How to Be an Architectural Detective


The Architectural Detective Agency (ADA) was founded in 1974 by architect-historians Terunobu Fujimori and Takeyoshi Hori while they were graduate students. They undertook field research to document structures that were disappearing or that had been excluded from official Japanese architectural history. The detectives walked with cameras and sketchbooks, taking stock of the city. They dressed for infiltration as well as documentation.

When buildings were threatened with demolition, the detectives mobilized to produce complete sets of photographic and drawn documentation, often interviewing architects and collecting as much reference and archival material as possible.

Here is an account of the ADA published in Space Modulator 47 (May 1976) describing ADA’s history and methodology, explaining how to enter private properties, what to wear, how to photograph, how to research, and giving other tips.

This post comes form the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) website:

About paesaggisensibili

Architect and senior fellow of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology of Toronto University, I'm a member of the board of directors of the Italian National Institute of Architecture (IN/ARCH) in Rome, where since 2003 I am in charge of the Institute Master Programs. My studies are rooted in the fields of architecture and philosophy of science with a special interest in biology and anthropology. Key words for my research are: Man, Space, Nature, Technique, Webness, Ecology, Relations, Interactions, Resources, Energy, Landscape, Footprint, Past and Future. My goal is to build critical understanding of the present to suggest useful strategies to build the future.

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