Senior Loeb Scholar Lecture: Kenneth Frampton, “Megaform as Urban Landscape”


Good evening. I’m just going to make
a few brief remarks. Michael Hayes is
really the person who will be introducing
Ken Frampton. So, according to him,
I’m the warm up act. So I would be just like
literally a couple of minutes to welcome you all. It’s really wonderful
to see everyone here. And it’s, of course, incredible
and a very happy occasion to be able to welcome
both Ken and Silvia. This week, Ken Frampton
and Silvia Kolbowski are the Senior Loeb Visiting
Loeb Fellows here at the GSD. As you know, it’s
been a few years since we established
the Senior Loeb program. And during this time, we’ve had
people, including Ulrich Beck, Arjun Appadurai, Richard
Sennett, and Saskia Sasses, David Harvey, Catherine Boo,
Tod Williams and Billy Tsien, Richard and Ruthie Rogers,
included in this program. And it’s been a really fantastic
opportunity for the school to have scholars
come and spend a week and participate in
different events. So getting both Ken and
Silvia is a special treat. While they’re here
they’re both going to participate in
a number of events. In fact, Silvia will give a
talk tomorrow at 1 o’clock, which will be in
the Gropius room. This talk is entitled
“Monument Which Is Not One.” And both John
Peterson, who has been a co-host during this
time together with Michael Hayes, Silvia Benedito, and with
great support from Sally Young, they’re all going
to be participating. But tomorrow, I think,
John and Silvia Benedito will also engage Silvia
Kolbowski in discussion after her talk in
the Gropius room L08. Also there will be other
discussions and collaborations with the art design and public
domain cohorts here at the GSD, as well as meetings
that Ken will have on Thursday with the
third semester corps with Eric Haller and others. And probably, an event also with
John May and the [inaudible] students from the history
and philosophy of design, as well as other sessions,
I think, that will be held. And of course, the Loeb’s are
at the center stage for this. Some of them are here
sitting behind Ken. And they will be the
beneficiaries of conversations, dinners, and things like that
that will take place also during the week. So please welcome
Professor Michael Hayes, who will introduce
our speaker tonight. Thank you. [applause] Thanks, Moshem. This is a real honor. And in some ways it’s very
easy, at least part of it, because I’ve been following
Kenneth Frampton’s work, not as long as I can remember but as
long as I can remember well. And it was very
important, very formative for a lot of us
of my generation. It all seemed so
clear with hindsight. The journal Oppositions
began publication in 1973. And in the first few
issues each of its editors issued a brief
position-taking proposal that would be for both
their interpretive agenda but also for design
practices that each of them would support in
subsequent issues. So for example, there were
only three main editors then. Mario Gandelsonas offered. It was kind of an amazing essay. Mario’s too offered a kind of
semiotic triangle of the three dominant design
trends at that moment. One of the first so-called
semiotic analyses of architecture. Peter Eisenman followed
characteristically with a corrective to Mario
of how to understand his way. Singular, right. But before that, in actually
the first editorial, Kenneth had offered a reading,
the now famous reading of Heidegger’s building,
dwelling, thinking essay. And it was that essay that,
again, with hindsight, we now know inaugurated a career along
with just a few others, Alan Calhoun, Mario, a few
others, defined what we still call contemporary theory,
contemporary architecture theory. And for that, we thank him. Actually, I thank him
because, in fact, I wouldn’t get a paycheck had
he not written that essay. I’m the professor of
architecture theory. The point is to claim for
him that inaugural moment. Now it was a decade later,
in this amazing collection by Hal Foster, the
anti aesthetic, this was where Craig
Owens published “Feminism and Postmodernism.” It was the first feminist
theoretical critiques. Frederick Jameson
published the first version of what became the famous
postmodernism essay. And Kenneth published
what many regarded for a very long time
as his masterwork, an essay entitled “Towards
a Critical Regionalism, Six Points for an
Architecture of Resistance.” Kenneth called
critical regionalism a category oriented towards
certain common features that were already in place. That is to say, it was supposed
to be a descriptive essay, or that was the claim. But at the same time, in
practice and influence, critical regionalism was
very much an aesthetic if not an outright movement,
which is to say it had a dimension
that was not only descriptive but
courageously prescriptive. And I emphasized that
because since that essay no theorist of subsequent
generations, my own included, have really been so prescriptive
as that essay turned out to be. I find that very interesting. It was like the very modernist
avant-garde movements that Kenneth presumably
was turning against. The essay was explicitly–
this is not my word, it’s Kenneth’s– “rear guard.” it was deliberately
retrogressive but future oriented. And that dialectic, for
me, is an important one. I think it might come back a
little bit in the discussion tonight. That is, it sought to be
descriptive of features of certain, what he regarded as
authentic works of architecture as they already existed. But then went on to suggest,
based on those parameters, for the production
of future work. And this to me as was the
remarkable critical method. And it’s something that many
of us, I would say most of us, have attempted again
and again ever since. But then by the
1990s, and I would say probably for most
of the students here, the idea of an architecture
of resistance came finally– and in some ways, the
success of the essay in terms of its influence on
practice was also, in some way, began a kind of flattening. As it got more popular it
also got more flattened. The idea of an
architecture of resistance came to be regarded not
only as old fashioned, this is 1990, sort of
not dot.com enough. It was too anti-capitalist. It was too leftist. But more seriously, an
architecture of resistance came to be regarded
as impossible. That the desire for resistance
was regarded as just a symptom. No longer it could
be a prescription, it was just a symptom
that reflected the pathos of a moment in which
it seemed we would no longer be able to come up with
alternative practices, progressive practices,
practices of resistance. So all of this, and
this is coming now for what, to me,
was the crux, as I was thinking about tonight. All this was in
the back of my mind when Black in Design Conference
was launched just a couple of weeks ago. Black in Design announced
its themes for this year, designing resistance,
building coalitions. That really struck me. I immediately
thought of the essay. I wonder if the organizers
or the people who came up with the conference
knew about the essay. What I saw in Black in Design– I’m still watching
the videotapes– it was an amazing– in the face of the
situation we’re in, the enormous
struggle we’re in, there was an
optimism and a desire to hope in the Black
in Design Conference that, for me, given
the legacy of a kind of critical negative thinking,
has put Kenneth’s essay in a very different light. Kenneth taught us ways to think
in architecture of resistance. But it occurred to me, as I put
these two instances together, that Kenneth also taught
us something that we didn’t recognize at that
moment that maybe we’re recognizing now. That architecture’s
relation to the world must not only be resistant,
subversive, adversarial, although, at moments
it has to be that too. But architecture is
actually quite generous. It can also amplify, replenish
our desire to get things right, amplify the attempt to
design in an actively liberatory and
transformational way. And that’s a part
of that early essay that I think we
weren’t cognizant of. We couldn’t see it
that way at the time. Design can be quite generous. It offers a more capacious
vision of our world that might be able to do better
justice to what I think is the enthusiasm and the
energies that actually bring our students here in the
first place to architecture and design. And for that, we thank Kenneth. Welcome. [applause] Thank you. Amazing. I want to thank a few people. Of course, [inaudible]
Dean Mostafavi, who invited jointly
