Ozymandias 3.0. Afterlives of the Architectural Ruin

Toader Popescu's picture

The journal of studies in History and Theory of Architecture ( https://sita.uauim.ro/), published by the Department of Architectural History & Theory and Heritage Conservation at "Ion Mincu" University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest, Romania, invites submissions for the 2023 issue

Ozymandias 3.0. 
Afterlives of the Architectural Ruin

In many ways, ruin is deeply embedded in all architecture: it discreetly points to architecture's potential alteration as a result of ageing, abandonment, obsolescence, destruction or any other form of violence that is imposed upon space.

As a reminder of a lost totality whose absence it summons, but also in its own material existence, ruin is fragile. But its fragmentary quality also confers it an integrity in itself, as a form of resistance to loss, a new life. This ambiguity between fragment and totality, between frailty and resilience inspired Georg Simmel to write in 1911 about the "charm" that results from this antagonism, which partly accounts for our enthusiasm with ruins.

Within the long-standing fascination with ruins (Ruinenlust) as allegories of time and destiny, as evoked by Shelley's poem "Ozymandias," the 20th century entertains an ambiguous relationship with ruin: while demolition functions as a polemical device for the Plan Voisin, the Acropolis stands as an object of aesthetic exaltation for both Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret. For Aldo Rossi and his generation, the uncanniness of the "disemboweled" houses after WWII awakened mixed feelings of nostalgia and loss, as these fragments of cities and architectures testified to "the interrupted destiny of the individual and his often sad and difficult participation in the destiny of the collective."

We are looking for contributions that question whether ruins may still have an expressive, symbolical, functional, or critical value today.

We invite contributions aiming to reflect on topics investigating the significant role of ruins in architectural theory and design:

  • To what extent does contemporary architecture still produce ruins and how are these ruins bearers of significance? Does our technological society produce meaningful residues?
  • Do contemporary ruins still function as anticipations of the future?
  • What is the balance between new design ambitions and meaningful dialogues with ruins throughout architectural history?
  • How do we relate to issues of contested heritage such as the relics of the cold war or the relics of recent or more ancient conflicts?
  • Can the notion of ruin extend to include the destruction of landscape?
  • Does the virtual architectural world produce ruins of its own? And if so, how can we imagine the archival dimension of the digital ruin?
  • How do ruins stand against the production of copies through digital replication techniques in the cases of disappearing or looted artefacts?

Preliminary abstracts of 200 – 250 words are to be submitted online https://sita.uauim.ro/call-for-papers, no later than December 5, 2022.

sITA (studies in History and Theory of Architecture) is a peer-reviewed open access journal, with both online and print versions, indexed in Arts & Humanities Citation Index (Web of Science), Scopus,EBSCOhost, Index Copernicus, CEEOL, ERIH PLUS, DOAJ, ProQuest/Ulrichsweb, Scipio, Google Scholar, and WorldCat.