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"A Purple Architecture" Book Released

A Purple Architecture is now available. The books editors Vahid Vadat, James Kerestes, & Ebrahim Poustinchi did an incredible job assembling a talented group of architects to submit work under the notion of “purpleness.” In the book’s prologue the editors set out the agenda:

“The centuries old topic of how to represent reality, and subsequently how to supplant it, anchors these scenarios. In the past few decades, philosophers like Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, and Graham Harman, among many others, have all provided insight on experiencing the “real”. The philosophical conundrum was catapulted into western popular culture through the 1999 film, The Matrix. In this film, the character Neo (Keanu Reeves) is faced with a choice between taking a red or blue pill. By consuming the red pill, Neo will awake from a simulation and be introduced to the “real world”, where humans and autonomous machines are at war. By taking the blue pill, he will remain in a simulation, unaware that a parallel environment exists.” Pg 9

“The purple pill, in the context of this volume, is not reduced to an in-between hybrid liminal condition. Purpleness is also as ontologically autonomous (and gradient) as any other color on and, in this case, off the electromagnetic spectrum of light. Independent from the assumed virtual/physical, material/immaterial, mediated/non-mediated dualities is a purple quality. Purpleness here is a theoretical framework to investigate the impacts of technological mediation in developing possible spatial scenarios through storytelling and worldbuilding.” Pg 10

Martin Summers was invited to contribute an essay to the volume that would, “contextualize some of these contemporary projects with a theoretical lens.” In response he produced the essay titled “There is a Glitch in the Matrix: Coherence, Boundaries, and Unexpected Transgressions.” (pg. 306)

The essay was driven by this prompt from the editors:

“… we are reaching out to smaller group of prominent creative thinkers, including yourself, to help us contextualize some of these contemporary projects with a theoretical lens. While the deadline is a bit pressing, the essay chapters, as we call them, are not too lengthy, and often discuss a few assigned projects through a common theme.

The projects that we would like you to discuss are authored by the following people:

• Jason Vigneri-Beane

• Julia Koerner

• Nate Hume

• Ferda Kolatan

• Wa.K Studio

The reason these projects have been grouped together is because the human-nature interrelations in each project can be contextualized as part of a larger existential scenario. While considering the purpleness of the projects (see prospectus in the email thread below), we hope that you would address this “human-nature” interchange as a thematic structure in your theoretical discussion.”

Additional information from the Editors:

A Purple Architecture has just been released. You can access the PDF on the publisher's website:

The hardback copy will be available on the same page (pre-order now).

A Purple Architecture: Design in the Age of the Physical-Virtual Continuum

by Carnegie Mellon University: ETC Press

Copyright © by ETC Press 2024

Book Blurb:

Rapid technological developments in areas such as artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and robotic additive manufacturing, especially as pioneered by large tech companies, have failed to offer a cohesive aspirational agenda to reduce human suffering and oppression. Moving beyond the glamor of techno-optimism, a roadmap based on ecologies of human values is not only necessary as a framework for technological development, but can also offer creative solutions to many of the socio-ecological crises we face. Such a creative roadmap, as many of the failed manifestos of the past century testify, is more effective if produced through dialogue. A Purple Architecture addresses this ambition by provoking an interdisciplinary discussion among some of the most innovative leaders of the design fields. Through a critical examination of various design discourses, e.g., architecture, game design, film production, and fashion, the book echoes the heterogenous voice of a collective ambition for the future. Purpleness thus serves as a theoretical framework to investigate the impacts of technological mediation in providing spatial, and thereby socio-political, agency.

See the QR code for an AR experience.

Projects by:

Joseph Altshuler

Iván Bernal & Keyla Hernandez & Brendan Ho

Patrick Danahy & James Andrew Billingsley

Daniel Bolojan

Galo Canizares & Stephanie Sang Delgado

Alayna Davidson

Behnaz Farahi

Yara Feghali

Nate Hume

Damjan Jovanovic & Lidija Kljakovic

Beom Jun Kim

Julia Koerner

Ferda Kolatan

Andrew Kovacs

Perry Kulper

Rachael McCall

Poustinchi and Kerestes

Andrew Saunders

Jason Vigneri-Beane


Essays by:

Marta Nowak

Dora Epstein Jones

Stephen Caffey

Ryan Scavnicky

Natasha Sandmeier

Kelly Bair

Simon Kim Mariana Ibanez

Janice Shimizu

Frank Melendez

Martin Summers

Marjan Colletti

Ayad Rahmani


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