(Non-)Essential Knowledge for (New) Architecture

David L. Hays

Reviewed by Mary Jane Jacob

28 Jan 2016

Expe­ri­ence has sure­ly taught us that it is impos­si­ble to decide in advance whether even the most abstract spec­u­la­tions may not even­tu­al­ly prove extra­or­di­nar­i­ly help­ful in practice.

Marc Bloch (18861944), Intro­duc­tion,” The Historian’s Craft (1941), trans. Peter Put­nam (New York, NY: Knopf, 2004), 8.

The new is not always easy to understand.

Paul Gold­berg­er, Archi­tec­tur­al Crit­i­cism in the Age of Twit­ter,”
lec­ture, Nation­al Build­ing Muse­um, Novem­ber 272012.

What is essen­tial knowl­edge for archi­tec­ture, and how is that knowl­edge best obtained?1 Those ques­tions guide the think­ing of every ambi­tious design­er and every con­sci­en­tious design school cur­ricu­lum com­mit­tee. Knowl­edge2 is infor­ma­tion, skills, or aware­ness per­tain­ing to a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject. It can be prac­ti­cal or the­o­ret­i­cal, held by an indi­vid­ual or shared. Essen­tial3 can mean fun­da­men­tal, absolute­ly nec­es­sary, or both. There­fore, essen­tial knowl­edge is infor­ma­tion, skills, or aware­ness direct­ed to some pur­pose or end; it com­pris­es core prin­ci­ples as well as new imperatives.

To define essen­tial knowl­edge for archi­tec­ture, or for any dis­ci­pline, the typ­i­cal approach is to describe an ide­al of prac­tice, iden­ti­fy knowl­edge essen­tial to that ide­al, and struc­ture oppor­tu­ni­ties to obtain said knowl­edge effi­cient­ly. Of course, under­stand­ings of essen­tial knowl­edge can vary over time. As dis­ci­plines adapt to new cir­cum­stances and demands, ideals of prac­tice change — some­times quick­ly so. For design­ers, keep­ing up to date might require learn­ing new mod­el­ing soft­ware, address­ing changes in safe­ty codes, perus­ing a recent sci­en­tif­ic study, or get­ting more hands-on expe­ri­ence. For aca­d­e­m­ic pro­grams, it means offer­ing cours­es var­i­ous­ly fun­da­men­tal and for­ward-look­ing while elim­i­nat­ing those that have become out­mod­ed; when effi­cien­cy is a pri­or­i­ty, cur­ren­cy is in part a func­tion of streamlining.

In those sit­u­a­tions, non-essen­tial means beyond what is fun­da­men­tal or nec­es­sary, which con­notes lack of rel­e­vance. Yet, as a con­di­tion of excess, non-essen­tial can also mean broad­en­ing, enrich­ing, clar­i­fy­ing, and a host of relat­ed func­tions. Under­stood in that way, essen­tial and non-essen­tial are dis­tin­guished not in terms of rel­e­vance but by dif­fer­ent ori­en­ta­tion rel­a­tive to a thread of pur­pose. Essen­tial knowl­edge is keyed to an idea of effi­cient progress towards a spe­cif­ic end. In oth­er words, it is lin­ear4 and deter­mi­nate.5 Alter­na­tive­ly, non-essen­tial knowl­edge is lat­er­al6—lit­er­al­ly, of, at, toward, or from the side or sides.” Non-essen­tials dis­tract7, digress8, or diverge9 from the thread of pur­pose, which explains why aspir­ing spe­cial­ists and cur­ricu­lum com­mit­tees tend to avoid them.

