From Prototyping to Allotyping


The chapter analyses the invention and the form of the discourse on building conversion as one particular instance of redefining what a technology is and how it operates. I describe a shift from expert defined closure to lay based openness and tinkering as a shift from prototyping to 10 allotyping: Since the early 1970s, change of use and building conversion have become a central and fashionable discourse among architects and architectural theorists. Before the 1970s, buildings were understood as technologies, as ‘society made durable’. The notion of building type was central to link a building to a given use. A bank was a bank because architects applied existing templates, prototypes, to turn a building into a bank. In the 1970s, suddenly buildings 15 became flexible – discursively, since building conversion always existed: ‘Building type’ no longer was a meaningful link between a building and its use. A bank should not stay a bank, but become a hotel, a theatre or a flat, in short: an allotype. The chapter elucidate this central shift in thinking about buildings and reflects on the special case of allotyping buildings and how it continues to vex thinking about buildings.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Guggenheim2015FromPT, title={From Prototyping to Allotyping}, author={Michael Guggenheim}, year={2015} }