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Overgrowth - e-flux
"Architects and urban practitioners, toiling daily at the coalface of economic expansion, are complicit in the perpetuation of growth. Yet they are also in a unique position to contribute towards a move away from it. As the drivers of growth begin to reveal their inadequacies for sustaining life, we must imagine alternative societal structures that do not incentivize unsustainable resource and energy use, and do not perpetuate inequality. Working on the frontline of capitalism, it is through architecture and urban practice that alternative values, systems, and logics can be manifest in built form and inherited by generations to come.

Editors
Nick Axel
Matthew Dalziel
Phineas Harper
Nikolaus Hirsch
Cecilie Sachs Olsen
Maria Smith

Overgrowth is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Oslo Architecture Triennale within the context of its 2019 edition."

[See also: https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221902/editorial/ ]

[including:

Ateya Khorakiwala: "Architecture's Scaffolds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221616/architecture-s-scaffolds/
The metaphor of grassroots is apt here. Bamboo is a grass, a rhizomatic plant system that easily tends towards becoming an invasive species in its capacity to spread without seed and fruit. Given the new incursions of the global sustainability regime into third world forests to procure a material aestheticized as eco-friendly, what would it take for the state to render this ubiquitous material into a value added and replicable commodity? On one hand, scaffolding offers the site of forming and performing the subjectivity of the unskilled laborer—if not in making the scaffolding, then certainly in using it. Bamboo poles for scaffolding remain raw commodities, without scope for much value addition; a saturated marketplace where it can only be replaced by steel as building projects increase in complexity. On the other hand, bamboo produces both the cottage industry out of a forest-dwelling subject, on the margins of the state, occupying space into which this market can expand.

Bamboo is a material in flux—what it signifies is not transferable from one scale to another, or from one time to another. In that sense, bamboo challenges how we see the history of materials. In addition to its foundational architectural function as scaffolding, it acts as a metaphorical scaffolding as well: it signifies whatever its wielders might want it to, be it tradition, poverty, sustainability, or a new form of eco-chic luxury. Bamboo acts more as a scaffolding for meaning than a material with physical properties of flexibility and strength. Scaffolding, both materially and metaphorically, is a site of politics; a space that opens up and disappears, one that requires much skill in making.

Edgar Pieterse: "Incorporation and Expulsion"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221603/incorporation-and-expulsion/
However, what is even more important is that these radically localized processes will very quickly demand spatial, planning, and design literacy among urban households and their associations. The public pedagogic work involved in nurturing such literacies, always amidst action, requires a further institutional layer that connects intermediary organizations with grassroots formations. For example, NGOs and applied urban research centers with knowledge from different sites (within a city and across the global South) can provide support to foster these organizational literacies without diminishing the autonomy and leadership of grassroots movements. Intermediary organizations are also well placed to mediate between grassroots associations, public officers, private sector interests, and whoever else impinge on the functioning of a neighborhood. Thinking with the example of Lighthouse suggests that we can think of forms of collective economic practice that connect with the urban imperatives of securing household wellbeing whilst expanding various categories of opportunity. The transformative potential is staggering when one considers the speed with which digital money systems and productive efficiencies have taken off across East Africa during the past five years or so.

There is unprecedented opportunity today to delink the imperatives of just urban planning from conventional tropes about economic modernization that tend to produce acontextual technocracy. We should, therefore, focus our creative energies on defining new forms of collective life, economy, wellbeing, invention, and care. This may even prove a worthwhile approach to re-signify “growth.” Beyond narrow economism there is a vast canvas to populate with alternative meanings: signifiers linked to practices that bring us back to the beauty of discovery, learning, questioning, debate, dissensus, experimentation, strategic consensus, and most importantly, the courage to do and feel things differently.

