Born in Rome in 1949, Luigi Serafini is best known for his visual tour-de-force the Codex Seraphinianus. Originally published in 1981 in a strictly limited edition, the Codex is an asemic encyclopedia of an alien world. Lushly illustrated, each of the Codex’s 11 chapters explore what Douglas Hofstadter categorized as both « grotesque and disturbing » and « extreme beautiful and visionary » surreal images of a fictional world. Long considered to be written in an uncrackable code, Serafini admitted in 2009 that the Codex Seraphinianus is actually written asemically in order to echo the feeling that children have when first encountering the written word.
Architecture is a subject which demands to be understood in context: that is, within the context of its production (society, economics, politics, culture) and the context of its consumption, representation and interpretation (different academic disciplines, interest groups, institutions, users). In the light of enormous and rapid shifts in theoretical, historical and critical debates, particularly with respect to feminism, understanding architecture in relation to gender demands an urgent contextualisation.