These days architecture and urbanism increasingly frequent national and international courts. This is because the built environment is turning to become both the means of violation and a source of evidence that can bear witness to the events that traversed them. Legal claims that are brought to courts and tribunals often include images of controversial or destroyed buildings or menacing structures. The field of forensic architecture must now emerge to transform the built environment from an illustration of alleged violations to a source of knowledge about historical events – or rather, as a complex methodology aimed at narrating histories from the structures that it saturates. The word forensics derives from the Latin forensis, which means “forum” and refers to the practice of making an argument by using objects before a gathering such as a professional, political, or legal forum. Forensics was part of rhetoric. Rhetoric is of course about speech, but forensics does not refer to the speech of humans but to that of objects. In forensic rhetoric objects address the forum via their “translators” which are most often “expert witnesses” in science and technology. But what about architects? Could architectural testimony be both investigative and projective?

Presenting a series of forensic cases involving spatial products or their representation, this series published at Abitare engage in a brief “legal biography” of structures. It is a form of architectural narration that replaces the traditional frame of architectural history with a material and object oriented history of structures. Buildings, territories and urban areas will be uncovered as frieze shots in a process of constant formal transformation – they are the diagrams of the forces that shaped them. To read a building forensically is to be tuned to the history of its materialities and the way that structure and materials have been shaped by and further shape political events.

510 Architettura forense

509 Architettura forense

508 Architettura forense

507 Architettura forense

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 28th, 2011 at 12:25 am
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