Ingerid Helsing Almaas: "No app for that"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221609/no-app-for-that/
Conventionally, urban growth is seen in terms of different geometries of expansion. Recent decades have also focused on making existing cities denser, but even this is thought of as a process of addition, inscribed in the conventional idea of growth as a linear process of investments and profits. But the slow process of becoming and disappearance is also a form of growth. Growth as slow and diverse accretion and shedding, layering, gradual loss or restoration; cyclical rather than linear or expansive. Processes driven by opportunity and vision, but also by irritation, by lack, by disappointment. In a city, you see these cyclical processes of accretion and disruption everywhere. We just haven’t worked out how to make them work for us. Instead, we go on expecting stability and predictability; a city with a final, finished form.

Peter Buchanan: "Reweaving Webs of Relationships"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221630/reweaving-webs-of-relationships/

Helena Mattsson and Catharina Gabrielsson: "Pockets and Folds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221607/pockets-and-folds/
Moments of deregulations are moments when an ideology of incessant growth takes over all sectors of life and politics. Returning to those moments allows us to inquire into other ways of organizing life and architecture while remaining within the sphere of the possible. Through acts of remembrance, we have the opportunity to rewrite the present through the past whereby the pockets and folds of non-markets established in the earlier welfare state come into view as worlds of a new becoming. These pockets carry the potential for new political imaginaries where ideas of degrowth reorganize the very essence of the architectural assemblage and its social impacts. These landscapes of possibilities are constructed through desires of collective spending—dépense—rather than through the grotesque ideas of the wooden brain.

Angelos Varvarousis and Penny Koutrolikou: "Degrowth and the City"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221623/degrowth-and-the-city/
The idea of city of degrowth does not attempt to homogenize, but rather focus on inclusiveness. Heterogeneity and plurality are not contrary to the values of equity, living together and effective sharing of the resources. Difference and plurality are inherent and essential for cities and therefore diverse spatial and social articulations are intrinsic in the production of a city of degrowth. They are also vital for the way such an idea of a city could be governed; possibly through local institutions and assemblies that try to combine forms of direct and delegative democracy.
]
growth  degrowth  architecture  overgrowth  2018  nickaxel  matthewdalziel  phineasharper  nikolaushirsch  ceciliesachsolsen  mariasmith  ateyakhorakiwala  edgarpieterse  ingeridhelsingalmaas  peterbuchanan  helenamattsson  catharinagabrielsson  angelosvarvarousis  pennykoutrolikou  2019  anthropocene  population  sustainability  humans  civilization  economics  policy  capitalism  karlmarx  neoliberalism  systemsthinking  cities  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  urbanization  ecology  consumption  materialism  consumerism  oslo  bymelding  stability  change  predictability  design  africa  southafrica  postcolonialism  ethiopia  nigeria  housing  kenya  collectivism  dissensus  experimentation  future  learning  questioning  debate  discovery  wellbeing  intervention  care  technocracy  modernization  local  grassroots  materials  multiliteracies  ngos  autonomy  shigeruban  mumbai  bamboo  burkinafaso  patrickkeré  vikramadityaprakash  lecorbusier  pierrejeanneret  modernism  shivdattsharma  chandigarh  india  history  charlescorrea  scaffolding 
november 2018 by robertogreco
How Bad Urban Planning Led To The Birth Of A Billion-Dollar Genre | The FADER
"Architect Mike Ford traces the relationship between structural racism, public housing projects, and hip-hop."



'Hip-hop lyrics are [filled] with first-hand accounts of living conditions in the projects. The hip-hop MC used lyrics to create a dialogue, to give commentary and counterpoints to the modernist vision [that birthed towers like 1520 Sedgwick Ave]. The MCs served as a voice for disenfranchised communities and often un-consulted end users of public housing. Think about Streetlife’s contribution to Wu Tang Clan’s [1998 song] “S.O.S”: Street chronicle, wise words by the abdominal/ High honorable, rap quotable phenomenal/ Seniority kid, I speak for the minority/ Ghetto poverty fuck the housing authority. Or Snoop Dogg’s song “Life in the Projects,” [from the soundtrack of the animated TV show The PJs]: Ain't no trees, the grass ain't green/And when I say it's all bad, you know what I mean. They provided realistic accounts of what life in the projects was like, of the failed urban planning and deplorable conditions of high-rise, low-income housing developments in contrast to the utopia imagined by Le Corbusier.

