What are the cultural ingredients of architecture today?


form follows function
--well over a century ago

less is more
--four generations ago

You could say OMA's Content of a decade ago kind of mixed architecture with cultural ingredients.

crumble follows crumple
--something Orhan wrote last week

Has the recipe been rewritten lately?

May 21, 13 9:29 pm

Design like you give a damn?  Disaster is on the horizon.

May 21, 13 9:43 pm

Cultural ingredients?  Architecture has become hipsterized along with many other things, and even the old school guys are caving in to this trend.

Culture, huh?  This reminds me of a joke tossed around in childhood.

Q:  What's the difference between Los Angeles and yogurt?

A:  Yogurt has culture.

May 21, 13 10:17 pm


May 21, 13 11:48 pm

as someone in the american north east, i didn't realize architects were doing anything other than shingle and colonial style houses.  someone please explain?  as far as i'm concerned, if you ask the average person to draw a house that's what they'll draw.  that's architecture here.  that artsy stuff?  irrelevant.  

May 21, 13 11:59 pm

he who smelt it dealt it

May 22, 13 9:53 am

$ is a perrenial ingredient of architecture. Is China building so much because now they have lots of money? Yes. Does Dubai exist because of lots of money? Yes.

Just did a google search koolhaas yes culture.

"Junkspace pretends to unite, but it actually splinters. It creates communities not of shared interest or free association, but of identical statistics and unavoidable demographics, an opportunistic weave of vested interests. … Its financing is a deliberate haze, clouding opaque deals, dubious tax breaks, unusual incentives, exemptions, tenuous legalities, transferred air rights, joined properties, special zoning districts, public-private complicities. Funded by bonds, lottery, subsidy, charity, grant: an erratic flow of yen, euros, and dollars (¥€$)."


Let me ask you about your quote about the need to "accept the world in all it's sloppiness and somehow make that into a culture." Does this still reflect your current thinking?

Rem Koolhaas: Well, yes and no. Of course, behind every project we do there is a kind of vast critical apparatus of doing better. We're not trying to emulate the current mess. We are just as interested in the sublime. Actually, that is why I'm talking about the other buildings we are doing, because they are really exceptionally ambitious in terms of not emulating confusion or something, but ambitious as architectural works in and of themselves.

on architecture and capitalism . . .

Rem Koolhaas: I think what Mies tried to do is find a way to make the sublime compatible with capitalism . . . extract from capitalism the kind of elements that are sublime. . . . I think that the first real engagement with the aesthetics of capitalism is a kind of transcending it.

I think that after that, perhaps (Robert) Venturi and (Denise) Scott Brown were the second wave of looking at capitalism, perhaps with a greater sense of realism. The presence of capitalism and the results of capitalism were much more blatantly present, making it clear that you could almost not transcend it anymore, and you needed to find some accommodation with its aesthetics.

And I think that if you place Mies in the late 40's or early 50's, and if you place the beginning of the Venturi's thing in the late 60's or early 70's, then 20 years later of course globalization and the market euphoria become even more unfettered, and that is why I had to begin to look, with the Harvard project, at shopping, because I think that at that point almost all architectural production had contracted and focused on this one program, which in itself had morphed in such a way that it now included everything, all components. So for me, it was very important to address that, and also to see whether those demands had actually fundamentally changed the kind of spaces that we produce and the spaces that we need.

So you could say that the Venturi's are in the middle in terms of having a kind of positive relationship with the iconography of capitalism. Mies in a way stood above it, and Junkspace was a more internal look, when the positive attitude of the Venturi's was no longer tenable and where we had to admit and realize it was actually a much more ominous development. So, in a way, Junkspace is a theory, and what for me is very important about this building (the IIT Student Center) is that it tried to really work not so much within the same vocabulary but see what an architect could still do within that syndrome or within that regime.

You're so good at defining the reality of the world - the good things and the horrible things - that sometimes when I read your writings, it's very hard for me to see what you actually think about the things you're describing.