An idea of essen­tial and non-essen­tial as cor­re­lates, rather than as con­traries, is con­veyed in the phrase In essen­tials, Uni­ty; in non-essen­tials, Lib­er­ty; and in all things, Char­i­ty” (“In nece­sari­is Uni­tatem, in non-nec­es­sari­is [also ren­dered as dubi­is, uncer­tain things] Lib­er­tatem, in utrisque Char­i­tatem”), the slo­gan of man­i­fold Chris­t­ian move­ments and schol­ars since the sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry and a phrase often false­ly attrib­uted to St. Augus­tine. In that for­mu­la­tion, essen­tials uni­fy because they define a com­mon core. In con­trast, non-essen­tials (or uncer­tain things) have no bear­ing upon the core and can there­fore be tol­er­at­ed, but they also diver­si­fy and enrich, which makes them a val­ued part of all things.” Essen­tial and non-essen­tial are cor­re­lates under the aegis of com­pas­sion. In a sim­i­lar way, non-essen­tials in edu­ca­tion are elec­tive cours­es through which stu­dents devel­op breadth or vol­un­tary spe­cial­iza­tion. In that way, top­ics not con­sid­ered essen­tial from a dis­ci­pli­nary per­spec­tive are rec­og­nized and accom­mo­dat­ed with­in cur­ric­u­la — that is, so long as they com­ple­ment essen­tials with­out com­pro­mis­ing the integri­ty of the course of study.

Dis­ci­pli­nary knowl­edge is typ­i­cal­ly con­ceived as if a coher­ent10 body.11 In pro­fes­sion­al cul­ture, the body of knowl­edge” encom­pass­es every­thing a prac­ti­tion­er needs to know, as deter­mined by the asso­ci­a­tion pro­vid­ing over­sight. The integri­ty of those two bod­ies — the pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tion and its body of knowl­edge — depends on two essen­tial lines: the sequen­tial process through which core knowl­edge is obtained, lead­ing to mas­tery, and the out­er mar­gin or front12 line,” where lim­its are test­ed and new knowl­edge is formed. Those lines con­sti­tute dis­ci­pli­nary knowl­edge as a sort of con­cep­tu­al ter­ri­to­ry. As in polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary cul­ture, the cen­ter­line guar­an­tees the prin­ci­ples or norms through which dis­ci­pli­nary sta­bil­i­ty is ensured, while the front line rep­re­sents the most pro­gres­sive posi­tion. Changes in either place impact the scope and mean­ing of the whole. Con­se­quent­ly, the integri­ty of the body — the asso­ci­a­tion and its knowl­edge — is defend­ed most stren­u­ous­ly at cen­ter and edge.

Inno­v­a­tive the­o­rists and prac­ti­tion­ers have long looked to the edge when chal­leng­ing dis­ci­pli­nary norms and imag­in­ing new pos­si­bil­i­ties for their work. The con­ven­tion­al strat­e­gy is to lay claim to the front line — again, the most pro­gres­sive posi­tion — while draw­ing upon oth­er fields: one foot in, one foot out. Yet, locat­ing pro­gres­sive the­o­ry and prac­tice at the mar­gins only affirms the cor­po­rate13 mod­el of dis­ci­pli­nary knowl­edge, for which the front line is both a seedbed and a safeguard.

In recent years, grow­ing inter­ests in com­plex­i­ty,14 emer­gence,15 and resilience16 have sub­vert­ed the tra­di­tion­al bases of the pro­fes­sion­al body of knowl­edge. In archi­tec­ture, land­scape archi­tec­ture, and a host of relat­ed fields, new think­ing about ecol­o­gy17 and sus­tain­abil­i­ty18 have been cen­tral to that turn, sup­plant­i­ng lin­ear suc­ces­sion and ide­al forms as mod­els through which to under­stand both nature and design. Lin­ear dis­ci­pli­nary frame­works pri­or­i­tize effi­cien­cy and uni­for­mi­ty lead­ing to ide­al solu­tions. Ground­ed in causal­i­ty, they pre­tend to know the future by chart­ing past and present. But there are no guar­an­tees, and such lin­ear think­ing leads astray by fail­ing to lead astray. Wit­ness the Titan­ic. And the Edsel. Lin­ear frame­works are com­pro­mised by con­tin­gency19 because lin­ear progress is not, in truth, pro­gres­sive.20

