Verb: Featured Discussion


an expansion;

it is getting to a point of doubtful investigation on my part when i encounter web sites that open with a world map to locate distant pitches.

from EOM and Zaha Hadid in Kazakhstan proposals (Adventures in Kazakhstan by OA). 4 Easy Pieces.
" By virtue of its enormous scale and prominent location, the project will become the constructed symbol of this newly affluent Central Asian nation. "
EOM Architects

"Architectural Concept and Site Strategy:
The design of the proposal comes from the idea of using a Voronoi pattern to organize the program plan on the site. The Voronoi’s subdivisions, or cells, like biological cells within a tissue, are independent, yet act together in a larger system. We tested several Voronoi patterns on the site in order to derive a subdivision that fulfilled the requirements for the program, floor plate area, floor plate depth and distance between buildings."

Zaha Hadid Architects

Jul 11, 07 4:11 pm  · 

Is it all still pretty much operative criticism?

Perhaps architectural criticism needs to begin operating differently where:
some criticisms are extreme™
some criticisms are fertile™
some criticisms are pregnant™
some criticisms are assimilating™
some criticisms are metabolic™
some criticisms are osmotic™
some criticisms are electro-magnetic™
some criticisms are total frequency™

But maybe that will only happen when (we begin to realize that):
some architectures are extreme™
some architectures are fertile™
some architectures are pregnant™
some architectures are assimilating™
some architectures are metabolic™
some architectures are osmotic™
some architectures are electro-magnetic™
some architectures are total frequency™

Jul 11, 07 4:45 pm  · 
vado retro

could there perhaps be more breaks in the text? my eyes (and attention span) cannot deal with thirty five lines without a new paragraph. that said, it seems to me that "criticism" is really acts as a cottage industry of the starchitectural world. an analogy may be those who eek out livings searching through landfills to find items that may be resold, recycled and/or retreaded.

Jul 11, 07 5:15 pm  · 

To respond to the post by Danny Wills that asks "Imagine if Rem or FOA posted their ideas behind a project and then received public critiques to which they responded and discussed.. this would create a completely new method of discourse. A public discourse."

It's amazing ... I think its called a LECTURE! and what do you know, some times they're open to the public.

Jul 11, 07 5:28 pm  · 

good to bring up, j-turn, but i can't say that i've ever seen much in the way of serious critique at a lecture. questions and answers, yes.

Jul 11, 07 5:35 pm  · 

C(riticism) = m(ainstream)Ad(vertising)²

Jul 11, 07 5:52 pm  · 

I've seen some pretty pointed critical attack at lectures, from students and faculty, we must be going to different lectures, Steven. But yeah, you're right, there could always be more ...

Where are these giant paragraphs, vado?

Jul 11, 07 5:52 pm  · 

i broke a few of the paragraphs up...i'd hate to give architects strained eyes

Jul 11, 07 5:53 pm  · 

Every lecture I have been to the lecturer gives a speech, opens the floor to about three questions which have no relevance or much importance or serious critique. There is no time restraint in the internet, either. Also, I don't know about you, but I can't attend any lecture with the same ease as clicking a few mouse clicks. Thanks for you sarcastic reply, though, it really adds to the discussion.

Jul 11, 07 6:02 pm  · 
chatter of clouds

perhaps sarcasm isn't that malignant as the current hygenic architectural rhetoric subsumes everything including sarcasm and irony. its quite surprising what a deviant dialectic turn the "critical" has taken. not only has the current ideological avant garde been guised under a voice denouncing the "ideal" and the notion of the avant garde itself (fashionably from new york, london, barcelona...) , but any voice critical of it must now contest the banalization of the critical language itself (read stephen lauf above - i agree, mainstream advertising itself).

any magazine, especially with the responsibility of being printed on paper (recycled or not(hopefully not not)), should ask itself to what extent can it steer away from the vortex of arch/graphic journalistic bubblegummery...unless its really really good bubblegum...but judging by the manner that these magazines take themselves so seriously, i doubt it. boogazine??? aside, did you evaluate how much of a paradigmatic hazard the aural proximity of booger-zine posed?

Jul 12, 07 7:01 am  · 
chatter of clouds

i also cannot forgive the faux-intelligence of the dog training article in the other magazine (Volume). no i cannot. i accept the practices of honest whoredom and/or prostitution, but not trying to sell us something (mock/bestial(K9) fascism intellectualized) advertised as something else (something useful ("applicable") enough to be read)! should there be a law passed against high calorie/low nutrition journals as well? rubbish...censor thyself. my pills?

Jul 12, 07 7:10 am  · 

i miss assemblage. tough reading, but many things that i have kept - and to which i've kept referring - for years.

