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Within architecture, a project of delivering performance, or soliciting a surprising plausibility, suggests moving away from a critical architectural practice — one which is reflective, representational, and narrative — to a projective practice. Setting out this projective program does not necessarily entail a capitulation to market forces, but actually respects or reorganizes multiple economies, ecologies, information systems, and social groups.

Robert Somol and Sarah Whiting, “Notes Around the Doppler Effect and Other Moods of Modernism”

The conclusion of Somol and Whiting’s essay follows a recapitulation of Dave Hickey’s comparison/contrast of Robert Mitchum and Robert De Niro. “‘De Niro architecture’ is hot, difficult, and indexes the processes of its production: it’s clearly labored, narrative, or representational, or expresses a relationship of the representation to the real,” they write; whereas “‘Mitchum architecture’ is cool, easy, and never looks like work; it’s about mood or the inhabitation of alternative realities.”

In this issue of Texas Architect, we consider three new galleries in the state. One, a drawing center for the Menil, is in the De Niro mode: It tries hard to reflect the story of its institution. The other two, Transart House in Houston and Ruby City in San Antonio, fall more into the Mitchum camp: They remain aloof and self-obsessed, relying on their personal charisma to suspend the visitor’s disbelief.

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