MY WALTER BENJAMIN / ARCADES PROJECT ESSAY QUOTED IN ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES IN TAIWAN, NEW YORK AND TURKEY

My article on Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades Project’ from 2002 :
‘The Passageways of Paris: Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades Project” and Contemporary Cultural Debate in the West’, in Modern Criticism, ed. Christopher Rollason and Rajeshwar Mittapalli, New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 2002, pp. 262-296; rev. version at;
which has already been included on several university reading lists (see blog entry for 10 October 2005),
has now been quoted in an architectural study published in Taiwan (apparently a thesis):
 “The Analysis of Passage System in SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI Hsin Yi New Life Square…”
 (no year given, but URL pobably dates from 2008).
 
I am delighted if my work on the symbolism of the passage in Benjamin
is found of use by writers on modern architecture!
 
Summary:
 

‘“Skybridges”, “Underground passages” and “porches” are important public installations in Taipei City. Most people in Taipei have bad experiences about these passages. Nowadays, Taipei City Government pulled down a lot of skybridges and underground passages in Taipei. However, in Taipei Hsin-yi section, the “Skybridges System” was built up in recent years, and the funds for these skybridges are paid by private establishments. The most conspicuous part in the skybridges system is SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI HSIN-YI NEW LIFE SQUARE, a branch of SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI group. The bridges not only connect 4 buildings – A4, A8, A9, A11 in SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI HSIN-YI NEW LIFE SQUARE, but also connect A9 and A11 with Warner Brothers Cinema Village which is located opposite from A11.

Elimination of skybridges and underground passages in Taipei city and construction of skybridges in the Hsin-yi section happened at the same time. My research question comes from this paradoxical situation, and my questions is “What are the differences between the passage system in Taipei City and the whole new passage system in SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI HSIN-YI NEW LIFE SQUARE? How does Taipei citizen experience when they use these passage systems?”

Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is divided into two sections -”function” and “experience”. About the function of passage system, the purpose is to find out the social meanings of passage system in SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI HSIN-YI NEW LIFE SQUARE. Another purpose of this research is about experience: what do people experience when they use the passage system in SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI HSIN-YI NEW LIFE SQUARE?

My conclusions are :
1. The new passage system in SHIN KONG MITSUKOSHI HSIN-YI NEW LIFE SQUARE shows the life style and attitude of the 21st Century in Taipei City.
2. The new passage system produces a whole new concept about life, consuming experience, and walking.’

**
ADDED, 8 April 2009:
My Benjamin / ARCADES PROJECT text is also cited at:

 

http://www.nyas.org/ebrief/miniEB.asp?eBriefID=774

in a report, authored by Theresa Wizemann and posted on 6 April 209,

of the meeting: GLASS BUILDINGS: THE ENERGY CHALLENGE,

hosted on 3 March 2009 by the NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES.

Theresa Wizemann comments:

“On March 3, 2009, architects and engineers gathered at the New York Academy of Sciences to examine further the energy aspect of glass buildings. Scott Frank of Jaros, Baum and Bolles provided background on current energy codes and standards, and how recent glass designs have been able to meet them; Adrian Tuluca of Viridian Energy & Environmental discussed energy modeling for code compliance and how well modeling reflects reality; and Chris Benedict, an architect experienced in designing energy-efficient building envelopes, demonstrated calculations used to quantify a design’s projected energy performance.

 

To set the stage for the discussion, Nancy E. Anderson of the Sallan Foundation asked participants to envision the arcades of 19th century Paris. Walter Benjamin, the German social historian, argued that the arcades, with their glass roofs and plate glass windows, were “the most important architecture of the 19th century.” The arcades embodied two diverse faces, existing as “a primordial landscape of consumption,” while at the same time reflecting and inspiring a utopian image of a new world. And where do we stand today in 21st century New York? Are fashion and consumer demand overshadowing more sustainable new building design and renovation of existing structures? Are glass-skinned buildings iconic symbols of modernity, or have they become ironic?”

ADDED 17 July 09:

For a further academic citation of this essay, in Venezuela, see entry for 16 July 2009.

ADDED 26 August 2010:

The essay has now also been cited in Turkey – details:

http://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/12609214/index.pdf

“THE NEW MONTAGE: DIGITAL COMPOSITING AND ITS GENERATIVE ROLE IN ARCHITECTURE”
**
M.A: thesis, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF NATURAL AND APPLIED SCIENCES
OF THE MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY, ANKARA, TURKEY

Degree of Master in Architecture, Architecture Dept

Author: ISIL SENCAR, December 2007

 

 

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