Reenactionary Architecturism

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2003.09.22 12:29
Re: evolution and aesthetics
P. asks: But where is the principle in architecture which is equivalent to that of mathematics? If there had been one - why would we have styles which change throughout history. Where is this constant here? How does it show itself in history?
Steve replies: Earth's gravity is for sure a constant [force] that all architecture has to contend with. For example, although styles change, the predominant notion of floors being level doesn't. How does an arch best resist gravity? Via it being rounded or via it being pointed?
Another constant [force] that architecture always (has to) deal with is climate, and the fact that climate varies significantly dependent on location may well explain why (for most of its history) architecture (style) varies significantly dependent on location. Odd/funny how a great many of the buildings designed and executed today strive to have a constant climate inside regardless of where the building is outside.
"What climate does the inside of your building reenact?"
"I love how your design pointedly reenacts a resistance to gravity."
Perhaps Disney's greatest achievement is the making of lots of money reenacting reenactments.
"What New Urbanism is doing is great. We should reenact that reenactment here."
"This is my greatest design yet! It reenacts both evolution and aesthetics!"


2004.03.18 12:51
Re: architecture and nature...
nature of fertility?
nature of assimilation?
metabolic nature?
nature of osmosis?
electro-magnetic nature?
the nature of all frequency?
or merely
the academically stunted nature of imitation? (doctored mimesis)
de-coda:
visceral reenactment
or merely
reenacting a who or a what


2004.05.10 15:17
Re: ducked around ?
"imaginative history" is a kind of virtual reality, is it not?
As much as I see the virtual domain as something other, there nonetheless remains the wide held notion that the distinction between the real and the virtual is increasingly blurred in our times. I like extremes, so The Odds of Ottopia strives toward an extreme blurring of the real and the virtual. Remember, the Otto here is the real great virtual King of Bavaria.
reenactment is a kind of "imaginative history", is it not?


2005.05.06 17:24
Koolhaas versis the Actor
OK, I see what you mean, but....
There are many historical examples were architecture references itself, e.g., renaissance architecture referencing classical architecture, or even the second pyramid at Giza referencing the Great Pyramid at Giza.
Le Corbusier is just as much a reenactor as Stirling and the NY5 are reenactors. Le Corbusier reenacted machine forms and ship forms and American agricultural architecture forms. And Le Corbusier even ultimately reenacted himself--the Palais des Congres (1964) reenacts the Villa Savoye (1929)
I don't buy the notion of there ever really being a split from the symbolic system. Degrees of separation, yes, but no real split.
Stirling is a consumate reenactionary architect, and he knew it, but he put most of his clues in his architecture only--although his entry for Roma Interrotta is an overt reference to Piranesi's Campo Marzio plan and reenactionary architecturism. Just as Rossi reenacted the Bustum Hadriani with the Modena Cemetery, but it doesn't look like he ever told Tafuri about it. Yes, Rossi was silent, as are most architects when it comes to telling others where their real 'originality' comes from.

2005.08.28 12:43
Hi, Gorgeous. Haven't I Seen You Somewhere?
Reenactionary Architecturism refers to the designs themselves and to the mental design process that is part of the overall design process. This specific process is for the most part always denied, but it exists nonetheless, as the resultant designs themselves prove.
The issue of plagiarism and copyright infringement is related but (legally) distinct from reenactionary architecturism, and even distinct from each other. For example, if Randall Stout had stated that the new building in Roanoke in some ways reenacts Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao, then there is no plagiarism because a source has been cited. Furthermore, for there to be copyright infringement, the reenacting has to be virtually identical to the source.
Architect's generally don't like to cite or even admit sources because then the myth of originality collapses.
Reenactment in design is largely inescapable because human memory itself is a processed reenactment.
There are myriad other issues within reenactionary architecturism, and maybe a book on the subject will be already available this time next year.


2005.08.28 13:04
Hi, Gorgeous. Haven't I Seen You Somewhere?
In reality there really is no "re-inventing" going on. As rationalist states above--
"It seems to me that it would be quite easy to go through a design process and end up with something, and even if something in your brain goes, "hmmm, that looks kind of familiar... but where have I seen it?" you may never figure out what you've accidentally plagiarized simply because you glanced at something once and mostly forgot about it."
--the reenactment happens whether or not the exact source is remembered or not.
I don't think architects generally have "dustbins inside their heads" (that's actually antithetical to the task of the profession), but they have been brainwashed into thinking that being original is the highest level of their art that all architects can achieve. Originality is relatively rare.


2005.08.28 15:16
Hi, Gorgeous. Haven't I Seen You Somewhere?
Yes, I've heard that reenactionary architecturism sounds too much like predestination argument all before.
"reenactionary architecturism sounds like a lazy excuse not to experiment" is to me just another reenactment of an argument I've heard before.
It so far always turns out that reenactionary architecturism wasn't even understood well enough for the "just an excuse" call to be made in the first place.
Reenactionary architecture is not a prescription, rather an understanding of how a lot of design works.


2005.08.30 10:36
Hi, Gorgeous. Haven't I Seen You Somewhere?
Just to clarify, the readymades of Duchamp pictured in "Readymade Reenactment" are not actual "original" readymades, rather specially made reenactments of the "original" readymades that no longer exist.
Yes, my idea is worthless, and that's why agfa8x is so eager to know what it is.
I think it's interesting that most human teeth reenact themselves.
Since our minds reenact our perceptions, is that an indication that the operation of mental reenactment is somehow already coded in our DNA?