Corbusier’s plan [did receive] its fair share of criticisms. A critique of the plan was published in the French architectural magazine L’Architecte, and spoke to the uncertainty of the social impact of high density living and Corbusier’s machine-like architecture: “Is the next generation really destined to pass its existence in these immense geometrical barracks, living in standardized mass production houses with mass production furniture…Their games, and by that I mean their recreations, are all based on the same model…Poor Creatures! What will they become in the midst of all this dreadful speed, this organization, this terrible uniformity?” I argue that this 1925 criticism is a prediction of hip-hop culture.

It’s crazy because every architecture school around the country celebrates people like Corbusier and Moses as being great. I’m changing up the story and saying that these people and their ideas were flawed, you know? They created these awful conditions that birthed hip-hop. This is something that’s left out of architectural studies. It hides the hands of those that damaged communities and blames the existence of the “hood” on African-American culture.

As long as people from the outside are telling the story, that narrative will continue. We need to continue to get people of color involved in architecture, as urban planners, as professors, as authors. It’s important for minorities to enter architecture because, throughout the United States, our communities have been designed, uprooted, and pretty much destroyed by architects and urban planners who do not look like us and unfortunately have little to desire to communicate with us during the planning of those events.

So what can happen if we get more minorities involved in architecture and architecture fields such as urban planning? You’re gonna have people at the table who are sensitive to the fabrics of [their] communities and understand what it means to not uproot them. Having a voice at that table to be an advocate for those underrepresented communities is essential. Architecture can destroy and inhibit people from becoming their best, but it also has the power to uplift and empower them. If we’re going to achieve the latter, it’s got to be a collaborative effort."
mikeford  architects  architecture  design  urbanplanning  music  history  hiphop  bronx  nyc  robertmoses  lecorbusier  housing  housingprojects  urbandesign  urbnism  racism  race  us  wutangclan  snoppydogg 
september 2016 by robertogreco
The City of the Global South and its Insurrections: Algiers, Cairo, Gaza, Chandigarh, and Kowloon | THE FUNAMBULIST MAGAZINE
"On November 10th, I was invited by friend Meriem Chabani to give a small lecture in Paris in the context of the exhibition New South that she curated around six architecture students’ thesis projects engaging cities of the Global South in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Burkina Faso, Morocco and the Canaries. I started writing a digest of this presentation here the next day but the Nov. 13 attacks occurred and I am profoundly sadden to announce that, Amine Ibnolmobarak, the brilliant and kind author of the project for Mecca in this exhibition, was killed in the shootings. Despite the shock of this news and the difficulty to mourn in the maddening noise of the journalistic and political state of emergency, his friends gathered around his family, and remembered with emotion his life in the great hall of the Beaux Arts school last Friday.

The City of the Global South and its Insurrections: Algiers, Cairo, Gaza, Chandigarh, and Kowloon ///

This presentation constitutes a rather shallow examination of five cities’ reciprocal influence between their urban fabric and their insurrections and counter-insurrections operations. In order to make the presentation clearer, I produced a few new maps and thus propose to include my slides here, as well as a few notes to explain them."



"CONCLUSION ///

The criminalizing discourses that took the Kowloon Walled City for object as well as its inhabitants, even if based, to a certain degree on a actual facts, is common to all neighborhoods presented here. These discourses construct an imaginary of these neighborhoods that prepares the policed and/or militarized interventions against the urban fabric and its inhabitants. The insurrections evoked throughout this presentation are sometimes less the historical accomplishment of their inhabitants than a narrative forced upon them in order to (re)gain the full political control of these urban formations. As described in another recent article, the rhetorical use of “bastions” or “strongholds” to talk about these neighborhoods or other similar ones, contributes (more often than not, deliberately) to their transformation or demolition orchestrated by the State, sometimes including the very lives of their inhabitants (like in the case of Gaza)."
algiers  algeria  cairo  egypt  gaza  palestine  chandigahr  india  kowloon  hongkong  china  northafrica  asia  globalsouth  léopoldlambert  cartography  history  cities  urban  urbanism  architecture  design  insurrection  colonialism  decolonization  colonization  lecorbusier  battleofalgiers  alilapointe  tahrir  tahrirsquare  militarization 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Our cities should be "machines of play" | CityMetric
"Le Corbusier famously defined houses as machines for living in: carefully constructed systems that would efficiently help us live. Following that line of thought, he claimed that carefully planned cities, composites of machines for living, would actually lead to a better, more humane urban environment.

