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Architecture and Social Change: Seminar 4

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Alexis Ronse

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of Architecture and Social Change: Seminar 4

The idea was to have a complete building
Not a hodge-podge of new technologies and building techniques combined with the ornamentation of the past
Art, sculpture and architecture were to be united into a single creative expression The Dream of the Complete Building Karsten Harries October 18, 2012 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bauhaus.JPG Walter Gropius, the leader of the Bauhaus, published a leaflet in 1919 that illustrated a respect for the past and a desire to return to the guild structure and craft tradition of medieval mason lodges. http://slickzine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Vaults-4.jpg October, 18, 2012, http://www.westmont.edu/_academics/departments/communication_studies/images/aristotle_000.jpg It was Harries’ contention that this ideal has not yet been fulfilled.
This unity of the art demands that the spectator keep his distance— only behold the artwork from a distance— it is the self-sufficiency of the aesthetic experience. A successful piece of architecture is supposed to have unity, with nothing superfluous, no ornament. Aristotle says that art is not really necessary to survive, but it is partly its superfluousness that gives it its value. ‘Art for art’s sake’. Only as art is governed by its strive for aesthetic perfection does it remain pure. Art must be distinct from politics, religion and commerce. This approach does not really work with architecture, as a building does serve a greater purpose than be a subject of aesthetic contemplation. ‘The architect has to consider the uses to which a building will be put, while those using it cannot keep their distance from it.’ (Harries 37) If we measure architecture by the aesthetician’s concept of a complete work of art, than architecture would fall short. Rather than engaging in experimental, studio-based learning, Harries believed future architects should give precedence should be given to practical considerations of life and the requirements of living. lounging reading storing entertaining spectating Hans Hollein believed architecture is not so much the need for shelter that led man to architecture as the need for spiritual order. More important than protecting us from the weather, it protects us from the void. In pure geometric forms the human spirit announced its victory over unbounded space. ’Pyramids at Gizeh,” Photograph Collection, Art and Architecture Library, Yale University, New Haven Such an idea cannot stand in an essential relationship to its environment.
It is an idea built into infinite space, not a dwelling placed on the earth. For the spirit, not the body.
The modernists, constructivists, cubists, purists and french revolutionary architects all shared this view. Ledoux designed a spherical ‘Maison des Grades Agricoles’ that cannot be realized. In his design there was little consideration for gravity- with the sphere shape, the difference between up and down is minimised, and it looks as though it can be rotated, it is rootless. October 3, 2012. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Ledoux_-_Projet_de_maison_de_gardes_agricoles.jpg This is a major tendency in modern architecture. Take a look at Mies Van der Rohe’s buildings up on stilts; they convey a sense of lightness, un-rootedness from the ground. Kant says architecture must be beautiful AND practical— it can not be expected to attain the purity of painting or sculpture. The rise of aesthetics places the architect between the demands of utility and aesthetics.

As a result of this, what happened in the 19th century was you would get engineered bones of steel, and classical ornamentation put on top. Modernists say: there is a tension when we mingle utilitarian and aesthetic concerns, this is avoided when instead of seeking beauty in the ornaments of the past, we turn to the pure forms of geometry. Wainwright Builiding by Louis Sullivan, October 18, 2012 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mo0297/ The complete building: Instead of offering an escape into a merely aesthetic environment, it means to transform the environment in which we live and work into an aesthetic environment. The complete building addresses the entire human being (body and soul). "If the other side of the completeness of the aesthetic experience is the isolation of the aesthetic observer, if the aesthetic approach betrays a splintering of life into autonomous spheres, the complete building overcomes personal isolation and fragmentation. It gives coherence to life itself... Architecture is assigned an ethical function, an order that will reveal the individuals purpose, vocation."(Harries 39) Chartres Cathedral, Ocotober 20, 2012. http://witcombe.sbc.edu/sacredplaces/chartres.html Hannes Meyer subordinated form to function and said that architecture should have nothing to do with art. Gropius called for a ‘complete building’, he was unwilling to accept this tension. Gropius dreams of an architecture that once again expresses the best aspects of humanity.
The church and religion are markers of an integrative power— none of this splintering common with modern ideology. But would it really be possible for the church to have this integrative power given the forces of modern life? Nazis and Stalinists both insisted that disintegration and fragmentation had to be overcome. The totalitarian state is like a mega-structure; ‘providing an environment conducive to the reintegration of art and life, work and leisure, and at the same time obliterating the distinction between public and private’. (Harries 40) Gropius idea differs from modern totalitarian regimes in its support of the socialist collective. The ‘New faith’ of the collective will be what produces the modernist buildings based on the dream of the complete building. October 20, 2012. http://www.nyc-architecture.com/ARCH/Notes-Fascist-GER.htm Gropius contends that even if it is an impossible ideal, the complete building should still guide architecture.

