Reinier de Graaf: “Architecture is in a State of Denial”

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>I never realised how nostalgic I am, until I started writing. An architect is not supposed to be nostalgic but forward-looking. But I&rsquo;m nostalgic for a time when mankind was a lot more forward-looking than it is today; for a gradual optimism about the future. That&rsquo;s the paradox.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In his book&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2xXG3j4" rel="nofollow" ><em>Four Walls and a Roof &ndash; The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession</em></a>, Reinier de Graaf paints an honest picture of what it is like to work as an architect today.&nbsp;<a href="http://oma.eu/partners/reinier-de-graaf" rel="nofollow" >De Graaf</a>, who is a partner at&nbsp;<a href="http://oma.eu/" rel="nofollow" >OMA</a>&nbsp;and director of AMO, the office&rsquo;s think tank, provides engaging stories about the banal, everyday reality of working for an acclaimed firm. These vivid, uncompromising narratives are contextualised with shrewd essays about architecture&rsquo;s lost ideals, its false pretentions, and utter dependence on forces far more powerful than design. We sat down to talk about housing and political <!--more--> his compromises, and his radical pursuit of the mundane.</p>         

Moneo & Frampton In Dialogue

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Therefore it ought to be recognized that even in the entire second half of the 20th century, the true way to try to find out what architectural theory means ought to be figured out by reading historians. In a way, historians are depositaries, they have defined the paradigm of what could be considered &lsquo;modernities,&rsquo; something that has changed radically in this new century.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"The ever diminishing role played by theory and thought in professional practice is, according to Frampton and Moneo, one of the principal challenges that contemporary architecture is faced with. Add to this the great transformations taking place in society, the economy, and architecture itself, thanks to which the traditional discourses, based on concepts like Zeitgeist, rationalism, and faith in progress, are ineffective. Not to mention the precarization of the labor market, with its terrible effects on young people. In this situation Frampton and Moneo call for a <!--more--> critical reading of globalization, and also an ethic of resistance grounded upon the principles of the architectural discipline."</p>            

Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step</p></em><br /><br /><p>"For instance, people with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants, nightclubs or golf courses; and the removal of the right to travel freely abroad with, I quote, "restrictive control on consumption within holiday areas or travel businesses". Scores will influence a person's rental applications, their ability to get insurance or a loan and even social-security benefits. Citizens with low scores will not be hired by certain employers and will be forbidden from obtaining some jobs, including in the civil service, journalism and legal fields, where of course you must be deemed trustworthy. Low-rating citizens will also be restricted when it comes to enrolling themselves or their children in high-paying private schools. I am not fabricating this list of punishments. It's the reality Chinese citizens will <!--more-->. As the government document states, the social credit system will "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it har...</p>         

Spec Houses from the Future; an Interview with LA-Based Design-Builders Domaen

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>
Domaen is a versatile, multi-disciplinary, and comprehensive service company based in Los Angeles. Two partners, Chris Lowe and Axel Schmitzberger, are the driving engines of the firm. I had met with Axel at one of their construction sites and had the following conversation.

Clocks and Clouds, The Architecture of Escher GuneWardena

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/ke/ke6vipup9m0ii78u.jpg" width="650" height="744" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>The title Clocks and Clouds comes from philosopher Karl Popper&rsquo;s essay on rationality and freedom, but also describes the dreamy precision, the spirit, and the material of Escher GuneWardena&rsquo;s art.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A gem of an exhibition by Escher GuneWardena whose unbuilt and built work so meticulously navigates architecture, art and design. The quietly original and meaningful architecture of the firm that can be classified as timeless. The work reflects the best tenets of modern architecture and the geographical particularities of Los Angeles. Not to be missed if you are in Southern California. The show runs until&nbsp;Sunday, August 20, 2017.&nbsp;
The exhibition also features a new book on architects' work, 'Clocks and Clouds, Architecture of Escher GuneWardena.' Edited by Lilian Pfaff, featuring essays by Martino Stierli, Barbara Lamprecht, Nicholas Olsberg, Mimi Zeiger and Paulette Singley. Available here.

Monumental

            <figure><a href="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg" rel="nofollow" ><img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg"></a></p></figure><p>As it was predicted and desired, the Constellations project is having its own life and form/format/look.
The most valuable here that we are finding a very hands on ways of studying and documenting the city like Tijuana where there are hundreds of stories, street patterns, densities, orthogonal collisions, urban stories and myths, risks, invasive spread, rewards, and punishments. There is always some type of return. A little snapshot of where we are going: The picture above is the ‘Monumental Constellation’ just south of beachhead border wall and south of the existing and remaining bullring. It is designed to be a car race track turned into the residential and civic area with schools, government buildings, parks and commercial use extending to the ocean front. Also recorded by drone videos and local interviews with people living in this area called ‘Playas.’ What people say in those interviews are the narratives we Continue reading "Monumental"