In some ways, our modern western cities are somehow thought of, or dreamt of, as postmodern interpretations of Le Corbusier’s ideals. We want our cities to be planned, rehabilitated, open spaces for pleasure as well as productive machines for commerce and innovation. We dream of our cities as being efficient machines of inclusion, environmentally friendly and both forward looking and aware of their past.

But these cities are not very well oiled machines – unless, of course, you’re wealthy. The humane interface of the machine is only available to few, at the expense of the many who can barely scrap a living together in these urban spaces. Our cities have become politically determined zoned areas, corporate gardens through which we transit, but not stay.

Our model of the citizen has also changed. In this era of big data, to be a citizen of a modern city is to be a data provider. Modern cities have become hungry machines that squeeze from all of us all possible data to paint a picture of who inhabits them. The portrait of the modern citizen is a pointillist image made of countless data entries, from addresses to spending habits, framed by the city as the backdrop of what we call “living”.

The spaces of the city machines are highly regulated, with constant refreshers of norms and regulations about their appearance, style, and how citizens, or maybe users, should behave. The ways of traversing cities are also highly regulated, disallowing other forms of transportation than those deemed relevant, possibly, beneficial.

And yet, there are glitches in these machines. The skateboarders and “traceurs”, who see the open spaces of corporate parks and plazas as the perfect settings for athletic performance and just plain fun. The graffiti artists that know there is no better canvas than that paid for by a rich hand, the playful vandals that destroy CCTV cameras in the weird, poignant game of Camover. None of them resist order: rather they create new orders, new spaces of possibility, through play.

This is why making playable cities matters: it is an effort to make these machines human again. To play is to appropriate the world for our own personal expression, within boundaries we set. To play is the fundamentally human act of exploring not only the “what ifs”, but also the “what if nots”, searching joyfully for a space for expression, together with others.

That’s why making cities playable is also making cities livable – making the “public” corporate spaces truly public, spaces to meet across cultures and races and incomes to do what we can best do together: to play, and be playful.

Playable cities can help us rethink big data through toys and playgrounds, giving us the opportunity to reclaim our data. Playable cities allow us to play hide and seek with the restless datavore machine, potentially educating us on what big data actually means, and how to survive it.

Making cities playable won’t solve all of our urbanism problems. But like play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith once said, “Life is crap, and it’s full of pain and suffering, and the only thing that makes it worth living — the only thing that makes it possible to get up in the morning and go on living — is play.”

So let’s make our cities open for play: play as joyous revolt, as constructive resistance, as spaces for moments of joy. Let’s turn cities into collective instruments for pleasure and resistance. Let’s turn cities into machines for playing."
play  cities  urban  urbanism  lecorbusier  miguelsicart  2015  skating  skateboards  skateboarding  placemaking  briansutton-smith  resistance  pleasure  pakour 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Residential Archaeology – MAS CONTEXT
"The cultural phenomenon of customization, the appropriation of things to make them personal, has been the focus of study for years. We can see it daily in the objects that we transform and recycle, between efficiency and aesthetics. If we extrapolate this idea to the discipline of architecture, it becomes even more interesting, albeit of varying intensity: from the wallpaper to the added floor level and through various degrees of appropriation in between.

The approach of Modern Architecture, such as the universal space from the early 20th Century, becoming even more common in the 1950s in houses by Craig Elwood or Richard Neutra among others, has been transformed nowadays into the idea of neutral space, empty, ready to be occupied.