But this kind of dogmatic approach can sometimes bring out totalitarian tendencies in the architect... Even though Gropius advocated renewal of craft traditions, his concept of architecture differed from that of the Arts and Crafts movement in that he sought to integrate technology in with art and architecture. John Ruskin, one of the primary advocates of the Arts and Crafts movement, said that real architecture does not contain iron as a constructive material. The machine is not our servant, but a dictator
Like religion, it promises security and reintegration of life
The rationalization and demystification of architecture promises to dissolve the tension between art and technology by collapsing architecture into technology
The machine is to realize the dream of the complete building The Dictatorship of the Machine: Technology is not a simple tool that leaves us in charge, it is a force tending toward integration and homogenization. October 21,2012. http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/5800000/Charlie-Chaplin-in-Modern-Times-Wallpaper-classic-movies-5867990-1024-768.jpg October 21,2012. http://www.doctormacro.com/Images/Chaplin,%20Charlie/Annex/Annex%20-%20Chaplin,%20Charlie%20(Modern%20Times)_01.jpg A building that is no more than a machine is not a genuine dwelling. We don’t want to reject technology altogether (as John Ruskin advocates) because it is a part of us too. We need to put it in its place and keep our distance from it. The functionalism of the 20th century is failing to meet the requirements of the human dwelling. Harries suggests that perhaps the emphasis on ‘completeness’ in architecture is inappropriate— the integrity demanded of the other arts, is maybe not possible with architecture. Consider Frank Lloyd Wright’s conception of organic structure—where all furniture, fixtures, even musical instruments should be conceived with the building. Wright sees architecture as the master art that places technology, craft and other arts at its service. House becomes Gesamtkunstwerk—the total living package. Frank Lloyd Wright, 'Falling Water', 1935 October 21, 2012. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Wrightfallingwater.jpg The difficulty is that they discourage creative appropriation. You can not bring grandmother’s lamp into this space without destroying the unity of the overall conception. ? Harries contends that such a house can never be fully our own- it is an un-genuine experience to live in a house like this. A house that is total and complete suggests death, life demands openness. In this way comes into play the idea of the performance- that the house can become like a musical score, that can be re-interpreted in any number of ways by different people.
Man is an individual and a part of a community— he wants to be himself and part of a larger whole. (Harries 42) Man demands both stability and change. A successful house will provide both without obscuring the tension between the two.(Harries 42) Houses have not traditionally been
part of the canon of architecture;
the canon is dominated by public and monumental architecture— buildings where the requirements of architectural completeness are not likely to conflict
with the requirements of dwelling. Even when we look at these types of buildings we see that there are changes that happen through the ages. When these changes stop happening, the building has been restored and becomes a monument, it becomes precious, loses its use, and dies. Life demands that the complete building never be realized because this stagnation means death. The Aesthetics of Ascension in Bel Geddes Futurama Adnan Morshad http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3349/3623280427_238252d273.jpg Futurama was a show at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York that presented to visitors, the spectacle of the future American city. Sponsored by General Motors. It was a one acre, animated scale model of an American city as it might appear in 1960. The exhibit translated the future into a grand spectacle, which integrated seamlessly abundant sunshine, fresh air, and parkways with skyscrapers and massive traffic infrastructure. Futurama was a fusion of Le Corbusier’s centralized, geometric Ville Contemporain, Frank Lloyd Wright’s decentralized Broadacre city, and HG Wells science fiction fantasies of things to come. Maquette of the Ville Contemporain http://www.mheu.org/expos/ressources/imageBank/4/830,L2-14-46.jpg Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City
http://buddietrich.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/wrightbroadcare.jpg HG Wells, The First Men on the Moon
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2740/4055321404_b40990e311.jpg Geddes imaginative exhibit struck a chord with Americans recovering from the Great Depression and longing for economic prosperity. Spectators were carried above the model by a suspended winding conveyor belt— visitors obtained a bird’s eye view of ‘The World of Tomorrow’. The exhibit included light, sound and the system could carry 552 passengers at a time. The conveyor system is described as a surrogate ‘airplane eye’ to view Futurama in a promotional brochure of the time. By virtue of his elevated position, the spectator could grasp the coherence of Bel Geddes vision, and its superiority to the planning paradigms of the day. October 18, 2012. http://viz.cwrl.utexas.edu/files/cityoftomorrow5.jpg The conveyor system is described as a surrogate ‘airplane eye’ to view futurama in a promotional brochure of the time. By virtue of his elevated position, the spectator could grasp the coherence of Bel Geddes vision, and its superiority to the planning paradigms of the day. ‘I have seen the future’ pin heroicizes the spectator... How we have seen the future is as important as what we have seen. October 17, 2012. http://this.org/magazine/files/2011/10/11so-marshal-mcluhan.jpg (The Medium is the Message)> What people were interested in was how the product could contribute to and neatly fit into ‘the good life’.
This was a great product placement for GM: it positioned the company’s cars in a pivotal role in the American utopia, and positioned the company as dedicated to the future. The aviator’s godlike gaze and the modernist planner’s authoritarian desire to survey the seemingly chaotic cities below bring to mind the cliche of ‘planning from above’. The aesthetics of ascension, allows the beholder to view the entirety of the system, with all it links, separations and connections. >> The utopia which had so often been portrayed graphically or in literature, to convey some of the ideas in a 3D model, Geddes had to take this point of view to