In con­trast, lat­er­al think­ing side­steps the nar­row­ing scope and crit­i­cal (i.e., dis­tanc­ing) log­ic of lin­ear think­ing in order to explore prox­i­mate21—and there­fore rel­e­vant22—uncer­tain­ties and poten­tials. Lat­er­al think­ing eschews essen­tial knowl­edge and solves prob­lems by an indi­rect and cre­ative approach, typ­i­cal­ly through view­ing the prob­lem in a new and unusu­al light.”23 In oth­er words, it is pur­pose­ful, but it diverges from the con­ven­tion­al approach. Lat­er­al think­ing accepts the present as a con­di­tion we can­not escape and is there­fore bet­ter suit­ed than lin­ear pro­jec­tions to the future-we-can­not-know. The con­tin­gent nature of that future guar­an­tees that some forms of knowl­edge not present­ly con­sid­ered essen­tial will even­tu­al­ly become so, and vice ver­sa. Con­se­quent­ly, all forms of knowl­edge, how­ev­er char­ac­ter­ized, car­ry poten­tial significance.

In con­tem­po­rary design, cen­ter and the edge are no longer the exclu­sive sites of knowl­edge for­ma­tion. Instead, mean­ing­ful work is being pio­neered lat­er­al­ly, in unex­pect­ed yet rel­e­vant ways. That dif­fu­sion of capa­bil­i­ty and sig­nif­i­cance has rede­fined the terms24 of dis­ci­pli­nar­i­ty just as guer­ril­la tac­tics once trans­formed the expe­ri­ence of war. The cen­ter has been decen­tered. The mar­gin has been mar­gin­al­ized. The front line is no longer a line. In the past, the mil­i­tary front line was lit­er­al­ly a line — for exam­ple, the trench sys­tems of the West­ern Front dur­ing World War I — but con­flict, like inno­va­tion, is now per­va­sive. It can emerge any­where, at any time, and at any scale. The abil­i­ty to effect broad change through dis­crete ges­tures — for exam­ple, deploy­ing a build­ing or park to cat­alyze urban eco­nom­ic rede­vel­op­ment — was for­mer­ly the pre­serve of ‑crats25 and ‑archs26: auto­crats, bureau­crats, and tech­nocrats; mon­archs, oli­garchs, and (st)architects.27 Now the novice has that capa­bil­i­ty, oper­at­ing from the side lines. The start-up is both an upstart and a star.

Pri­or­i­tiz­ing non-essen­tial knowl­edge as a path to new archi­tec­ture means eschew­ing lin­ear frame­works in favor of lat­er­al meth­ods, diverg­ing from the con­ven­tion­al path with­out los­ing rel­e­vance: for exam­ple, by repeat­ing, revers­ing, or return­ing. Cat­e­gories of non-essen­tial knowl­edge might include the pre­vi­ous­ly for­got­ten, the cur­rent­ly under­val­ued, the gen­er­al­ly mis­un­der­stood, or the not yet rec­og­nized. Lat­er­al meth­ods are idio­syn­crat­ic28 but not arbi­trary29; in fact, they are pred­i­cat­ed on rel­e­vance, as they linger30 on mat­ters at hand rather than aban­don­ing them for some dis­tant, pre­con­ceived goal. Inef­fi­cient rel­a­tive to lin­ear con­ven­tions, such approach­es are well suit­ed to con­tem­po­rary inter­ests in com­plex­i­ty, emer­gence, and resilience, which pri­or­i­tize ver­sa­til­i­ty and adaptability.

In this new archi­tec­ture, exper­tise is demon­strat­ed through the abil­i­ty to gen­er­ate many dis­tinct yet plau­si­ble respons­es, rather than only one ide­al solu­tion, to any giv­en prob­lem. Such vir­tu­os­i­ty is a func­tion of resource­ful­ness. With­in edu­ca­tion, that sort of open-end­ed­ness is at odds with the well-inten­tioned yet nar­row­ing and reduc­tive cul­ture of learn­ing objec­tives, out­comes, and assess­ments, in which effec­tive”31 teach­ing means declar­ing in advance what stu­dents should know and guid­ing them to that point. Edu­ca­tors can, and like­ly will, con­tin­ue to teach fun­da­men­tals in such a way, pre­sent­ing edu­ca­tion as trans­mis­sion of a use­ful body of knowl­edge. But, in truth, they do not know, nor can they know, what stu­dents will actu­al­ly do with that knowl­edge, if they make use of it at all. A more rea­son­able approach is to equip stu­dents for an open range of pos­si­bil­i­ties — the future-we-can­not-know. And that calls for a new way of think­ing about dis­ci­pli­nary knowl­edge, one that aban­dons the cor­po­rate mod­el defined by essen­tial lines in favor of some­thing more dis­trib­uted and abstract: not a form but a con­di­tion or qual­i­ty; a mood; an atti­tude, sen­si­bil­i­ty, or eth­ic. Less a modus operan­di than a modus essen­di—a way of being. Not lin­ear and deter­mi­nate but lat­er­al and inde­ter­mi­nate. Non-essen­tial as both fun­da­men­tal and nec­es­sary — and there­fore new.

