Architecture and Affect : Precarious Spaces book cover
1st Edition

Architecture and Affect
Precarious Spaces

  • Available for pre-order on December 9, 2022. Item will ship after December 30, 2022
ISBN 9781472454638
December 30, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
336 Pages 99 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book is motivated by two questions: Why do dismissed affective evidence persist as troubling experience or imaginaries? What would it mean for architecture to assemble such discrepant evidence into its discourse?

Arguing that the persistent refrains of lived affect dwell in architecture, this book traces such refrains to a concept of architecture wedged in the middle ground—jammed amidst life, things and events. Rather than being apart from its surrounds, architecture-in-the-midst challenges an autonomous epistemology. Beyond accounting for the vivid but excluded, this book develops a frame and a disposition for thinking critically about, speculatively through, and being grounded by, encounter. Examining affect through a constellation of spaces in contemporary Singapore, it details architecture’s uneasy but inextricable relationship with key subjects relegated to the incommensurate, the peripheral, the scenic and the decorative. The outcome is a politicised architectural discourse simultaneously grounded and speculative: bridging depth and intuition, thinking and feeling.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Abbreviations

Preface: Squinting from a Blindspot


Introduction- Knowing Otherwise: Architecture after affect


Chapter 1: The Ruled and the Unruly: Animality, anecdotes and storytelling

Chapter 2: Tracing the Last Tiger | The Third Archive

Chapter 3: After the Last Train: Remainders at the Tanjong Pagar Station


Chapter 4: Keeping Cats, Hoarding Things: Situations in the housing block

Chapter 5: Anarchiving Public Housing | The Third Archive

Chapter 6: 03-FLATS: Architecture filmmaking, disciplinary questions


Chapter 7: In the Midst of: Field notes at a cemetery

Chapter 8: Holes in the Ground | The Third Archive

Chapter 9: The Sea, and the Sea: Infrastructure and the dialectical image



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Lilian Chee is Associate Professor of Architectural Theory and Design at the National University of Singapore, where she co-leads the Research by Design Cluster. Her research revolves around architectural representation, affect theory, feminist politics, and creative practice methods. Her works include award-winning essay film 03-FLATS (2014), recent documentary Objects for Thriving (2022), and a co-edited book Remote Practices (2022). She is leading a Social Sciences Council funded research project about home-based labour. She writes on affect, architectural representation and domesticity.


‘Chee takes us on an encounter-as-detour, tracking spatial stories imbued with affect and haunted by precarious power relations. Undoing the discipline’s instrumental ambitions and revealing the fallacy of its purported autonomy, she asks: If we become better attuned to the micro-politics of radically open-ended affective encounters, can our knowledge practices in architecture be transformed?’

––––– Hélène Frichot, University of Melbourne

‘A dialectical ingenuity, Chee's Architecture and Affect provocatively recasts the role of architectural history and theory as being three things at once: intellectual, affectively lived, and speculative. Giving alternative and intimate insights into Singapore’s spatial politics, this beautifully illustrated and eccentric fly-on-the-wall work is a critical and imaginative profundity of lasting memory.’

––––– CJ Lim, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL