This is the internet weblog of Bix Frankonis.

In the “Skyscraper: Vanity and Violence” chapter of Stephen Graham’s Vertical there’s a reference to Maria Kaika’s conception of what she termed “autistic architecture”—taken, I discovered, from this paper in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space from 2011.

Why does she call what she’s describing “autistic architecture”? Because she uses a Dictionary of Psychology in Politics and Social Sciences definition of autism.

Like its patrons, who do not engage with urban political life, this new type of architecture, which I term autistic architecture, does not engage with the city that surrounds it, and demonstrates a “pathological self-absorption and preoccupation with the self to the exclusion of the outside world”.

Fuck you, too, Maria Kaika.

(Sidenote: Can anyone even locate Dictionary of Psychology in Politics and Social Sciences? Google’s only hits are citations in three research papers, including this one.)


  1. It gets better. An interview with Kaika from 2016 opens with an attempt at disclaiming the phrase.

    The use of autistic here bears no intentional reference to the condition itself or to people with autism. The term is used here only in the metaphorical sense that it has acquired through the Dictionary of Psychology in Politics & Social Sciences.

    You can’t immunize yourself against the insult simply by passing the buck to the originator of the insult.