There are also curious examples such as the Appliance House and the Put-Away Villa by the couple formed by Peter and Alison Smithson. In the first one, architecture and household goods are the same, taking to the limit the idea that we are only passing through the spaces. Ideas such as comfort are taken to the extreme in the growing amount of advertising of autos and appliances.

From the industrialized architecture of those spaces we had to extract the particular aesthetic related to the prefabrication process. It is time for architects and manufacturers to address the problem from the opposite end of the scale and make buildings that emanate living habitats and reflect the needs of those who inhabit the spaces.

In the second example, a few years later and almost in opposition, the warehouse house, where we all collect, resulting in the need for a deposit, which requires the occupation of a third of the house: the place for objects-that-you-don’t-use-now-and-that-perhaps-won’t-be-used-anymore. Ultimately, it is the domestication of the spaces.

Let’s recall the performance “I Like America and America Likes Me” (1974) by Joseph Beuys. In it, Beuys is separated from his usual space in order to be placed in a single space along with a coyote, also separated from its natural habitat. Cohabitation and making the space human, space domesticated.

Finally we are generally talking about two things: first, how we get to the spaces and second, how we fill them and therefore, how we transform them.

We must pause and think, how do users (of different social class) personalize their spaces? What can we learn and understand from the materiality of life? Does this have anything to do with the materiality of the projects designed by architects and with any social commitment?

Le Corbusier, Mario Pani, Teodoro González de León, among others, have focused on the constructive materiality, in methods of self-construction or low-cost construction. But, what about the materiality of the everyday? What happens between the mere representation that the architect proposes and the everyday occupation by the resident?

Residential Archaeology consists, therefore, of:

1. Drawing in an archeological way three things: the space occupied by the architecture itself; the everyday life infrastructure, that is, furniture; and the elements that provide use to the furniture, those that humanize them.

2. Studying the impact in terms of occupancy, density and time. An archaeological GPS that subtly gets transformed by the passing of the hours and the collecting of objects, and sometimes their final destination. What we called earlier the objects-that-you-don’t-use-now-and-that-perhaps-won’t-be-used-anymore. How do they alter and reconfigure the space?

3. As a result, the project proposes the registration of these styles-modes-adjustments of life in an electronic file in order to observe their impact and make the design and use evident. Additionally, the project makes a 1:1 scale comparison of each unit: a rug-map, as if drawn by hand on the floor itself, recalling the images we have of when we did so as children on the street or sidewalk. It is, in the end, a recording as George Perec explains in Life A User’s Manual.

The project places the Unité d’habitation in Marseille, the Tlatelolco housing complex, the Mixcoac Towers, the CUPA and Unidad Esperanza under equal conditions, like it does with its authors: Le Corbusier, Mario Pani and Teodoro González de León. All are perhaps pieces of the same puzzle that builds and shows more faithfully what, perhaps, we should take more into account, how we domesticate the spaces.

Citing [furniture and interior designer] Clara Porset, “we could not impose the tenant to acquire the furniture that had been created specifically for his home, nor did we think about convincing him. Instead, we chose to instruct him about design in general, providing him with a culture of housing.”"
housing  architecture  archaeology  residentialarchaeology  tlatelolco  mixcoactowers  lecorbusier  mariopani  teodorogonzálezdeleón  space  everyday  infrastructure  furniture  juancarlostello  residential  cupa  mexicocity  mexico  marseille  france  customization  josephbeuys  humans  domestication  habitat  craigelwood  richardneutra  modernism  df  mexicodf 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Galerie Chantal Crousel - Exhibition Dom-Ino - Rirkrit Tiravanija
[via: https://twitter.com/quilian/status/476100905322827780 ]

