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In Search of Architectural Magazines

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen Parnell



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Cambridge University Press, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper develops a theoretical framework for the relationship between the architectural magazine and architecture, understood as a profession, a discipline, and a culture. By developing David Abrahamson's idea of 'Magazine Exceptionalism' from the field of magazines studies, it offers a definition of what constitutes an architectural magazine, arguing that to be architectural, a magazine must be a site of architectural production, as either a validator in the field of architecture or as an architectural project in its own right. Developing the concept of ‘Architectural Magazine Exceptionalism’ through an analysis of the 'architectural journalscape', we reflect on the medium's special relationship with architecture to argue that the architectural magazine is a fundamental component of modern architecture. We identify three sub-genres of architecture magazine, corresponding to architecture's sub-fields—profession, discipline, and culture—and a fourth, hybrid genre intersecting the other three which exemplifies architecture's complexity and contradiction. The paper concludes by extending Beatriz Colomina's claim that 'modern architecture only becomes modern with its engagement with the media', arguing that modern architecture simply wouldn’t be architecture without the architectural magazine. This conclusion recommends that the medium itself should be considered a crucial subject for architectural research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Parnell S, Sawyer M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: arq: Architecture Research Quarterly

Year: 2021

Volume: 25

Issue: 1

Pages: 43-54

Print publication date: 01/03/2021

Online publication date: 28/12/2020

Acceptance date: 01/12/2020

Date deposited: 01/12/2020

ISSN (print): 1359-1355

ISSN (electronic): 1474-0516

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1359135520000457


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