In the opening lines of The Tell-the-Tale Detail, the late architect and educator Marco Frascari wrote:

Elusive in a traditional dimensional definition, the architectural detail can be defined as the union of construction, the result of the logos of techné, with construing, the result of the techné of logos.[1]

In the Greek language, logos means discourse or the communication of thought through conversation while techné refers to the practice of making an object using previously gained knowledge.[2] Frascari’s logos of techné, therefore, can be translated as a conversation about making and constructing. Its counterpart, the techné of logos, reads as the making of conversation or a discussion leading to the understanding of meaning.

This quotation, as well as the rest of Frascari’s essay, serves as a catalyst for the study of the architectural detail, of the making of things, and of the theoretical premise of the tectonic. Frascari asserted that the joining of elements is not simply an act of construction, but a process that helps to define the space created through construction.


[1] Marco Frascari, “The Tell-the-Tale Detail,” in Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory 1965-1995, ed. Kate Nesbitt (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 500.

[2] Adrian Snodgrass, “On ‘Theorising Architectural Education’,” Architectural Theory Review 5, no. 2 (2000): 89.