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Patrik Schumacher's Right-wing Agenda

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davvid

Schumacher has made many controversial statements in the past that often echo sentiments of the political right in the US and in Europe. At some point I got used to dismissing his regular Facebook rants as half-baked thought exercises. I suspected that he was simply enjoying playing the role of devil's advocate. But now that we are Post-Brexit, and now that Trump has been elected, and now that Zaha Hadid is dead, my view of Schumacher has changed. I see him now as an explicit and influential advocate of plutocratic systems and values. And I wonder if he is positioning himself to become a bridge between Architecture culture and the values of the ultra-right-wing.

I also wonder how/if this should affect the way we view individual new projects by Zaha Hadid Architects. Are these buildings, to a degree, an expression of his professed "anarcho-capitalist" values? For those of us who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the great good, what is the appropriate response to these kinds of explicitly right-wing/plutocratic proposals and rhetoric? We hear people say over and over again that architecture isn't political, and yet it seems obvious that architects and their companies are definitely capable of being political. Should we oppose projects designed by Zaha Hadid Architects? Should we oppose the firm altogether? Or is that all too extreme? 

Any thoughts?

 
Nov 18, 16 1:32 pm
sameolddoctor

He is a fucking idiot and should be left alone to play with his hair. what will you achieve by "opposing the firm altogether"? You think they will lose clients?

Nov 18, 16 1:35 pm
davvid

Sameolddoctor, 

So you favor a hands off approach? Let him do whatever he wants?

Nov 18, 16 1:39 pm
sameolddoctor

What im trying to say is that most of us non-starfuckers (which is the majority here), dont really care about what he says or does. He is as inconsequential in the big scheme of things as most starchitects are.

Nov 18, 16 1:50 pm
archietechie

Davvid - http://www.aft3r.us/total-freedom/

To say that he has a god complex is an understatement.

Nov 18, 16 1:55 pm
davvid

Sameolddoctor,

I used to have that view, but now I think its just wishful thinking to assume he's inconsequential. I also see the "star/not-star" lens as something that leads us away from deeper examination into the morality and consequences of an Architect's work. The term "starchitect" doesn't distinguish a Shigeru Ban from a Patrik Schumacher. It organizes all architects by their fame, not by their social values/ethics or by the quality of their work. 

Nov 18, 16 2:12 pm
jla-x

Davvid, anarcho-capitalism is not necessarily right or left wing.   I wouldn't classify his views as either.  Also need to remember that the definition of right and left changes from county to country.  In Europe, right-wing is typically associated with national socialism and fascism.  That would render anarcho-capitalism opposite in a way.  In the US, right-wing is typically associated with republicanism social conservatism the laissez faire economics so in a way it shares some ideals on free markets, but that's still not really the same thing ...anarcho capitalism is one of several forms of libertarianism.  Libertarianism cannot by its nature be right or left as it is about individual autonomy... and the "natural" order that autonomy leads to  is consequential rather than an anticipated result...and therefore there is no political drive to "conserve or react" to any particular outcome...as with someone supporting natural selection as a process would have no opinion on which animals thrive or perish...

Nov 18, 16 2:17 pm
jla-x

PS imo makes some points, but I question his authenticity as to whether he is really a proponent of his anarcho ideologies or if he just picked a philosophy that allows him to continue building under morally questionable circumstances.  Are his anarcho capitalist philosophies a post rationale for his desired behavior and business practices....the chicken or the egg...

Nov 18, 16 2:27 pm
quondam...

davvid, you ask: "Should we oppose the firm altogether?" Who is this "we"? And what exactly does this "oppose" manifest as? You're not asking something that's "all too extreme" as much as all too unclear.

Nov 18, 16 2:34 pm
davvid

Quondam,

Earlier in that paragraph I defined who I mean by "we".

We see examples of architectural opposition all the time. People show up to community board meetings in massive groups to shut a project down. It happened to David chipperfield in NYC and in London this year.

Nov 18, 16 2:42 pm
quondam...

So you're talking about shutting down ZHA projects in the name of all "who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the great good"?

Nov 18, 16 2:58 pm
davvid

Well, there is a typo in there... I meant to type "greater good". 

Its a question. Do you have a thought? or are you just entirely confused by my post?