Silvia Kolbowski and myself to be
Senior Loeb Fellows. And then I should also think
John Peterson and Sally Young, who are inseparable from
the Loeb Fellowship, and who organized our stay
here, and all of the logistics, et cetera, and welcomed
us this afternoon. And finally, I would
like to, of course, thank Michael, an old colleague,
for his very, what can I say? rich presentation
of my past sins. And also this challenge
to address this evening the idea that
architecture can be transformational and liberative
as well as resistant. And I will try and honor
this angle, so to speak. Yes, well, I’m well aware
that here at the GSD I am on hallowed ground
in more ways than one. For this was the cradle
of urban design, I think. [inaudible] Jose Luis Sert. And it’s also, in a
sense, the birthplace of landscape architecture. If I’m not mistaken,
the first degree in landscape architecture
in the States was inaugurated here by
Frederick Law Olmsted. More recently, it’s
also been the cradle of landscape urbanism. And by virtue of the work of
Charles Waldheim, conceived, I think, as a mediatory
ecological strategy, which has been variously pursued
in the States and elsewhere since, I suppose, the mid-’90s. As it’s fairly well known, this
last has its ultimate origin, I believe, in the
teachings of Ian McHarg in the University
of Pennsylvania. Waldheim, having been,
if I recall correctly, the pupil of James Corner. And Corner, in his turn, having
been the pupil of [inaudible] My theme this evening,
“Megaform as Urban Landscape” has something of its origin
half a century ago when my initial experience, for
the first time, I think, of the urbanized region of
the scale of the Boston, Washington corridor was
impressed upon my mind by actually taking a helicopter
from Newark Airport at 5:00 on a summer’s evening,
or early fall evening, and back to Kennedy Airport
to go fly back to London. And I’d never seen so
much electrical power– this is mid-’60s– or gasoline
burning before my eyes as one of those sublime panoramas that
you are never likely to forget. There are two things, actually,
that coincided at this time. One was this experience
of the urbanized region. And the other was Hannah
Arendt’s book, The Human Condition, which first
appeared in ’58, 1958, and for which I will, I
think, never really recover in terms of the
way she influenced my total attitude to
architecture and to life in general, I think. Where the first, the
urbanized region, made me aware of the process
of continuous, never-ending urbanization, the
continual assembly of totally unrelated
freestanding objects. The other introduced me to the
provocative phrase, “the space of human appearance,” with
all the political and cultural connotations that this implies. And thus, I first became
preoccupied with something that has haunted me ever since. Namely, that by what
means, both as a society and as a profession,
where may we hope to be able to maintain
spaces of human appearance within an exceptionally
privatized and highly commodified process of
unending urbanization. In which, as Mies van der
Rohe once put it laconically in the mid-’50s, I quote, “That
is why we can’t build cities anymore. All cities, planned cities. It goes on like a
forest, and we shall have to learn how to
live in the jungle and even do well be that.” This is the mid-’50s. Coming here on the plane, I
happened to have it with me for obvious cribbing reasons,
Charles Waldheim’s 2006 Landscape Urbanism Reader. And I opened the page at
Grahame Shane’s pithy essay, which carried this image
by Cedric Price, one of Price’s typical
witty legacies, with three states of urbanism
represented by a boiled egg, in terms of the antique and
medieval city surrounded by a wall. Of course, that’s a bit
too three-dimensional for the other two. But in any case,
the wall, of course, being the shell of
the egg, boiled. Then, of course, the fried egg
being 17th to 19th centuries. And then scrambled eggs
being the 20th century, and, of course, also
the 21st century. And the fried egg obtaining for
the 17th and 19th centuries, as you can clearly read. I’m going to give
you an account of how I came to get involved with
this question of megaform as urban landscape, which is,
of course, coinage of my own and which needs a certain
elaboration, I think. So it’s tough for me. In 1978 the history for
architecture and urban study is that no kind of unbelievable
offbeat, miraculous place founded by Peter Eisenman
in ’78 with Stanford Addison as an
editor, the Institute produced a book called
On the Streets, published by MIT Press. And various characters
hanging around the Institute, and some also here in
Cambridge contributed articles to that anthology, in a way. Rather large anthology. And I contributed a piece
called “The Street As Continuous Built Form.” And when I thought about
presenting this issue this evening, “Megaform as
Urban Landscape,” I thought, maybe I should step back and
talk just briefly, very briefly about the continuous
street as built form. And this, of course, is
the Smithson’s Golden Lane, montage down to
bombed out Coventry. It’s 1952, when
Garden Lane first were premiered in the gardening
competition for housing in London. And here, of course, is supplied
to Coventry as literally that, as a continuous built form. And it also contains a street. In ’61, almost
decades later, they would do this London Road study. And here one notices,
it’s not a street but it is a spine which
has a auto route in it, and designated bus lanes,
and parking underneath, and also a kind
of shopping mall. And of course, they would even
coin the term “land castles.” This thing, of course, produced
land castles almost by itself because it would divide
certain sectors of the city from the next. But this preoccupation
with roads and streets, I think, and it
has an old history. And I will try and show it
very briefly during the course of this discussion
about megaform. When architects, I think– well, of course, I am
thinking of Le Corbusier at the end of the 1920s– began to think that the
only, what can I say? modern, reliable civic
work that would actually mark the landscape and
define it was in fact, the auto route, which
begins, of course, with his Plan Obus of 1929. And at one scale, that was
Smithson’s preoccupation. There’s another scale. It was the street as the
elevated street, which they also, I think with
considerable naivete, thought to compare to the
street, the traditional street, the traditional
double-sided street. And this clearly was not
the traditional double-sided street. And also because it was
totally disconnected from the urban fabric. Of the same
generation, of course, this is work by Shadrach Woods. This is in fact, Shadrach
Woods’ Karlsruhe. And there, of
course, he’s trying to come to terms with the
real problem for all streets. Once the automobile
arrives, is how do you accommodate both
pedestrian movement and the space of appearance
in the street charged with automobiles. Of course, in the
early ’50s, streets were not so charged with
automobiles as they are now. But this project in Karlsruhe,
which is somewhat later, where he tries to put parking
behind the whole urban development, which is really
addressing this linear street in the center of Karlsruhe. And he would develop
that further. Here you see that this is the
point of the active street with residences on the street
and the quiet perimeter block interior to which cars
would be attached. Sorry, by implication, of
course, automobile-free. In theory, of
course, never built. But he would develop
it into another project that I think is more interesting
for Hamburg’s steel soup. There again, this is a street
as continuous built form with parking garages
brought in behind it. Also, not realized. And will go on with
things not realized. But in terms of continuous built
form the, street as continuous built form realized, of course,
there is the much more concrete and realized, also
pre-automobile, of course. This is a 1917 plan
by Bell [inaudible] for Amsterdam south,
will get built out. This is, I think,
Amsterdam south in 1934, where the perimeter blocks,
of course, create streets. And again, the mass
energy of the automobile at that date in [inaudible]
simply doesn’t exist. And this led me to be interested
in a project like this, for example. Also part of the same idea
of the street as continuous built form, which is Barton
Myers and Jack Diamond’s building for the University
of Alberta in Edmonton, where the Galleria as a
continuous internal street is adapted to
