Thursday, 4 July 2013

Attack of the Fifty Storey Refugee Camp

Above is a charming project by some Newham primary school kids, but I'm not sure they should encounter Archigram so young; the impression of architecture is too jolly. I'd wait until they were fifty or so but I didn't take that advice myself. 
Architectural projects are now unrecognisable from those you might have seen as I began teaching, let alone from those I drew myself as a student thirty years ago. And if you get the privilege to get to review the stuff, you'll soon realise that as a teacher, you'd be better off as WILL.I.AM. You need showbiz judgement, you need a touch of the impresario to cut the crap.
Irony for one thing used to be a dirty word, now it is the saviour of many a project; irony and humour have become an essential sanity saver. It has taken a while, but architecture has embraced, out of necessity, THE SARDONIC, after all, the economy has taken away it's more socially minded components. How can students design decent public spaces when there are no public spaces without looking stupid?
Instead all and sundry will soon be doing a projects related to bikinis or something. That's not a bad thing, I've been a part of this revolution after all, but we are definitely in the zone of some chronic narratives. However, since my model for a good education is probably St Trinians I at least deserve it. I put my hands up.
However, a second observation must be that NOBODY DRAWS PLANS as a matter of urgency anymore. The conjugation of computer visualisation, neoliberal politics, and post-structuralist thinking (which you may regard, if they are not exactly the same thing, as at least congruent) have in practical terms created an inability to make plans. Or if you like, have cultivated an overwhelming spirit of both narcissism and nihilism. The result may be interesting, but it is also rather vulgar. Since we started questioning taste, it's obvious we no longer have any. My Oh My! Quell surprise! Of course I would still like Gene Simmons definition to hold true; that 'it's not about taste, it's about what taste's good' if I didn't wonder we are actually in need of some bad medicine.

No comments:

Post a Comment