“Architecture fulfills objectifies desire.” -Douglas Darden
Douglas Darden was a visionary architect. He died from leukemia three years after the publication of his book Condemned Building when he was 42. Darden’s work fits in the line of some other post we have presented here about speculative architecture, just as Hans Hollein’s Transformations or the Endless House by Frederick Kiesler among others. His architecture work was closely related with literature, so it’s not a coincidence that his speculative projects were developed around historical places, and insted of solutions to architecture problems, they offer allegories.
We believe that his projects are related with the texts written by “Les poètes maudits” during the 19th Century [and also they could be an architectural representation of these texts] and shows Darden’s love for literature. This is the sense we got while looking at his projects -Darden himself admits his relationship with literature. We can see in his almost dystopian projects, the same feeling shared by Les poètes maudits about living as an outsider in the traditional [architectural] society.
As Schneider points in his text about the project Sex Shop, Darden wrote about his own work:
I have an ongoing concern with architecture and its broader relationship to narrative space. Although I was “formally trained” as an architect, I have produced over the past ten years a number of theoretical projects which have been grounded in a text: in a work of literature. Literature and its texts continue 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 so literature has been my inspiration, and effectively the sponsor for my work. I continue to believe that a work of literature can not only be a source of inspiration for an architectural project, but that a literary work can more directly in-form architecture.
Ben Ledbetter in his review about the book Condemned Building [that we highly recommend to read], points: “In the works of Condemned Building, knowledge tosses itself back upon the reader of architecture. This is not simply ecstatic making of which the reader becomes a part.”
f you’re interested, there’s also a project developed by Ben Ledbetter about Douglas Darden prints for sale. These ten 23×33″ prints are “produced under special arrangement with Osamu Nakasuji Printmakers in Osaka, Japan. All the ifo, here.