Jul 12, 07 7:26 am  · 

i've been following the discussion and noticed a general discussion of the role of the critique in our current cultural state. what i think is potentially interesting is that the role of critique is present in different manners within different mediums. there is a series of power dynamics and discursive relationships that define critique.

what the "little magazines" of the 60s and 70s pointed to was a socialist or academic "outsider-ness" like a zine. a discussion aimed at a group of potentially likeminded individuals as a call to arms against a larger societal issue. in contrast to that i would place the role of critique within a medium such as verb....where the critique occurs not so much as a call to arms as a critique elaborated through the inherent friction between concept and reality or concept in the face of reality. this is more a documentarian form of critique...a compilation of praxis. and then a third medium of critique is the forum, which implies an equality among individuals. would this forum work if Rem were to post, would we really be able to critique his comments fully or would his elevated status allow him to hold sway over the discussion (as i believe occurred during the Volume discussion).

so, given these power the general discussion forum the new grounds for the call to arms of the "avant-garde" it necessary in modern culture to have such a call to arms?
or is it the role of discussion and critique to create a virtual heuristic mechanism? and in that role how does the documentary occur as a freezing of a moment for later reference on a series of specific interconnections?

Jul 12, 07 9:41 am  · 
won and done williams

if the "call to arms" has anything to do with burritos, then the general discussion forums are def where it's at.

at the same time, the glossy, or should i say literally tacky, boogazine also seems to have had its time in the sun.

when i worked in a small boutique office, we were not working on the "critical project," but we were working on slats and the framed view. it was exciting work making architecture. two years later i open up record, and all i see are slats and framed views. it was all happening contemporaniously without any of us having said a word. we were just working. perhaps forms of communication are happening on a subliminal level and the role of publication is simply documentation of a moment two years later.

Jul 12, 07 10:35 pm  · 

I think BOOGAZINE would make a great title for a TV show.

Look out MODE, your competition has arrived!

Jul 12, 07 10:52 pm  · 

but I have been seeing slats and framed views since the year 2000. I would put VERB in the fashion section of the magazine rack..."fashion for people who can't wear them" should be their slogan

Jul 13, 07 9:33 am  · 

I appologise for the sarcasm in my reply - i didn't mean to affend. It does raise an interesting point.

Because of the annonimity of the internet we're all more free to be more snarky, more critical, whereas at a public lecture, politeness and nervousness prevent us from saying what we really think or letting the tough questions out. For example, Orhan, did you take Farshid to point on the Turkey project? She would have responded there with great force - I'm sure - here she doesn't have a chance.

But put yourselves in the architect's shoes. You're competiting for work, you already have an uphill battle with clients, with planning boards etc, publication opportunities are rare, and your reputation and public presentation are something you really have to manage and protect ... so why would you put yourself in an internet environment where everyone can be as hostile or slanderous as they please?

That's really the reason that architectural critisism is a non starter. No architect wants to put their reputation in the hands of a critic who doesn't know the whole process of a project, who's got their own agenda ...

Jul 15, 07 1:02 pm  · 

Does anyone remember the Village Voice review of the Diller and Scofidio show at the Whitney a few years ago? It was brutal - an absolutely savage shredding of the whole show and all the work. That article probably set critisism way back. Why would any architect want to put themselves up to have their whole career mocked by some journalist?

Here's that review:,saltz,43350,13.html

Jul 15, 07 1:05 pm  · 

foa didn't get the istanbul project. people realized right there, it didn't need further questioning. though, i hope they learned from it.

Jul 15, 07 3:06 pm  · 

actually they did ... it's under construction right now.

Jul 15, 07 4:57 pm  · 

But the problems with simple imagery isn't the point here (and i agree with you more or less) ...

my questions are:

1. what would online discourse offer that a live lecture or symposium wouldn't?
2. what are the perils? potential problems?
3. what's the incentive for architects to put themselves up for annonymous critisism?

Another point ... can you really compare the 60/70's zines to verb? Those pamflets were more or less published by a designer themselves, whereas Verb needs to sollicit content. Were those zines sold or handed out? Verb is sold at a fairly high rate.

Jul 15, 07 5:05 pm  · 

i apologize. a mix up with another project zaha hadid won. you are correct...
just one more shopping mall istanbul needed. next to ikea center...brown and green though. i do stand with my comment about shallow analysis and its bearings. sorry to interrupt verb discussion with foa mall.

Jul 15, 07 5:22 pm  · 

Kill The Brick
Kill The Tower
Kill The Tinhat I say that, no one need to explain this, it's just obvious.

Jul 17, 07 6:08 am  · 

Thinking out loud @j-turn's questions:

1- By the time a lecture is over most people are either tired and want to go home see their families or eager to get back to their studios to work. The online format allows for a person to think about the work and give some responses and feedback that can go beyond the very generic questions often asked in a lecture. The multi-user format also discourages the ping pong matches at the end of lectures (two people going back and forward) and allows for many views expanding the conversation.