2005.09.08 16:18
Hadrian was born in Spain
Ludwig II's architecture is no doubt aesthetically over the top, but in terms of craftsmanship, it is all top notch. It is fair to say that Ludwig's architecture inspired a lot of kitsch. Reenactionary Architecturism addresses the disticntion between popular sentimentality and reenactionary architecturism, and Ludwig II's architecture is a main point in that distinction.


2005.09.29 11:35
Architect: Endangered Species
So reenacting the design aura of some architects is currently cool while reenacting the design aura of some other architects is not currently cool?
I guess whoever said "Those that don't know history wind up repeating it" wasn't an architect.


2005.11.15 08:54
Re: eros et thanatos
I think a lot of people don't like the notion of reenactment (in design, for example) because it seems to negate originality. They don't get that reenactment gives originality its context and perhaps even its compliment.


2007.07.25 17:49
Verb: Featured Discussion
The real funny thing is that any good design, whether avant garde or not, is soon enough reenacted.
I wonder how much reenactment is actually involved in legitimacy.


2007.07.30 20:57
Next Architect of the Capitol NOT an Architect?!
[The more things change the more they become reenactment?]
On January 25, 1805, Congress appropriated $110,000 a special victory for the architect, for Thornton on New Year's Day had had a printed letter issued to all the members of Congress virulently attacking Latrobe, refuting in a somewhat casuistic way Latrobe's statement to the committee that none of Thornton's drawings could be found, and violently supporting his own plan for the south wing. This had all been fodder for Federalist criticism in general, but it had failed to affect the action of Congress.
The same winter, however, brought Latrobe a disappointment. Justice Chase of the Supreme Court was to be impeached, and because of the importance of the case the first impeachment of a high-placed government official Vice-President Burr wished the surroundings of the trial to be as dignified as possible and asked Latrobe for a plan. Having left Washington on December 13 after a short stay, the architect immediately set to work to design the fitments and rearrangements of the Senate chamber the trial would require. He sent off his drawings to Burr on the seventeenth surely not an excessive time for the job. But mail was slow and Burr impatient; before receiving the Latrobe drawings he awarded the commission to Samuel Blodgett (the Massachusetts archi- tect of the First Bank of the United States in Philadelphia), and all Latrobe's work went for nothing. Blodgett's design, Latrobe felt, was both more expensive and less convenient than his own.
Meanwhile he had taken time to search for proper stoves for the Capitol and for Monticello, to look for possible American sources for window glass, and to study new ways of making the roof of the President's House tight since it, like the roof of the north wing of the Capitol, had become a veritable sieve.

2007.11.29 19:19
Does research kill architectural creativity?
I would never say that reenactment is duplication. Reenactment is a process that just happens to underlie a lot of creative operations.
In architecture, the notion of walls, floors, doors, windows, etc. are constantly reenacted, but not necessarily duplicated.


2008.02.10 11:24
Archinect's The Plagiarius Awards Gallery
Again, architectural design inspiration often manifests a form of reenactment.
If a student acknowledges their inspirational source, then there is no plagiarism involved.
Reenactment is a(n often utilized yet unacknowledged) powerful learning tool.


2008.08.13 17:15
has the sun finally set on oma?
Reenactionary architecturism is just slightly younger than architecture itself.


2008.09.28 16:35
On Formalism and Reenactment
"Name any current mathematical, scientific or philosophical theory, and there's an architecture that will try to reenact it."
2007.02.18 15:18
meta, "for years" is stretching it a bit, isn't it?
The Architecture of Nimiety: An Abundance of Redundance in Architectural Education, Theory and Practice
Place the following items in chronological order from oldest to youngest.
a. something original
b. reenactment
c. meme
d. tautology
e. then all of the above as something original


2009.10.17 11:08
Duchamp to direct THE LUCKY BUMS
"The same "sense of loss" that supports history and mourning also supports the damnatio memoriae, which is both an enforced and denied nostalgia. There must be a sense that something has fallen out of representation, that it was at one time but it is no longer--a sense that something has been lost. If not, then memory truly fails and with it the force of the damnatio memoriae. The force of the rehabilitation has much more to do with the reenactment of the death and condemnation of Flavian than with an account of the events of 394. The survivors have always remembered Flavian, but it is only after the rehabilitation that they can "satisfy the debt of duty owed the dead"--that is, acknowledge the irremediable fact of his loss, through the act of mourning. The writing of history, too, is motivated more by guilt and a desire to mourn than by a desire merely to evoke. The survivor is the one who remains to see that the proper rites are performed for the dead and for that part of the self which has perished, and in the end compulsively to rehearse that loss once again by writing the history" [re-accurately].
--CWH [SL]
The virgin wolfs, the Hirpini and the snails (spirialling), at the end of the axis of war.
So there was a connotation after all.
The Eutropia question.
"You do know the Sabine word for wolf, don't you?"
The Jennewein question.
"Is the axis of war the sacred axis or the profane axis?"
The Adam obsevation.
"Look, she dropped another hair pin."
The Duchamp question.
"Are reenactments virtual or real?"

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