"Once the sports compétitions (or other shows) over, stadium architectures becomes meaningless. Without spectators, they are nothing but empty shells. The onlookers on the step form a passive controlled mass. Each individuel being completely directed by the spectacle in the center. In an evocation of this center, Rirkrit Tiravanija has chosen to install a replica of the « Dom-Ino » project (1915) by le Corbusier. In this wooden replica, Rirkrit Tiravanija invites the visiter to invest the 2 platforms of the habitat. Thus, the Spectator bec omes the inventer and the actor of his own environment, in the interaction with his fellows visiter. The lower plat-bord is equisetum with a CD and cassette player, a TV monitor, a kitchen corner with table and butagaz-cooker, a low table with poufs. The visiter are invited to use the house as they wish, and to share what they bring or find with the others."
art  architecture  design  rirkrittiravanija  lecorbusier  homes  housing  dom-ino  1915  1998 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The poetic architecture of Luis Barragán and Lina Bo Bardi - FT.com
"My house is my refuge,” wrote Luis Barragán; “an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience.”

A direct challenge to Le Corbusier’s contention that “a house is a machine for living in”, Barragán (1902-88) offered a poetic view of the home as a retreat. His highly individual house in Mexico City, built in 1948, is a minimal masterpiece and curiously monastic. He was intensely religious and an obsessive reader of theological and philosophical texts, and his house embraced layers of public-ness. Some rooms are expansive and generous; the most private ones small and spartan.

Inspired by north African houses, Barragán’s house presents a blank face to the street: just a solid white wall and a small door with a sliding panel – the kind of feature you might find at the entrance to a nunnery. Its entrance hall is modest but its combination of geometric simplicity, flush surfaces, rough plaster and a floor of dark volcanic stone offer an idea of a house luxurious in its attention to detail yet ascetic in its architecture.

There is, however, a flash of colour that draws the visitor in: a canary-yellow door leading to a bright pink room. Where Le Corbusier and his modernist contemporaries might have used the odd colour highlight – typically red, yellow or blue – Barragán was renowned for soaking his houses in bold, unforgettable colour.

Take his most photographed work, the San Cristóbal stables outside Mexico City. For its vivid blast of pinks and fuchsias set against the bright blue Mexican sky (and its reflection in the pool), the stables are a powerful Latin American riposte to the notion that modernism had to be anaemically white and allergic to colour.

A tour through Barragán’s house reveals layers in which the more public parts of the house are gradually stripped away to reveal the sparse rooms inhabited by the architect himself, and intended only for him. Each room features some nod to Christian art, ritual or iconography.
In the guest bedroom, a Madonna is placed not directly above the bed (Barragán was sensitive to those who might not share his beliefs) but to one side, her eyes turned towards her infant son – a Madonna not dominant yet still keeping an eye on the spiritual wellbeing of the guest.





The Casa de Vidro (Glass House) in São Paulo was built three years after Bárragan’s masterpiece. It too rebels against Le Corbusier’s concept of the house as a machine or as abstract sculpture – even if it is at least in part inspired by his use of concrete. But unlike Barragán’s insular, contempl­ative house, this is a dwelling that opens up to the landscape, that scoops up the surrounding rainforest and sucks it in. The Casa de Vidro was designed by Lina Bo Bardi (1914-92) for herself and her husband Pietro Maria Bardi, director of the São Paulo Museum of Art, not long after arriving in Brazil from their native Italy.

The site, which has now developed into the upmarket suburb of Morumbi, was in the middle of the rainforest. Even now, enough jungle remains on the hillside to remind people of the original wilderness.

Where Barragán’s house resolutely looks inwards, Bo Bardi’s looks out. Its living space is purely public, glazed all round, and the dining and living areas flow into each other. Like Barragán, Bo Bardi and her husband collected artworks – many of them profoundly Catholic images. Both architects consciously play with the juxtaposition of the emotional intensity of religious imagery and the asceticism of modernist architecture.

Bo Bardi thought Brazilian architecture should look to its indigenous past as well as to modernism. “Its source”, she wrote in a 1951 essay, “is not the architecture of the Jesuits: it comes from the wattle-and-daub shelter of the solitary man, laboriously constructed out of the materials of the forest; it comes from the house of the rubber-tapper, with its wooden floor and thatch roof.” Her house exhibits some of those fetishes and crafted objects that express that urge to make, alongside Catholic artefacts.

