The Nourishing Art

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Jane Lawrence
Rachel Hurst


Cooking is regarded as one of the most basic characteristics of civilised existence, almost as critical as shelter in defining and reading the human condition. Frascari (2002) used cooking as an analogy for design suggesting that ‘to build and cook are a necessity, but to build and cook intelligently is the chief obligation of architecture and cuisine’ (p. 3). What is it about this ordinary activity that invites comparison? Is it that the everyday acts of cooking are primary generators of spatial practices and material culture? Or is it that the production of food bears numerous parallels with the production of built space – each following a recipe or plan to manipulate elements into an entity definitively judged by the physical senses?

This paper builds upon a companion work titled, ‘Eating Australian Architecture’ (Hurst & Lawrence, 2003), which investigated a pedagogical approach based on parallels between food and design for teaching first year architectural students. In this paper, the focus is on a detailed application of this method to typological analyses of contemporary domestic architecture. It uses three examples of influential Australian design practices, selecting from each a paradigm with which they are associated. Food metaphors of raw, medium and well- done are used to explore emergent characteristics and experiential qualities within the current architectural climate. The apparent extremes between raw and cooked, like those between excess and austerity, are re-evaluated not as simple oppositions or measures of success, but as equally rich modes of approach to design. The argument is made for gastronomy as a persuasive interrogatory tool for the sensory and holistic examination of the built environment.

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How to Cite
Lawrence, Jane, and Rachel Hurst. 2003. “The Nourishing Art”. Idea Journal 4 (1):35-45.
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