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    Living in Paranoia 2

    By stoicrise
    Oct 16, '06 10:58 AM EST

    My ideas stem from the idea of paranoia in contrast to security (which in turn makes people feel comfortable).

    The idea of an unknown enemy is a big derivative from the definition of paranoia, and the basis for many of its psychological connotations. But even our perceived enemies, ones that we can constitute a threat with a color level, have a heightened level of fear based on our global paranoia. Osama Bin Laden is now almost a demigod of fear, evil, and terror.

    AP, my ideas to design a project that would foster and feed off of paranoia would solely be a satirical project. Our Embassy now looks like and are symbols of both our power and fear. The American embassy in Berlin I recently went to, you could barely get close enough to see. Bollards, barbed wire, concrete dividers, security cameras, security officers, check points, it look liked we were preparing for war. So if this is our need and purpose why don't we build an embassy that scares people that come near it? Emphasizing our power, money, and global domination. Like what would the border security station look like at the Nepal / Tibet border in order for the Chinese to stop Tibetans from fleeing, just as an idea. With communistic power and symbolism, what would that structure materialize as? But I think that wouldn't fly because my satire and critique might be seen as I truly believe that Tibetans should be detained and held under Chinese rule.

    I have done a lot of research on the psychological meaning of paranoia and architecture's effect on the mind, but have not been able to truly define what architecture does in response except for bollards and the like.

    Dawid, urban form has been defined a lot by paranoia. Hausmann's design for Paris has made it a beautiful city, but a major player in it's inception was to thwart potential revolutions. Modern Suburbia and gated communities bring it even further into our homes, the middle class castle.

    Reluctantly, my project is moving into the realm of the Embassy. Looking at the original purpose of the embassy, a hospitable home and national emblem, but how to implement its security needs post-9/11.

    But the idea of a border crossing building still is in the back of my head. Breaking down our psychological fears, they range from micro to macro fears, but each level of fear caused by our paranoia we have set up levels of security. From cloths for the insecure to Star Wars for the insecure government.


    • will be curious to see how this gets refined. all interesting topics/issues, but covering a lot of ground.

      for embassies and security, even before 9/11, there was one in arch record in brazil (? somewhere in south america?) that was very heavy-handed in its security aspects. the article pretty much critiqued it based on its fortification or appearance of.

      also gwathmey siegel was working on some embassies that i think were also fairly security-overboard. check out metropolis magazine between '99 and '02. (if i can remember, i'll look for these articles. used them in a class about cities and disasters/catastrophes.)

      Oct 16, 06 11:41 am  · 

      I feel like this also relates to the issue of vulnerability. Paranoia and the need for security are only felt because one feels somehow vulnerable to some kind of attack, whether that is physical or psychological. But from which perspective do you look at it? From the person who is paranoid or the potential attacker? I suppose that gets to a dichotomy of fear and desire. In that sense, a bank in a poor neighborhood or a water-storage facility in a desert refugee camp are both problems of paranoia.

      Oct 16, 06 11:57 am  · 

      sw, i think you might be thinking of the emabassy in lima peru by arquitectonica

      Oct 16, 06 11:59 am  · 

      fascinating topic. the more you talk about it the more interested i become... i agree w/Steven that you've bitten off quite a bit.
      good luck focusing your inquiry...

      as for the satirical project - I love that idea, and could easily imagine a thesis that addressed the various directions an architecture concerned with a particular definition of 'paranoia' could take.
      2-3 proposals:
      same site, same program, different definition of 'paranoia'...or at least different strategies for dealing with it...


      Oct 16, 06 12:11 pm  · 

      yes, that's the one, dot.

      Oct 16, 06 12:20 pm  · 

      interesting topic, but why so far reaching, why a border or an Embassy?

      What about a house for a paranoid schizophrenic? You could design two houses, one that the paranoid would design for him/herself that is born out of their paranoia; the other could be something that tries to alleviate the paranoia. It'd become a kind of dialog akin to the internal struggle that a paranoid schizophrenic feels; a physical manifestation of damnation and salvation…

      Oct 16, 06 12:55 pm  · 

      you may trying to reconcile a concept with a program too early. Consider oversaturating yourself with the conceptual research, literary references, schizophrenia, nightmares, photos, dating guides. You may end up discovering that the oversaturation points to a project less obvious and more permeable and conceptually accepting than the programs you may have already become fixated upon (the embassy, the border). Post refinement, you may end up with a phone booth, a jail, a laundromat, or a cannery.

      ask yourself an abstract question, like "what is an architecture of orange?" The path from A to B in this instance may serve as a guide to a more willing project than your initial assumptions of program for "an architecture of paranoia."

      Oct 16, 06 2:14 pm  · 

      oh...and this notion. If an architecture is all orange, you no longer see orange.

      Oct 16, 06 2:18 pm  · 

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