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David Gissen is an author of books, essays, exhibitions and experimental writings and projects about environments, landscapes, cities, and buildings from our time and the historical past.
David is an associate professor at the California College of the Arts and a visiting critic at numerous schools in the United States and Europe where he lectures and teaches in the areas of architecture, urban, and landscape history-theory, writing and design.*
Currently ⇉ exploring environmental and spatial representation with abstracted text and alphanumerical characters. ⇉ experimenting with digitally captured and generated texts. ⇉ Harvard Design Magazine is publishing a snippet of our 30,000-word document which represents how the letters of the Hollywood Sign appear to observers viewing the sign through heavy smog (an early version is included below). ⇉ David gave a lecture on this project at a conference hosted by Parsons in April, 2015 (timecode: 3:28).
David is the author of the book Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments – a historical and contemporary examination of complex responses by architects and urbanists to industrial pollution, urbanization, and natural and man-made disasters. The idea of subnature developed in this book continues to be explored in the fields of architecture, urban design, disability studies, and even food studies.
David’s most recent book – Manhattan Atmospheres: Architecture, the Interior Environment, and Urban Crisis – examines architecture in New York City from the late 1960s to early 1980s as it negotiated environmental risk and the city’s post-war ascendancy. The book was the subject of a talk at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
He is also the editor of several other book-length works including the “Territory” issue of AD (Architecture Design) Magazine.
In addition to these books, David is the author of numerous essays and experimental history projects and texts published and exhibited internationally. These explore the reconstruction of lost atmospheres, landscapes and landforms, architectural histories of urban pollution, among other subjects From 2007-2013, he maintained the blog HTC Experiments, which examined many of the above themes.
His ongoing project “The Mound of Vendome” – a proposal to reconstruct a landscape built during an urban revolution – was exhibited at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and has been the subject of several essays, reviews and lectures.
David regularly posts new writing to his page on Academia.edu and images of selected projects are below in a single column.
A SAMPLE OF PROJECTS ⇊
The Mound of Vendome – Project and Exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (2012 – ongoing) – in which we propose to reconstruct a landscape built by the Paris Commune in 1871 and used in their destruction of the Vendome Column.
More images of the Mound of Vendome
Museums of the City – A Curatorial/Museological Proposal for Four Cities (2010-12). Exhibited in Landscape Futures, curated by Geoff Manaugh.
More images of Museums of the City
The Path to the Acropolis – A Proposed Reconstruction of the 6th century Acropolis ramp (2013).
More images of The Path to the Acropolis
Pittsburgh Reconstruction, 1906 – An Atmospheric Provocation – A Reconstruction of the historical atmosphere in this city (2006-2010)
*David is also a passionate advocate for the historical wine landscapes, vineyards, and wines of Europe. See this fun interview with him about this interest and a map he designed of French wine appellations. If you are also a crazy wine person, follow on Delectable