Speaking of Buildings – Oral History in Architectural Research


Janina Gosseye, Naomi Stead, Deborah van der Plaat (eds.)


Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

By and large, architectural historians use texts, drawings, and photographs to craft their narratives. Oral testimony from those who actually occupy or construct buildings is rarely taken as seriously. Speaking of Buildings offers a rebuttal, theorizing the radical potential of a methodology that has historically been cast as unreliable. Essays by an international group of scholars look at varied topics, from the role of gossip in undermining masculine narratives in architecture to workers’ accounts of building with cement in midcentury London to a sound art piece created by oral testimonies from Los Angeles public housing residents. In sum, the authors call for a renewed form of listening to enrich our understanding of what buildings are, what they do, and what they mean to people.

Contributions by Karen Burns, Kelly Greenop, Janina Gosseye, Jessica Kelly, Thomas-Bernard Kenniff, Ceren Kürüm, Helena Mattsson, Andrea J. Merrett, Ashley Paine, Deborah van der Plaat, Emma Rowden, Meike Schalk,  Alice Sotgia, Naomi Stead, Jesse Dams Stein, Igea Troiani and Christine Wall.