The Coin, The Crack and The Cistern



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



“On Tuesday, X crosses a deserted road and loses nine copper coins. On Thursday, Y finds in the road four coins, somewhat rusted by Wednesday’s rain. On Friday, Z discovers three coins in the road. On Friday morning, X finds two coins in the corridor of his house. […] It is logical to think that they have existed - at least in some secret way, hidden from the comprehension of men – at every moment of those three periods.” Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges. Pg 9. Borges describes the distance between our realist world and the idealist planet Tlön as incalculable. However, he identifies objects that operate as fragments that connect the two worlds. His encyclopedia, where the world of Tlön is described, is one of these objects. A crack in a utilitarian structure constitutes much more than a link, it is a door that allows us to step into a mysterious reality. The crack dared to create a space that exists contingent on perception and idea, as a fragment of Tlön in our own world. A drawing describing how to slice monoliths exists as another link, as Robin Evans articulates in The Projective Cast, by binding the architect's world of ideas and the stone cutter's world of building together. Two disparate elements, a crack, and a drawing allow both worlds to exist simultaneously. This thesis makes manifest the forces that makeup that utilitarian structure: a past of service, an unhealed wound, and a new idealist identity, in order to diminish, however slightly, the distance between Tlön and our world.



Borges, Jorge Luis, Architecture, Buffalo Bayou Cistern, Denari, Franco, Magic realism, Evans, Robin