2- The problem is that online sometimes the criticisms can seem harsher than it is meant to be. This medium is different, in a lecture you can see who is asking the question, their facial and body expressions, and some questions that may seem overly critical when written will seem normal when in the lecture context. An online forum, like archinect, also develops a distinct culture and way of communication. When an outsider comes and sees the comments he or she may not understand that the comments seem harsher than they should because that is the way we speak to each other (sometimes).

3- A dose of the real conversations people are having in firms and studios all over the world?

Jul 17, 07 7:38 am  · 

Is architecture perhaps really more adverb than verb?

: any member of a class of words that in many languages are distinguished in form, as partly-/i] in English by the ending -[i]ly, or by functioning as modifiers of verbs or clauses, and in some languages, as Latin and English, also as modifiers of adjectives or other adverbs or adverbial phrases, as very, well, quickly. Adverbs typically express some relation of place, time, manner, attendant circumstance, degree, cause, inference, result, condition, exception, concession, purpose, or means.

Arabic: ظَرْف مَكَان أو زَمَان، حَال
Chinese (Simplified): 副词
Chinese (Traditional): 副詞
Czech: příslovce
Danish: adverbium; biord
Dutch: bijwoord
Estonian: adverb
Finnish: adverbi
French: adverbe
German: das Adverb
Greek: επίρρημα (γραμμ.)
Hungarian: határozó(szó)
Icelandic: atviksorð
Indonesian: adverbia
Italian: avverbio
Japanese: 副詞
Korean: 부사
Latvian: apstākļa vārds
Lithuanian: prieveiksmis
Norwegian: adverb
Polish: przysłówek
Portuguese (Brazil): advérbio
Portuguese (Portugal): advérbio
Romanian: adverb
Russian: наречие
Slovak: príslovka
Slovenian: prislov
Spanish: adverbio
Swedish: adverb
Turkish: zarf

Jul 17, 07 10:08 am  · 


Jul 17, 07 10:38 am  · 

Max It Out, Baby!

Jul 17, 07 2:38 pm  · 

what i don't understand is why would it be a problem to discussion design intentions online? are we all below having a discussion with other architects about their theories or ideas here? i think this space is highly exciting when people engage it. remembering a relatively recent discussion at the Tate online where another name architect was to appear in an online forum--he was a no show. now there might have been i conflict there...i think the question is are architects above the fray? perhaps this is why the society doesn't engage with what matters to us because we keep the information in this state.

Jul 18, 07 11:42 am  · 

michael graves made an interesting comment when he was here recently - a comment about which i couldn't figure out my position.

he thought that architects shouldn't be considered ethical if they publicly criticize the work of other architects before the project is built. basically for economic reasons: if an architect loses a job because of someone else's subjective opinion aired publicly, the architect has taken a financial hit. i see the point, but also think that we can't be muzzled if images, plans, etc are published and out in the world.

so, in answer to john's question, do we play our cards close to our chest and resist public discussion/critique because we might lose work or our work might not get built if subjected to scrutiny?

Jul 18, 07 12:07 pm  · 

I can understand the financial hit, but would architects be ethical if they let everything get built? What about a building that could destroy a cultural and urban fabric? Where can one draw the line?

Jul 18, 07 12:12 pm  · 

if we had to speak out against every building which added to the destruction of the cultural and urban fabric, i'd be too busy doing that to do anything else.

Jul 18, 07 12:15 pm  · 
won and done williams

public scrutiny has lead to much better work (hopefully) in the case of the grosse pointe central library. there are few occasions that public input has a negative effect on public projects no matter how damaging to personal egos.

Jul 18, 07 12:16 pm  · 

steven great point and that is something that resonates with me too as someone who feels they are creator--in fact that is a position already laid out by oscar wilde--where he stated that writers shouldn't critic other writers work because it was unethical and unco-decorous. i think architecture has a different set of circumstances entirely which are separate from that of writers, it is a public art we need to discuss these issues as means to engage the public at my mind it's not just a question of respect as i think graves lays out. this is a place for discussion not necessarily critique. i think we all benefit from discussing ideas. i think yes if it approaches a space where i'm benefiting from criticism your work then yes that is obviously unethical, but if we are discussing the work as work and how it functions then this is a meaningful and worthwhile discourse.

Jul 18, 07 12:17 pm  · 

I am pleased to announce that the AIA's position on this matter is to keep your mouth shut from the time the Architect recieves the commission until 37.26845% of the building has been completed. The AIA has officials on site who will determine when that percentage has been met. At that time the Port A Potty doors will be open.

Jul 18, 07 12:17 pm  · 

graves was talking design opinions when he made the comment to which i referred: specifically to his, oma's, and piano's whitney proposals. apparently his proposal was being received well until another renowned architect came out against it and triggered a surge of opposition.

