Boredom as an impetus for architectural theory and practice
Any theorist or practitioner of architecture must confront, and even be compelled by, boredom. Called ennui, Langeweile, or acedia, boredom is a pressing concern, as the production and obsolescence of images accelerates with new technologies, leaving individuals saturated with information presented in fleeting displays that are easy to produce, easy to delete, and easy to consume. In this innovative book, Andreea Mihalache discusses the work of a quartet of well-known thinkers—designer Bernard Rudofsky, architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, and artist Saul Steinberg—who all recognized this form of exhaustion and shallowness as the disease of the modern world. Rudofsky found it in a deeper and more intimate engagement between the human body and its environment. Proclaiming “Less is a bore,” Venturi, and later Scott Brown, explored excess as the remedy to boredom. With detachment and irony, Steinberg mocked the homogenous architecture of the American city. Taken together, Mihalache shows, these four offer a comprehensive view of the alienated relationship of individuals with their world at three different, yet interrelated scales: the body, the building, and the urban space.