Nov 18, 16 3:23 pm
quondam...

davvid, I'm not confused at all, and I'm asking relevant questions. And I'm already expressing thoughts, which it seems you don't want to accept.

So you're talking about shutting down ZHA projects in the name of all "who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the greater good"? Is that what this is about?

When projects in New York or London were shut down due to massive groups at community board meetings, were any of these successful oppositions protesting the architects and their political ideology?

Isn't the AIA, for example, already a group "who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the greater good"? I don't know about these day, but it used to be part of the AIA's charter that one architect should not actively work against another architect, that is harm another architect's business.

Are you basically asking for all those  "who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the greater good" to actively work toward harming ZHA's business? If so, are you then prepared to accept the liability as well?

Do you have a thought?

Nov 18, 16 4:17 pm
davvid

"When projects in New York or London were shut down due to massive groups at community board meetings, were any of these successful oppositions protesting the architects and their political ideology?"

In the case of the NY one, they were opposing aspects of the specific project, but were also registering opposition to new development in NYC broadly. 

If they were protesting the project based on the politics of the firm designing it, would that be out of bounds? 

"Isn't the AIA, for example, already a group "who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the greater good"? I don't about these day, but it used to be part of the AIA's charter that one architect should not actively against another architect, that it harm another architect's business."

I've seen many instances lately where architects act against other architects. Architects will propose unsolicited alternatives to what a hired architect produced. Entire competitions have been set up around that premise. Architects show up to community board meetings to speak out. On this site and in other forums, architects will vocally oppose and discredit other architects. 

"Are you basically asking for all those  "who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the greater good" to actively work toward harming ZHA's business? If so, are you then prepared to accept the liability as well?"

So, people on here felt permited to speak out against Zaha and basically blame her for the deaths of workers, but with Patrik we now have to "be prepared to accept the liability" ? What is the reason for the sudden timidity? Is it because its easier to lie about Zaha, than to be honest about the politics and ideology behind a company?  

Nov 18, 16 4:35 pm
archietechie

davvid -

Your initial suggestion of dismissing the firm entirely was a tad extreme. If Ayn Rand taught us anything, it is not to succuumb to the collective for solutions.

Make no mistake, I don't quite agree with the man's methods either but having someone from the industry as vocal as he every once in awhile is isn't all that bad either (reasons you highlighted earlier).

As to his inconsequential influence brought up earlier, "parametricism" as he terms isn't exactly gaining a strong enough foothold maybe except for the AA to induce enough change. Seems his ranting has repulsed more academics than influence students to his school so why worry?

In short, "Who is John Galt?"

Nov 18, 16 4:38 pm
quondam...

The "protest" against ZHA and the death of workers was based on faulty journalism. ZHA sued the journalist and won the case.

davvid, you seem to be answering under the false assumption that I am against opposition or that I think opposition is not allowed. I asked you, What does this opposition (that you want to discuss here) manifest as? So far you haven't actually given me a workable answer.

Nov 18, 16 4:57 pm
Dangermouse

Patrik is just a voice among many.  His talks have prodigious amounts of audience eyeroll; when he goes on and on about "the superiority of the curve" and "anarcho-capitalism" there's an audible sigh of "give it a rest, you make pretty buildings and that's it!"  Outside of building for dictators, Chinese kleptocratic billionaires, and anyone else with cash to burn, he is mostly harmless.  

Nov 18, 16 5:04 pm
quondam...

Perhaps the only real way to protest Schumacher/his ideology is to set up one's own firm and rigorously advertise that your firm DOES NOT believe in the superiority of the curve nor anarco-capitalism nor design buildings for dictators, Chinese kleptocratic billionaires, and anyone else with cash to burn!

But, there's then a very strong chance that you too will be mostly harmless.

Nov 18, 16 5:33 pm
davvid

Quondam, 

I don't have a definitive answer for you. I opened the discussion because I am unsure.  

Opposition could mean written criticism online or in publications. It could mean actual protests, although I feel that this is perhaps the least effective in a professional context. It could mean asking pointed questions about his anarcho-capitalist views during Q&A following his lectures. It could mean packing into community meetings regarding his projects and asking how his views filter into the work.

Nov 18, 16 5:43 pm
quondam...

davvid, I hear you. But, I fall on the side of Schumacher/his ideology not being all that consequential outside a (let's face it) relatively small segment of the global architectural community.