Urbana Land Arts (Chris Carl), Inter-Urban (2012), with Bob­by Zokaites, Paul Howe, and Sut­ton Dem­long. Recov­ery, restora­tion, and reuse of a derelict rail­road crane, Shady Rest (near Mon­ti­cel­lo), Bondville, and Heart­land Path­ways right-of-way between Mon­ti­cel­lo and Cis­co, Illi­nois. All pho­tographs © Chris Carl.

Derrick crane manufactured by Fairmont Railway Motors, Fairmont, Minnesota, for railroad right-of-way (ROW) maintenance tasks. This crane was discovered at Shady Rest Trestle, Piatt County, Illinois.

Because of its remote location, the Fairmont was carefully dismantled on site and manually hauled from the woods piece by piece.

The 13' boom arm was carried over the Sangamon River via Shady Rest Trestle, while the carriage required a longer route through Shady Rest Nature Preserve.

The Fairmont was painstakingly refurbished and brought back to working order, although it was modified for paved roads rather than railroads. The modifications entailed the addition tires and outriggers for stability.

The team discusses how to re-string the boom arm with new stainless steel cable.

The Fairmont became a critical component of the public artwork Inter-Urban, located in Amenia, Illinois.

Wood salvaged from a demolished grain elevator was used to build a portable bench assembled on a decommissioned railroad owned by Heartland Pathways.

The bench was designed to be assembled without fasteners and by stacking on, and locking into, steel tracks.

Inter-Urban was temporarily located in Amenia, Illinois, on a decommissioned railroad ROW in the shadow of the Amenia elevator (now destroyed). The work was built using salvaged elevator wood, a derrick crane, and a repurposed potato chip delivery truck in collaboration with David Monk and Heartland Pathways.


By Mary Jane Jacob

David Hays’s reflec­tion — and his call for open­ness — arrives at essen­tial ques­tions of being: how do we think, what is it to sense dis­cov­ery, how do we move for­ward in what we do, mak­ing a bet­ter build­ing, solu­tion, and future? It gets to the essence of who we are.

The Amer­i­can philoso­pher John Dewey said that “(i)ntuition alone artic­u­lates in the for­ward thrust of life and alone lays hold of real­i­ty.” (Time and Indi­vid­u­al­i­ty, 1940). Intu­ition grabs hold of what we know and — dri­ven by a hunch, pro­pelled by some curios­i­ty, based on a gut feel­ing — takes us to anoth­er place of knowl­edge. That may not be the final step in the process, but it is near­ly always a nec­es­sary evo­lu­tion­ary step. Aban­don­ing philosophy’s age-old quest for a world of ideals, Dewey was firm­ly root­ed in this world, and he knew that the real­i­ty in which we live push­es us to learn beyond the lim­its of the class­room because our envi­ron­ment is always changing.

So, how does edu­ca­tion pre­pare us for that? Dewey hat­ed rote learn­ing, with its fixed rules, prob­a­bly as much as he hat­ed cat­e­gories that fixed the bound­aries around dis­ci­plines. (No won­der he was the lead­ing fig­ure in Pro­gres­sive Edu­ca­tion.) These struc­tures emerged as part of man’s desire for cer­tain­ty — our innate need to have the secu­ri­ty of answers. Well, for­get that, said Dewey. It’s all about ques­tions — and the ques­tions change. This was the hall­mark of the mod­ern era he helped nav­i­gate for Amer­i­can soci­ety: uncer­tain­ty was inevitable on the street and in the uni­verse, by then proven by sci­ence not to be eter­nal and unchang­ing. There are no guar­an­tees, as Hays puts it.

