Vol 2, No 1 (2012)

To The Islands: The Architecture of Isolation

Issue Themes
This issue explores the latent architectural qualities in the idea of the ‘island’. Whilst islands are familiar geographical environments, their metaphorical role as topoi for ideas and conditions is equally pervasive. Islands define conditions of isolation, border experiences, imprisonment, freedom and escape, to name a few. The narration of movements between islands has been the subject of travelogues, picaresque novels, diaries, logs. The measurement of distance between islands, the collective distribution of archipelagos, the scalar relationship between a mainland and an island are further definitions of the particularity of islands in relation to a dominant land form. Islands can be the sacrificial anode that is intended to draw and out and limit hostile encounters. Australia itself is of course both continent and island.

Taking as an initial stimulus the extraordinary text of True Stories by Lucian of Samosata, this issue of Ultima Thule: Journal of Architectural Imagination explores the idea of an ‘architecture’ of islands. As one of his translators has commented, Lucian’s narrative is a ‘voyage to the end of the universe and of reason’, the first work of science fiction fabulae and the model for many of the subsequent literary and allegorical voyages of Western literature. 

The full text of Lucian’s work can be accessed at:http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/luc/true/index.htm

To The Islands looks at ideas, both political and poetic, on how architecture is complicit with the experience of isolation – from the individual to the nation state. As a society we are continually devising methods to limit contact between each other and from others. Generally the assumption is that an open architecture will encourage a co-mingling of different worlds resulting in a productive hybrid, but what of the practical need for separation, of exclusion? And what of the pleasures of solitude and withdrawal?

Table of Contents


Imagined Geographies: Melancholy, Allegory, Psychogeography and the Island of Ogygia HTML PDF
Jacky Bowring
Avian Monstrosities: hatching and dispatching the machined interior HTML PDF
Michael Chapman, Michael Ostwald
Malevich_ToTheIslands HTML PDF
Russell Lowe
The Pull of a Secret Tide HTML PDF
Ross T. Smith
The Island and the Dacha: subjectivity and the home in Tarkovsky’s cinema HTML PDF
James Wilfred Swinson
An Architectural Singularity: Digital Monsters of Architecture HTML PDF
Sean Pickersgill

ISSN: 1839-9991