resolve the optical limitation of earthbound views.
The philosophical problem of experiencing the utopia, that, as an ideal condition, eludes us in reality. Action Comics #1" at The Grand Comics Database. Retrieved October 31, 2006 Futurama constructed a quintessentially modernist viewer who exercised the same idealistic and authoritarian gazes that fueled the early 20th century planner’s reformist dreams. Superman is an allegory for the rise of America from the economic and social plight during the depression. Interwar modernist visuality is one in which the aesthetics of ascension played a central role (eg, culture, morality and even evolution). The Aviator as a New Seer and Hero Jacobo de Barbari’s woodcut view of venice 1500 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jacopo_de%27_Barbari_-_Venetie_MD_-_retouched.png http://reviewsoftings.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/mona-lisa-frame1.jpg ? https://a1.muscache.com/pictures/65705/large.jpg Journal of the Society of Architectural, 75, Vol. 63, No. 1, Mar., 2004 As does the elevated viewpoint of Futurama. (photographer Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (known as “Nadar” ) 1868 shot of Paris
http://billboyheritagesurvey.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/the-aerial-view-how-did-we-get-here/ The below was an imagined view, as there were no vehicle of flight at the time of the production of this image. The aviator as hero is in the long masculinist tradition of mythological heroes. ‘Solitary in his monoplane, the aviator was the modernist trope par excellence representing a privileged view of the earth and a catalyst for new models of aesthetic experimentation’. Artists were also influenced by this aesthetic experimentation. October, 18, 2012. http://rebeccareilering.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/marinetti1.jpg?w=450 Filippo Marinetti, "Montage + Vallate + Strade x Joffre", 1915 October 16, 2012. http://www.friendsofart.net/static/images/art3/robert-delaunay-circular-forms.jpg Robert Delaunay, "Circular Forms", 1930 Seminar Question There is a distinctly male perspective in the article, with the use of masculine articles, discussion of 'Masculine hero' and omission of any female contributors to modernism. Why do you think this is? Give examples to support your answer. 'The aestheticization of the aviators view operated on two fronts simultaneously; it was an agent of discovery and utopian projection offering not only the possibility of perceiving the world anew, from a hitherto impossible and shifting angle, but also an operational vantage point from which to envision vertical, expansive and geometrically modernist spaces.'(Morshed 79) Photograph by Margaret Bourke-White. Aviation was an optical method for acquiring information about geometric forms
it embodied a desire to fix the disordered view below. '...the fantastic idea that the view from above would somehow facilitate the process of designing the future city became an enduring fascination among utopian architects.’(Morshed 79) http://www.co-mag.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/steichen_maypole.jpg Edward Steichen, 'The Maypole', Empire State Building, 1932 Aviators were promoted as a cultural protagonists — they were lauded in popular magazines for their contributions to city planning, amoung other things. The view from above was seen as a perspective from which one could broaden human vision for more enlightened living, and remedy physical and social disorder. Roland Barthes: 'Seeing things from a higher stratum denotes a more advanced intellection.' It also signified Darwin’s theory of evolution concerning the progress of species. Charles Lindberg (pilot of the first transatlantic flight) had many admirers, including Bel Geddes. Lindberg was the inspiration and prototype for the pilot-as-hero. Time Magazine, Jan. 2, 1928
http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19280102,00.html Lindberg was a departure from the American Heroes that preceded him and a prototype for those that came after. October 20, 2012. http://www.moviegoods.com/Assets/product_images/1020/143556.1020.A.jpg October, 20, 2012. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/60/Flash_Gordon_3.jpg Action Comics #1" at The Grand Comics Database. Retrieved October 31, 2006 Bel Geddes and the Aesthetics of Ascension Geddes viewed the phenomenon of flight in at least two divergent ways.
1- he embraced the concept of the aerial vehicle as presenting ‘the same organic problems in terms of design as do architecture, sculpture and literature.’
2- the flying machine was at the apex of of the modern industrial society with it’s ability to inspire the next phase of evolution. For Wells, aviation also recalled aviation— the flying man and the ape represented two extremes on the evolutionary spectrum. http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/10/06/article-0-02EC002200000578-483_468x326.jpg http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs28/i/2008/112/2/7/Action_comics__s_Superman_by_JoshTempleton.jpg For Geddes, the airplane also symbolized a new horizon— a new visual field unbound by the limit of our vision from earth. Bel Geddes, 'Airliner #5, 1929 'By aerializing architecture, he initiated a conceptual shift, tilting architecture out of its age old gravitational axis.' October 20, 2012. http://www.fantastic-plastic.com/belgeddesAL4-bw.jpg October 20, 2012. http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ll20ikF6Im1qztueno1_500.jpg Bel Geddes, 'Aerial Restaurant', 1929 ‘An expansive vista was intended to create an optical analog of the fair’s prophecies of progress, by visualizing them in an ordered, axial, and functional ground plan.’ (From Franks Paul’s ‘City in the Air’) The Futurama’s Spectator as a Superman-Planner The idea of playing God: walking around with skyscrapers in your hands, plunking them down where you choose— in building Futurama, Geddes embodies the self-aggrandizing point of view of modernist planners' imaginations. The hero is the true subject of modernism— the idea of the architect-hero saving society from its ills, is an enduring myth of modernism. (Walter Benjamin)