student residences. Sorry. And this is a section. And of course, the
odd thing about that is that typologically,
the Galleria is a parasitical type
that’s woven interstitially into the urban fabric. But here they are
borrowing the type and making it into a
freestanding building. So this is not only the street
as a continuous built form, of course, pedestrian
street only, but a building, it produces its
own kind of unique building. The greatest thing
about it, of course, is it discontinuous from the
rest of the university campus. So that was a sort
of prologue for me. And I thought I
would indulge in it here just to show you that I
have been nursing something like this in my head
for quite some time. This, of course, is Reyner
Banham’s Megastructure. And of course, it
brings up the issue, what is the difference between
megastructure and a megaform? In fact, on the front
cover of this book is Archigram’s plug-in city. And of course, I think
the main issue, of course, is that Banham is stressing the
structure rather than the form. The avant-garde as
structure, one might say. And this is edgy. Banham’s Megastructure
comes out in ’76. And a big feature early on
in the rather elaborate text in that book is Paul Rudolph’s
Lower Manhattan Expressway project, 1970, which never
gets to be built, fortunately. One of Robert Moses last
masterpieces, I suppose. But more interesting
for me is this, Hans Hollein’s 1964
aircraft carrier, which is very definitely
a megaform, in my opinion. And also, one of the
attributes of a megaform is, of course, its landscape
potential, I think. In putting this
argument forward, I think, is important to– there’s a great remark made
by Francoise Choay, where she says, the auto route
system, if it were not for graphic signs, would
not be negotiable at all, which is a self-evident truth. But unlike the traditional
city or the medieval city, where you could, of course,
negotiate through landmarks, and I think this question of
that aspect of the megaform to function as a landmark is
perhaps one of its virtues. And you see that part
of the accommodation is very interesting in the
double way he shows it. He kind of sinks
the aircraft carrier into the ground and the actual
body of the building itself is subterranean. Fumihiko Maki is
very much involved with the idea of megastructure. He publishes a text with Gyorgy
Kepes, a project for Shinjuku, where the megaform is
in fact, of course, a vast podium on which you can
build virtually everything. And needless to say,
the Rockefeller Center is also a megaform. Well, perhaps one of the
most remarkable megaforms in relation to a piece of
historical fabric by then, in relation to
the greatest city. It has this relationship
to the greatest city. The extraordinary
thing is the breakdown of the form to the
scale of Fifth Avenue. And there are earlier examples. And I’ve often nursed
the idea of trying to make a comparison between
the tale of the Palais-Royale at the end, let’s say, most
complete, as we know it now by the end of the first
quarter of the 19th century in the center of Paris. Definitely a city in miniature. Much more a city in
miniature, in fact, than the Rockefeller
Center would ever be because nobody actually ever
lived in Rockefeller Center, where, in the case
of Palais-Royale people lived on the perimeter. In fact, the Palais-Royale
was developed twice because it was first this
enclosure and then there was a second layer
built. It was first built by Cardinal Richelieu
in the 17th century. And within the
Palais-Royale, of course, there is then the
Galerie d’Orleans, which is the idealized arcade,
the intel street that we see here. The internal street
marketing not for goods. But the Palais-Royale
was also something else. It was a free port inside the
city, a kind of free trade center, basically. And also a political center. It was a place of subversive
journalism, conversation. As someone once said,
it was the place in which anything under
the rubric of commerce could be conducted, including,
of course, prostitution. And also, the
revolution begins there with Camille Desmoulins in 1789. Shown here urging the
rebellious populace of Paris to revolt, to start
the revolution. And here, 1815, other
kinds of commerce. Just at the moment,
Napoleon is about to be defeated at Waterloo. But the idea of a perimeter
block as a kind of enclave is one way of interpreting
the idea of megaform. And here, Fernand
Pouillon in ’57, I think, produces his block in
Algiers called [? demille ?] [? cologne ?] is his nickname. He immediately creates a
place against the chaos that surrounds it. Some of which, of course,
is also designed by him. Or this, which is 1917. Hans Poelzig. It’s a House of Friendship
competition for Istanbul to be paid for by the
German government. In fact, never built. But here, the idea
of megaform, I think, it may be even kind of
shocking since it’s obviously competing with the
minarets of major Mosques. And you see it here. You could say it
is also by Poelzig, an example of German
expressionism, which clearly was not only just
because of the site but you look at other work of
Poelzig at this time influence by Arabic or you could
say Islamic architecture. And then, I have
already alluded to this, or I began to allude to it. Which is the 1929 project of Le
Corbusier for Rio de Janeiro, which is where he posits the
idea that the congestion of Rio is such that the only way of
liberating this congestion is to actually build an
auto route that know irrigates the entire complex. And you put the
automobiles on top of the building and stack
apartments beneath it. And another version of the same. And then, of course, it
becomes the inspiration for Plan Obus for
Algiers of 1930, where, in fact,
the auto route now is again on top of the
long, snaking block entering into the
center of the complex. And then in the middle of
the adapted [inaudible] blocks here. That’s the point, I
suppose, about megaform is that he’s actually
turning it into a landscape really, into an urban landscape. And something of
the same will be played with by Jacob
Bakema in his project for Tel Aviv, where he will
really adapt the Corbusier notion to create a new
center for Tel Aviv at the port of Jafa. This is actually the
existing Dizengoff Circle, slightly augmented. And also bringing auto
route into the whole system, multilevel auto route. This is the famous
White City of Tel Aviv. Five-story walk up, white
cubic houses, mostly designed by German emigre architects. [inaudible] keep it like
that in [inaudible].. And here you see the attempt
to the argument about scale, trying to relate the auto route. And again, to consider
the auto route the most generative element. But not to stand by itself but
to energize a total complex . And he will, a few years
later, apply the same thing to Amsterdam,
so-called Pampas Plan. Never built, of course. You could compare it certainly
to the metropolis in Japan, building on the water. Above all, Kikutake. But also to Tange’s
Tokyo Bay of 1960. Perhaps that’s the
important thing. Tokyo Bay, as it
were, has the nerve to build out into the water. And it’s clear
from Kansai Airport that the Japanese do know how
to build out into the water. Artificial ground,
of course, which is what Maki had been
proposing for Shinjuku. There, of course, on dry land. In the case of the Kansai
Airport, Renzo Piano. Actually, the reason why
the Japanese built out there, that’s very interesting
in terms of public opinion is because the pressure
not to have jets taking off in the middle of
the Kansai District was such that they
were forced, in fact, to build the new airport
out in the water. And there, technical
problems include having to jack up the
buildings all the time because the [inaudible]
of ground is, in a sense, always sinking. God knows what happens with
the current emerging climate change and the airport. Not probably no longer
advisable as a technique. This is also Pampas plan. It shows the
relationship, of course, with the existing Amsterdam
and the way in which he would have carried out the expansion. Definitely a megastructure,
you could say. But I think it’s the
form that intrigues me, the continuity, the
horizontal continuity of the form. And then there are
building types. And I will come back
to this at the end. I think there are certain kinds
of programs, singular programs, or anyway hybrid programs
that lend themselves to this strategy, in a way. Because as soon as I do,
I am putting it forward as a hypothetical
strategy for overcoming the problem the [? apparia, ?]
