Architecture post Semiquincentennial

25 January

2014.01.25 15:15

2014 2013 2011 2009 2006 2004 2003 2001

Finished reading Manfredo Tafuri: Choosing History this morning, and Leach is quite a good analyst and writer. I'd like to relate two passages, one from the begining and one from the end. On page seven: "Beginning his studies in October 1953, Tafuri faced the disconcerting reality that the University [of Rome] remained stocked with professors appointed under the Fascist regime. Over the duration of his diploma studies, he came to openly oppose several of these. His "hit-list" included Enrico Del Debbio, Ballio Morpurgo, Vincenzo Fasolo and, most explicitly, Saverio Muratori. He complained of their lack of interest in teaching, their distance from the classroom and their reliance on assistants to deliver the cirriculum. He begrudged their prejudice against modern architecture: "The operative principal was that contemporary architecture must not enter the cirriculum. It was considered a heresy." It is thus now easy to speculate that Tafuri specifically set out to "modernize" Fasolo's analysis of Piranesi's Campo Marzio. If such is the case, then Tafuri also just continued Fasolo's mistakes. On page 269-270: "In "The loneliness of the Project", Groys argues that the work practices of artists, philosophers, writers, scientists, and so on assume a fundamentally existentialist stance in the relation to their project to the external conditions of day to day life. He conceives of the project as intellectual work that is isolated and independent; its manifestations represent the project, but remain distinct from it. The very notion of the project, as Groys portrays it, invokes a fine balance between a common scale of time shared by all and a temporal field inhabited by an artist. In each instance that an artist proposes a project--to an ethical panel, funding committee, gallery, etc.--he or she advances a scheme for the future. To begin the project is to commence the realization of that programme. Anchored not to the vicissitudes of the present world, their vision is imbued with critique, hope of the anticipation of consequence. It is thus fundamentally utopian, an expression of the need to surpass the present: 'each project in fact represents a draft for a particular view of the future, and each case can be fascinating and instructive.' Despite the completeness with which the artist might conceive of this future, from the outside one may simple engage with its "evidence"." Choosing to "build" a virtual museum of architecture is definitely a project.
There's an 'old world' marketplace in the neighborhood 'down the hill' from the Palais de Justice. And apparantly there are (throughout the city?) a variety of non-Art Nouveu buildings by Horta--I saw one in passing (between the Cathedral and the Grand Place) that was like pseudo-fascist Pleknik or something, kind of haunting.
The more true question is: What are our current architectural styles called? There has never been just one style globally active at any given time. There are many diverse styles of architecture active today. Even within just a single year there are diverse styles active. For example,   1927   1930   1942   1956   1959   1964   1972   1983   1993   1996   2001   and that's just a very thin slice of any yearly cross-section.
I wonder if a worthwhile studio project might be to design a hypothetical '1963' building, for example, which would be a hybrid of a half dozen or so buildings that were actually dsigned or built in 1963. Perhaps if there is a current Zeitgeist, it's one of individual (consumer) choice.
The groupings simply came about by sorting the digital images I've accumulated over the years into a strict chronological order. More often than not I was surprised by what buildings are closely coeval. Certainly not the way I was used to seeing 'history'.
Is the result of Zeitgeist indeed now best described as collage?
I'm thinking of designing North Philly as hyper-suburban. Versailles plus ultra even.

Reenactment, in the philosophy of history sense of the word, is certainly an excellent mnemonic device. "Say again. Replicants are a mnemonic device?"
My mother was working as cook at the Baron von Ow villa in Harlaching when the Allies first bombed Munich. Harlaching, a wealthy neighborhood, seemed to be one of the targets, maybe because Rudolph Hess's (empty?) villa was just around the corner from the von Ow's. January two years ago I asked my mother to tell me all about the experience. Franziska Baroness von Ow, the daughter and youngest son, the upstairs maid and my mother huddled in the basement, while Konrad Baron von Ow and the two older sons were outside--did the Baron maybe have a rifle with him? One of the houses down the street toward Theodelinden Platz was badly hit. My mother remembers carrying blankets for the Baroness as they, and the whole neighborhood actually, went down to aid the victims.
Now on towards Chestnut Hill through Whitemarsh and the scant remains of Stotesbury Mansion, and glad to report ultimately finding that sculptural fountain terrace as centerpiece in the 1950s residential community.
I know how I came to these images. First I screen captured architectural images I generated using 2d and 3d CAD (computer aided design) software. Then I played with these images within the very basic 'photopaint' software I got with my scanner back in 1996. When I say played, I mean I merely utilized any numbers of image manipulation options on a given image, completely arbitrarily, for about 10 minutes or so, then saved the result, and then started over again with the same 'original' image, or moved on to a next 'original' image, or continued to manipulate the manipulated image I just stored, played with that some more, and then saved it as a whole new image.
Given your example's of architecture that engages the intellect and the notion that the most rewarding architecture "challenges the intellect and keeps its secret a mystery," isn't the Great Pyramid of Egypt then the most "rewarding" architecture of them all? And since the Great Pyramid is also more or less the oldest architecture still around, might not the rewards have gradually become less and less?
Virtual architecture can be many things, and not necessarily something facilitated by the internet. Virtual architecture that is facilitated by the internet, however, should reasonably utilize whatever the internet has to offer. There can be representation and there can be presentation. Virtual architecture can represent the world as we know it or it can present something other than the world as we know it. Personally, I think it more challenging and design-wise more stimulating to use virtual architecture facilitated by the internet to try presenting something other than what is already available.
Because I focused on creating an 'other than what is already there' museum I learned that collecting and exhibiting digital data only begets more and more and more digital data, i.e., I found myself with a[n architectural] collection that is virtually infinite. This virtual infinite characteristic comes from the intrinsic mutable nature of digital data. As an architect, I now see a virtual architecture challenge in now trying to design a virtual museum [of] architecture that matches the virtual infinity of its collection.
Is it ironic that I find myself reading and asking about limits on architecture right after having written something about a virtually infinite architecture?




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