A FICTO-HISTORICAL THEORY OF THE LONDON UNDERGROUND
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About this book
This book addresses the London Underground in the context of architectural histories and theories. It aims to indicate that the subterranean transportation system of London, the first of its kind in the world, remains largely unacknowledged in architectural writing with regard to a number of issues: the status of the Underground station as a novel building type, which is essentially different to that of the railway station; the emergence of modernist approaches to space, manifest on the Underground in an unprecedented form of interiority; a perspectival regime that forecloses the horizon within an interior that corresponds to no immediate, inhabitable context; and the question of movement that brings together the built environment, the technologies of transportation, and the techniques of the body in a highly specific conjunction.
It employs a mode of writing that combines fictional storytelling with a theoretical essay. It is written in the first person as a series of research entries and theoretical interpretations offered by an unnamed narrator to his reader in a didactic, yet intimate tone. As the narrative unfolds, the narrator and his reader are revealed to be rewriting and subverting the myth of the labyrinth: instead of a modern-day Ariadne, it is the Theseus-like figure of the perpetual outsider who provides the coil of knowledge and challenges his reader to perform the tauromachia her/himself.