so to speak, of urban design and urban planning. Now I remember being
in this building. No, maybe in the old one. It’s a long time ago. Listening to Jose
Saletan say, well, what will become of the surgery
if it’s never practiced? This was a conference
on urban design. Jose Luis Sert was able to
achieve some remarkable pieces of [inaudible] That’s the important
thing, I think. They were always
urban interventions. And I’m playing around with
this megaform as urban landscape idea. Also, with the idea
of intervention. The real option is to intervene
in the unending megalopolis of chaotic freestanding
objects, none of which are related to any other object. So that’s what’s
lying behind this. I think I have to admit
it’s some kind of obsession in a way. But then I think, there
are certain types. For example, above
all stadia, which lend themselves
to being rendered as though they are landmarks. And this one in
particular, which is 1953, Vogelweidplatz in Vienna, by
Alvar Aalto, where the building itself takes on the character
of a kind of escarpment or mini mountain. And that thing is formed,
of course, by the– well, here you see it– is formed by the structure,
the catenary structure designed, as a matter of
fact, by his engineer’s son. I think it wins the competition. But, of course, it never gets
built, as is often the case. Here, the space of
appearance, by the way, is not only inside the arena,
but also in the forecourt here and, of course,
in all the other– it’s a kind of mini
Olympic intervention. Another program is, of course,
the roadworks themselves or parking in the
center of the city. And this is about the same date
as the project for Helsinki for the Tulu area in Helsinki
next to the railroad entry into Helsinki and into
Ellis [inaudible] terminal. He makes make this into a
kind of total landscape, the auto route entering
into this terraced operation here is concentrated parking
made into a landscape. You can see it’s here. Actually, if you
know the city, that’s the National History Museum. And here is the Saarin terminal. And this is the auto route
entering into the thing. The rails are here. And these are the terraced
mass parking garages. More of the same. This is the existing lake,
rails, auto route coming in. This is the National Museum. That’s the Parliament. And the only one building
he built of this, of course, has been [inaudible],,
the concert hall. Otherwise, none of this
was carried through. But the idea was, of course,
a kind of cultural band looking out over the water. So we come to Arthur
Erickson, Vancouver. The university just
outside Vancouver, the Simon Fraser
University, which is built on a kind of natural
acropolis outside Vancouver and which he handles as
though it is an acropolis. So now, of course, we
come to the university as a potential
program for megaform. And you see it very much here. Here, of course, my famous
space of public appearance. And there’s faculty buildings
creating another space at a higher level. And you see how the whole
complex, of course, also including parking
climbs up the site to this ultimate
monumental courtyard. This is the section in
the other direction. So it’s built on a kind
of natural acropolis, the character of
which it amplifies. A kind of gallery
of space almost. And you’re inside,
underneath the space frame roof, which you saw. Which was sketched out
here and built out here. It’s an architect that I
think has never been realized. I think he has never
been given his due. I’ll come back to him,
I think, a little later, also in Vancouver. Then we come to– well, here we are. Robson’s Square, which is
in this case, the program is a law courts
and a municipality made into a new synthesis with
a landscape that is literally implanted on top of it,
including these two waterfalls and this stepped walkway. In fact, the uncomfortable
coinage is the word “stramps,” combining ramp and
steps together. And the landscape designed by
court Cornelia Oberlander, who is the third woman to graduate
from the Landscape Architecture Department in the GSD,
along with Dan Kiley and Garrett [inaudible],,
and somebody’s name. I think Rogers [inaudible]
Three males and one woman. And she has always worked with– well, he’s no longer
alive– but until his death, she collaborated with Erickson. And I value this
thing enormously because, in fact, it creates
a new spine for Vancouver. It almost functions, I
think, in the intensity to develop Vancouver– this is ’86, some time ago– as a kind of new spine in
performing a function not unlike that of Rockefeller
Center, I think, in New York. And here you see the space
frame roof over the– these are the law
courts, in fact, here. This is a common public foyer. And then underneath
is the municipality. And the municipality,
of course, extends out. The whole thing ending in an
existing Beaux-Arts building here, finally stepping
down to this building. A plan of the same thing. Here’s the Beaux-Arts
complex and here are the stramps coming down. And you can see how this
whole thing is landscaped. Yeah, these are
the stepped ramps. More of the same. And in Switzerland we
encounter something similar. This is Luigi Snozzi
and Mario Botta. I think this is 1972. It’s a project for the main
rail terminus in Zurich. At the time, it only consisted
of the old 19th century building and these
covered platforms. But they, or rather,
yeah, I think we could say they
proposed building this new facilities for the rail
and some side development here, [inaudible] writes. And it’s interesting
that this rail thing comes in to the
terminals and breaks this or goes over this small
tributary to the [inaudible] And then they
build this building and they put trees on
top, somewhat naive also, to echo the line of trees
on either side of this to create a kind of landscape
link to repair in a way that the rail cutting by
putting a bridge over it. Of course, I’m showing you
things that were both built and unbuilt. This perhaps, not
surprisingly, was not built. The interesting thing,
not self-evident, is that this is a parking
garage here in relation to this new office facility. So it unites the 20th century
infrastructure of automobile with the rail infrastructure. The Swiss are very good at this. I’ve never seen anything
more ingenious and brilliant than the link between
Kloten Airport in Zurich and the totals
Swiss railway system. It’s an extraordinary
connection, which also depends on an
extraordinary Swiss invention, which is a luggage cart that
will clip onto an escalator. No one else has copied it. I find it unbelievable,
but that’s a fact. Somehow I suppose the
patent rights are too heavy. I don’t know. Well, here you see the parking
garage [inaudible] clearly, I think. And the existing cover platforms
the rail system entering. And then two years
later, they do this for Perugia, which is
a regional administration building. To build a building as
a viaduct, actually. It’s an office building. But of course with courtyards,
it’s definitely a megaform. And at the end of the
megaform, these parking silos and the teleferico leads
you up to the hill town. And in a way, this long
viaduct block creates a– that’s the other
point about it– a kind of order within the chaos
of interrelated freestanding objects that surround
the foothills of Perugio. Here we see the idea, which also
is rated to a major auto route. This, in this case, built
the northern zone, from which it gets the term “zen.” Zen block by Vittorio Gregotti
and Franco Perini in Palermo And here we have
megaforms in the term in the form of
residential blocks that layer, that create a
new texture in the landscape entirely. You see the blocks here. They, in fact,
create a new domain. A landmark, in fact, you
could say against the chaos of the development of Palermo. And I think it’s
one of the finest– I think it’s suffered
from bad maintenance but I think it’s one of
the finest housing schemes that Gregotti Associati
would produce. And Perini, at this date, is
closely connected to Gregotti. And the two of them together
designed this project for the University of Florence. But it’s the same
idea, of course. It’s only now it’s not housing,
it’s faculty buildings. And they, of course,
establish a new landscape. And our kind of, in
my view, megaforms. And you see the idea in this
model, I think, rather clearly. And this will lead
to this built work. And here, oh, this
is something– I personally think Vittorio
Gregotti is, well, it’s very tragic really. Because almost all of his
writing is only in Italian. And the very important
book he wrote in 1966 called The
Territory of Architecture, has only been translated, as
far as I know, into French. It certainly doesn’t
exist in English. And it’s really a
great loss, I think. There, in that book, he,
Gregotti, re-discovers this German geographer,
Friedrich Ratzel, who coins the term
“anthrogeographic,” and makes his argument
that, in fact, of course, species being
has transformed the surface of the earth all the time. And produces a kind of
anthrogeographic pattern out of it. And I think this idea, that,
of course, leads to the title The Territory of Architecture. And it leads to this project
for the University of Cosenza. I think this is like
6,000 meters long. Well, what it is,
in fact, of course, is a continuous walkway that
links all these lecture halls and faculty buildings across
this valley to a rail link here and a road link here. And it cuts across
this mountain chain. So that’s a model of it here. There’s the rail link. This is a road link. One wonders, it’s a long walk. Of course, it’s full of
the virile young people, but maybe, if one had
more money perhaps we introduced a travel
[? agent. ?] But, in any case, he got it built finally,
this kind of megaform. And it brings me
to this work, which is by Weiss Manfredi for the
sculpture park in Portland. Well, what they
had to do there is to deal with an existing road
system and an existing rail system. And of course, disused land
between them, absolutely cut off, ruined. And of course, the
remoteness of the water. So they devised this
very ingenious– it’s a megaform but also
it’s a land form, in a way. And I’m thinking now of a book
published by Staten Island and [? hasham ?] [? sarcass ?]