Since cir­cum­stances are con­tin­u­ous­ly chang­ing, Dewey thought, so too must be the per­spec­tives we bring to them. Our con­scious­ness must expand and knowl­edge must grow. This essen­tial way of being in the world, as he saw it, might be devel­oped in school, but it includes all our expe­ri­ences. Knowl­edge needs to car­ry us to places we do not yet know. If we are tru­ly alive and con­scious in the world, we can’t feed off a fixed body of knowl­edge. Any­way, that would be bor­ing; we’d be less than ful­ly alive. But this expan­sion is not so much to be new, to do the new thing, but to feel what we do anew as we embody it.

So, an essen­tial skill is fram­ing the right ques­tion: what lens can give insight into a prob­lem, and how do we then gain knowl­edge to fur­ther the inquiry? There, Dewey found art very use­ful because it is a cre­ative process. Dewey knew that, in every true exper­i­men­tal process, you must give your­self to an unfold­ing process, hold­ing the final out­come in sus­pen­sion until the process has been thor­ough­ly lived, or else there is no real dis­cov­ery. Now we ban­ter about inno­va­tion every­where today, but I’ll resist using this word that has come to be tied so much to the hubris of the pro­mot­ing mak­er. The point here for edu­ca­tion — and for Dewey — is that when we go through a cre­ative process, we dis­cov­er some­thing for our­selves, hit upon knowl­edge out there for the tak­ing, maybe known and then for­got­ten, and use it anew.

Fol­low­ing a cre­ative process is some­thing Dewey thought sci­en­tists and artists share: they make dis­cov­er­ies. He didn’t men­tion archi­tects, though he did think that, through their work, human life itself is also made dif­fer­ent, [though] in ways far beyond the intent or capac­i­ty of fore­sight of those who con­struct­ed the build­ings” (Art as Expe­ri­ence, 1934). Their cre­ative process is what Hays calls lat­er­al think­ing. Wal­ter Hood calls it spec­u­la­tive knowl­edge, and, valu­ing that, it’s no won­der that this sea­soned land­scape design pro­fes­sion­al felt com­pelled to go back school to get a MFA.

Spec­u­la­tive think­ing is the way Hood oper­ates per­son­al­ly as he car­ries out his work pro­fes­sion­al­ly — but his process is not con­sid­ered pro­fes­sion­al best prac­tice.” So, com­ing to the School of the Art Insti­tute — where even archi­tects are in the ter­rain of art — was a way for Hood to hon­or the ways he knows, to acknowl­edge know­ing from expe­ri­ence, prac­tices that hold, as Hays cites, poten­tial sig­nif­i­cance. Then he could shift the con­ven­tions of the fields of archi­tec­ture, land­scape, and envi­ron­men­tal design, at least for him­self in his own prac­tice. And, like for Hays, it was essen­tial to demon­strate that spec­u­la­tive knowl­edge or lat­er­al think­ing is nei­ther a diver­sion nor mere diver­si­fi­ca­tion, but a means of attain­ing insight into a giv­en sit­u­a­tion and bear­ing prac­ti­cal results (per­haps even more effi­cient­ly than Hays allows for in his text).

I under­took a cura­to­r­i­al research project some time ago by set­ting it up as a shared inquiry with fifty oth­er muse­um pro­fes­sion­als; we set out to look at the rela­tion­ship between con­tem­po­rary art and Bud­dhism.32 We could have dwelled on lots of art that incor­po­rates Bud­dhist imagery or employs med­i­ta­tive prac­tice, but locat­ing such sig­ni­fiers as rep­re­sen­ta­tions of Bud­dhism was not the goal. In fact, we had no goal, no pre­con­ceived idea of the out­come, though a myr­i­ad of out­comes unfold­ed and con­tin­ue still. Rather, we were open. (And, as pro­fes­sion­als, arriv­ing at being open was hard — it took some prac­tice!) Our aim was to under­stand the rela­tion­ship of today’s art and artists to Bud­dhism and what that offered audi­ences. We found that the way artists worked — devel­op­ing lat­er­al­ly, think­ing spec­u­la­tive­ly — pos­sessed the pre­ci­sion of a Zen archer, and per­ceiv­ing in that way, through their work, enables us to be open. Teach­ing and mod­el­ing open­ness is the way inside the cre­ative mind — and who would not want to go there?



