Published by Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at University of Greenwich, London

Beatriz Colomina :: University of Greenwich :: Architecture and Landscape :: The Hawksmoor International Open Lecture Series


Thursday 30 October 2014 > 6.30pm
Tessa Blackstone Lecture Theatre [11_0003]

Sex, architecture and design were inextricably intertwined in the pages of Playboy magazine from the very beginning. Architecture was not simply featured in the magazine but was its very mechanism. The sexual fantasies and the architectural fantasies were inseparable. Architecture turned out to be more seductive than the playmates. It became the ultimate playmate.

With its massive global circulation and sexualization of architecture, Playboy arguably had more influence on the dissemination of modern design than professional magazines, interiors magazines, and even institutions like the Museum of Modern Art.

Playboy architecture is all about the interior. The Playboy is an indoors man. The magazine was relentlessly obsessed with the interior and this interior turns out to be infinite. From the furniture to the clothes, the lighting, the music, the food, the drinks, the conversation, the jokes, the ideas, the art, the architecture, the smells, and even the way to move, to act… everything is provided. The magazine created a total work of art. When you open the pages of the magazine you are invited to dive in into this world without gaps, without cracks, without decay… an infinite perfected interior, a total work of art.

Beatriz Colomina is an architectural historian and theorist who has written extensively on questions of architecture and media and whose work has been published in over 25 languages. She is Professor of Architecture and Founding Director of the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University. Her books include Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies (2014), Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X (2010), Domesticity at War (2007), Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (1994) and Sexuality and Space (1992). She is curator of the exhibitions Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X (which opened at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, 2006 and has travelled to 11 venues worldwide, including Documenta 12, The Architectural Association in London and the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal), Playboy Architecture, 1953-79 (which opened at NAi Maastricht, 2012 and was at the Deutsche Architektur Museum in Frankfurt in 2014), and Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education in a Time of Disciplinary Instability (Lisbon Triennale, 2013 and Venice Biennale 2014.


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