with that title, Landform. And it is what it was meant
to be, a sculpture park. And also allows– that’s
the important thing– allows the public to enter
from the land side. And gradually, through
a series of ramps, come down to have this kind
of relationship to the water while still keeping the
freight rail underneath and the auto route
passing underneath. That’s an urban
intervention for sure. We see the ingenuity
involved in order to create this
urban intervention. The fact that one has to create
a kind of artificial ground, really. All these sections make it
quite clear what the game is. And here you see, well, it’s
the thing in action, basically. The auto route, of
course, is emerging here. The rail is going under here. And we’re coming down. By this bridge, you go
down to the river here. Seattle. And this is a work by MMBB, a
young Brazilian team that was at some point led
by Angelo Butti, and in collaboration with
[? menteta ?] [? russia. ?] [? menteta ?] [? russia ?]
probably should feature much more strongly in this account
than he does because this is the so-called Dom
Pedro Bus Station. Unfortunately, I should
have images of it. It is very beautifully
designed in detail. But here, I think, just even
an element of this order has a kind of
landscape character, urban landscape
character in relation to the auto route in the center
of the incredible chaos of Sao Paolo. More interestingly, I think,
is this project of 2008 by [? menteta ?]
[? russia ?] for Paris, which was part of the Olympic
bid by Paris for the 2012 Olympics, which it did not get. But part of its bid was
this sports boulevard, designed by [? menteta ?]
[? russia, ?] now acting alone, with all these stadia and
arenas of different kinds on top of this podium platform, with
a major arena off to one side, playing with the existing water,
which is always something which he, as the son of a
hydraulic engineer, was constantly involved with. But maybe, the
real thing is this. What I find encouraging is– well, this is the outer
periphery, basically. And this is the chaos that
interrelated freestanding objects ad infinitum
that surround the Haussmannian core of Paris. And this is the famous canal. And here, he inserts this thing. It’s an other. It is a kind of
landmark, a intervention, which gives a point of
register in what is otherwise the totally chaotic
urbanized region. I don’t know how many
of you have recently traveled from the center of
London to London City Airport. But if one wants to see a total
and utter irrational nightmare produced by, what can we say?
by the market, that’s it. This work has always
fascinated me. And of course, again,
another program. In the case of [? menteta ?]
[? russia, ?] it was a sports facility. Or in another instance,
a bus terminal. Or now, a ferry terminal plus
actually a brilliant project. I don’t know whether
either of the two authors of this project,
Alexander Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi,
who actually entered this competition when they were
both studying at [inaudible] They were doing postgraduate
studies at the [inaudible],, I think. And they won the competition. And it was built. And I really wonder whether
they will ever again equal this work, the
Yokohama ferry terminal. And the amazing thing is
that the Japanese built it, of course. And it’s very interesting. It was largely built by
Japanese ship industry, in fact. Much of it is made
out of folded plate, welded folded plate steel. But it combines. It is also a hybrid building. I think that what
is another aspect of this kind of fictive
idea of mine, a megaform, is that the program can
sometimes be hybrid. So in this building, it’s
not only a ferry terminal but it’s also, again, a
park, a kind of belvedere, and a theater. All these things are synthesized
into the same building. Actually, it reminds me
of the apocryphal aphorism of Le Corbusier, which is,
to design you need talent, to program you need genius. And I think, who
dreamt up this program? is the question. One can ask the same thing about
Robson’s Square in Vancouver. Who dreamt up that program? Or for that matter, Rockefeller
Center, in its original form was certainly a
city in miniature, from a cultural point of view. Still is, I think. And the other thing that I
think is also somewhat unique, since we’ve all passed
through, maybe still continues, the morphology moment– what I’m thinking
of Zahar, of course. But I could think of others,
like Frank Gehry, of course. They produced a
little book, which was very much related to D’Arcy
Thompson’s Growth and Form. They produced a book
where they tried to create a typology in relation
to certain building types that will give them, as it were,
a kind of biological format. And here, what I think
is extraordinary, is the way in which the
structure transforms itself. The welded steel folded plate
structure transforms itself according to the synthetic
content of the program within. And we see it here. Of course, computer
aided design, how else could they have done this? It is breathtaking,
this wooden deck and what they do with
this wooden deck. And of course, this
somewhat sparse green roof. Maybe it’s more of a
belvedere than it is a park. But nevertheless, it’s
still a great pleasure. Here you get the full weight
of the Japanese ingeniousness is right here with this
folded plate construction. I remember going to an
exhibition of this building before it was built in the
Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. And part of the
exhibition, there was a huge pile of drawings
about this high bound with raffia, very elegantly
bound with raffia. And each section in
a brown paper cover. And this was the
working drawings that the Japanese had produced. Because once they’d received the
executive drawings from the– which also happened in the
case of Rafael Vinoly’s– which is also a
megaform, by the way– Tokyo [inaudible]
the Odyssey building in the center of Tokyo. Exactly the same thing. The Japanese took
the information and then redrew the
whole thing the way they wanted to build it. Of course, Stephen Hall’s hybrid
building, now acknowledging its character, built– that’s
the astonishing thing– and built by private developers. This is hard to believe. Who would actually
sink geothermal wells in the ground 100 feet? I can’t imagine– where
is the American developer is going to do that, I wonder? And it houses 7,000 people
in 2,500 apartments, I think. The flat [inaudible]
famous flying bridges contain exercise rooms and
other kinds of amenities. And something of
the same, of course, is also the Vanke so-called
horizontal skyscraper that he built in Chengdu. No, Shenzhen, rather. And which looks back to
the mountains on one side and looks out to
sea on the other. And looks like this. Has this idea of
providing shaded space. I don’t find this
megaform as convincing as the hybrid building. I want to end with a work
by Fumihiko Maki, which is this polytechnic made outside
of Singapore in an area called Woodland, which consists of– it’s called the Republic
Polytechnic, I think– it consists of a disk, a green
disk, which is elevated– an earthwork, in fact,