I already went head-to-head here with Patrik, and I was successful at pointing out inconsistencies and fundamentally negative aspects of his "argument" at the time. The back and forth was starting to become quite constructive until a former forum member butted-in causing a wilful distraction.

I'd say the best protest then is to address Patrik and his ideology directly, ie, head-to-head or editorially. Just be sure, though, that you fully understand his point and that you fully understand your (counter-)point. He's definitely an intelligent (and successful) man, but he also has his weaknesses.

Nov 18, 16 6:01 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Q you should link that head to head.

Nov 18, 16 6:43 pm
Dangermouse

Q, who said anything about protesting Patrick or his ideology?  What a waste of energy! He's a cryptofascist, sure, but not terribly consequential.

Nov 18, 16 7:11 pm
quondam...

http://archinect.com/news/article/86857898/parametric-smackdown-patrik-schumacher-and-reinhold-martin-debate-at-calarts-conference/

A whole bunch of people participated in this thread of four pages. My part in it is relatively thin, but I stayed on my own track that sometimes dove-tailed with other's tracks. Patrik never responded to my last point--

Regarding Kartal-Pendik Masterplan: "Zaha Hadid Architects were encouraged to consider the site as a blank sheet. However, the parametricist taboo of unmediated juxtapositions implied that the adjacent context--in particular the incoming lines of circulation--had to be taken into account as input for the generation of a new urban geometry." (Schumacher, Autopoeisis, v. 2, p. 686.)

Does not this information itself imply that the site could just as well have been considered parametrically with the existing conditions included?

-----

Dangermouse, given davvid's opening, I take it that Schumacher and his ideology are essentially at the root of whatever-it-is that is to be (potentially) opposed.

Nov 18, 16 7:21 pm
davvid

Quondam, Thank you for linking to the old thread. I've started reading through it. I'll continue tomorrow. 

Nov 18, 16 10:29 pm
Xenakis
I'd like to see a debate between Schumaker and Teddy Cruz

I thought he was one of us - promoting parametric as a tool of architecture - but my dear boy Patrick went over to the dark side and wants to weaponize architecture - another Speer
Nov 18, 16 11:49 pm
quondam...

Xenakis, what does "weaponize architecture" mean in terms of Schumacher/ZHA? I just want to have a clear idea of what that means.

Perhaps related to the topic here at large, for the last year or so I started to wonder whether (Schumacher's brand of) Parametricism hasn't or won't really become mainsteam (for lack of another term) because only a relatively few (like ZHArchitects itself) actually know how to do it in terms of designing a whole/large building. For example, Schumacher's 2 volume Autopoeisis contains virtually nothing about (how to use) parametrics as an actual architectural design tool. I when I see (pictures of) ZHA buildings I honestly don't know how the architects were able to achieve such designs. Although I've been using cad for 33 years, I haven't evolved into scripting, and I'm curious as to how widespread the knowledge of scripting as a working architectural design tool is throughout the global architectural profession.

Nov 19, 16 12:08 pm
jla-x

I don't see the connection between his anarcho - capitalism and parametrics.   

Nov 19, 16 3:21 pm
quondam...

I wouldn't discount a connection between "his anarcho - capitalism" and (his) Parametricism so quickly. Has there even already been an investigation of the two in relation to each other. The chapter headings of The Autopoiesis of Architecture: A New Agenda for Architecture vol. 2 seem to suggest there probably is some connection: 6. The Task of Architecture, 7. The Design Process, 8. Architecture and Society, 9. Architecture and Politics, 10. The Self-descriptions of Architecture, 11. Parametricism--The Parametric Paradigm and the Formation of a New Style, 12. Epilogue--The Design of a Theory. Could "his anarcho - capitalism" be the beginning of volume 3?

Nov 19, 16 5:41 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

we would also have to become familiar with the work of Niklas Luhmann to really make that connection. i am reading his work when I can.

Nov 19, 16 6:24 pm
Xenakis
Weaponize architecture - it's social engineering - a type of rationalism to impose thought control via the environment
Nov 19, 16 7:51 pm
quondam...

Xenakis, thanks. When you combined weaponized architecture and Speer I thought maybe you might have meant like the architectures of the Holocaust--concentration camps as WMD. I see Speer's architecture as grandeur and intimidation via grandeur, which I suppose is a form of social engineering.