Rem Koolhaas: There are so many opinions in architecture. I think in the beginning it was just kind of exciting to describe and not to give so many opinions. If you read them (Koolhaas's writings), you also feel that you are in the presence of a very critical mind, or at least I hope so. Certainly in the case of Junkspace I think that should be overwhelming. But at the same time, I don't want to simplify things and say I'm against them when they have a degree of inevitability, but I would say our buildings are more and more able to really disconnect from those realities, or try to make the best out of them.

Is Bjarke "Yes is More" Ingels architecture's leading hipster?

Is "Design like you don't give a damn" implicit?

In perspective then: a monster[ous] grand tour[ism of] the real taboo domain.

Is Network Culture ever going to be a book?
"Look Bullwinkle, a message in a bottle!"
"Fan-mail from some flounder?"

Scripting. 3D printing. Ride the wave into the future?

"Architects inherently want to make the world a better place."

I attended a Denise Scott Brown lecture back in the (early-mid) 90s. She used the word 'boring" several times, as in, "Here's another boring plan." During the Q&A I wanted to ask, "So, are you trying to tell us that a bore is more?"

May 22, 13 11:28 am
won and done williams

Form follows granite countertops.

May 22, 13 12:31 pm

"Going green means saving green"

"if it's not shiny, it won't grab your attention"

"Who cares if it can't be built, it looks awesome on the internet"

"Gas prices keep soaring? Embrace Coal!  That won't run out for at least a year!"

"It's not inefficient if it comes with a plaque!"

"Depressing Climates = Interior Design Hotbeds"

"If you can't describe it, you're doing it right"

"Form Follows Function, unless you're in a state with a flower in it's description... then function follows flower pedals"

"Grass grows anywhere"

"What's the purpose of an awning if I'm yawning?"

May 22, 13 1:15 pm

Form follows profit.

For the developer, if not for the architect.

May 22, 13 2:57 pm
chatter of clouds

isn't 'hipster'a word mostly used by 'hipsters'. i'm not sure whether it indicates monocular vision or falls into the blindspot.

but in my opinion, the loss of that word  would be a gain. its a disturbing cynical word that contains no lifetime within it, no development or substance. only a static substance viewed cynically and in turn, a cynicsm made into substance.

3d printing is good to puzzle over. what does it mean for the status of the original object and its copy, its blueprint? are we heading to vernacular architecture? is classicism now to be found in the software world - is that were the intellect is? can we understand scripted/printed architecture without understanding the technical languages producing it? and if not, will it leave us outside, like art critics who can rationalize, structure events and make connections but who will never be able to create artwork themselves? will architecture die out as a seperate category of production, as a seperate construction discipline? if you can print  out- using the same principles- a building, a car, a human organ- then do you need to still carry the expertise technical architectural knowledge? will we reah a PIY (print-it-yourself) architecture era? and, what about the nostalgia for the past? will new stylistic tendencies such as parametricism win out or will the past styles actually be increasingly accessible as options prior to print-out? which is to ask whether the novel technology dissociate from the present intellectually novel associations  to serve a much more primordian urge and that is the recreation of past architecture.


May 23, 13 4:07 am

tammuz, is FACTUM arte a possible proto-type of future architectural business? Like the architect could spec Duchamp Fountains for all the men's rooms to add some culture to the act of purgation.

Is the real value then in the 3D data file that tells the 3D printer what to do?

(Although I very much doubt I'll personally get to see it, nevertheless) Could someone that inherits all of Quondam's 2D and 3D file data someday in the future decide to 3D print it all out and thus make an actual Museum of Architecture?!?

note to self: rewrite my will to make sure I bequeath all of Quondam's data to an entity that has the money and operation to actually turn Quondam into a reality. I'm sure Disney could do it, but it would be funny to leave it all to China. Why am I leaning toward Dubai?

Next time someone asks me what I do, I'll tell them I'm very busy becoming posthumously famous.

May 23, 13 9:59 am

The ingredients are summed up clearly here.

May 23, 13 3:02 pm

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