Architecture as Exchange
Framing the Architecture Competition as Contact Zone
The editorial introduction to this issue of Footprint follows a double trajectory. On the one hand, it describes an ambition for architecture historiography. The social sciences have long recognised the need for more comprehensive and inclusive methods for writing history. Among them, comparative literature scholar Mary Louise Pratt’s ‘contact zone’ appears as a useful framework for writing new histories of architecture that recognise the many interrelations that characterise the discipline of architecture. On the other hand the introduction explains why, among many possible contact zones, focus has been set on the architecture competition. A short description of key aspects from the different contributions shows how, seen as a contact zone, the architecture competition emerges as fertile ground for the production of disciplinary knowledge, resulting from exchanges between different cultures. Acknowledging the diverse nature of these cultures, together with the recognition of institutions, legislation and other conceptual frameworks as key elements of architecture as contact zone offers fresh theoretical insight, but also poses unexpected communicative challenges.
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