Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cambridge, MA


Call for Submissions -- Thresholds 45: Myth

By iche
Feb 20, '16 11:40 PM EST

thresholds 45: MYTH
Editor: Zachary Angles


Venturing into the proposition that architecture is as much constituted of stone, wood, and steel as the myths that collectively propel it into existence, Thresholds 45: MYTH will explore how architecture makes myth and how myth makes architecture.

More than stories, myths explain the inexplicable, order the seemingly unordered, and make palatable the otherwise unpalatable. Myths are evidenced in and born from both narrative and seemingly non-narrative sources; they are the collective tales which order our worlds. Some are products of long histories, so entangled in our understandings they are difficult to parse. Other myths emerge as rapidly as the ascendant hero.

Glass and steel towers grew forth from Chicago and New York becoming architectural gods of prosperity and progress. Rising around the world in efforts to summon about these gods, these towers now marginalize—and make romantic—vernacular forms rendering their histories ever more mythic. They slither through the collective unconscious, construct societal visions of worlds, and speak to truth through the collective imaginary. Myths present the opportunity to expand, and link, stories to the social, cultural, and political worlds they engage. 

Palladio’s I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura propelled him into his role as an archetype of the classical architect in the western tradition. In a modernist rebellion, partially of his making, Corbusier became the prototype for the modern architect. Ayn Rand wrote Roark into existence as the epitome of the  independent modern architect. Akin to rock-stars or royalty, these characters are known by mononyms and have fundamentally shaped popular and disciplinary understandings of the architect.

What of rebellious reactionaries seeking to unveil myth’s operation or bias? Those who seek, or find, disenchantment? What myths spread forth from instances of rebellion, schism, or opposition? Where is architecture’s underworld?  Who are our villains and which characters have we annointed heroes? What about those myths constructed around disciplines or persons? Why, and how, have we mythologized histories to justify contemporary positions or operations? How was  myth and mythologizing made unacceptable by certain rises in rationalism?

With a taste for the fantastical, thresholds 45 invites submission of scholarly articles, examples of built work or art, and narrative content which clarifies or complicates our understanding of myth + architecture.


SUBMIT BY: MAY 1, 2015

Essay submissions should be in English, approx. 3,000 words, and formatted in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. Submissions should include a brief cover letter, contact information and bio of under 50 words for each author. Text should be submitted in MS Word. Images should be submitted at 72dpi as uncompressed TIFF files. 

All material and correspondence should be submitted to

thresholds is the annual peer-reviewed journal produced by the MIT Department of Architecture.