News at Princeton

Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Multimedia: Featured

'Playboy Architecture'

A group of Princeton University Ph.D. students have been involved in a research project led by Professor of Architecture Beatriz Colomina that looks at the influence of architecture on Playboy Magazine from 1953 to 1979, and the magazine's impact on architecture and design culture in the United States through its vision of a desirable contemporary lifestyle. Read more.

Video Closed Captions


BEATRIZ COLOMINA: This is called
Playboy Architecture.

And it is 1953 to 1979.

And the whole project started
as a research project with

Ph.D students here
at Princeton.

And it's a research project,
which started with the very

simple realization that
architecture plays an enormous

role in the magazine.

The magazine had been
studied from every

single point of view.

Major scholars like Umberto Eco
have written about Playboy

and the literature of Playboy
and other things.

But nobody seemed to have
realized the significance that

architecture and design
had for the magazine.

So about--

what is it--

four years ago, we started this
series of seminars on

[INAUDIBLE], where we went
through the magazine

identifying all the moments
in which architecture

or design was there.

And it was extraordinary.

It was an extraordinary

BRITT EVERSOLE: The conception
for the show was, in fact, to

take apart the magazine,
to explode it into its

constituent parts, and to look
at the role of design, as it

played itself out in
constructing what we call

during the conception of the
show, the imaginary of

seduction, or an architecture
of seduction.

To imagine how design and
architecture played a role in

creating a kind of environmental
effect that the

Playboy could use to more or
less to seduce the Playmate in

the apartments.

DARIA RICCHI: Basically, I
contributed to the writing

part, as I told--

so about how fiction and
storytelling was part of

Playboy, especially
in the '50s.

And so let's say I was
responsible for gathering all

the fictive writing, so the
short stories that were

published in those years.

students were collectively in

the research and the research
materialized in an exhibition,

a publication, a catalog,
a conference,

and all of the above.

So it's not only a reflection on
media, on architecture, but

a way of experimenting with
media by the students


Program at Princeton is

specifically geared towards
students who already arrive

with an idea of the kind of
research that they want to do.

And the openness of the
curriculum allows you to

immediately dive in, not just
to the work that you want to

do, but also into basically
constructing a kind of

professional identity
for yourself.

These kinds of projects, where
we work as teams, project us

out into the world from the very
first year or two that

we're already at Princeton.


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