This essay was first pub­lished as the intro­duc­tion to (Non-)Essential Knowl­edge for (New) Archi­tec­ture [306090 Books 15], ed. David L. Hays (New York, NY: 306090; Prince­ton Archi­tec­tur­al Press, 2013), 16 – 23.


knowl­edge: Mid­dle Eng­lish (orig­i­nal­ly as a verb in the sense acknowl­edge, rec­og­nize,’ lat­er as a noun): from an Old Eng­lish com­pound based on cnāwan (see know); know: Old Eng­lish cnāwan (ear­li­er gec­nāwan) rec­og­nize, iden­ti­fy,’ of Ger­man­ic ori­gin; from an Indo-Euro­pean root shared by Latin (g)noscere, Greek gignōskein, also by can(1) and ken.” This and all sub­se­quent ety­mo­log­i­cal notes and quot­ed def­i­n­i­tions are from The New Oxford Amer­i­can Dic­tio­nary, sec­ond edi­tion (New York, NY: Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2005), pub­lished online as Oxford Dic­tio­nar­ies (April 2010).


essen­tial: Mid­dle Eng­lish (in the sense in the high­est degree’): from late Latin essen­tialis, from Latin essen­tia.”


lin­ear: mid 17th cen­tu­ry: from Latin lin­earis, from lin­ea a line’ (see line(1)); line(1): Old Eng­lish līne rope, series,’ prob­a­bly of Ger­man­ic ori­gin, from Latin lin­ea (fibra) flax (fiber),’ from linum flax,’ rein­forced in Mid­dle Eng­lish by Old French ligne, based on Latin lin­ea.”


deter­mi­nate: late Mid­dle Eng­lish: from Latin deter­mi­na­tus lim­it­ed, deter­mined,’ past par­tici­ple of deter­minare (see deter­mine); deter­mine: late Mid­dle Eng­lish: from Old French deter­min­er, from Latin deter­minare lim­it, fix,’ from de- com­plete­ly’ + ter­minare ter­mi­nate.’”


lat­er­al: late Mid­dle Eng­lish: from Latin lat­er­alis, from latus, lat­er- side.’”


dis­tract: late Mid­dle Eng­lish (also in the sense pull in dif­fer­ent direc­tions’): from Latin dis­tract- drawn apart,’ from the verb dis­tra­here, from dis- apart’ + tra­here to draw, drag.’”


digress: ear­ly 16th cen­tu­ry: from Latin digress- stepped away,’ from the verb digre­di, from di- aside’ + gra­di to walk.’”


diverge: mid 17th cen­tu­ry: from medieval Latin diverg­ere, from Latin dis- in two ways’ + verg­ere to turn or incline.’”


coher­ent: mid 16th cen­tu­ry (in the sense log­i­cal­ly relat­ed to’): from Latin cohaer­ent- stick­ing togeth­er,’ from the verb cohaerere (see cohere); cohere: mid 16th cen­tu­ry: from Latin cohaerere, from co- togeth­er’ + haerere to stick.’”


body: Old Eng­lish bod­ig, of unknown origin.”


front: Mid­dle Eng­lish (denot­ing the fore­head): from Old French front (noun), fron­ter (verb), from Latin frons, front- fore­head, front.’”


cor­po­rate: late 15th cen­tu­ry: from Latin cor­po­ra­tus, past par­tici­ple of cor­po­rare form into a body,’ from cor­pus, cor­por- body.’”


com­plex: mid 17th cen­tu­ry (in the sense group of relat­ed ele­ments’): from Latin com­plexus, past par­tici­ple (used as a noun) of com­plectere embrace, com­prise,’ lat­er asso­ci­at­ed with com­plexus plait­ed’; the adjec­tive is part­ly via French com­plexe.”


emer­gence: mid 17th cen­tu­ry (in the sense unfore­seen occur­rence’): from medieval Latin emer­gen­tia, from Latin emerg­ere bring to light’ (see emerge); emerge: late 16th cen­tu­ry (in the sense become known, come to light’): from Latin emerg­ere, from e- (vari­ant of ex-) out, forth’ + merg­ere to dip.’”


