photo courtesy of Princeton School of Architecture)
Near the back of the book is an essay by art critic Hal Foster reprinted from a monograph on Berlin's Barkow Leibinger... (Photo courtesy of Princeton School of Architecture)
...The essay is tucked inside a one-column-wide "booklet" inserted between photos of the firm's projects. (Photo courtesy of Princeton School of Architecture)
Authorship: Discourse, A Series on Architecture

Authorship: Discourse, A Series on Architecture
Mónica Ponce de León
Editor

8.5 x 9.75 in.
336 Pages
Paperback
ISBN 9780964264106
Princeton University School of Architecture
Purchase this book

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