Yet her house never feels like an exhibition space; instead these pieces form a landscape of memory that stretches from Italy to Brazil. If there is a difference (beyond the obvious openness of the façades), it is in the sense of hierarchy between the private and the social, which is much less pronounced in Bo Bardi’s house. This feels like a house for company rather than contemplation.



Both houses, in their preoccupations with the delineations of public and private space, their concerns for transparency or opacity and their treatment of landscape or street, are very Latin American in spirit. Both depart from the more showy aspects of their contemporaries in Europe and North America, where houses were seemingly built as much for public consumption as they were for the client, and with the photographed image in mind. They are also among the most influential houses of the past century, their genius apparent in their constant rediscovery by each successive generation."
luisbarragán  linabobardi  design  architecture  mexico  2014  color  lecorbusier  modernism  brasil  mexicocity  mexicodf  sãopaulo  brazil  df 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Norman Brosterman - Inventing Kindergarten: Seedbed of Modern Art | Video on PBS & NPR Forum Network
"Norman Brosterman discusses the history of kindergarten and its influence on such modernist giants as Frank Lloyd Wright, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus school.
In his book Inventing Kindergarten, Brosterman argues that within this lost world of women and children we can locate the seedbed of modern art. With its emphasis on abstract decomposition and building up from elemental forms, the original kindergarten system of the mid-nineteenth century created an education and design revolution that profoundly affected the course of modern art and architecture, as well as physics, music, psychology and the modern mind itself."
decomposition  design  education  music  physics  psychology  architecture  art  modernism  inventingkindergarten  bauhaus  lecorbusier  pietmondrian  wassilykandinsky  franklloydwright  normanbrosterman  2005 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Penn South and Pruitt-Igoe, Starkly Different Housing Tales - NYTimes.com
"Penn South is a cooperative in affluent, 21st-century Manhattan past which chic crowds hustle every day to and from nearby Chelsea’s art galleries, apparently oblivious to it. It thrives within a dense, diverse neighborhood of the sort that makes NY special. Pruitt-Igoe, segregated de facto, isolated & impoverished, collapsed along w/ the industrial city around it.

But they’re both classic examples of modern architecture, the kind Mr. Jencks, among countless others, left for dead: superblocks of brick & concrete high rises scattered across grassy plots, so-called towers in the park, descended from Le Corbusier’s “Radiant City.” The words “housing project” instantly conjure them up.

Alienating, penitential breeding grounds for vandalism & violence: that became the tower in the park’s epitaph. But Penn South, with its stolid redbrick, concrete-slab housing stock, is clearly a safe, successful place. In this case the architecture works. In St. Louis, where the architectural scheme…"
2012  urbanism  urban  design  comparison  nyc  stlouis  lecorbusier  architecture  pruitt-igoe 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The brutality of utopias - Art - Domus
"A realised utopia is definitive and concluded. It cannot evolve, for that would imply an error or instability in the originally conceived utopia. This is what seems to underlie the brutality that Michel Houellebecq ascribes to Le Corbusier's vision in his latest novel: utopia's inherent lack of evolutionary scope (for nature, man and architecture itself), and the exclusion of continuity from its language. The same flaw is also shared by 3D projects for the most recent signature buildings, thus disclosing their utopian aspiration: whiter than white, rendered surfaces; empty and immaculate horizons all around, never to be populated; proportionate, identical trees set in rows; scattered knots of people inside them gazing into each other's eyes or holding hands, with children destined never to grow, who have no shadow. This non-utopia represents the epicentre of Dionisio González's work."
favelachic  vincenzolatronico  unplanning  planning  organicgrowth  teddycruz  robertomarinho  lecorbusier  fiction  slums  collage  favelas  art  architecture  utopia  dionisiogonzalez 
january 2012 by robertogreco
A Big Little Idea Called Legibility
"The Authoritarian High-Modernist Recipe for Failure…

