Why is Sanford Kwinter so popular???????????


i'd also be interested to hear a serious answer to this question. preferably from someone with some personal experience of kwinter.

i consider myself an ambitious reader of arch texts, but his are still mostly opaque to me - certainly not anything that can influence my thinking, since i only have a fuzzy idea of what's being proposed. i've tried one book, given up, only to buy another because i wasn't willing to accept that here was a celebrated architecture theorist from whom i could glean so little!

i expect that what is so murky to me in text form may be better comprehensible in dialogue? maybe as critic, professor, lecturer, his point-of-view becomes more clear?  

Jun 18, 17 12:46 pm

I never heard of this guy, so I googled him and found this snippet regarding some book he wrote:

Tracing the transformation of twentieth-century epistemology to the rise of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, Kwinter explains how the demise of the concept of absolute time, and of the classical notion of space as a fixed background against which things occur, led to field theory and a physics of the "event."

I immediately started to laugh.  My gibberish detector was screaming off the wall.  This kind of pretentious junk is not worth a second of your time unless it's part of some course you have to pass in school.  Architects design and prepare documents to build buildings that perform a function, repel the weather, and don't fall down.  Hopefully, they look nice, too.  If you can do that, call it good.

As to why he is popular, it's because "intellectuals" don't want to admit to other "intellectuals" that they don't understand a word of it, so they nod knowingly and hope their own befuddlement isn't discovered.

This stuff is one of many reasons why the profession is declining into total irrelevance.

Jun 18, 17 2:22 pm



" was a celebrated architecture theorist from whom i could glean so little."         

This is my new favorite phrase...  not directed at any one person, but at all who unfortunately qualify.

Jun 18, 17 3:09 pm

i have always considered Kwinter a very qualified philosopher first and then in certain instances applicable to the "creative" process in architecture, chreods and what not....his best essay for architecture are on Futurism and anything related to Kafka and or Bergson

Jun 18, 17 3:21 pm

Stop being to anti-intellectual.

And to @geezertect: No. I don't think architecture is just about "design and prepare documents to build buildings that perform a function, repel the weather, and don't fall down." What a depressing way to look at the world and architecture. Also, judging (unfairly and badly) an established theorist based on a snippet is shallow and arrogant.                             

Jun 19, 17 6:18 pm

But those are the only aspects of architecture that you will get paid for. If you think clients value bullshit theories, you must have had a different professional experience than me.

Non Sequitur

Thank you. Now I don't have to address the topic again.

So is coolboy96 a bot that just plagiarized one of Steven Ward's comments from 2011 and added some question marks to the title of the post that it was plagiarized from ... or did I miss something here?

Jun 19, 17 7:43 pm

Yup, that looks about accurate.


who is this and wh you so obsessed with this guy?

Jun 22, 17 12:01 pm

who's obsessed?

Jun 22, 17 12:50 pm

never heard of him

Jun 22, 17 2:21 pm

Poor Sanford K. Winter...  He's been gone a long time, and folks are still getting his name wrong!

Jun 22, 17 4:25 pm
He's a master of pseudo intellectual bullfuckery with the ability to write and talk endlessly about nothing. It's an academia wet dream.
Jun 22, 17 8:18 pm
Also, having met him, regardless of substance, he is sincerely charming which is very important for making connections/getting things published/garnering notoriety
Jun 22, 17 8:20 pm
He helped me remove some gutters once.
Jun 23, 17 9:45 pm

with chreods?

He tips well and is a good listener?

Jun 24, 17 12:50 am

One of the Kardashians of Architecture.

Jun 24, 17 1:57 pm

Ouch! But his name does start with a K, so he kwalifies...


Using the Kwinter quotation, "the effect of unforeseeable complexity that arises from multiple interfering structures blindly pursuing their own clockwork logic," as a case in point, one only has to compare it to the following Tafuri quotation, "The clash of the formal organisms, immersed in a sea of formal fragments, dissolves even the remotest memory of the city as a place of Form," and "the whole organism seems to be a clockwork mechanism," to see that Tafuri's misinterpretations of the Campo Marzio still guide those that do not know better.
Perhaps the Kwinter quotation really defines the 'Tafuri misinterpretation of Piranesi-effect.'
1999.06.07 23:49

I read Sanford Kwinter's "Mack 1 (and Other Mystic Visitations)" last night and early this morning. Back in mid-October 1997, instead of going to the opening of Guggenheim Bilbao, Kwinter and Reiser went to a reenactment--the fiftieth anniversary reenactment of Yeager's October 14, 1947 breaking of the sound barrier. Kwinter calls the event a "commemorative re-enaction, of perhaps the second most significant accomplishment in the history of twentieth-century space," and, because architects did not somehow latch on to this accomplishment (back in the late 1940s), late twentieth-century architectural accomplishments like Guggenheim Bilbao are not as important as they seem. Apparently, architecture missed the real Zeitgeist "boat," however, and most thankfully, a reenactment can come to the rescue. 
After reading, a few things started entering my mind, like didn't John Hejduk's Silent Witnesses architecturally address this very Zeitgeist? It's hard to grasp the impact of Silent Witnesses by just the images within The Mask of Medusa, but I still vividly remember seeing the models in person at Cooper Union (Spring Break, 1977). Hejduk definitely did not miss the boat, or the submarine, or the lunar module.
2011.11.12 10:04

Jun 24, 17 10:07 pm

He is a fan of yoga?

Jun 24, 17 11:24 pm

So you made a profile to ask that one single question???????????

Jun 25, 17 7:36 am

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