Not Interesting: On the Limits of Criticism in Architecture


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$29.95  $27.85
Applied Research & Design
Publish Date
7.0 X 0.5 X 8.9 inches | 1.2 pounds
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About the Author

Andrew Atwood, author, is assistant professor at UC Berkeley and practices architecture between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, teaching at both SCI-Arc and USC. His work centers on techniques of representation as historical and conceptual instruments and how they specifically relate to the production of architecture and architectural pedagogy. His machines, drawings, and other works have been exhibited widely, including shows at the Beijing Biennale, the Pacific Design Center, and the SCI-Arc Gallery. Atwood holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard GSD and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Richmond. In 2011, Atwood established First Office with Anna Neimark in downtown Los Angeles. Their work and writing show a commitment to expanding the role of architecture in the public realm and to bringing the community into a closer relationship with art and architecture. Built projects include a collaboration on the Pinterest Office Headquarters in San Francisco, a temporary Screening Room at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, a One-Room House in Los Angeles and rehabilitation of a Shotgun House in Lexington, Kentucky. Collaborative texts have been published widely, including in architecture journals Log, Perspecta, Project, and Think Space Pamphlets. A selection of essays and projects have been compiled in Nine Essays by First Office, published by Graham Foundation's Treatise: Why Write Alone. First Office has received numerous honors in competitions and has notably been awarded the Architectural League Prize in 2015.


"Atwood expands the critical terrain of the interesting by planting it alongside its logical complements: the not interesting, the boring, the confusing, the comforting. As he spells out in a particularly striking passage, this reconfiguration has its roots in the conviction that the ways in which architects decide what matters, matters: "Our instinct to turn away from those things that do not seem to warrant our attention is to concede to established systems of power in architecture and to refuse to challenge some of the aesthetic habits of critique embedded in our contemporary debates."" --Metropolis Magazine
"Welcome to the age of ADD Architecture. As author Andrew Atwood himself admits in his both brilliant and (purposefully) confusing Not Interesting: On the Limits of Criticism in Architecture (Applied Research + Design Publishing, 2018), he may have had attention deficit disorder as a child. (Apparently his parents disagreed.) That diagnosis might account for his fox-like interest in many things and interpretations, as well as his lack of desire to build a single argument. His achievement in this volume is to flip that lack of focus into a virtue, arguing for the "not interesting" approach to architecture of the title. Note, and bear with the author and me here, that what he is not interested in are buildings that are not interesting. He wonders instead whether we might be able to interpret our built environment from a different set of perspectives." --Aaron Betsky, Architect, The Journal of the American Institute of Architects