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In many ways, ruin is deeply embedded in all architecture: it discreetly points to architecture's potential alteration as a result of ageing, abandonment, obsolescence, destruction or any other form of violence that is imposed upon space.
As a reminder of a lost totality whose absence it summons, but also in its own material existence, ruin is fragile. But its fragmentary quality also confers it an integrity in itself, as a form of resistance to loss, a new life. This ambiguity between fragment and totality, between frailty and resilience inspired Georg Simmel to write in 1911 about the "charm" that results from this antagonism, which partly accounts for our enthusiasm with ruins.
Within the long-standing fascination with ruins (Ruinenlust) as allegories of time and destiny, as evoked by Shelley's poem "Ozymandias," the 20th century entertains an ambiguous relationship with ruin: while demolition functions as a polemical device for the Plan Voisin, the Acropolis stands as an object of aesthetic exaltation for both Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret. For Aldo Rossi and his generation, the uncanniness of the "disemboweled" houses after WWII awakened mixed feelings of nostalgia and loss, as these fragments of cities and architectures testified to "the interrupted destiny of the individual and his often sad and difficult participation in the destiny of the collective."
Throughout the last century, modern architecture's fate was closely intertwined with multiple violent endings and ruinations: from the blazing destruction of Pruitt Igoe in the 1970s and the catastrophic collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in 2001, to the controversial demolition of the Palast der Republik at the end of 2000s, not to mention the many urban planning disasters that go along.
At this very moment more and more ruins are produced, making disaster and loss again the only measure of our attention. Not just architectures, cultural heritage, cities and lives are daily threatened by destruction, but ruin itself seems to be once again endangered through vandalization, displacement and looting, finally culminating with its total disappearance.
The advanced decay of landscapes and territories along with the intrinsic obsolescence of much of architectural recent production further complicates the ambiguous nature of ruins: no longer just periscopes into the past that outlive our own temporality, are ruins of the contemporary still capable to generate meaning? In the rampant development of virtual worlds today, could ruin still have an active, critical role – both conceptually and physically?
Paralleling Aby Warburg's famous formula of the Nachleben der Antike as a possible way of seeing the afterlives of contemporary ruins, we are looking for contributions that question whether ruins may still have an expressive, symbolical, functional, or critical value today.
For the 11th issue of sITA we invite contributions aiming to reflect on topics investigating the significant role of ruins in architectural theory and design:
  • To what extent does contemporary architecture still produce ruins and how are these ruins bearers of significance? Does our technological society produce meaningful residues?
  • Do contemporary ruins still function as anticipations of the future?
  • What is the balance between new design ambitions and meaningful dialogues with ruins throughout architectural history?
  • How do we relate to issues of contested heritage such as the relics of the cold war or the relics of recent or more ancient conflicts?
  • Can the notion of ruin extend to include the destruction of landscape?
  • Does the virtual architectural world produce ruins of its own? And if so, how can we imagine the archival dimension of the digital ruin?
  • How do ruins stand against the production of copies through digital replication techniques in the cases of disappearing or looted artefacts?
December 5, 2022
preliminary abstract of 200 – 250 words to be submitted online https://sita.uauim.ro/call-for-papers
January 13, 2023preliminary selection of contributors notification by e-mail
April 17, 2023submission of article for peer-review
June 13, 2023submission of reviews of current events (conferences, recent publications, exhibitions etc.)
Manuscripts are to be submitted in US English and should range between 5,000-8,000 words, including references, tables, and bibliography. The submission should include the contributor’s name, affiliation and e-mail address, 5-7 keywords, an abstract of 200-250 words, and an extended summary ranging between 700 and 1,000 words (to be translated by our staff and published in Romanian). A reference list will be included at the end of the paper. Illustrations (.tiff or .jpg format, min. 300 dpi at printed size) must be provided separately, and their location must be indicated clearly throughout the paper. A full list of figure captions is to be provided at the end of the article (including figure number, description, and source). Authors are responsible for securing the rights to reproduce and publish all graphic material.
Proposals should range between 1,000-2,000 words.
Citation guide
For notes (as footnotes) and reference list, please use The Chicago Manual of Style, “Notes and bibliography” style (for details and examples, see https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html).
File format
All contributors are kindly asked to send a Microsoft Word compatible document, with minimal formatting.
Instructions for authors
For full details, download this pdf file.
Publishing agreement
Please download, fill-in and return via email.
Peer review form
Please download, fill-in the form and return via email.