Site-Reading Writing Quarterly

Anna Andersen reads Remote Practices: Architecture at a Distance edited by Matthew Mindrup and Lilian Chee (London: Lund Humphries, 2022)

Lilian Chee reads Following Norberg-Schulz: An Architectural History through the Essay Film by Anna Andersen (London: Bloomsbury, 2022)

Reader’s Biography

As a very young child, Lilian picked up reading early so she could be left alone. Doing so, she found that she also picked up a habit she could not lose. Her books have moved with her across four cities over the last three decades. She is able to tell you which publishers produce books that can endure the hot and humid tropics and which do not. Her reading taste is rather eclectic though there is a discernible pattern: detective novels, Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Arundhati Roy, Rebecca Solnit, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Michael Taussig. She wishes she had learnt literature properly instead of reading sciences and mathematics. A huge fan of the London Review of Books, she hopes she can contribute something to that paper one day.

Reader’s Biography

As a reader, Anna tends to read a few books closely, rather than consuming many. There is a convenience involved in pulling the same book out from the bookshelf, again and again. Or perhaps she enjoys the sense of safety and comfort that familiar pages might offer? Christian Norberg-Schulz introduced her to the work of Rainer Maria Rilke, which she is exploring at a slow pace. Ali Smith is another intriguing favorite, alongside Sharon Kivland. The only exception to her reading habits is that when she is working through difficulties, she finds that reading Scandinavian crime novels at a fast pace offers her a sense of calm.

Reader’s Abstract

Following Norberg-Schulz sees historian Anna Ulrikke Andersen tailing after the titular figure in 10 episodes and their associated films. The book has qualities of a detective novel where Andersen tracks some obvious and some obtuse clues to their conclusion, the latter often turning up more complex questions about the protagonist. She takes the reader with her through Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, transiting through France, Denmark, and Sweden. In these journeys, Andersen rewrites the architectural histories of Norberg-Schulz, and reconsiders the form of this subdiscipline by intertwining historiography with biography and chance encounters.

Reader’s Abstract 

With Remote Practices: Architecture at a Distance, editors Matthew Mindrup and Lilian Chee invite a series of scholars and practitioners to reflect upon what remoteness might mean for architectural culture – past and present. The authors initially presented their work at a conference, held during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by an invitation to contribute to the book. Topical and timely, the chapters address remoteness within architectural practice and pedagogy, and its critical potential. Eventually, the contributions are framed and contextualized by the editors, outlining key questions that might help us understand remoteness, and architecture at a distance, moving forward. 


Matthew Mindrup and Lilian Chee (eds.)
Remote Practices: Architecture at a Distance
(London: Lund Humphries, 2022)


Anna Andersen, Following Norberg-Schulz: An Architectural History through the Essay Film (London: Bloomsbury, 2022)

Editors’ Biographies

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 works through architectural representation, affect theory, feminist politics, and creative practice methods. Her works include Architecture and Affect (forthcoming), award-winning essay film 03-FLATS (2014), recent documentary Objects for Thriving (2022), and a current Social Sciences Council funded research project about home-based labour.

Matthew Mindrup is Associate Professor of Architectural History and Theory at the University of Sydney and currently its Director of the Bachelor of Architecture and Environments Program. His ongoing research in the history and theory of architectural design locates and projects the implications that materials have in the design process. Much of this has been published in journals book chapters and his books including The Material Imagination (2015) and The Architectural Model (2019).

Writer’s Biography

Anna Ulrikke Andersen is a Norwegian filmmaker and architectural historian, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford and Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College. Her work has been published in Architectural Research Quarterly, Architectural Review, and The Real Review, and her films screened at festivals such as Berlin Short film Festival, Better Cities Detroit, and the Arctic Moving Image and Film Festival in Harstad. She was a 2018–19 Fellow at the Harvard Film Study Center, and 2021 Fellow of the Future Architecture Platform, which resulted in her exhibition Chronic Conditions: Body and Building commissioned and organized by the Architecture Triennale in Lisbon 2021. 

