Columbia GSAPP, AMO and Archis Mag Join forces?


Anyone know whats up with this press release? Sounds like it could be an interesting, if vague idea:

Ole Bouman/Rem Koolhaas/Mark Wigley

countdown to VOLUME

a project by ARCHIS + AMO + CLAB + _ _ _
to go beyond Magazine, Office, and School

Monday February 28, 6:30-8:00pm
Wood Auditorium, Avery Hall Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University
Followed by a reception in Tom's cafe.

For press accreditations:

Architecture has reached three of its most respected limits:
- its definition as the art of making buildings
- its discourse through scripted printed media and static exhibitions
- its training as a matter of master and apprentice
The pushing of these limits challenges the mandate and self conception of architecture. Architecture needs new modes of operation, converging the creation, the mediation and the appreciation of space.

That's why we launch:


Global idea platform to voice architecture, anyway, anywhere, anytime.

An engine for architectural practice, a test ground for world class architectural thinking. An instrument of cultural invention, and re-invention. It will be dedicated to experimentation and the production of new forms of architectural discourse.

Protagonists in this project:

1) ARCHIS ­ pushing beyond the magazine
an independent and experimental think tank devoted to the process of real-time cultural reflexivity through timely and provocative special issues. ARCHIS is evolving from a celebrated bimonthly bilingual magazine monitoring and extending the latest trends to a multi-media platform.

2) AMO ­ pushing beyond the office
a research and design studio that applies architectural thinking to disciplines beyond the borders of architecture and urbanism ­ including sociology, technology, and politics. AMO operates in tandem with its companion company the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, an internationally renowned firm, based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

3) CLAB ­ pushing beyond the school
an experimental research unit devoted to the development of new forms of communication in architecture. The Columbia Laboratory for Architectural Broadcasting ­ has been set up as a semi-autonomous think and action tank at GSAPP. CLAB maintains a portfolio of creative partnerships to broaden the range and increase the intensity of architectural discourse, acting as a kind of training camp and energy source for incubating new channels for debate about architecture.

What will VOLUME become in 2005:
In non-hierarchical order:

Stay tuned!

Feb 28, 05 5:21 pm

Could be interesting...
or could be just another desperate attempt at self-justification in the face of eroding professional boundaries and overwhelming media saturation.

Feb 28, 05 5:45 pm  · 

I am sure it is a desperate reaction to those issues you mention, but I have faith in Mark Wigley. He doesn't stoop to mere self-justification.

Feb 28, 05 6:00 pm  · 

To: architecthetics
Subject: AD[vocating] PUBLICITY
Date: 2001.01.23

After reading through "Bold Architecture at a Price" I asked myself, "What do you call architects if they are not "star" architects? "Non-star" architects seems to be the logical, grammatical answer, but such a label doesn't exactly elicit the correct notion that an architect that is not a "star" architect is (really) an architect whose buildings do not receive widespread publicity (even though the great majority of architects today design perfectly acceptable buildings).

The real point of the article is about getting publicity, and publicity via architecture is just one way for universities to get publicity (now-a-days). As the article well states, architecture is very costly, hence there is much expected from architecture, indeed, today there seems to be much, much more expected from architecture -- the proverbial "more bang for the buck".

Should architectural education begin teaching students how to design buildings that generate publicity? Of course, that includes doing a building correctly in terms of structure and function, yet getting publicity appears to be a new and already prevalent user demand that requires compliance as well. And isn't it common sense for architects to supply what the client asks for?

Then again, it really isn't the architecture or architect that generate the publicity. Rather, it is the advertisement driven publicity/news 'machine'. Exactly one year and two days ago, Hugh Pearman posted the following here at architecthetics:

"To the point: is it enough for a building to exist principally as a media image? Everyone in the world with media access knows what the Sydney Opera House looks like, and Bilbao is in the same category. Bilbao functions rather well as an art gallery. I'm told that Sydney is hopeless for opera. But functional considerations do not apply here.

Certainly these buildings need to exist: a virtual-reality image of an unbuilt building is not the same. Beyond that, the Somerset Maugham rule applies: the image is so often better than the actuality. Which means, of course, that architectural photographers are as important as architects. Do we care?"

My point being that the above quotation is indicative of the fact that entities other than architects and architecture generate the publicity.

My feeling has been all along, however, that architects and architecture are well capable of generating their own publicity, but professional 'decorum' has for the most part made that attitude an ethically and aesthetically wrong position for architects to take. This 'wrong-ness' is really just a fabrication, an artificial restraint, and, as always, it is precisely at these artificial points where 'institutions' are the weakest, where the decay happens, where things begin to fall apart. I wholeheartedly advocate architects to embrace publicity as a new, additional ingredient that makes good architecture, the same as firmness, commodity, and delight make good architecture. Furthermore, I hope it takes less than twenty years for architects to begin creating and directing web sites that are just the same as television channels.

