R-lab Bibliography


Peter Lang, Professor Architecture Theory and History, KKH.

MARCH 31, 2018.


R-Lab: Marvels and Catastrophes: Architecture and Cities and the Force of Nature with the 4th Istanbul Design Biennale, School of Schools, 2018.




Pliny the Elder: “You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.”


This year the R-Lab course will experiment with running a google group dedicated specifically to the readings and discussions on the readings. By now some of you will be able to obtain these books as digital books, or from the library, in many cases the books are printed by different publishers, so I have simply indicated original publication dates. Other books listed below might be very difficult or expensive to obtain, I will consider providing readings on PDF restricted to this class.

NOTE: this is a limited bibliography that hopefully most everyone will have time to read, but I will be adding references on this website. Further reading suggestions from course participants are encouraged.




Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover, (London, Penguin, 2009)

Susan Sontag haunts this course. On collecting volcanos, climbing the peaks of death, miracles, the distinction between disasters like a cold winter, vs. disasters that constantly loom over the landscape, and yes, the French Revolution.


Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, (Picador, 2008)

everything you ever wanted to know about how we came to live inside the “iron cage” of neo-liberalism (see Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism)



Further Fiction Readings:


Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano, (original publication date: 1947)

a good thesis on human fragility.


Endo Shusaku, Richard A. Schuchert trans., Volcano, a novel. (original publication date: 1972)

very biblical.


H.G. Wells, Time Machine, (original publication date: 1895)

read this and try to wonder how H.G. Wells good have figured this all out already more than a hundred years ago.


Stanisław Lem, Solaris, (original publication date:, 1970)

–a true cult classic, can be related to current Gaia theories, but an amazing novel, and an amazing satire on academic science.




Rebecca Solnit,  A Paradise Built in Hell: the Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, (London, Penguin Books, 2010). Recommended by Anna Risell.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, (original publication date: 1962)


Jared Diamond, Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail Succeed,(London, Viking Press, 2005)

on what it takes for a society to cut down the last tree in the forest.


Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: the Reivention of Nature, original publication dates, between 1978 and 1989.


Susanna M. Hoffman, Anthony Oliver-Smith ed.s, Catastrophe and Culture: the Anthropology of Disaster, (London, Oxford, 2002)


Emanuel Kant, “On the causes of earthquakes on the occasion of the calamity that befell the western countries of Europe towards the end of last year” link: https://documat.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/1090088.pdf

Andreas Killen Nitzan Lebovic Ed.s, Catastrophes: A History and Theory of an Operative Concept (Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 2014)

on how we understand accidents, states of exception, risk and prognostics, not to mention the ‘last man.’ see chapters: Andreas Killen, Nitzan Lebovic, “Introduction,” Eva Horn, “The Last Man: the Birth of Modern Apocalypse in Jean Paul, John Martin and Lord Byron,” Andreas Killen, “Accidents happen: The Industrial Accident in Industrial Germany,” Matthias Dörries, “Anticipating the Climate Catastrophe.”


Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, (Picador, 2008)

everything you ever wanted to know about how we got to here, the well managed neo-liberal tragedy.



Nathaniel Rich, Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change New York Times, 2018,

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/01/magazine/climate-change-losing-earth.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&m                                       –Good to know we could have done something about our current climate change mess quite some time ago.


Paul Virilio, The Original Accident, (Polity 2007)


Peter Lang, “Stalker Unbounded: Urban Activism and the Terrain Vague as Heterotopia by Default”   Editors: Lieven De Cauter, Michiel Dehaene Heterotopia and the City: Public Space in postcivil Society (London, Routledge, 2008),


on the work of Stalker, the Rome based urban arts group


Peter Lang, “Stalker on Location, in Karen A. Franck, Quentin Stevens, ed.s,  Loose Space: Possibility And Diversity In Urban Life London Routledge , 2006

on the work of Stalker, the Rome based urban arts group

Further Readings:


Superstudio, 12 Ideal Cities, AD Magazine, 1971, December.

an excellent demonstration on how to write the future of architecture


Irene Sunwoo, In Progress: the IID Summer Sessions, (London, Architectural Association, 2016)

on methodologies of education