Experiments with Body Agent Architecture puts forward the notion of body agents: non-ideal, animate and highly specific figures integrated with design to enact particular notions of embodied subjectivity in architecture. Body agents present opportunities for architects to increase imaginative and empathic qualities in their designs, particularly amidst a posthuman condition.
Beginning with narrative writing from the viewpoint of a body agent, an estranged ‘quattrocento spiritello’ who finds himself uncomfortably inhabiting a digital milieu (or, as the spiritello calls it, ‘Il Regno Digitale’), the book combines speculative historical fiction and original design experiments. It focuses on the process of creating the multi-media design experiments, moving from the design of the body itself as an original prosthetic to architectural proposals emanating from the body.
A fragmented history of the figure in architecture is charted and woven into the designs, with chapters examining Michelangelo’s enigmatic figures in his drawings for the New Sacristy in the early sixteenth century, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s physically ephemeral ‘putti’ adorning chapels and churches in the seventeenth century, and Austrian artist-architect Walter Pichler’s personal and prescient figures of the twentieth century.
Alessandro Ayuso is Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster’s School of Architecture and Cities.
List of figures
Prologue: who is P_1435?
1. Our narrator’s present circumstance: an excerpt from the journal of P_1435
2. Situating P_1435’s predicament: an outline of the topic and structure of this book
3. Memories of an awakening at a great height: excerpts from the journal of P_1435
4. Figures becoming architecture: Michelangelo’s new Sacristy drawings: a dialogue
5. The design of, and designing with P_1435: a collection of design experiments
6. Memories of life after Michelangelo: manneristic transgressions and starring roles: excerpts from the journal of P_1435
7. Virtuosic Putti in Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s work at St Peter’s Basilica: a dialogue
8. The abstract flesh of the D_I: a collection of design experiments
9. Memories of events leading to a hiatus and current revelations on figures of the early twentieth-century: excerpts from the journal of P_1435
10. Memories of awakening in St Martin and a fortuitous meeting: an excerpt from the journal of P_1435
11. Landscapes, doubles, and cyborgs: Walter Pichler’s figures at St Martin: a dialogue
12. Torso_2.0 and the emergence of the body agent Tempietto and its site: a collection of design experiments
13. Body agents: reflections and further potentialities: concluding thoughts on findings and future avenues of investigations
229 × 216 mm
150 colour illustrations
March 31, 2022
Design Research in Architecture