In the Futurama’s spectator, Geddes creation was self-referential; an idealized spectator similar to how Geddes perceived himself. The spectator as an omnipotent, God-like figure. Futurama was a refracting cultural mirror that dramatized and distorted the American social reality of the 1930s. 1- It was the grand revision of America after the depression

2-It was a cultural artifact that showed the relationship between aviation and modernist logic (the self-aggrandizing, detached gaze of the modernist planner)

3- It embodied the heightened expectations of the heroic gaze offered by a populist manifestation of modernist promises of cultural renewal through spacial design http://morrischia.com/david/portfolio/boozy/research/futurama_img_3.png Spaces of Utopia and Dystopia: Landscaping the Contemporary City Gordon MacLeod and Kevin Ward “Utopian thinking: the capacity to imagine a future that departs significantly from what we know to be a general-condition in the present.... In the peculiar form of dystopias, utopian thinking may alert us to certain tendencies in the present, which, if allowed to continue un-checked and carried to a logical extreme, would result in a world we would find abhorrent.” (Friedmann, 2000, p.462) http://www.flickr.com/photos/opiumpoppy/6992111193/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Utopia: an imagined state or place where everything is perfect
Dystopia: an imagined state or place where everything is unpleasant or bad It is not a new idea that persons from all different social groups can feel excluded or restricted; it has been a dominant paradigm for many generations. (Caldeira, 1999, p.135) David Harvey, while attempting to find an “ecologically sustainable urban future” (Harvey, 2000) suggests that the urban city has often been influenced by utopian thoughts, which were powered by people like Le Corbusier and Howard. http://i43.tower.com/images/mm118039982/garden-cities-tomorrow-sir-ebenezer-george-howard-paperback-cover-art.jpg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Znj8MYoP-Pc/TjAO2lD39OI/AAAAAAAAEJ8/ku4LWq4D9m0/s1600/06003.jpg Howard dreamed that this utopian life would be attainable through something he called “garden cities” (MacLeod and Ward, 153). Garden cities are “small-scale communities embedded in a decentralized society” (Ibid). Howard wanted these ‘garden-cities’ to essentially offer a ‘peaceful path’ to an actual reform and ignore the ugliness that was capitalism. According to Caldeira 'the erasure of social difference and creation of equality in the rational city of the future mastered by the avant-garde architect” Howard and Le Corbusier offered programs that encompassed their ideological societies, which promoted a reorganization of politics and economics and offered and endorsed urban settlements as a way of life (MacLeod and Ward, 153/154). These contemporary urban cities depicted a larger gap between the wealthy but this was met with a greater “fiscal austerity” in order to survive the global competition that was evolving (MacLeod and Ward, 154). Basically, these urban cities were founded upon “indifferent worlds and detached lifestyles” (Ibid). Urban cities haven’t caused the previous ideologies about a utopian society to vanish, they have just manifested in different ways. For example, “edge cities”, which are concentrated areas containing businesses and entertainment areas that is outside a traditional urban area and had recently been a residential community. (Wikipedia).
Furthermore, manicured urban areas, gated communities and areas like inner-city enclaves are also being marketed as a more utopian society with serene lifestyles. October 18, 2012. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TpyGY_J7r8U/Tbm47aT7m9I/AAAAAAAAAj0/CmKiZnguFYI/s1600/Phoenix-Gated-Community.jpg On the other hand, the dystopian societies, which are marked by social and political unrest, are excluded from the idealistic lifestyle. Dystopian cities are characterized by their “hyperghettos and peripheral shantytowns”, where the underprivileged and homeless are avoided. (MacLeod and Ward, 154). October 15, 2012. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Soweto_township.jpg A shanty town in Soweto, South Africa In these more contemporary societies, the class system is apparent that it is leading to both the utopian and dystopian societies under one urban setting. Spaces of Utopia I: Producing and Consuming the Transforming Urban Economy Throughout the 1970s and 1980s was a period of “deindustrialization” (MacLeod and Ward, 155). During this process there was shift between the high-income taxpayers and their ideological bourgeois (middle-class) utopia, which inevitably caused economic and monetary stress on the city governance. The “festering ideological aversion to the urban way of life” (Ibid) led to the different cities reviewing their current modes of regulation and introduced competition between the individual urban centres. This inaugurated the idea of “courting” private investors for political delegates, which caused more public money to be funneled into undertakings that were designed to improve the city’s landscape and architectural design. (Ibid) Superficially, this strategy was successful because it got “public eyesores” to be cleaned and refurbished. (Ibid) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/New_york_times_square-terabass.jpg Times Square in New York City (which is considered a “Disneyland zone”) Additionally, in this deindustrialized society, people have more time to adopt this urban lifestyle, which led to the influx of art galleries, boutiques, nouvelle cuisine restaurants and coffee bars (the most notable example is Starbucks). http://www.presseurop.eu/files/images/article/germany-cafe.jpg?1253543337 All of these new revelations helped further the economics of the city. This urban lifestyle has led to the suburban shopping malls that include theme parks, multiplex cinemas and a plethora of shops. Seminar Question: Can you think of an example of this? Please support your answer with real-world examples (and photos) These concentrated utopian meccas (as with Disneyland and the suburban shopping malls), there is a bigger divide between the utopia and the dystopia (the inside and the outside / the real and the perceived perfection). http://bgavideo.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/main_street.jpg Edge City: A 'new Eden' for economic development? It was believed that the suburbanization of America was attributed to the “residential and retail phenomenon” (MacLeod and Ward, 156). There was a surplus of housing developments and shopping malls or strip malls on previously barren landscapes that were developing rather quickly in the post-war period. In the 1980s, this phenomenon was to come to an abrupt halt, as there was an influx of office spaces being developed in these suburban areas. Thus, these suburban metropolises were not just urban settings anymore; they were each transforming into ‘edge cities’ (Garreau, 1991). These new urban edge cities were characterized by the “American dream” – the white picket fence, grass/yard and single-detached family home. The key here is that these new urban edge cities were self-sustaining and self-contained. This prompted millions of contemporary Americans the ability to live, consume and work in the same domain. This was a categorically different idea from the previous suburban cities. http://misanthropology101.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/white-picket-fence.jpg?w=400&h=311 1. At least 5 million square feet of leasable office space – the workplace of the information age