Otherwise...

davvid, did you start this thread after you came across this:

https://www.dezeen.com/2016/11/18/patrik-schumacher-social-housing-public-space-scrapped-london-world-architecture-festival-2016/

Nov 19, 16 8:16 pm
gruen
Trump needs a Speer but Pattie is the wrong boy, he won't do gold plated toilets for Trumps dumps.
Nov 20, 16 12:28 pm

If you follow Patrik on FB he just posted a long explanation of how his recent remarks have been truth-seeking. Read it and decide for yourself.

Nov 20, 16 12:30 pm
quondam...

For the most part, I agree with Patrik's latest facebook post. In the opening post of this thread davvid wrote: "For those of us who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the great[er] good." This sets up an opposition that my well be false in that Patrik Schumacher is just as well someone "who see Architecture as a profession and a culture that should committed to the great[er] good." If I were to participate here in opposing Schumacher, I wouldn't start by putting myself on some sort of higher pedestal, rather I'd start by trying to understand Schumacher's position and then seeing what I agree and/or disagree with.

For all we really know, Schumacher may ultimately contribute more to the "greater good" via architecture than any of us here ever will.

Nov 20, 16 1:23 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

exactly Q. are we sure anarcho-capatilism is not better for the greater good than say "socialism"?

Nov 20, 16 1:35 pm
z1111

Isn't anarcho-capitilism a predicate to Social Darwinism? 

Nov 20, 16 3:30 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

copy paste.......Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty, private property, and free markets. Anarcho-capitalists believe that, in the absence of statute (law by decree or legislation), society would improve itself through the discipline of the free market (or what its proponents describe as a "voluntary society").

Nov 20, 16 3:42 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

.....Social Darwinism is a name given to various phenomena emerging in the second half of the 19th century, trying to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest in human society.[1][2] The term itself emerged in the 1880s. The term Social Darwinism gained widespread currency when used after 1944 by opponents of these earlier concepts. The majority of those who have been categorised as social Darwinists did not identify themselves by such a label.[3]

Nov 20, 16 3:43 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

in the world of architecture did the modernist's approach to social design solve anything? (think social housing) or did it compound issues?

Nov 20, 16 3:47 pm
z1111

Rephrase:

Do you think anarcho-capitalism will result in Social Darwinism?

Nov 20, 16 3:51 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

No, not the version of social darwinism you are probably thinking of.....contemprary capatilism already allows an economic darwinism which often translates to social darwinism. today's capatlism is maintained by states enforcing social rules and regulations. the prefix "anarcho" suggests a constant denial of any enforced state of social rules and regulations. this means at any moment if a private entity gains enough capital to demand protection to maintain their capital they would be denied or not protected by states enforcing rules and regulations, because there can be no State. anytime a State is formed it would have to be disolved, so in theory the biggest fish would not always win but the currently fittest would win........this is a form of natural selection but would be one that keeps the playing field level constantly (in theory). which in theory means just because you come from a wealthy family and attended an ivy league institution there is no mechanism that will protect your inherited existence from being maintained if you do not try to play. (in theory). but no economic gaining individual would allow for a scenario in which they have no protection, so in short a State of some sortbwould eventually form anyway........and if you do not volutneer to play there is also no State to protect you......so its not the social darwinism that may insenuate systemic oppression, but one in which each individual is responsible for themselves......but its not really possible even in its purest form.

Nov 20, 16 4:45 pm
z1111

anytime a State is formed it would have to be disolved, so in theory the biggest fish would not always win but the currently fittest would win........this is a form of natural selection but would be one that keeps the playing field level constantly (in theory).

fittest would win........this is a form of natural selection

That is not a form, but is in fact natural selection and therefore Social Darwinism.

So, to what purpose is anachro-capitalism? A just and humane society?

What place have the disabled or those with mental problems have in this society?

Is Schumacher suggesting that all wealth be redistributed so that everyone starts from a level playing field?

Nov 20, 16 5:14 pm
davvid

"If I were to participate here in opposing Schumacher ... I'd start by trying to understand Schumacher's position and then seeing what I agree and/or disagree with.

