Rewriting Architecture

‘Rewriting Architecture – 10+1 Actions’ explores and embraces the potential of place. The book claims that the idea of ‘tabula rasa’, or creating from scratch, is no longer a viable option. It considers the quality of the existing urban and social fabric—the tabula scripta— as an inspiration, motivation and starting point of design. How can the existing context be read, understood, valued and further developed?


‘Rewriting Architecture’ is activating and enriching the architectural discourse and wider public debate with a series of verbs, or actions, that show how we can respond better to what is already there: Eliminate; Continue; Obscure; Reconfigure; Repurpose; Densify; Copy; Overlay; Reimagine; Restart and Abstain. These 10 + 1 actions are illustrated by compelling examples from various places and design practices around the world, from Asia to Africa, to Europe and the US. The editors relate these challenges to a wide array of makers and thinkers through contributions by architects and other specialists working in the arts, biology, fashion, ecology, pop culture, nanotechnology and philosophy.


‘Rewriting Architecture’ provides a kaleidoscopic view and proposes new narratives to describe and discuss a design practice that works with what exists, with whom are already there and with the natural resources that are left.


The publication is the result of the research of the Tabula Scripta Research group at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture in the period 2014-2019. The group was made up of state architect Floris Alkemade, urbanist and curator Michiel van Iersel and head of the Architecture department Jarrik Ouburg. In 2019, Mark Minkjan joined to oversee the completion of this publication.


See also research Tabula Scripta

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Client: Amsterdam Academy of Architecture

: Research and Publication

Start research: 2016

Publication: 2020

Publisher: Valiz

Graphic design: Haller Brun

Editors: Floris Alkemade, Michiel van Iersel, Mark Minkjan, Jarrik Ouburg

Contributions: Atelier Bow-Wow, René Boer, Amy Chester, Amie Dicke, Xaveer De Geyter, Sean Halloran, Sam Jacob, Momoya Kajima, Anne Lacaton, Arna Makic, Keiichi Matsuda, Mark Minkjan, Mona El Mousfy, Jim van Os, Freek Persyn, Karin Riley, Tamar Shafrir, Tom Simonite, Hito Steyerl, Sharmeen Syed, Jo Taillieu, Lionel de Vlieger, Marga Weimans, ZUS