The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 14

LOCATIONS

AUTHENTICITY AND BOGUS CASTLES
by IAN ELLINGHAM, PHD, FRAIC

discussion of authenticity can lead
down numerous lanes, and many
are worth exploring.
In the field of architecture
alone, there is a surprising number of
ways to define authenticity, but one discussion inevitably comes to the fore:
reproduction buildings. Certainly, creating simulacra and derivatives of previous forms is not a recent phenomenon.
It was the almost universal approach of
architects until the 19th century, since the
familiarity of the forms tended to assure
positive reactions to new buildings, at least
among the people who mattered.
When my family visited a Florida theme
park some years ago, we could not avoid
visiting the central feature, which a guide
described to us as a "castle" - a description that our six-year-old son immediately
contested. Having spent almost all of his
life in England he knew what a castle was,
and it is made of stone, not fibreglass. To a
child growing up in a place where real castles
abound - often as formless ruins - the building material is a very important cue. Our sovn
had experienced castles at child level, running around (and sometimes colliding with)
the stone walls. A plastic castle would fail to
conform to his particular personal exemplar.
To a child growing up in North America, a continent with a conspicuous lack of real
castles, the concept of castle would probably be gained from photographs, cartoons,
television and video games, and would depend on the striking overall form. Such a
child would be more likely to accept the false label attached to the fibreglass structure.
In an instance like this, it is not just the "castle" label that creates inauthenticity, it
also depends on how that label is interpreted by the individual.
My Concise Oxford Dictionary defines authenticity as "of undisputed origin; genuine," which does not capture all of the architectural meanings, but it does hint at the
problems raised by design reproduction. For example, the Tudoresque chair in our
dining room is undisputedly and authentically early 20th century, in part because it
lacks centuries of wear, but also because I don't represent it as anything other than a
reproduction. Hence, again, an object's authenticity is not inherent in the object, but
depends on the label we put on it, and the way that the label is perceived.
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 13)
14 | Read The Right Angle Journal online www.therightanglejournal.com

Cinderella
Castle at Walt Disney
World, Orlando, Florida.
CC-BY-SA-3.0/MATT H. WADE
AT WIKIPEDIA


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The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019

Authenticity
Index to Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - Authenticity
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2019 - cover4
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