For all we really know, Schumacher may ultimately contribute more to the "greater good" via architecture than any of us here ever will"

I really don't think we need to understand Schumacher completely in order to recognize what he is angling for. We don't need to waste our time getting in his head only for him to claim that we're still mischaracterizing his positions. He is using hifalutin language to give his thought experiments an air of credibility. Its this academic language, and of course his association with ZHA, that gets him invited to speak at events like the World Architecture Festival, where he only ends up sharing a kind of child-like "if Patrik were mayor" daydream. 

In my view, it is far too late to give his ideas about capitalism the benefit of the doubt. I am not going to indulge in these kinds of sophomore-year Ayn Rand-ish thought experiments. I have put in enough time to know that I am not a libertarian ... no where near a libertarian.

Nov 20, 16 5:45 pm
null pointer

Schumacher doesn't use facts to argue his case.

I've seen him make completely non-factual statements here and base a whole theory of how the world operates on such statement.

 

He's the archetypal architecture professor. Too much time in the studio, too little time in hard academia - no background in economics, no background in real social sciences.

Nov 20, 16 5:48 pm
quondam...

davvid, you certainly have the right to your own opinion, but you can't speak on behalf of "we".

Having read all that's been added to this thread so far, I can't find any reason to "oppose projects designed by Zaha Hadid Architects or oppose the firm altogether."

davvid, can you show us how Schumacher's ideology/rhetoric are directly related to projects designed by Zaha Hadid Architects or the firm altogether? And if there is a direct relationship, can you then explain why the designs and/or firm altogether should be opposed?

Nov 20, 16 6:03 pm
davvid

Quondam, If you don't want to be included in "we", then you're not. Its that simple. 

Any community that ZHA is working in should be made aware of the politics behind the firm. For me its very easy to decide whether or not to support a company based of its political agenda. It doesn't matter if its a fancy architecture firm or Chick-fil-A. Theres nothing inherently anti-gay about a chicken sandwich, but when that product generates profit for a politically engaged company, it becomes a political matter. 

Nov 20, 16 6:25 pm
quondam...

Who is this "we" then that you're speaking on behalf of?

And what exactly is your message to "any community that ZHA is working in?"

Really, can you provide us with something more that vague analogies and personal opinions?

Nov 20, 16 6:45 pm
davvid

Quondam, 

I already defined "we"... but you didn't accept it. Instead, you accepted the possibility that Schumacher's world of privatization and "luxury in the highest order" might actually serve the greater good more than anything the rest of us are doing. Thats exactly the kind of absurdity that happens in these long-winded intellectualized discussions. 

The message is to simply be aware of the politics of the company, and the post-Zaha trajectory that Schumacher is on.. It seems to me that Schumacher is becoming more extreme in his positions. If a community or an institution decides to make the long-term investment in a building designed by ZHA, are they willing to accept the potentially embarrassing prospect of being aligned with a more bizarre/extreme Schumacher in the near future? 

Nov 20, 16 7:37 pm
quondam...

What "long-winded intellectualized discussions?" You haven't discussed anything!

So your message is "Beware. You might be embarrassed." ?

Nov 20, 16 7:49 pm
davvid

The kinds of long winded discussions that you enjoy having. I'm not going to be able to provide you with that. I'm sorry. 

And yes, it is important for institutions or companies to not be embarrassed by the firms they work with. Its hard for me to imagine a major arts organization in NYC, like MoMA, for example, aligning itself with Schumacher after what he has said about public spaces and housing. 

Nov 20, 16 8:12 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

z1111. i see no other way to read the anarcho part of any ism than to level the playing field, which is also what is somehow meant by "socialism". in complete anarchy there is no order, so one must presume the battlefield is level. I am not sure that is what Schumacher is suggesting especially with his Liberland association. will read some more on that..........to your humane question I think you have to consider what we are discussing here in its context. we are discussing the correct method of social governance by those who could govern and to be more precise those who are capable of acquiring power. its a moot point to discuss those who can not be empowered without those capable of acquiring and creating power. we are discussing if the fittest acquires power how do they ensure a just existence for all, while further attempting to attain more power. it goes without saying - any ism only becomes a tool of those able to acquire and maintain power. so I like the anarcho part and I find capitalism a fair assessment of one's efforts to a degree if purely non creative labor. its hard to gauge creative labor and i think that is always the basis for a winning system and therefore a market serving system is always presumed best.....let me read some more Schumacher.......and yeah null pointer, he is a trained philosopher, its not a matter of true or false, its a thought excercise.

Nov 20, 16 8:33 pm

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