resilient: mid 17th cen­tu­ry: from Latin resilient- leap­ing back,’ from the verb resilire (see resile); resile: ear­ly 16th cen­tu­ry: from obso­lete French resilir or Latin resilire to recoil,’ from re- back’ + salire to jump.’”


ecol­o­gy: late 19th cen­tu­ry (orig­i­nal­ly as oecol­o­gy): from Greek oikos house’ + -logy [“com­bin­ing form 1 (usu­al­ly as ‑olo­gy) denot­ing a sub­ject of study or interest.”].”


sus­tain: Mid­dle Eng­lish: from Old French soustenir, from Latin sustinere, from sub- from below’ + tenere hold.’”


con­tin­gency: mid 16th cen­tu­ry (in the philo­soph­i­cal sense): from late Latin con­tin­gen­tia (in its medieval Latin sense cir­cum­stance’), from con­tin­gere befall’ (see con­tin­gent); con­tin­gent: late Mid­dle Eng­lish (in the sense of uncer­tain occur­rence’): from Latin con­tin­gere befall’, from con- togeth­er with’ + tan­gere to touch.’ The noun sense was orig­i­nal­ly some­thing hap­pen­ing by chance,’ then a person’s share result­ing from a divi­sion, a quo­ta’; the cur­rent sense dates from the ear­ly 18th century.”


pro­gres­sive: ear­ly 17th cen­tu­ry: from French pro­gres­sif, -ive or medieval Latin pro­gres­sivus, from progress- gone for­ward,’ from the verb pro­gre­di (see progress); progress: late Mid­dle Eng­lish (as a noun): from Latin pro­gres­sus an advance,” from the verb pro­gre­di, from pro- for­ward” + gra­di to walk.”


prox­i­mate: late 16th cen­tu­ry: from Latin prox­i­ma­tus drawn near,’ past par­tici­ple of prox­i­mare, from prox­imus near­est.’”


rel­e­vant: ear­ly 16th cen­tu­ry (as a Scots legal term mean­ing legal­ly per­ti­nent’): from medieval Latin rel­e­vant- rais­ing up,’ from Latin rel­e­vare.”


lat­er­al think­ing: term coined by Edward de Bono in 1966.


term: Mid­dle Eng­lish (denot­ing a lim­it in space or time, or (in the plur­al) lim­it­ing con­di­tions): from Old French terme, from Latin ter­mi­nus end, bound­ary, limit.’”


-crat: from French -crate, from adjec­tives end­ing in -cra­tique (see –crat­ic): ‑crat­ic: from French -cra­tique, from -cratie (see –cra­cy); ‑cra­cy: from French -cratie, via medieval Latin from Greek -kra­tia pow­er, rule.’”


-arch: late Mid­dle Eng­lish: from late Latin -archa, from Greek arkhein to rule.’”


archi­tect: mid 16th cen­tu­ry: from French archi­tecte, from Ital­ian architet­to, via Latin from Greek arkhitek­tōn, from arkhi- chief’ + tek­tōn builder.’”


idio­syn­crat­ic: late 18th cen­tu­ry: from idio­syn­crasy, on the pat­tern of Greek sunkratikos mixed togeth­er’; idio­syn­crasy: ear­ly 17th cen­tu­ry (orig­i­nal­ly in the sense phys­i­cal con­sti­tu­tion pecu­liar to an indi­vid­ual’): from Greek idio­sunkra­sia, from idios own, pri­vate’ + sun with’ + kra­sis mix­ture.’”


arbi­trary: late Mid­dle Eng­lish (in the sense depen­dent on one’s will or plea­sure, dis­cre­tionary’): from Latin arbi­trar­ius, from arbiter judge, supreme ruler,’ per­haps influ­enced by French arbi­traire.”


linger: Mid­dle Eng­lish (in the sense dwell, abide’): fre­quen­ta­tive of obso­lete leng pro­long,’ of Ger­man­ic ori­gin; relat­ed to Ger­man län­gen make long(er),’ also to long(1).’”


effec­tive: late Mid­dle Eng­lish: from Latin effec­tivus, from effi­cere work out, accom­plish” (see effect); effect: late Mid­dle Eng­lish: from Old French, or from Latin effec­tus, from effi­cere accom­plish,’ from ex- out, thor­ough­ly’ + facere do, make.’”