2. 600,000 square feet or more of leasable retail space
3. More jobs than bedrooms
4. Its identification as a 'place'
5. It was nothing like a 'city' as recently as 30 years ago. Criteria of new Suburban Edge Cities (Garreau, 1991, pp. 6-7): These new edge cities capitalized on ‘freedom’ and ‘individualism’ (which was called Reganomics), which provided people/household a ‘clean slate’ free from their past where they could explore “novel modes of living and working” (MacLeod and Ward, 157). It was also a revolutionary idea, as these suburbs promotes the “empowerment of women” as there was now more of an equal balance between the work and the home (Ibid). These edge cities are “the most purposeful attempt Americans have made since the days of the Founding Fathers to try to create something like a new Eden' and that it squarely addresses 'the search for Utopia at the Centre of the American Dream”. – (Garreau 1991, pp. 14-15) However, these cities, which seem utopic, are not wholly devoid of problems. http://weeklyroshni.com/GFX/2012%20Content/5th%20Issue/Traffic-Jam.jpg http://www.tripodgirl.com/memories/uploaded_images/white_tenants-794755.jpg http://drewpeterson2.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/image006.gif The new suburban areas were becoming increasingly categorized by gated communities and, high security and shadow governments; while the African-American and Latino communities were on the outskirts of these edge cities. The suburb had become an exemplary expression of the white ‘bourgeois utopia’. Spaces of Utopia II: Living the Urban Renaissance Gentrification: the restoration of run-down urban areas by the middle class (resulting in the displacement of low-income residents). The physical and social impacts of gentrification were previously reserved for global cities, now it was becoming increasingly present in the urban cities of developed countries. Gentrification has become a “theoretical background” for explaining the shift between social production and social agency. http://www.affordablehousinginstitute.org/blogs/us/62_w_119_nyc_before_after_small.jpg To understand the gentrification process, it is important to understand the point where capital and culture intersect and acknowledge the economic and cultural factors that might be shaping this gentrification. “Scholars are also identifying the respective roles of gender, race and sexuality in shaping gentrification's locally specific weaves” (Jacobs, 1996; Knopp, 1998; Bondi, 1999). Gentrification is also embedded in the political world, specifically within urban policy. “Assuming the identity of urban livability/sustainability, gentrification is prescribed as the 'medicine' for the ills of urban Britain and America” (MacLeod and Ward, 158). This gentrification is leading way to that urban utopia, which is the blueprint for the “environmentally sustainable and culturally enriching” cityscape (Ibid). Gentrification is often being advertised as a necessary environmental strategy. Celebrating A New Urbanism Despite growing concerns relating to the “soul-less” nature and the bigger divide between the utopia and dystopia these new urban cities were developing in the USA. New urbanist architects provide a counterclaim to the negativity surrounding these urban developments, asserting a “neotraiditonal sense of place and community” by suggesting the construction of villages and small towns (MacLeod and Ward, 159). Two schools of planning were suggested:
1. Urban Aesthetics → projected that certain urban forms facilitate social life better than others
2. Social Utopianism → wanted to construct utopias that benefited the industrial age These new utopias offered a new critical edge. They were seen as escapes from what was perceived as the ugly realities of the urban life and transformed them into a place where people would return to the 1950s-style ‘family values’ – a time of innocence. Invoking these smaller communities/villages reinforces the sense of togetherness and security. 'Voluntary Ghettoization': Gated Communities and Privatopias Privatopia: planned or gated community where physical and
social appearances are regulated. The creation of the urban utopias seemingly stem from the “intensifying concern” of the individual families and their to “insulate themselves from the threats to physical, financial and emotional security often associated with contemporary city life” (MacLeod and Ward, 159). This type of mentality became progressively more common after the gentrification was proposed. These privatopias were marketed as a “'community' where residents own or control certain common areas and shared facilities and amenities while simultaneously having 'reciprocal rights and obligations' enforced by a private governing body or 'community organization'” (Soja, 2000).
1. Lifestyle Communities → geared towards retirees or enthusiasts of specific leisure pursuits
2. Prestige Communities → largely for the rich and famous
3. Security Zone Communities → (less exclusive) located in the outer and inner city and built primarily out of a fear of crime and 'outsiders' http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zi2W2GF7PbQ/UEj6fYFgWWI/AAAAAAAAB4c/6YPtupaQ78M/s1600/Wizard-of-Oz-Emerald-City.jpg http://freeatlastww.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/at-the-emerald-city-door.jpg?w=850 Thus, these gated-communities came to have a sort of double meaning. These communities were gated in the sense of the high security and nearly impenetrable walls; but also with the fact that residents of these communities dictated rules about residents, visiting hours, number of pets, number of children etc.
