Housing television: Architectures of the archive

Lynn B Spigel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This essay explores the cultural logics of television archives by looking at the architectural designs of buildings that have housed TV collections since the early 1960s and by tracing this to the more recent viral architecture of Internet sites on which people post clips of old TV shows and programs. In particular, the essay examines how the television archive (often constructed through modernist and postmodernist architectural designs) has historically been a place that expresses fantasies about the future (both of the media and of American society more generally). At the same time, the essay explores the seemingly opposite impulse of nostalgia for vintage television (and the baby boom era more broadly) that structures archival collections both in physical archives such as the Paley Center and on online sites such as YouTube.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-74
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Housing television: Architectures of the archive'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this