- fold + architecture
- ---- by Graham LiveseyIn his extended essay The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, Deleuze draws from architecture, among various disciplines, as he examines the intricacies of the fold. Firstly, he uses the allegory of a two-storied Baroque house to define a relationship between the 'pleats of matter' and the 'fold of the soul'. Secondly, Deleuze references the separating and unifying qualities of Baroque architecture, particularly the relationship between inside and the outside, in the text. Thirdly, the elaborate topographies of Baroque interiors provide a tangible example of material folding and the search for an expression of infinity. Fourthly, the work of the French architect Bernard Cache, subsequently published in his text Earth Moves: The Furnishing of Territories, informed some of the key ideas in Deleuze's text, and vice-versa.While it is often difficult to translate Deleuze's concepts into concrete or material reality, his exploration of the fold as a unifying structure has been widely employed by architects, landscape architects, and urbanists since the publication of the text. The deployment of folded surfaces can create intricate topographic and spatial effects and affects; this means that a singular gesture can achieve great complexity, and has the ability to engage an infinity of folds. The interior created in the Baroque churches, particularly the elaborately sculpted plaster landscapes that often mediate between the architecture and the great ceiling frescoes, come closest to achieving unity and infinity, an endlessly folded condition set off by light and the extensive use of gilding. As Deleuze writes: 'It is not only because the fold affects all materials that it thus becomes expressive matter, with different scales, speeds, and different vectors (mountains and waters, papers, fabrics, living tissues, the brain), but especially because it determines and materializes Form' (D 1993a: 34).The ability to reconcile opposites, a hallmark of Baroque art and architecture, means that inside and outside (coextensive space), illusion and reality, light and dark, movement and stasis, finite and infinite, and space and mass, interact in complex interplays, both unifying and blurring the distinctions between each. Along with his references to Baroque architecture, Deleuze's description of the Baroque treatment of fabric in painting and sculpture comes closest to a material example of the fold. Commentators, such as the architect Greg Lynn, an important proponent of folded architecture, have extended the concept into cooking, and the folding of ingredients together. He writes: 'If there is a single effect produced in architecture by folding, it will be the ability to integrate unrelated elements within a new continuous mixture' (L 1993: 8).Against recent postmodern experiments in architecture that have led to historicism, modernist revival, regionalism, or fragmentation (deconstruction), the theories of Deleuze have inspired an architecture based on smoothness and pliancy; this approach strives to generate unpredicted connections. A folded, or pliant, architecture is able to interconnect with a context/site in a seamless manner, and is able to create complexity from a singular gesture. The fold as a concrete possibility leads to architectural maneuvres such as the compliant, supple, adaptable, ﬂuid, responsive, ﬂowing, etc. On the other hand, the architectural critic and theorist Michael Speaks argues that Deleuze's concept of the fold is more useful for defining new kinds of practice, rather than new architectural form (C 1995: xviii). Like the concept of assemblage, the fold brings together architecture, space, and that which occurs in time (expression, social arrangements, etc.); it unifies, produces, and creates connections.
The Deleuze dictionary. Revised Edition Edited by Adrian Parr . 2010.