These enclaves would be “offering a utopian world of absolution and security, clearly distinguishable from the hostility of city life beyond the perimeter fence” (Caldeira, 1999). Seminar Question: Do you know of any gated-communities close to you? “This rush towards a security-obsessed fortress mentality is no doubt being precipitated by the fact that such 'communities' become a powerful symbol for being protected and buttressed within an idyllic, high-quality environment while 'being outside' evokes a dystopian world characterized by exposure, isolation and vulnerability”. – Judd (1995) Spaces of Dystopia:
From Malign Neglect to a Revanchist Urbanism? The downfall of creating all the different utopian communities is that the spaces that remain untouched in these different endeavors are taking on dystopian-type qualities. These dystopias are offering ghetto like qualities unlike any ghettos seen before (hyperghettos) which are adjacent to the bourgeois urban utopias. Los Angeles' Fortified Urbanism Los Angeles is considered an archetypal postmodern dystopia, according to the writings of Mike Davis. Davis believes that the rapid rush of Los Angelenos to situate themselves in these gated communities represents the growing solar polarization that began to occur in the 1980s. http://www.seos-project.eu/modules/landuse/images/gatedcommunity1_LA_h600.jpg Aerial view of Los Calabasas, a Los Angeles gated community
A recurring theme in these different utopian urban settings is the idea of ‘security’ – whether it is emotional, physical or economic security.
To this end, the homeless were systematically driven away from the typical areas they would usually reside in, such as the bus benches and public parks. “...between privatopian cells of affluence and dystopian spaces of terror where public and private police forces battle the criminalized poor for territorial rights” (Ibid). This became known as the spatial apartheid (Judd, 1995). These interdictory spaces are “selectively exclusionary”. Another example of this is shopping malls, because their conceit is to maximize profitability, causing these areas to exclude those who are unfit for the “consumerist citizenship” profile (MacLeod and Ward, 162). Re-regulating the Poor: Towards a Revanchist City Revanchist City: Neil Smith's term for a city in which the powerful take their 'revenge’
Revanchism: blends revenge with reaction It has been suggested that the revanchist movement came out of the desire to stretch the gentrification that was currently going on in Manhattan to other areas of the city. This event was seen as a catalyst in the anti-homeless / anti-squatter movement which was the crux of what a ‘revanchist city’ was. This was propagated further by the discovery of ‘Mole People’ – whole communities of homeless people that were previously unknown, which included encampments under bridges and in underground transportation tunnels (Ibid). http://www.wordpress.tokyotimes.org/archives/under_the_bridge02.jpg Exploiting the revanchist mentality, municipal governments began to “cut welfare, to discontinue the construction of public housing, to augment anti-immigration legislation, and to wage an ideological and financial attack on the public university system” (MacLeod and Ward, 163). “Revanchism is in every respect the ugly cultural politics of neoliberal globalization. At different scales it represents a response spearheaded from the standpoint of white and middle-class interests against those people who, they feel, stole their world (and their power) from them.” – (Smith, 1998, pp. 1, 10) Representing, practicing, and transgressing urban 'dead zones': unsettling utopia/dystopia Planning is thought to define, name and represent areas that are considered ‘wastelands’, ‘derelict areas’, ‘dead zones’ and ‘urban voids’. For those who are not immersed in the contemporary urban utopias, these places (which are represented as dystopias) might be considered sanctuaries or transgressive lived places of refuge, entertainment or work. These are considered acts of squatting. One proponent of this idea (Lees) has studied how the systematic placement of the homeless community sleeping in strategically specific areas promotes the rights of the homeless not to be excluded or isolated (MacLeod and Ward, 164). While this goes against the ideologies of the revanchist cities, they do depict the polarization between utopias and dystopias. Approaching Utopia, Dystopia and a Patchwork Urbanism Soja suggests that the modern metropolis is being branded by urban centers, and being surrounded by suburban sidelines. By contrast, the urban landscapes, which are marked by the edge cities, gated estates and gentrified enclaves are decentering the city and forming an urban geometry. Soja suggests that this new urbanization is united with new spatial and social regulation, which is endorsed through the idea of the intensification of social and spatial control. The intensification of social and spatial control is characterized by the emergence of the privatopias. These post metropolitan landscapes are filled with these protected, fortified spaces, which give the illusion of protection and exclusions from the dangers of daily life. Thus, this urbanism sees a reinforcement of the boundaries between the city and suburb, rich and poor, north and south, and is accompanied by the new from of elitism and intolerance. Imperfect Utopia / Un-Occupied Territory Hawkinson, Kruger, Quennell, Smith-Miller We are not enchanted by the formalities, beauties, and fantasies of a utopian project that works to efface the body. We are more concerned with the vulnerabilities of bodies, the recognition of their differences, and the amplification of their voices.” – Kruger
To disperse a univocality of a “Master Plan” into an aerosol of imaginary conversations and inclusionary tactics”
To bring in rather than leave out
To make signs
To re-neutralize
To Question the priorities of style and taste
To anticipate change and invite alteration
To construct a cycle of repair and discovery
To question the limitations of vocation
To be brought down to Earth
To make the permanent temporary
To see the forest for the trees
To have no end in sight The Theory: The Program: To reconstruct the approach to the museum
To allow for laboratory settings for artists and designers
To provide a visible, inexpensive, short-term botanical strategy to alter the placex
To introduce movie-going, walking, wading, eating, reading, bird watching, relaxing and other familiar pleasures
To punctuate the site with regional, cultural and vernacular signage
To replace the forest that’s been lost Hawkinson, Kruger, Quennell, Smith-Miller set out to dismantle dominant categories of production, conception, and criticism that have been established within common architectural practice This is a twofold process:

