Aspects of Architectural Knowledge: Working the Encyclopedia

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


The 11th edition of The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910-1911) is often regarded as a work of art in itself, channelling a certain style of thinking and prose imagination with some entries written by leading scholars from the period. The entry on architecture from the 11th edition provides the starting point for this artwork. Just over 100 years since the original publication, traces of memory, history, and strategies of folding time will be explored. Architecture as encyclopaedia will be tested in a work which layers horizontally acetate plates containing image transfers of all forty-four floor plans from the 1911 edition and displayed loose in a box frame. Also embedded in the box is a plate of the plan for the Cameron Offices (John Andrews, Belconnen, ACT Australia, 1970-1976) in partial demolition and/or redevelopment since the mid 2000s. The Andrews’ plan serves as an index of a lost moment in Belconnen and 20th c modernist architecture’s vision and urban history. Literally and metaphorically folded into plates from the 1911 edition of The Encyclopaedia, the Cameron plan might function to destabilise the idea of knowledge as timeless and whole. The work is activated when the layered plates are sifted and viewed one through the other, blurring the reading.
A number of questions are tested in the artwork including: What aspects of architectural knowledge are questioned or destabilised? Are the formal and spatial differences between the plan of Charles Barry for the Houses of Parliament and Andrews’ plan for Belconnen, for example, an index of different relations to architectural knowledge and in turn memory? And if so is one perhaps more on the side of the singular, the other on the side of repetition? In terms of implications methodological, what might the work reveal or display about the role of the architectural plan not as image but as artefact?
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherUniversity of Canberra
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2016


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