To Mend the Matter to Cultivate Sympathy: On Vulnerable Walls and Expressive Surfaces


Urban Surfaces
new materialism
architectural matter
impermanent architecture
symphaty of things
material agency Superficies Urbanas
nuevo materialismo
materia arquitectónica
arquitectura impermanente
empatía de las cosas
agencia material

How to Cite

Andron, S. (2020). To Mend the Matter to Cultivate Sympathy: On Vulnerable Walls and Expressive Surfaces. InForma, 12, 23-31. Retrieved from


This essay discusses the unstable condition of architectural matter, by focusing on the building surfaces that have undergone visible transformations. I explore buildings as vulnerable yet resilient comings-together of matter, to foreground their architectural impermanence and to acknowledge buildings-in-making and buildings-in-degradation as primary architectural conditions. The investigatio is based on new materialist literature from anthropology, geography, and archaeology, and focuses on the surfaces of buildings as primary sites of investigation. Using architect Lars Spuybroek's "sympathy of things" as a main conceptual framework, I argue that architectural matter has a way of sticking together and continually rearranging itself, through a process of mending. The paper therefore proposes to investigate mending as a care-full form of gathering of built matter whereby buildings show their scars, patches, and material becomings. Two specicific building surfaces have been invesigated in Taly and Lebanon, to uncover their mends and argue for the pursuit of an instinctive resonance with built matter, an architectural kinship, and a renewed praise for the generous offerings of architectural surfaces



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