1.On one hand, by expanding the architectural field to encompass landscape design, art, engineering, they being to re-write the inherited notion of "the program" to suggest other scenarios of planning and realization (the idea of a master plan is rejected) http://citynoise.org/upload/29911.jpg Master plan of Brasilia Not this: This: Rem Koolhaus' Melun Senart, 1987 This: Rem Koolhaus; Park de la Villette proposal
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2782/4056115056_578405a1bb_o.jpg Not this: Aerial view of apartment buildings in Brasilia
http://downtowncreator.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/brasilia-21-04-2008.jpg Tschumi states "there is no architecture without the event" and his fascination with language, graphics and advertising seem to sanction the notion of an expanded architectural intervention. Imperfect Utopia or Unoccupied Territory? Hawkinson, Kruger, Quennell, Smith-Miller began a program in 1987 called "Imperfect Utopia: A Park for the New World" (North Carolina)(picture slide) which substitute a series of open-ended series of planning scenarios for the traditional "master plan". The team engages the history of the site through reconstructed traces, references to indigenous plantings and patterns of occupation. Their more recent project, "Un-Occupied Territory: An Economic Ecology" (Los Angeles) – which is structured around an intervention landscape – has Hawkinson, Kruger, Quennell, Smith-Miller proposing different patterns for the occupations of this territory. Essentially they employ a "natural" line of demarcation with which to organize the site (anything above the line is the cultivated zone where all the buildings are concentrated and anything below the line remains uncultivated). All the building is consolidated into one single structure which had the potential to be expanded incrementally and could be occupied by multiple and diverse users. Both of these projects are not just about the formal structures but they are about how the entire site is being used and the essence of the message that they are trying to get across. Hawkinson, Smith-Miller, Kruger and Quennell discuss the usefulness of critical strategies from the art world; architecture’s resistance to displacement strategies; disciplinary context of architectural competition; cultural realm of the museum/gallery; and lastly the different ways that architecture folds into institutional structures, suburban developments or the shopping mass. The authors have proposed an agenda for the occupation of 2 different lots of “vacant” land (North Carolina and Los Angeles) – the contexts and relationships for each site is different but both have caused them to question the accepted practice of a “master plan”.
In general, within architecture there is an inseparable link between the site and the viewer. One Cannot exist without the other. The viewer present in time, brings his or her history together to what is observed. Neither the viewer or the site is completely neutral. Art vs. Architecture http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ANe1sApH5jk/Tqk1iBqKlJI/AAAAAAAADQc/xEyD6-kq4Bc/s1600/08+Subject+and+Object.jpg
Architecture and art are different; while viewing art the viewer maintains an intellectual relationship, a relationship that ascertains both distance and concentration. Architecture, on the other hand is usually perceived in a system of distraction – most people are inherently unaware of the architecture surrounding them. This raises an important question: If we know the state of the viewer when viewing the architecture, “In what state does the author see the work? Concentration or distraction? Is the author aware of the work?” Examine your own relationship to a building you are familiar with. Think about the subjectivity you bring to the work— what knowledge and experience do you bring to your interpretation of the work?" Seminar Question: The issue of authorship is important in architecture because an architect has been trained and conditioned in a certain way, and this institutional structure legitimizes their productions. It is important to note the methodological differences between architectural production and the art world. In architecture there seems to be a relatively direct and constant client relationship that is fueled by capital in order for the production to proceed. Art production can be more hands-on, with a more unstructured and mediated client relation. For both the North Carolina and Los Angeles project, the authors were working together not to make a big statement but instead to remake the “master” plan. Un-Occupied Territory: An Economic Ecology The Los Angeles landscape was a tricky one to work with since the entire parkland is an old floodplain. Thus the park design has almost a typical “Los Angeles” feel to it, with all the buildings in one corner and the rest of the landscape is left in a kind of “artificial” natural conditions as they felt that there needed to be one place in all the acres of land where the real indigenous landscaped survived. The reason why “natural” is in quotations is because the Hawkinson, Kruger, Quennell, Smith-Miller questioned what was in fact natural or original. They felt that within Los Angeles there is a 21st Century landscape that has yet to be defined or undertood – a cultivation and