Things that Move

Tim Anstey


Architecture is not limited to the realm of the static. Bodies must move through space in order to realise and use architecture, creating trajectories with emotive potential. Things that Move investigates the significance of such material translations for architecture as a discipline. Providing a revisionist history that questions which characteristics define “works” of architecture, the project studies architectural monuments across time (Florence’s cathedral dome; obelisks in Rome, Paris and London; a series of projects for Aby Warburg’s library); it interrogates architectural discourse for the translative content in its terms (“decorum”, “interior”) and shows the significance of movement for early architectural theory (Vitruvius and Alberti). Finally, it highlights how engineering structures and technologies of circulation catalysed architecture in the 18th(ships), 19th(railways) and 20thcenturies (trams, airships and traffic infrastructure). Through this analysis Things that Move aims to invert the hierarchical relationship between the permanent and the transient that often emerges when architecture is described, and showing how architecture moves subjects, how it choregraphs movement and how it is itself moved by a mixture of materials, laws, affordances and images.

Things that Move was funded by the Swedish Research Council, 2013–2016, and developed through the OCCAS research projects Printing the Past and PRIARC. Things that Move results in Anstey’s book with the same title that will be published with MIT Press in 2023.


Originally posted Oct 28, 2014. Latest revision May 5, 2021.

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