Matthew Wagstaffe   |   writing   editorial   exhibitions   |   info



The Haunting of the Penthouse

Plan, section, elevation, diagram. Monographs, survey courses, canonical works. Via established modes of abstraction and analysis, architects translate the raw material and lived experience of a building into drawings and texts. These definitional documents are then printed and red-lined, bound in books or exported as pdfs, slotted into lecture slides and made the subject of assignments. Through these acts of calibration and circulation, the messy reality of architecture is given established dimensions and disciplinary meaning; it is through these practices, in other words, that we come to know what architecture is.

Though their methods may be the most formalized and their networks the most extensive, these design professionals are not the only ones who produce architectural knowledge. Against these “centres of calculation” there are more marginal spatial practitioners, groups or persons whose methods of analysis are contested or whose uses of space are deemed aberrant. The Corn Maze Series is dedicated to exploring the theories and technics of these architectural countercultures. The books in this series do not dismiss but instead take seriously the work of paranormal investigators and hoarders and heist-movie consultants. What is storage? What is inhabitation? What is architecture? It all depends on whom you ask.

The Haunting of the Penthouse, the first book within this series, documents a paranormal investigation, undertaken in 2018, of Rudolph Hall’s locked penthouse apartment. Through theoretical texts, interviews, and various ephemera, The Haunting of the Penthouse uncovers the unique knowledge claims gleaned from this outré event.

A collaboration with Hyung Cho, Nicholas Miller, and Steven Rodriguez. The Haunting of the Penthouse is the second publication of  Familiar Strangers, a small press dedicated to venturing outside of traditional knowledge networks to explore what lessons nonprofessional practioners—with an emphasis on experts in horror and other speculative genres—may have for designers of the built environment.