Guy Debord 1959

Two Unpublished Notes on Architecture

Source: oeuvres. Gallimard, Paris, 2006;
Translated: from the original for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2008.

Reflections on Architecture
Amsterdam may 29-June 2, 1959


The problem of architecture is not that of being seen from without or that of living within. It is in the dialectical relation interior-exterior, at the level of urbanism (houses-streets) and at the level of the house (interior-exterior).


All the facades of a house determine a “clear space” whose function is to play on the contradiction opening-closing.


Build an entire city in order to make love there with only one girl for few days.


The notion of the “street room” (H.O.) [1] reverses the false distinction of open and closed ambiences. The closed ambience itself opens onto the open ambience (which is demarcated by the closed ambiences).

On the architectural complex

Cf. Ors [2]. The baroque attitude (= contradiction) par excellence is wanting at one and the same time to follow the procession and to watch it pass (being inside the house and seeing it from a neighboring house).

1. Har Oudejans – Dutche architect who joined the Situatonsit international in 1959. Expelled the next year for agreeing to build a church.

2. Eugenio d’Ors, author of Du baroque.