Monumental

            <figure><a href="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg" rel="nofollow" ><img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg"></a></p></figure><p>As it was predicted and desired, the Constellations project is having its own life and form/format/look.
The most valuable here that we are finding a very hands on ways of studying and documenting the city like Tijuana where there are hundreds of stories, street patterns, densities, orthogonal collisions, urban stories and myths, risks, invasive spread, rewards, and punishments. There is always some type of return. A little snapshot of where we are going: The picture above is the ‘Monumental Constellation’ just south of beachhead border wall and south of the existing and remaining bullring. It is designed to be a car race track turned into the residential and civic area with schools, government buildings, parks and commercial use extending to the ocean front. Also recorded by drone videos and local interviews with people living in this area called ‘Playas.’ What people say in those interviews are the narratives we Continue reading "Monumental"

Why Is There So Much Modern Architecture In The NRA’s New Ad?

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/m1/m1uzmhyxmqjsxrse.jpg" width="650" height="368" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>For decades, authoritarian regimes have waged war on modern architecture and the philosophy it embodies. A new ad proves it&rsquo;s still a target.</p></em><br /><br /><p><u> </u>In an alarmingly threatening and dangerous ad, NRA attacks intellectualism (in its core sense) via modern architecture. This savage ad might not only spare your profession and/or your education but also puts the&nbsp;average citizen in front of the barrel of a gun.<br>

Why Is There So Much Modern Architecture In The NRA’s New Ad?

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/m1/m1uzmhyxmqjsxrse.jpg" width="650" height="368" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>For decades, authoritarian regimes have waged war on modern architecture and the philosophy it embodies. A new ad proves it&rsquo;s still a target.</p></em><br /><br /><p><u> </u>In an alarmingly threatening and dangerous ad, NRA attacks intellectualism (in its core sense) via modern architecture. This savage ad might not only spare your profession and/or your education but also puts the&nbsp;average citizen in front of the barrel of a gun.<br>

Fast Co Design wonders, "Why Is There So Much Modern Architecture In The NRA’s New Ad?"

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/m1/m1uzmhyxmqjsxrse.jpg" width="650" height="368" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>For decades, authoritarian regimes have waged war on modern architecture and the philosophy it embodies. A new ad proves it&rsquo;s still a target.</p></em><br /><br /><p><u> </u>In an alarmingly threatening and dangerous ad, NRA attacks intellectualism (in its core sense) via modern architecture. This savage ad might not only target your profession and/or your education but also puts the&nbsp;average citizen in front of the barrel of a gun.<br>

Fieldwork starts

            <em></em>
Partial model by Jesus Serrano Figueroa
Into the third week, our documentation and the ideas for the format are becoming clearer. We are into the fieldwork and the final exhibition is nicely forming. Among other material, team member Jose de Jesus Serrano Figueroa developing 3D prints of the constellations superimposed onto a large map of Tijuana. There’s a synopsis of the project by me towards the end of this Sessions podcast and we are collecting field information with a drone circling the areas we are documenting and piecing a video of the project. There is a reaction from my friend and the friend of the project Tijuana architect Carlos Gamino about last week’s Colosio post for connecting Tijuana with violence. Perhaps rightfully but that wasn’t our intention as it was an example of narratives we are developing, and they don’t necessarily dwell on violence. Tijuana is a relatively peaceful city Continue reading "Fieldwork starts"

Tijuana as a galaxy of constellations

            <a href="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/7z/7znww9i0q8srbe6q.jpg" rel="nofollow" ><img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/7z/7znww9i0q8srbe6q.jpg"></a>
Into the second week of the research, series of constellations are fast emerging. We have located about two dozens already. Tijuana is like a galaxy with endless stories. A young city already rich in urban archeology. Here is a Constellation Colosio to give you a sample of constellar structures we are looking for. IE: The route ambulance took PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio to the emergency hospital where he was pronounced dead in 1994, (in red.) FYI: Assassination [from Wikipedia] At 5:05 PM PST, on 23 March 1994, at a campaign rally in Lomas Taurinas, a poor neighborhood of Tijuana, Baja California, Colosio was shot in the head with a .38 Special from a few centimeters distance and nearby a person recording a video. Colosio collapsed, and was subsequently rushed to the city's main hospital, after plans to fly him to an American hospital across the border were Continue reading "Tijuana as a galaxy of constellations"

Constellations

Constellations originally started as a made to order work when I was invited by Bryan Finoki to participate in the Los Angeles issue of Postopolis L.A. curated by Bryan and Geoff Manaugh and others. It was the second installation of Postopolis! previously launched in New York at the Storefront for Art and Architecture under Joseph Grima’s directorship. Constellations is a way of recording and experiencing the city and creating its own codes of observation while doing it. 
Although the idea kept alive by its offshoots, it has been a while Constellations project has been updated or a new edition created and published under its namesake. Since, I have developed many new locations for the project and had a chance to test the effects of such studies. Escuela Libre De Arquitectura in Tijuana, Mexico, gave me the opportunity to do a Tijuana issue of the ongoing project of Constellations Continue reading "Constellations"

