Monday, February 2, 2015

Douglas Darden and Hamlet: Passages from Condemned Building

Hostel from Condemned Building

In Douglas Darden's Condemned Building there are a variety of passages scattered throughout the book—snippets, partial lines from some uncited, unsourced piece of literature. Douglas Darden had once commented in a handwritten note in the project file for Oxygen House that "Literature continues to create an agenda for representation which I deem to be pertinently as large as life. I want architecture to have that same agenda, and literature has thus been my inspiration and, effectively, my sponsor"; this is understandable given that he majored in literature and psychology while in undergraduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

So what are these strange passages? Where do they come from? One would expect (as I did) that they have come from Moby-Dick or anything else from Herman Melville (Darden's favorite book and author), or simply a variety of sources; but interestingly enough they all come from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. All the passages have some relevance to the various designs, their themes and program.

One may think of Condemned Building, not as a collection of projects, but as its own work of design and architecture, and that Hamlet served as the inspirational text for composing the book (the pre-text, con-text, sub-text, and archi-text, as Darden would term it).

Thus, here are the various passages, their places in Condemned Building, and their sources in Hamlet:

Page 10:
blow them
to their trials:
the bubbles are out.
—Act 5, Scene 2, lines 193-194
Page 19:
they are actions that a man might play
—Act 1, Scene 2, line 84
Page 25:
I'll have grounds
More relative than this:
the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch
the conscience of the King.
—Act 2, Scene 2, lines 603-605
Page 32:
Yea, from the table of my memory
—Act 1, Scene 5, line 155
Page 39:
'For O, for O, the hobby-horse is forgot.'
—Act 3, Scene 2, line 135
Page 44:
some much watch, while some must sleep;
So runs the world away.
—Act 3, Scene 2, lines 273-274
Page 54:
and out of frame,
Colleagues with the dream
—Act 1, Scene 2, lines 220-221 (misquoted: "this dream")
Page 58:
makes the night
joint-labourer with the day
—Act 1, Scene 1, line 78 (misquoted: "make the night")
Page 69:
I am too much i' th' sun.
—Act 1, Scene 2, line 67
Page 83:
That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft.
—Act 3, Scene 4, lines 187-188
Page 101:
sit by me.
No, good mother,
here's metal more attractive
—Act 3, Scene 2, lines 115-116
Page 114:
a custom
More honour'd in the breach, than
the observance
—Act 1, Scene 4, lines 15-16
Page 120:
So oft it chances in particular man,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them
—Act 1, Scene 4, lines 23-24
Page 122:
whilst this machine is to him,
—Act 2, Scene 2, line 124
Page 123:
this hot love on the wing.
—Act 2, Scene 2, line 132
Page 124:
As if increase of appetite had grown
—Act 1, Scene 2, line 144
Page 127:
May on be pardon'd
and retain th' offence?
—Act 3, Scene 3, line 56
Page 130:
And in the porches
of my ears did pour
—Act 1, Scene 5, line 63
Page 143:
That he might not beteem the winds
—Act 1, Scene 2, line 141
Page 147:
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath
—Act 1, Scene 2, line 79
Page 151:
Why do you go to recover the wind of me?
—Act 3, Scene 2, line 346 (misquoted: "go about to recover")
Page 154:
Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
Let the birds fly
—Act 3, Scene 4, lines 193-194
Page 159:
Fall'n on the inventors' heads.
—Act 5, Scene 2, line 385
Further reading:
Darden, Douglas. Condemned Building. Princeton Architectural Press. 1993.
Schneider, Peter. "Douglas Darden's 'Sex Shop': An Immodest Proposal", Journal of Architectural Eduction, Vol. 58, No. 2, November 2004.

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