This session explores the concept of the ghostly in architecture. While the “ghost” in architecture might refer to actual haunted places, it also refers to the unfinished, the remnant, the referenced, the remembered, and the ruined. How, when, and where do we find and interpret the ghostly in architecture? Whether it be the flicker of spatial remembrance like a passing sense of cold, the palimpsest of a former window on a solid brick wall, or a crumbling foundation overgrown in the woods—spirits, souls, traces, and the spaces in between abound in our experience of, and critical approaches to, architecture and its histories. The ghostly can complicate ideas about originality, temporality, authenticity, and the sacred. It may imply a process of design that could linger in uncanny twilight between the conscious and the unconscious. Moreover, might architectural ghostliness lure us towards nostalgia, utopia, and imagined histories? Architects haunted by various histories may be caught up in the ghostly too: the spectres of lost opportunities or ruined spaces, and, significantly, the persistent power of the past. The concept of the architectural phantom could equally imply spaces of the ephemeral—opening up possibilities of the architectural image in visual culture or performative practices. What can writers—from ancient dramas to gothic tales to modern critical theory—offer to the study of the ghostly in design? We are interested in papers that explore any aspect of the architectural ghost: the unfinished project, the troubled biography, the voices of the memorialized in monuments or crypts, the fragment and its imagined completion, or any case study or theoretical paradigm in which architectural apparitions, residues, shadows or wraiths might be found.
Session Chairs: Karen Koehler, Hampshire College, and Ayla Lepine, University of Essex