Trajan’s Hollow


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SpecificationsSKU: 90743World Rights: Available Size: 6” x 9” Portrait ISBN: 978-1-940743-93-6 Publication Date: Fall 2018 Pages: 288pp Binding: 6” x 9” Portrait

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This publication documents Trajan’s Hollow, a transformative reproduction of Trajan’s Column in Rome, to address issues of critical importance in contemporary architectural practice: a reconsideration of architectural poché (both programmatic and material), the use of scale shift as a tool for transforming shape and content, and the role of subversive reconstruction in an era of digital scanning and replication. The publication offers an alternative model for the close reading of historical artifacts through an analysis of Trajan’s Column and its material progeny, including the casts and copies of the column produced over 2,000 years and contemporary reconstructions of the column executed by the author while in residence at the American Academy in Rome.

Although this second-century monument located in the heart of Rome has been the object of hundreds of years of study, Trajan’s Hollow uncovers aspects of the column curiously omitted amidst all this attention, manifesting the lacunae in various paradigms of historical inquiry: this work rereads the column and its legacy through the simple act of prioritizing the embodied occupation of its interior over the analysis of its exterior narrative frieze. By focusing on traces of workmanship (chisel marks, seam lines, tool dimensions), material attributes (provenance, behavior, constraints, change in qualities over millennia), and the experience of habitation (interior atmosphere, circulation, functional details), the project develops an alternative understanding of the historical artifact and of its role in contemporary design.

Joshua G. Stein is the co-director of the Data Clay Network (, a forum for the exploration of digital techniques applied to ceramic materials, and the founder of Radical Craft (, a Los Angeles-based studio evolving newly grounded approaches to the challenges posed by virtuality, velocity, and globalization. He was a 2010–11 Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture, and is currently professor of architecture at Woodbury University.

Michael J. Waters is an assistant professor of Renaissance Architecture, Italian Renaissance Art, and the History of Technology at Columbia University. He earned his PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and was previously the Scott Opler Research Fellow in Architectural History at Worcester College, University of Oxford.

Michael Swaine is an inventor and designer working in a variety of materials, methods, and media with a long-time focus on collaborative work – in particular with Futurefarmers. He received his BFA from Alfred University and his MA in design from UC Berkeley and is currently assistant professor at the University of Washington.

World rights


6” x 9” Portrait



Publication date

Fall 2018




6” x 9” Portrait