See Mary Jane Jacob, In the Space of Art,” in Bud­dha Mind in Con­tem­po­rary Art, co-edit­ed with Jacque­lynn Baas (Berke­ley, CA: Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 2004): 164 – 169.



David L. Hays is co-edi­tor of Forty-Five, Asso­ciate Head of the Depart­ment of Land­scape Archi­tec­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Urbana-Cham­paign, and found­ing prin­ci­pal of Ana­log Media Lab. Trained in archi­tec­ture and his­to­ry of art, his schol­ar­ly research explores con­tem­po­rary land­scape the­o­ry and prac­tice, the his­to­ry of gar­den and land­scape design in ear­ly mod­ern Europe, inter­faces between archi­tec­ture and land­scape, and ped­a­go­gies of his­to­ry and design. Hays is the edi­tor of Land­scape with­in Archi­tec­ture (2004) and (Non-)Essential Knowl­edge for (New) Archi­tec­ture (2013), both by 306090/​Princeton Archi­tec­tur­al Press. His essays have appeared in a wide range of jour­nals — includ­ing Har­vard Design Mag­a­zine, PLOT (City Col­lege of New York), Eigh­teenth-Cen­tu­ry Stud­ies, The Sens­es and Soci­ety (Oxford), Matéri­cos Per­iferi­cos (Rosario, Argenti­na), Tek­ton (Mum­bai), and Feng jin yuan lin and Land­scape Archi­tec­ture Chi­na (Bei­jing) — and as chap­ters in numer­ous books. As a design­er, Hays’s work explores the pro­duc­tion of envi­ron­men­tal­ly respon­sive objects using low-cost, low-tech mate­ri­als. With par­tic­u­lar inter­ests in dynam­ic sys­tems, envi­ron­men­tal phe­nom­e­na, and craft, his process cross­es lat­er­al think­ing and intu­ition with ground­ed exper­i­ment. Email: dlhays@​forty-​five.​com

Mary Jane Jacob is Pro­fes­sor of Sculp­ture and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Exhi­bi­tions and Exhi­bi­tion Stud­ies at the School of the Art Insti­tute of Chica­go. Before com­ing to SAIC, she served as Chief Cura­tor of the Muse­ums of Con­tem­po­rary Art in Chica­go and Los Ange­les. As a cura­tor, writer, and edu­ca­tor, Jacob’s prac­tice is root­ed in the nature of art­mak­ing and art expe­ri­ence with an empha­sis on site-spe­cif­ic pub­lic work and social engage­ment. Exhi­bi­tions and pro­grams orga­nized by Jacob include Places with a Past (1991) and Places with a Future (2005), both at the Spo­le­to Fes­ti­val USA in Charleston, South Car­oli­na, where she was cura­tor of visu­al arts (1991; 2000 to 2008); Cul­ture in Action, for Sculp­ture Chica­go (19911993); and Con­ver­sa­tions at the Cas­tle: Chang­ing Audi­ences and Con­tem­po­rary Art (1996), for the Arts Fes­ti­val of Atlanta. At the Sul­li­van Gal­leries at SAIC, Jacob led the city­wide pro­gram Stu­dio Chica­go (2010 – 2011), which includ­ed exhi­bi­tions and pub­li­ca­tion of The Stu­dio Read­er: On the Space of Artists (Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go Press, 2010). Oth­er recent books include Bud­dha Mind in Con­tem­po­rary Art (Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 2004), Learn­ing Mind: Expe­ri­ence Into Art (Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 2009), and Chica­go Makes Mod­ern: How Cre­ative Minds Changed Soci­ety (Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go Press, 2012). Jacob has received awards from numer­ous orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Andy Warhol Foun­da­tion, the Peter Nor­ton Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion, and the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion. In 2010, the Women’s Cau­cus for Art hon­ored her with its Life­time Achieve­ment Award. Email: mjacob@​saic.​edu