development of the land on a very large, regional and intrastate scale. Therefore, by compacting all the buildings into one corner, they could then bring the landscape back to its former “preexisiting” condition (which was itself also artificial). They had to question the need for putting a museum into the parkland, as that would be replicated what was already in the downtown area of Los Angeles. In the end, they decided to put in “The Museum of Un-Natural History” underground (they put it underground so they could bring the issue of the ground to the forefront of the project). This project was a good institution to return to the previous debate or art vs. architecture – “architecture is asked to give form to such a monumental institution of art”. They felt that the “Museum of Un-Natural history would be more of a “cultural record” rather than a limited selection of “auratic objects” – rather than being a shrine, it is almost like a “shopping mall”. This would relate to the ideology surrounding Los Angeles as it is a city all about fabrication. The shopping mall metaphor was used since in the valley, a mall happens to be an important cultural event. Further, throughout America, the mall almost functions as a "Main Street" idea. This analogy has proven useful as a shopping mall, as well as the “Museum of Un-Natural history” both have difficulties establishing a sense of boundary between the commodity culture and art production. The Los Angeles project can be considered architecture since we can see it and understand it directly, we can see the shape of the buildings, talk about the boundaries and talk about how we would perceive it in the landscape. Further, within this project they wanted to remain as anonymous as possible with as little presence as they wanted this site to resist the cultural scrutiny. The architecture is this project has been disperse all over the entire landscape. In this project there was a working practicality because there was already a certain “given” (buildings already existed on this landscape); however unlike the Un-Occupied project in Los Angeles, they produced their own program for this landscape. In the Los Angeles project, the culture was suggested by the nature of the competition. Although the project in North Carolina seems more ephemeral, they are operating with much more restraints than the Los Angeles project. While the architecture in the Los Angeles project were designed to match the already present architecture, the architecture in the North Carolina project are designed to be as generic as possible. The most ideal project would be that one that is completely invisible, or completely generic. Thank you for your participation!
Alexis & Dena Do you believe that art demands the spectator be kept at a distance, and only enjoy the aesthetic experience?
Why or why not? Support your claims. Seminar Question Model of the unbuilt Große Halle Maison des Gardes Agricoles, 1804 October 12, 2012. http://faculty.etsu.edu/kortumr/HUMT2320/postmodern/htmdescriptionpages/seagram.htm Mies Van der Rohe, Seagram Building, NYC, 1958 Promotional still from the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film 'Modern Times' Promotional still from the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film 'Modern Times' Frank Lloyd Wright house, interior view from airbnb.com Main Street in Disneyland Three variants of the “gated-community lifestyle” were proposed (Blakely and Snyder, 1997): Film still of the Emerald City from 'The Wizard of Oz' Film still of the gates of the Emerald City from 'The Wizard of Oz' 2. On other hand, by questioning the status of architectural object and rethinking some of the conceptual oppositions that have organized contemporary architectural discourse (subject/object, nature/culture, inside/outside) (slides of oppositions)-- these projects suggest the possibility of a more thoroughgoing critique of architecture as a commodity within an economy of desire and dispersion Un-Occupied Territory in Los Angeles Blueprint for the Imperfect Utopia in North Carolina October, 18 2012, http://www.digsdigs.com/25-modern-living-room-layouts-from-tumidei October, 18 2012, http://www.digsdigs.com/25-modern-living-room-layouts-from-tumidei October, 18, 2012, http://www.dipity.com/tickr/Flickr_sky_blue/ Citations:

"Edge city ." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Edge_city>.

Harries, Karsten. “The Dream of the Complete Building.” Perspecta 17 (1980), pp. 36-43. 

Hawkinson, Laurie, Kruger, Barbara, et. Al. “Imperfect Utopia/Un-Occupied Territory.”Assemblage 10 (Dec. 1989), pp. 19-45. 

MacLeod, Gordon and Ward, Kevin. “Spaces of Utopia and Dystopia: Landscaping theContemporary City.” Geografiska Annaler, Series B, Human Geography 84, no. 3/4(2002), pp. 153-170. 

Morshed, Adnan. “The Aesthetics of Ascension in Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama.”Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 63, no. 1 (March 2004), pp. 74-99.


“Action Comics #1" at The Grand Comics Database. Retrieved October 20, 2012




Hawkinson, Laurie, Kruger, Barbara, et. Al. “Imperfect Utopia/Un-Occupied Territory.”Assemblage 10 (Dec. 1989), pp. 19-45.







’Pyramids at Giza,” Photograph Collection, Art and Architecture Library, Yale University,New Haven









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