elevated above the– it’s a kind of
artificial ground. And on this artificial ground
are these 11-story teaching blocks. There’s a major
assembly hall here, which is also accessible to
the public, and administration, and so on, and
parking, and staff residential facilities
here, gymnasium. But the building, this shows
you how it is developed. These are the faculty
buildings, in fact, with specialized faculty here. Gymnasium, residences, main
administration building. And this is the upper plan
showing the greensward and the way these classrooms,
they’re little teaching towers, in fact, that are
above this disk. And so this section shows
you the disk like this, which has its own incline. And this colored area here is
all the public space underneath but lit from above. So the public space
is here in yellow. The space of public
appearance, if you like. With here a pool. Now there are different
courtyards that are let down and give light, of
course, and air. The little green
things are all courts let into the disk on top. So this is the
green disk on top. Staff residents in the rear. And this is the upper
level looking down into the courtyards. This is the courtyard itself
partly with an ornamental pool, partly planked in wood. Or the view from the
library onto the courtyard. And the dining hall with
a large window opening to the courtyard. And, I think, a
gymnasium beneath. Which brings me to
the end, as you’ll be happy to hear perhaps. I want to say, well, this
whole idea of megaform as urban landscape begins
with this building, in fact. Which is in, I think,
1990, early 1990 by Rafael Moneo and the
late Manuel de Sola-Morales. Very prominent Catalan urbanist. I think there are
two main figures. One is Busquets,
who teaches here. And Manuel de Sola-Morales,
who is no longer alive, unfortunately. And actually, Manuel published
an amazing magazine called [? oure. ?] He is also
one of the, in some ways, innovators of landscape
urbanism, I think. Maybe it’s more
important to associate his theoretical approach
with acupuncture. I love this idea. Urban acupuncture. With the notion that
strategically placed intervention can have
a catalytic effect upon the surroundings,
apart from asserting itself as a world in itself, as a
kind of world in miniature. And this block on the
Avenida Diagonal, shown here, is this famous Ila block. And actually, in this
very room, I think, I meant Raffa Monea with a tiny
little model of this block. Where the character of the block
depends on its serrated top. The character of the block
is a landmark, that is. And then the other thing that
intrigues me is that, in a way, it is open to reuse because
instead curtain wall you have pierced windows. So you could, in fact, turn
what is an office building into an apartment
building, I think, without too much difficulty. Unlike many curtain
wall monsters, which will not allow
themselves too easily be transformed in this way. But the other interesting
thing, and it’s very hard to see in this rather
bad image, there is an existing shopping frontage
here on the Avenida Diagonal. And inside this building– this shows you the–
it’s very schematic, but this shows you the outer
limits of the [inaudible] of the 19th century. And the ease with
which one can get either on foot or by public
transport to this building. It doesn’t really show
you the shopping frontage of the Avenida Diagonal. But that it is certainly there. This is this shopping frontage
of the Avenida Diagonal. And inside there is
this shopping mall. And underneath, very important,
is this enormous provision of parking so that
people can drive into this center, this point
of urban acupuncture, and park and take elevators up and
shop in the shopping mall– this is the shopping mall– also in the Avenida Diagonal. What impresses me
about this, you could say, all these
American provincial towns where the suburban shopping
center is built outside. And of course, the Main
Street is totally destroyed. That’s what’s happened in
countless American provincial cities surrounded by suburbs. And not only American
provincial cities. It’s also happened in the UK. This same unfortunate
phenomenon. So it’s also a programmed thing. It’s not only the form,
and the form is important– this is my point about the
landscape, the landmark, I mean. The chaos of– this is a
bull ring in Barcelona– but the chaos of
the surrounding– Norman Foster– chaos of
the surrounding suburbs are right there. And I think that’s the
last image, isn’t it? No, not quite. This is in Agadir. It’s by Vittorio Gregotti. I could, of course, show
Renzo Piano’s San Nicola Stadium in Bari. This is a more recent
work in Agadir. It surely is a megaform. Parking is arranged
very similar, actually, to Renzo Piano’s
San Nicola Stadium. But the entrances are
a bit more cryptic. The whole thing is
decidedly more monumental. Again, we come back to a sports
facility as stadium, and so on. I think, probably, I’ve
almost come to the end. But not quite. I haven’t given this
lecture very often. In fact, I think this is the
second time I’ve given it. I gave it in the
University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana when I was
invited to be the [? plim ?] professor there. But one of the deals is that
every [? plim ?] professor has to give a lecture, and it
has to be made into a book. So I have, in fact. I’ve already published
the damn book. But it’s a bit thin as
this lecture is a bit thin. And so what? There’s always the
embarrassing thing. Why don’t I read this. “Since 1960, when the French
geographer Jean Gottmann first coined the term “megalopolis,”
automotive regional urbanization has become the
universal land settlement pattern of late capitalism. Stimulated by the mass ownership
of the automobile, megalopoli coming into being
all over the world today, accommodating
populations around 20 million apiece in the developing
world, and five million or so in many North
American conurbations. With regard to this
last, we may note that some three million
acres of agricultural land are lost each year in the
US through suburbanization, with little or no provision
for public transport. That reminds me of Wendell
Berry’s Unsettling of America, where he points out
that agrobusiness– what a term that is– cheap food with the combination
of artificial fertilizers, and genetic modifications,
and pesticides is gradually losing the
topsoil of the United States into the rivers and
out of the sea.” This is book argument made
by Wendell Berry already in the mid-’60s. “The net effect is
the proliferation of the non-place urban realm
as celebrated by Melvin Weber in his book Explorations
and Urban Structures in 1963. It’s interesting that Melvin
Weber was in the backroom of the [inaudible]
Weeks and Bore– Martin Bore being the planner– when they designed Milton
Keynes inaugurated in 1972, the last British new town.” And I suppose,
around the same time, Reston is the last pathetic
attempt in the States to do a new town. “There was, in fact,
a decade before, a new town projected for
Hampshire amazing town of Hook,” which was very
beautifully– it wouldn’t pass muster with Jose Luis
Sert’s idea of urban design, I think. But that was not
