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Upcoming Issue


Order; Disorder

Order is the state in which everything is in its appropriate place, arranged in relation to a particular structure such as sequence, common consent or established rules.

The desire for order has been salient in the theory and praxis of architecture and urban planning – aesthetic, structural, political, and social orders have been forced and reinforced, but also questioned and challenged, in the built environment for centuries. The Classical orders defined a canon of correct proportions, but the famous problem of resolving corner columns led architects to deviate from established rules to retain visual coherence. The urban grid was employed in colonial contexts as an instrument of land settlement and the establishment of a new socio-political order, yet it was violated and adapted in settings like the hills of San Francisco, where it is interrupted by sudden diagonals and winding bends. Is order liberating or constraining, or both?

Much effort has been expended towards creating sets of values and rules that produce harmony, proportion and civility – the promises of order. Disorder, on the other hand, has been seen as a state of incompleteness, chaos or threat; to be ‘out of order’ is to be inappropriate or broken. Just as order can be sinister, can disorder be virtuous? What are the implications for buildings and cities if it is disorder, rather than order, that is desired? Is order necessarily related to control, or can it appear without conscious intervention? Are order and disorder inevitably a dichotomy, or is their relationship more nuanced?

Scroope 27, to be published in summer 2018, will present submissions that reflect on order and disorder in architectural and urban theory and practice. The issue seeks to question order and disorder and the implicit values they represent.