Publication

  • The Western Town: a Theory of Aggregation
    Alex Lehnerer, Jayne Kelley, Jared Macken, and Lorenzo Stieger
    Editors
    Hatje Cantz, 2013
  • GRANTEE
    Alexander Lehnerer
    GRANT YEAR
    2011

Alex Lehnerer and Jared Macken, Panorama of the mining town LaHood and the homes of the ' Tin Pans, ' a loosely organized group of independent miners (in: Pale Rider, 1985). Courtesy of the artists.

The book The Western Town deals with the city in Hollywood Western movies. The imaginary Wild West town serves as a productive case study to research the construction of and relationship between specific idylls within an underlying ideology as an architectural and urbanistic project. The focus on film is deliberate. Rather than revisiting existing places, this study speculates from fictional ones, tapping into the discipline's recent obsession with storytelling. It argues that Westerns reveal how narrative is embedded into architecture, and architecture into narrative. The book is intended for architects and urban designers; however, it also targets a broader audience interested in the intersection of architecture and the city with products of popular culture. And every fan of the Western genre will be delighted to immerse him/herself in the town of Lago or discover detailed plans of Larabee, the Alamo, and other important places of the American West.

Alex Lehnerer, an architect and urban designer, currently holds a position as assistant professor at the ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Prior to that he was based in Chicago, where he was professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He received his PhD from the ETH, is partner of Kaisersrot in Zürich, and founded the Department of Urban Speculation (DeptUS) in Chicago. Among these and other things, his award-winning book Grand Urban Rules (010 Publishers, 2009) stands for his ambition to contribute to a contemporary architectural discourse. His architectural practice SALE explores urban and architectural conditions — their forms, ingredients, and rules — in both an academic and professional environment.