built. What was built instead Milton Keynes, which
was like an instant Los Angeles, suburbanized, in the end,
superimposed, distorted one kilometer grid over the
previous undulating agrarian land of Buckinghamshire. My second point is, “under these
circumstances, the stratagem of the time-honored master
plan as an instrument of urban design would
seem to be untenable, particularly given the
relatively limited resources available for public
intervention at a civic scale, along with the volatile
rate of spontaneous growth and change in most urban areas.” In other words, master plans
are already out of date as soon as they are– other than in the case
of infrastructures. But even then, I think. “Third point is, the
de facto emergence of megalopolitan patents
of land settlement present us with two
alternative strategies, as far as future
development is concerned. A, the current ad
hoc proliferation that there are related
relatively isolated freestanding objects. Or B, place creating counter
theses of megaform integrated into a site as a
discontinuous exception to the otherwise
undifferentiated, hated urban cacophony.” It should be clear from
the”– this is point four– “from the wide range of
megaform cited in the foregoing, that a megaform may come into
being at quite different scales and thereby assume distinctly
different place creating potential, depending not
only on the scale but also on the programmatic complexities
of form in each instance.” Even, of course, low
rise, high density, now no longer fashionable
went towards a kind of megaform transformation
of the environment. The fifth point is, megaform
can also be landscape itself, as in the case of an Enrique
[? mariason ?] [inaudible] [? binos ?] in [inaudible]
cemetery in Barcelona of 1992. Or the Olympic Park, Seattle,
2000 by Manfredi and Weiss. Six was definition. “By definition, a megaform
is restricted in its extent, and it may thus be realized by
the society in a limited time period.” I think that’s important
because otherwise, of course, nothing gets done. Seventh point is, I
suppose, I made a comparison to the 19th century arcade. “The megaform has the capacity
of providing a public domain.” Ah, this is it. “The space the public
appearance in what is otherwise totally
privatized processal commodified environment.” Eight. “Within the space endlessness of
the megalopolis, characterized by Marc Auge,” in a wonderful
book called [french],, Non Place, a megaform may
also serve as a landmark, should, I think,
must serve, in a way, as a landmark, such as Poelzig’s
House of Friendship, 1917.” Nine. “It would seem that certain
contemporary building programs lend themselves to this idea. Of course, hospitals,
universities, maybe air terminals,
railway stations, shopping centers, cemeteries,
sports facilities, convention centers.” And 10. Well, you it just
says, “The world megaforms primary thought
of as interventions in the megalopolis. Clearly, Rockefeller
Center being an example, can also be applied
to a historic fabric.” Thanks. [applause] [inaudible] for a
little discussion? Yeah, sure, of course. Of course, yes, of course. So Kenneth has agreed
to take some discussion. Maybe I could just almost
start with your 10 points and thinking about
the public issue. Because one of the
things, you know that in Boston Amazon
is looking for a place to build Amazon 2, a giant– does anyone know the numbers? I can’t remember. Amazon is proposing to
build either near Boston in the peri-urban area or
even further out in some of the suburbs this
giant, new headquarters. You mentioned, of
course, that most of the projects that you list in
the programmatic way or either infrastructural or giant
public gatherings like stadia, or terminals, or things like
that, which in the States right now aren’t getting built. But what will get built, at
least in the near future, it seems, are these major
private corporations, but not even Rockefeller Center, of a
scale that’s even much bigger. In your examples, do
you recall, is there a way we could hope
for something other than a purely
exclusive megaform that might result from something
like the Amazon project, in so far as everybody in that
complex would both be working for Amazon and,
I suppose, they’d also be living in kind
of a town near Amazon, which means they’re all more
or less the same bandwidth of economics– of income, and things like that? Is there any is there any
hope of a more diverse– could the sheer
size of these things also encourage a diversity
of public in terms of income, or other vocation,
or other ways? Is there any
indication for that? Like Yokohama, obviously,
everybody, in a way, has to go through there
because it’s an exchange point. But in something like Amazon,
the private developers, seems to me, the danger
is a kind of exclusivity. I have one comment. I was thinking about Amazon
as I put this together. Of course, I’ve thought
about it before. Well, if you think that
the thing that set me off was Ila block in
Barcelona, there’s also a hotel, schools,
mainly offices, and this shopping
mall, which keeps alive the traditional shopping
frontage of the avenida. Which could have be done,
of course, on a small scale in many other places. But it is interesting. I was thinking about Amazon and
I’ve thought a lot about Amazon recently. The aim, of course, is to get
rid of shopping altogether. So that the pseudo
public realm of shopping will be eliminated
because everything will be delivered by– that’s the project, basically. That’s the project. And the warehouses
in which this stuff is put together for shipment
are certainly not public at all. They’re just, in a way,
they’re kind of sweatshops. Yeah, well, that’s a
pretty black picture. I totally concede, it’s
a totally black picture. But it’s interesting how,
in effect, at the end I cite the Ila
block in Barcelona. But Ila block in Barcelona, if
Amazon is given its full scope, will be destroyed, of course. Its function went up [inaudible] I don’t know if the sheer size– as soon as you start saying, OK,
they’re going to need a hotel, they have to have family visit. It’s [inaudible] interesting
that Amazon bought Whole Foods. So they are aware of
a food industry that’s not the one you described. It’s a different
kind of agribusiness. It’s still agribusiness but
it’s certainly different. But maybe the sheer
size means that there have to be other functions in
adjacencies that would bring in different classes,
different colors, different, I don’t know. But you need someone
with a brain, like Olivetti, Adrianos
Olivetti Communitas. The whole project
of Andria Olivetti before the Second World War
and immediately after in [? avria. ?] That was
a San Simonean idea. There’s no indication that
[? besart ?] has a San Simonean bone in his body. Italian industrialists,
you could say that Olivetti
was anachronistic. It’s not an accident that we’re
comparing him to San Simone. He’s almost like a 19th
century figure that ends up in the 20th century creating
this magazine, Communitas, the wholly [inaudible]
of business. And therefore, a
total community. it’s a concept of a– But I don’t see [? besart ?]
