Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Missing protocols

Twenty-four hours separate Rem Koolhaas’s public lecture from that of Andrea Branzi’s at the Ecological Urbanism conference. Is it by mere chance that they were not confronted at the same panel, or was it for scheduling, ego or political reasons? It doesn’t matter. Invented transcripts of their dialogue speculate on what might have been a key moment for architecture. Or not.

RK: well, for me the notion of ecology is nothing but another excuse to consider what I am really interested in. In a way, you could say it’s architecture’s current pseudonym: a new way for it to try and regain control in a hopeless world.

AB: which takes us thirty or forty years back, even if we are reluctant to talk about those times…

RK: we definitely are.

AB: but if we consider what we were faced with at the time, that is not at all different in some ways. Architecture was powerless and impotent, the world was radically changing and a new direction was not in sight. So our choice was to use extreme denial of the very ability of architecture to influence life. At the beginning, it was done through a somewhat naïve aspiration that by doing so we can find architecture again, but then nihilism and negation grew..

RK: and the city has left the architectural domain, swung out of its control.

AB: yes, and technology took over. And automation.

RK: the perfect site for my voluntary prisoners. And a no-stop influence underlying the skepticism I never admit completely.

AB: It seems to me that professional narratives are always retroactive, meaning we can ask ourselves what kind of architects we became only by looking back.

RK: nostalgia means nothing to me.

AB: but this is not about nostalgia but rather about choice. Mine took me away from architecture while yours took you further into it. That is clear. I cannot tell however, which one of us stabilized architecture and which was the one that shook its foundations.

RK: maybe we did both at the same time.

AB: I guess you can never really tell.

No comments:

Post a Comment