Steve Lauf

Feb 28, 05 7:18 pm  · 

if anyone goes, please take pics

Feb 28, 05 10:48 pm  · 

or not...i guess this was a few hrs ago on the east coast

Feb 28, 05 10:55 pm  · 

My curiousity won me over and I decided to go to the event as it is only 15 min from my apartment. I must say that it was very inspiring and I left feeling kind of optimistic. They were not simply talking about self-justification. Rita's post above effectively describes part of this effort, but it gets much more ambitious than that. Their proposal is also very vague in its infancy, but their intentions are clear.

Bouman. Koolhaas and Wigley are proposing a lofty and ambitious effort to completely redefine architecture and save our profession from near "extinction" (their word, not mine) in a fast changing world.

It was refreshing to Rem, a self described starchiect up in arms about the low fees we get paid. He even presented amusing graphs to make his point and show how our fees have actually gone down over the past 40 years in terms of percentage. The charts also showed how architects and their firms lack the ability to make money and grow. Yes, even OMA! While every other profession sees a growth as time goes on, architecture remains flat with no momentum or direction. This has to change. He made the point that his office is going to take the lead in becoming "open" and responsive (see open source architecture) in an attempt to change the profession.

Wigley discussed creating an "open source network" between architecture schools to share knowledge and information. He proposed that architecture schools make an attempt to open themselves up to the rest of the campus, instead of being an isolated and separate entity. The same criticism is leveled for the profession.

The 3 also seem to be making attempt at making architecture more "dangerous" or controversial. They discussed being more politically and socially active both as architects and through our architecture. Do not wait for a client, Redesign the client. Redesign the site.

Archis Magazine plans to reinvent itself along these lines and distinguish itself from the other formulaic architectural magazines by concentrating less on "sexy images" and final buildings as objects, and more on the "why?". They wish to revive the lost art of criticism.

Like I said, it is all a little vague -- even they had trouble defining the details of this collaboration -- but their optimism was refreshing. With a little optimism and support from the rest of the architectural community, they may have some success. If you are interested, you can subscribe at Archis. Hopefully Columbia will post the transcript.

Feb 28, 05 11:01 pm  · 
vado retro

architecture must exist otherwise there will be no backdrops for the car commercial.

Feb 28, 05 11:07 pm  · 

sounds exciting, i am glad that they are acknowledging the fact that the profession is dying and needs to go into another direction. let the 21st century renaissance arrive.

Mar 1, 05 3:02 am  · 

I left out an important point made by Rem that sums up the night pretty well. He described how he, as a starchitect, is the center of so much attention, yet he is still not taken seriously in the world outside of architecture. This fact was posed as an analogy for the current and relatively impotent state of our profession. He made it clear that we can no longer settle for status quo.

Mar 1, 05 9:33 am  · 

To: design-l
Subject: "there's never been a design that proved something"
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 13:09:33 -0500

One of the last events of my trip to Brussels, Belgium was a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night, 27 November, hosted by Elia Zenghelis and Eleni Gigantes. About half of the guests were some of the participants of INSIDE DENSITY. During dinner I sat next to Mark Wigley (Princeton University, author of THE ARCHITECTURE OF DECONSTRUCTION, keynote speaker at INSIDE DENSITY), and across from Mark sat Hilde Heynen (Katholic University Leuven, author of ARCHITECTURE AND MODERNITY- a Critique, scientific committee member of INSIDE DENSITY), and across from me sat Eleni Kostika (one of the two Elenis).

At one point I head Mark Wigley say to Hilde Heynen that "there's never been a design that proved something." My immediate reaction was that that didn't sound right, so I jumped in and said that Le Corbusier's design of the unexecuted Palais des Congres proves Le Corbusier's 'promenade architecturale' formula. [What I should have said is that the Palais des Congres, when compared with the Villa Savoye, proves that Le Corbusier followed a promenade architecturale formula.] Wigley quickly retorted that the Palais des Congres design only demonstrates the promenade architecturale, it doesn't prove it. I think at that point it was time to get dessert, so the conversation ended there.

So, my question to design-l is: is there a design (somewhere, anywhere) that proves something?



To: design-l
Subject: he ain't heavy
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 13:10:48 -0500

One of the most unexpected things for me at INSIDE DENSITY occurred right in the beginning of the lengthy conversation I had with Mark Wigley during lunch on the second day of the colloquium. I first off told Mark that I was very happy to be at the colloquium, especially since I wasn't going to attend because of my schizophrenic brother at home. That's when Mark told me he had a schizophrenic brother as well. Of all the things that Mark Wigley and I were per chance to have in common, I never imagined that it would be our brothers.

Mark actually told me a lot about his brother, and it came to the point where I had to ask him to stop. They say that sleep deprivation makes one susceptible to crying. I know I hadn't had much sleep during the prior 72 hours, and I also know I almost started to cry while Mark Wigley relayed his schizophrenic stories.


Mar 1, 05 9:47 am  · 

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