getting around to that, do you? Take this opportunity to
ask him questions, comments. Layne. [inaudible] Thank you. I would like to put in
comparison the idea of megaform with another idea, which
is popular in the school, about the archipelago, which
certainly has a long history but has been most recently
elaborated by [inaudible] If we understand the megaform as being
critical because of its scale and its singularity against
the logic of urbanization in order to make place
and give potential for landscape, that sort of
thing, it’s at the same time, also a product of neoliberal
accumulation at a vast scale. So I wonder how this idea
of the archipelago, which seems to me like
irreconcilable with the scale nature of megaform,
the archipelago tries to or is seen as, because
of its fragmented nature, establish an agonistic
life in the city. But I wonder what you think
about the fragmentary, small scale potential
of the archipelago to resist urbanization as
something which obviously has to operate in a very different
way from the large scale of the megaform. Yeah. That’s a very good question. I think that the
question is, how do you activate the
political constitution of these fragmentary
parts of an archipelago? I am someone who
is very admiring of Spanish architecture
after the demise of Franco. And I think the quality
of this architecture dependent upon the vitality
of the Spanish city-state, both as a political
and cultural entity. know They didn’t going into
building megaforms too much. Well, they built a
few stadia, but if I understood what you implied
by the term archipelago. I think that if you
can’t constitute the space of appearance
you can’t really develop a culture that has
real political strength and identity, I don’t think. In some ways, critical
regionalism was about that, I think. Anyway, the way the kind
of twist that, if you like. Or the way in which I adapted
it from the [? sonas ?] [? lefrebre ?] original
formulation of the term “critical regionalism.” One of the things which
is always left out, not by Friedrich
Jameson, by the way, who wrote a critique of it,
actually, a brilliant critique, is the cultural,
political implications. He wrote a critique from a
very hard Marxist standpoint, which threw doubt on the
cultural, political viability of such entities. And that’s really
why I introduced the idea of city-state,
which, of course, we don’t have city-states. And it is interesting that
Margaret Thatcher, neoliberal, coming to power in UK, would
destroy the physical power also of British provincial cities
to concentrate all the power in London and to
weaken them as any kind of political opposition
or cultural and political independence. Attempts have been
made to repair that. But that was the game clearly. Someone else? Could we get it right
here in the middle? Thank you for your talk. My question is rather simple. I’m curious if you
have anything to say about accidental megastructures
versus these structures that have plenty of authorship
and thought embedded in them? Can you give me an example? For example, Kowloon
Walled City in China. Or perhaps one could consider
urban sprawl happening in underprivileged areas as
megastructural accumulations, or neighborhoods where
the authorship doesn’t seem to have a direct source. There’s still the same type
of social coherency existing inside them. Well, maybe that, of
course, for me anyway, at this moment,
clearer formulation of the idea of archipelago. But of course, you don’t really
need architects for that, in fact. It’s interesting that
Rudofsky’s Architecture Without Architects, is 1964. Happens to be very close to the
date of Chermayeff Alexander’s Community and Privacy. This kind of vernacular was
in the way [? bariatta ?] [? favela, ?]
spontaneous housing, is a kind of vernacular
doesn’t need architects at all. People build their
own environments. So fashion has no– what do architects do? John Turner’s book
makes it clear that architects should
only be involved in adding or somehow
administering the provision of sewerage or
electrical power or something. But part of that,
I mean, forget it. The people know you can’t
intervene, really, basically. And authorship’s a funny word
because something of that size is going to be a
huge collaboration of different dimensions of
architecture, engineering, different kinds of planning. Gregotti is an author in
the sense you’re using it. But Amazon, it’s not
clear yet if they’re going to use architects. They have their own designers. And it won’t be
authored in that sense. Because– a continuation
on that question on this concept of authorship. Whether it’s a state
or a private entity, like Amazon, there’s
a certain organization within that structure
that’s required to initiate a project of a megaform. So I think that that could be
a whole other lecture maybe about what are the organizations
required to execute those types of projects? Can I just say something
about what the– I don’t know exactly what
the archipelago idea is. But the one thing I would ask
the two of you to comment on, or the students, is the
question of disconnect. Because I think what
Ken was talking about, in fact, is about connection. It’s about taking
fragmentation and connecting it to something that’s more
embedded, let’s say, in a city in the different
dimensions of a city. When you have these structures
that are built, not by design, they are often
quite disconnected. So I don’t know if we should be
glorifying that disconnection, or maybe we’re overly
glorifying the connection. I think, in a way, they are
connected because people, at that level of survival,
depend on each other and build their houses like
almost on top of each other, I think. [inaudible] There’s a question in
here, and then Ben next. Sorry. It was kind of related. Going off of this sort of
connection and disconnection. If we’re talking about
megaform as a landscape, as something that
can begin to connect all these diverse
entities, how can we begin to think of
megaform as a kind of perceptual or
incremental construction rather than this huge,
large scale capitalist entity, something carried
out by such a huge entity. Or if it’s not carried out by
this capitalist entity does it not necessarily make
it a megaform anymore? The whole thing is, what can you
do under capitalism, basically? Because I’m someone who
thinks as someone said, it’s easier to imagine
the end of the world than to imagine the
end of capitalism. you Architecture is a bourgeois
profession, in the end. It is. The profession is at the
service of capitalism because we don’t live
in a socialist society. I am interested in this kind
of large scale intervention as providing some
indicator of a place, both in terms of its
landmark qualities but also in terms of the
kind of space of appearance that it provides inside it. And at different scales. As a compensation for a
placelessness and no space of appearance, basically. A privatized, commoditized
society under capitalism. I think it is like that. Ben, maybe, has the last one. Well, this is totally related
to [inaudible] This is related to the last couple questions. And it’s just a
comment, basically. I think the most powerful
notion that you put forward is that precisely all of
these architectural projects operate as totally discontinuous
from the urban fabric. How something which
asserts itself as a autonomous
figural iconic object is in fact perhaps the
most urbanistically instrumentalization
at that scale. I think one of the earliest
ideas of an urban project was to unify Rome
with these obelisks. And they are in
fact not immediately productive in terms
of the spatial scale that we normally consider
in terms of architecture. But they’re extremely
productive as this sort of processional experience
through the city. And that relates back
to your original comment about freeways being completely
useless without signs. That’s just a comment. No, I think you got it. I think that’s the case. The idea is this. The idea of intervention. Intervention is a
kind of compensation for what is otherwise absent. The placelessness impact. Of course, I know
within the placelessness you can find little corners
here and there which have a kind of unique character. But the general drive in terms
of these 20 million cities that I cited, is a production
which is indifferent, really, to any idea of the urban. And your comment about
obelisk made me think of– Argan, wrote a little book
called The Renaissance City. And he begins the book by saying
we can’t say the Renaissance city never existed. What existed was a medieval
city into which were inserted Renaissance monumental pieces. He gives Florence as a classic
example of this, Brunelleschi, et cetera, et cetera. I suppose that notion, we
can’t say that the Renaissance city didn’t exist. It relates for me to
Mies’ comment, that’s why we can’t do cities anymore. We can’t do planned cities,
et cetera, et cetera. It goes on like a forest. But we can do the monuments. We can do the obelisks. Yes, you can do interventions. The question is, what
is the intervention? To borrow Manuel de
Solar-Morales’ metaphor, what kind of urban acupuncture,
what kind of project can one imagine and also
launch somehow or other in a society like this? It’s of course problematic. I know it’s problematic. But the lecture has this
particular character because I am somehow preoccupied
with this question of where is the public realm? How does any kind of public
realm come into being? Just one quick thing. I was thinking about
these last few questions. The thing you
emphasized that might go some way of answering the
incremental question as well as the archipelago question. The dominance of
the ground plane and the need for a
continuous ground plane, even if the buildings are
aggregates, the ground plane itself somehow needs
to be continuous for a proper megaform to emerge. And I think there’s beginning
of some kind of answer. It’s also going back to
the landscape urbanism relationship. That that provides a continuity
even when the buildings aren’t continuous. That seemed to be important. One last comment, which
is that the Golden Lanes I showed at the beginning,
the street in the air is obviously a huge problem
because it’s not a street. It’s totally
disconnected already from any kind of
continuous fabric. So I heard the rudiments of
at least six thesis projects there. One of the great things
about Kenneth’s work, again, is inspiring
in very different ways either to go against and
refute it or to learn from it. So that was so valuable for us. And thank you very
much for coming. [inaudible] Thank you. [applause]

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