Jul 18, 07 12:17 pm  · 

i can see his point. that is unethical

Jul 18, 07 12:20 pm  · 

it's a tough situation. architecture is not easy, but i think still think the space is there to discuss these issues and break down the mystification of the architect and what we do as practitioners. is starchitecture the right model for this discourse? i would argue no.

Jul 18, 07 12:57 pm  · 

way to revive this discussion a bit john. How do we begin to evaluate architectural proposal or even completed architecture? What metrics are utilized for examining these constructs and in what forum are they discussed. I still feel that there are different arenas for critique and each arena creates it's own acceptable form of critique. It's then up to the practitioner to choose the arenas that they feel they can engage in or want to engage in...
the problem is, as john's description of architecture as a public discourse states, that very often we as practitioners want to place ourselves above the fray...when by virtue of the arena we've engaged in, we must figure out better ways of meeting the discourse. public work = public scrutiny and a higher level of expectation as to the final projects performance.

just to break this down a bit more (as this is all a bit of stream of consciousness right now). for many within the profession the responsibility of public discourse within a project has been ill-prepared by our training. most of us were trained to formulate as an internalized dialogue (and in many ways that's what a particular vein of the clip/stamp/fold little books prepared us all for), but we also must be mindful to take the responsibility in externalizing it, opening it up, unfolding it as an exercise, and inviting in the chaos.

Jul 19, 07 10:03 am  · 

I am pleased to inform you the AIA does not find your proposal acceptable. The architect is not required to seek public/professional dialogue, acceptance, or scrutiny during the design process.

Please inform us of any new proposals you may generate in the future. We will be most pleased to acknowledge their receipt.

Jul 19, 07 11:00 am  · 

cf, i wished you'd engage this discussion with i little more seriousness. i do find some of your comments funny and critical in their obliqueness, but i think a more refined approach to delve out what the AIAs responsibility could be and should be more fruitful.

futureboy, i agree with you on much of what you stated, but i think the part of engagement although it should be the architects choice--it should also be seen as a responsibility. as the AIA or other governing bodies speak to a code of ethical conduct there is not sufficient language or support i might add for this situation to manifest.

here is where i would prefer or speculate that a system more akin to the board system for lawyers which provides and reviews of cases and situations for the public to digest and understand. now i am not an expert on the way these boards conduct themselves but they seem to have and proved an element that the public respects. how does this translate to a profession like architecture? i think we could debate that here quiet well.

Jul 19, 07 11:16 am  · 


So now your telling me I must wear a black turtleneck. You know better than that. I own one black shirt, for funerals, my spelling ain't well, my wording done be wrong, and I ain't obliged to wander that there path. Ain't nunten wrong there, jus them there clothes ain't what I'm a hankeren fer. Them pigs smell mud.

Jul 19, 07 11:28 am  · 

in addition, i think this also flows back into the situation of media and its desire to create seduction instead of discourse. i think discourse should be the cornerstone for engaging the public and really i that is why i wanted to begin these set of dialogues with magazines instead of interviewing them. i think our or your input causes real change in the environment and we should feel that we can make things our own by discussing this issue even at the margins.

Jul 19, 07 11:29 am  · 

i don't own a black turtleneck either.

Jul 19, 07 11:30 am  · 

Where exactly does the imperative for "public discourse" come from? Is the public asking for it?

Did futureboy really say anything beyond the realm of platitude?

Perhaps architects themselve are hypercritical, and that's where the real problem with architectural discourse lies.

I'll critique critique, but I'll rarely critique design (and that's because I genuinely like all buildings).

Jul 19, 07 11:31 am  · 

well i think an informed public makes the space for architecture more possible. perhaps i'm too optimistic here in that regard...but i'd like to hear where that goes because i think you make a nice observation...

Jul 19, 07 11:41 am  · 

And the assumption that "an informed public makes the space for architecture more possible" is based on what exactly?

Is the desire for "public discourse" really just a euphemism for "expanded client base?"

Remember this:
"Looks like your house could use some architectural viagra!" commercials?

Jul 19, 07 11:54 am  · 

no i think it is tested in europe, where children are taught at a young age art history and design. there are real engagements on the ground about architecture and its meaning the context of the city...this discourse hardly enters the arena here in the states. how do you interpret that phenomena?

Jul 19, 07 11:58 am  · 

I interprete it as you still euphemistically wishing the client base was expanded here in the States.

Jul 19, 07 12:06 pm  · 

well you can interpret whatever you like. i think there is always benefit in having people becoming active participants whether they are clients or not. is there a methodology to your call for reducing the field for discourse besides just architects are hypercritical?

Jul 19, 07 12:10 pm  · 

lurkers are good long as they are active in someway

Jul 19, 07 12:14 pm  · 

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