BOOK: Rewriting Architecture

‘Rewriting Architecture – 10+1 Actions’ explores and embraces the potential of place. The book claims that the idea of ‘tabula rasa’, or creating from scratch, is no longer a viable option. It considers the quality of the existing urban and social fabric—the tabula scripta— as an inspiration, motivation and starting point of design. How can the existing context be read, understood, valued and further developed?


‘Rewriting Architecture’ is activating and enriching the architectural discourse and wider public debate with a series of verbs, or actions, that show how we can respond better to what is already there: Eliminate; Continue; Obscure; Reconfigure; Repurpose; Densify; Copy; Overlay; Reimagine; Restart and Abstain. These 10 + 1 actions are illustrated by compelling examples from various places and design practices around the world, from Asia to Africa, to Europe and the US. The editors relate these challenges to a wide array of makers and thinkers through contributions by architects and other specialists working in the arts, biology, fashion, ecology, pop culture, nanotechnology and philosophy.


‘Rewriting Architecture’ provides a kaleidoscopic view and proposes new narratives to describe and discuss a design practice that works with what exists, with whom are already there and with the natural resources that are left.


The book is the result of the research of the Tabula Scripta Research group at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture in the period 2014-2019. The group was made up of state architect Floris Alkemade, urbanist and curator Michiel van Iersel and head of the Architecture department Jarrik Ouburg. In 2019, Mark Minkjan joined to oversee the completion of this publication.


The book is published by Valiz in 2020, designed by Haller Brun and contains contributions by Iwan Baan, Bow-Wow, René Boer, Amy Chester, Amie Dicke, Xaveer De Geyter, Sean Halloran, Sam Jacob, Momoya Kajima, Anne Lacaton, Arna Makic, Keiichi Matsuda, Mark Minkjan, Mona El Mousfy, Jim van Os, Freek Persyn, Karin Riley, Tamar Shafrir, Tom Simonite, Hito Steyerl, Sharmeen Syed, Jo Taillieu, Lionel de Vlieger, Marga Weimans, ZUS


See also Research page Tabula Scripta


‘Tabula Scripta, een andere kijk op het ontwerpvak’ – read review on the book on Archined

‘De gebouwde omgeving is een beschreven blad’ – read review on the book on Architectenweb

‘Best Archticture Books of 2020’ – read review on De Architect

Awarded with The Best Dutch Book Designs 2020 – jury report

Order ‘Rewriting Architecture’ here