Chez Etym., the Book

Chez, a French preposition meaning “with,” or the more architecturally connotative “at the home of,” rooted in the twelfth century Old French chiese, or “house;” and,
Etym., an abbreviation of etymology, the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

Thus, Chez Etym.: to be with the history of words and hosted in their company.

Chez Etym. is an edited collection that draws together new work from 13 architects, academics, artists, poets, photographers and graduates from Europe and Australia. Through a soft lens and a reverence for the written word, Chez Etym.’s primary focus is ‘place’ explored from the periphery. For us, place is born from the temporal and exists as a series of tacit layers spread across space and time. Thus place presents a crucial essence of being; an intensely human consideration that shifts in perspective from society, to landscape, cities, history, and the transcendental. This multifaceted understanding is crucial to any argument on how we do, or should, live in our environment. It offers a key to understanding planetary timescales of climate change, mnemonic timescales of cultural identity, the ecological timescales of an (increasingly extinct) environment, and the responsibility we owe to our environments.

In Chez Etym., these themes are explored with a zeal for meaning layered through language: one chapter considers governmental education policy and its symbiosis with social concerns manifest in Glasgow’s urban realm; another uses two built works to explore the poetics of architecture as landscape; a Norwegian studio recounts a landscape-charged workshop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin; and the editors explore ontological and philosophical musings on death and erased cultural identity. The outcome is a contemporary precis of understated potency, on how to design with place, taking root in the subconscious and gently affecting the reader’s hand.

A limited second edition was published in September 2022 and is now available to purchase.

Chez Etym. was exhibited as part of the 2021 New Generations festival; see here.

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