• Look at a complex and confusing reality, such as the social dynamics of an old city
• Fail to understand all the subtleties of how the complex reality works
• Attribute that failure to the irrationality of what you are looking at, rather than your own limitations
• Come up with an idealized blank-slate vision of what that reality ought to look like
• Argue that the relative simplicity and platonic orderliness of the vision represents rationality
• Use authoritarian power to impose that vision, by demolishing the old reality if necessary
• Watch your rational Utopia fail horribly

Central to Scott’s thesis is the idea of legibility. He explains how he stumbled across the idea while researching efforts by nation states to settle or “sedentarize” nomads, pastoralists, gypsies and other peoples living non-mainstream lives…"
politics  history  philosophy  problemsolving  imperialism  colonialism  jamescscott  design  architecture  urbanplanning  urbanism  nomads  nomadism  gypsies  pastoralists  mainstream  radicals  radicalism  2011  venkateshrao  legibility  illegiblepeople  illegibles  stevenjohnson  patternmaking  patterns  patternrecognition  complexity  unschooling  deschooling  utopianthinking  india  high-modenism  lecorbusier  forests  brasilia  bauhaus  control  decolonization  power  nicholasdirks  rome  edwardgibbon  civilization  authoritarianism  authoritarianhigh-modernism  elephantpaths  desirelines  anarchism  organizations  illegibility  highmodernism  utopia  governance  simplification  measurement  quantification  brasília 
august 2011 by robertogreco
this is a456: Utopia For Sale
"somehow rings familiar. During early 20th century, art & architecture never existed wholly isolated from popular culture, consumerism, or corporate interests. This was the case in Europe as it was in US. As Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin or various Reynolds Aluminum ads that would appear in US in 1940s demonstrate, corporate interests sometimes found an unlikely alliance w/ avant-garde. But with Bel Geddes & “The City of Tomorrow,” something slightly different was in order. The author of Horizons did see himself primarily as artist, but never in the same vein as would Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, or Erich Mendelsohn. As a person who always wore his commercial aspirations on his sleeve, Bel Geddes became a figure willing to leverage artistic inclinations not only as a kind of expertise, but as vehicle for transmitting ideas about contemporary urbanism to mass audiences. He was…person who popularized utopia by giving it its most tangible & visibly-appealing manifestation…"
design  culture  politics  history  theory  streamlining  stanleyrestor  henrydreyfuss  modernism  raymondloewy  walterdorwinteague  nomanbelgeddes  advertising  lecorbusier  thecityoftomorrow  architecture  art  commercialism  shelloil  gm  pedestrians  utopia  utopian  transportation  cars  broadacre  millermcclintock 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Don’t listen to Le Corbusier—or Jakob Nielsen : Cheerful Sofware Manifesto
"Cheerful software, above all, honors the truth about humanity:

Humans are not rational beings.

A human is a walking sack of squishy meat and liquids, awash in chemicals.

We laugh. We cry. Sometimes we laugh while crying. We love, and hate, and dream about tomorrow while paying no attention to today. We do ridiculous things in pursuit of love or happiness or self-esteem. We sabotage ourselves. We see faces in inanimate objects, clouds, rock formations, and unevenly toasted bread. Then we sell them on eBay.

We pray to giant humans up in the sky. We think that a fly could be our grandmother. We work for free because we’re bored. We create art, dance, and sing even if we are starving. We give to others when we have little, or we give none when we have a lot, even if we gain no clear survival benefit either way."

[via: http://twitter.com/jeeves/status/6585252130594816 ]
architecture  software  lecorbusier  interactiondesign  jakobnielsen  emotion  love  usability  ui  soul  psychology  philosophy  webdesign  ux  manifesto  interaction  advice  design  manifestos  webdev 
november 2010 by robertogreco
When Buildings Stopped Making Sense - WSJ.com
"a thoughtful argument against the excesses of "designer" architects and urban-planning utopians." "Pei's pyramid at the Louvre...was a deliberate act of cultural vandalism"
books  design  architecture  failure  frankgehry  controversy  impei  franklloydwright  lecorbusier  daniellibeskind  starchitects  risk 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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