JR’s "Wrinkles Of The City", portraying the faces affected by gentrification and urbanization, hits Istanbul

If I was a poet, I would speak of Istanbul If I were a musician, my music would belong to Istanbul If I was a painter, I would paint Istanbul -Mihail



Prolific French artist JR continues to produce impactful work, following up his latest public exhibition with a special installation of his “Wrinkles of the City” series. First launched in 2008, the series is meant to visually portray the faces affected by gentrification and rapid urbanization in the world’s largest cities. Accordingly, JR spent the past two weeks in the alleyways and rooftops of Istanbul, forcing residents to confront the elderly’s personal stories through singular images.  While at it, a different context but the sentimentality of the wrinkles nonetheless, Los Angeles.

JR’s "Wrinkles Of The City", portraying the faces affected by gentrification and rapid urbanization, hits Istanbul

If I was a poet, I would speak of Istanbul If I were a musician, my music would belong to Istanbul If I was a painter, I would paint Istanbul -Mihail



Prolific French artist JR continues to produce impactful work, following up his latest public exhibition with a special installation of his “Wrinkles of the City” series. First launched in 2008, the series is meant to visually portray the faces affected by gentrification and rapid urbanization in the world’s largest cities. Accordingly, JR spent the past two weeks in the alleyways and rooftops of Istanbul, forcing residents to confront the elderly’s personal stories through singular images. 

"A Night in Paris"

Protests in Paris in the aftermath of the vote have turned violent with smoke grenades, flares and glass bottles thrown at police. More rallies, dubbed the “night of the barricades,” are expected to take place in 13 cities across France.



Live event cameras covering the night of French elections. The footage follows night time streets and other public spaces romancing the dreamy city with shadowy elevations, silhouettes and the sounds of the Parisian architecture and urbanism. Considering the French tradition of protest certain to get bigger as the second round approaches in May. Let's hope nobody gets hurt.

SANAA’s Grace Farms raises uncomfortable questions about the role of corporate money in public projects

Critic Curt Gambetta brings forward an age old uncomfortable question on corporate public spaces whose main purpose is often curtailed by exemplary architecture that is hard to reject.   His piece titled, "No free gifts," carefully borrowed from the anthropologist Mary Douglas, asks the question of, what would be the return of such corporate gifts. In his article, Mr. Gambetta alludes to large tax breaks and other conservative agendas of corporate cultures. After all, “nothing in life is truly free.”  "Much as ‘radical transparency’ is demanded from senior management at Bridgewater, the openness of Grace Farms to its community feels forced, its agenda delegated from above. When I visited this winter, the library contained an assortment of suggested reading, a series of social justice greatest hits for anxious Northeast liberals to get up to speed on: Bell Hooks, postcolonialism and so on. Next to a series of flyers about the foundation’s involvement with Continue reading "SANAA’s Grace Farms raises uncomfortable questions about the role of corporate money in public projects"

Sam Jacob explores the "Age of Post-Digital Drawing" for Metropolis

Instead of striving for pseudo-photo-realism, this new cult of the drawing explores and exploits its artificiality, making us as viewers aware that we are looking at space as a fictional form of representation. This is in strict opposition to the digital rendering’s desire to make the fiction seem “real.”



Sam Jacob brings an analytical view to an important and generative architectural mean, the drawing. He writes about how its anachronistic existence and why it is re-emerging and manifesting itself in the post-digital age. He also alludes to the demise of the money shot type of hyper realism as well.

Rancho Mixer

Another competition I have lost knowingly and plus 80 bucks, also knowingly. Why? Well, the competition presented itself as the last chance in Hollywood Hills just below the beloved and heavily known real estate sign later cropped to today’s iconic status. In LA, the view of the Hollywood sign from your land surely adds some considerable cash value to the dream’s worth. Obnoxiously exciting as it is, the competition gave me an idea to poke the hyper property market with some free falling commentary veiled in an actual design. The proposal is a rotating ranch house where the pornoreal lives are openly hosted around the clock, a low budget version of high end, top of the hill lifestyle choice. A house constantly causing hyperventilation for the nearby stakeholders. The final ranch in the foothills unleashes the possibilities of indoor-outdoor living with market rate accommodations. Design Team: Orhan Ayyüce, Jose Torres

Minimalism: another boring product wealthy people can buy

Minimalism is just another form of conspicuous consumption, a way of saying to the world: ‘Look at me! Look at all of the things I have refused to buy!’



I always thought domestic minimalism requires maximum household help, made of mostly immigrant domestic workers. So, whenever I see those shelter magazine pictures, I whisper "sonsofbitches, they are hiding something."