Editors’ Abstract

Bringing together a collection of 16 essays and creative works from a diverse and respected group of scholars and designers, this book reflects upon the challenges and opportunities which remote practices occasion in architecture. As advancements in transportation and technology continue to close the gap between architect, client, builder and site, critique and place, it considers how architects, designers, theorists, and critics design, describe, and critique future and past constructions in absentia. Part One: Practice and Pedagogy investigates how a range of technological and economic advancements continue to redefine notions of connectedness in the practice of architecture at a distance and explores what it means to teach and study architecture at a distance from peer and place. Part Two: Critique and Performativity consists of a wide range of questions that unpack notions about situatedness, subjectivity, the body in space, and what occurs when disparate things are suddenly made proximate. The essays and creative works enable thematic as well as historically and culturally contextual understanding of the topic, highlighting important connections and changes across time. They provide students, academics, and professionals with the understanding and tools needed to rethink the role of the distant and disconnected in making, thinking, and writing architecture.

Writer’s Abstract

This book examines the ‘window’ in the life and work of the seminal architectural thinker Christian Norberg-Schulz, exploring his architectural designs and re-examining his phenomenology of architecture within the context of a biography of his life, linking him with other historical figures such as Helen Keller and Rainer Maria Rilke. Taking a novel, experimental approach, the book also explores the potential of the essay-film as an innovative way of producing architectural history. The book questions what it means to ‘follow’ those who have come before, exploring the positionality of the architectural historian/filmmaker, providing a highly innovative example of scholarly research which bridges the gap between text and film.

About Issue 11

Site-Reading Writing Quarterly celebrates reading and writing as situated practices, releasing a special pair of seasonal reviews four times a year.  

Each solstice and equinox I invite writers to swap recently completed written works and to provide a situated ‘review’ of each other’s work. This involves raising a shared issue/concern, connecting out to another work/text/set of ideas, and/or producing a creative response to an aspect of the writing which might be fictional, prose, visual, sonic, filmic … These acts of exchange open up ways of ‘reading writing’ differently, generating multiple modes of engagement with words, and exploring the practice of ‘reviewing’ from a situated perspective, one that critiques and experiments with the genre of the ‘critical review essay’, creating something far more entangled. 

For this 21 June 2022 issue, Anna Andersen reads Remote Practices: Architecture at a Distance, (London: Lund Humphries2022) edited by Matthew Mindrup and Lilian Chee, while Lilian Chee reads Following Norberg-Schulz: An Architectural History through the Essay Film (Bloomsbury, 2022) by Anna Andersen. Taking the form of a critical essay, Lilian argues that Anna’s book has the ’qualities of a detective novel where Andersen tracks some obvious and some obtuse clues to their conclusion, the latter often turning up more complex questions about the protagonist,’ while Anna’s review takes the form of a script for an episode of the fictive radio broadcast – Radio Stories, including a suggestion for a future live performance. Both books and these responses to them engage with affective registers of architectural history and theory, questioning remoteness, and offering instead possibilities for the discipline, its subjects and methods, that acknowledge our emotional attachments. 

For 21 June 2022, Critical Spatial Practice and Site-Writing share writings and projects that engage with the joy and pain of everyday existence – human and more-than-human – stirring the emotional, intellectual and political experiences of intersecting colonial histories with contemporary cultural tensions, engaging in deeply critical and rigorous research, as well as inventive and imaginative writing and practice. Thank you to Toby Blackman, Angelo Ciccaglione, Kirti Durelle, Breg Horemans, Charlotte A Morgan, Natalia Irina Roman, Alex Augusto Suárez, Yafei Wang, and Sara Alissa and Nojoud Alsudairi of the Um Slaim Collective, for their generous participation, as well as Claire Potter and Sara Kärpänen for giving us glimpses into their new books – Claire’s beautiful new collection of poetry, Acanthus, (Sydney: Giramondo, March 2022) and Sara Kärpänen’s inspiring feminist tool-kit Naisten Kaupunki – Työkaluja oman tilan valtaamiseen, (City of Women — Tools for Occupying Space) (Helsinki: Into Kustannus, 2022). 

If you have a written work that you’ve recently completed and would like someone to read it or would like to write a response to a new book for SRWQ; or to contribute some writing or a project to either Critical Spatial Practice or Site-Writing please contact me: – And if you don’t want to receive these updates, then do let me know, and I can take you off the listing.

Wishing you well!


Back to Top