Thursday, 3 July 2014

DADA without trying

'There's no history!' she said. I replied rather lamely that these days architectural precedent was not a priority in the design studio. It felt peculiar, for I was thinking I'd heard this rather innocent (but correct) observation before, thirty years ago and in a very different critical context: 'There is no evidence on these pieces of paper that architecture will or has ever existed!' I hear those words clear as a bell. It was Mark Wells barking at a second year c1980. I was in the room, I was next up, with a fire station with a pitched roof because I liked roof tiles (idiot).
This time, the comment was directed at ALL the work.
So I sat in the middle of a room full of final year (that is the end of the end, end of five years minimum stretch) thirty years later and I said to myself, well, we've finally managed it; there is absolutely no architecture here at all. There were launch pads for Venus and power stations running on lighting forks, but there was no architecture. Indeed there were beautifully done launch pads to Venus and power stations where lightening struck twice at least (I do nobody disservice) but no architecture, not really. If you were being cynical and old fashioned, you might be moved to say that instead of architecture we now have lots of stories with illustrations attached, and further, note that this has happened EVERYWHERE, top down to bottom up. That's why I'm sounding old fashioned.
So what's happened?
My director quaked when I mentioned this, but I said not to worry, it's nobodies fault but mine (other than the twin stooges of theory and capital) it's the zeitgeist (no worries). After this nervous breakdown there will come the new Bauhaus (perhaps we shall start with a house of two rooms, and work up to a house of four).
If I had tried my hardest to destroy the subject I couldn't have managed this, it's comic, it's hilarious, it's UNDADA. We should cheer maybe, whoop it up.

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