Commodification and Spectacle in Architecture: A Harvard by William Saunders

By William Saunders

Greater than ever, architectural layout is noticeable as a method to advertise advertisement pursuits instead of as an lead to itself. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, for instance, easily can't be thought of except its meant function as a catalyst for the commercial revitalization of Bilbao and its skill to draw vacationer cash, despite its architectural advantages. A equipped setting meant to seduce shoppers is likely to supply immediate gratification than to ask self sustaining suggestion and mirrored image. yet how destructive, if in any respect, is that this unparalleled commercialization of architecture? Framed with a provocative creation by means of Kenneth Frampton, the contributions to Commodification and Spectacle in structure stake out quite a few positions within the debate over the level to which it really is possible—or desirable—to break out from, face up to, or recommend believable choices to the dominant tradition of buyer capitalism. Rejecting any dreamy nostalgia for an idealized current or earlier within which layout is totally divorced from commerce—and, sometimes, celebrating the pleasures of spectacle—the person essays variety from indictments of specific architects and opinions of the career to broader matters approximately what the phenomenon of commodification capacity for the perform of democracy and the wellbeing and fitness of society. Bringing jointly a powerful and sundry crew of critics and practitioners, Commodification and Spectacle in structure can help to sharpen the dialogue of the way layout can reply to our hypercommodified culture. Contributors: Michael Benedikt, Luis Fern?ndez-Galiano, Thomas Frank, Kevin Ervin Kelley, Daniel Naegele, Rick Poynor, Michael Sorkin, Wouter Vanstiphout. William S. Saunders is editor of Harvard layout journal and assistant dean for exterior relatives on the Harvard layout university. he's the writer of contemporary structure: images by way of Ezra Stoller. Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of structure at Columbia college Graduate institution of structure, making plans, and upkeep and writer of many books, together with Labour, paintings, and structure.

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What engineers know and do about these things (I exempt structural engineers from this critique) has become so narrow and formulaic that their expertises together can be said to form a chain of islands separated from each other, and from the mainland of design, by oceans of ignorance about architectural phenomena. These phenomena were once the chief source of architecture’s value and were attended to “automatically,” with, as it were, the DNA of traditional models. Today few architects know about such things.

To create the success of any commercial multiple, the brand is critical. Given his own reluctance to engage any nonquantitative criteria of quality and his conflation of consumption and nature, Koolhaas 26 | Michael Sorkin holds the concept in high esteem, elevating it to the core of his architectural ideology, something capable of subsuming all other values, including the political. And he can get huffy about it. As he remarked in a recent interview in the New York Times about his European Union–sponsored design for a new EU flag, Basically I think the discussion about what brands are is held on an incredibly primitive level.

There’s charm here. A goof. But in service of what? More junk? 2003 Notes 1. , Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping (Köln: Taschen, 2001), quote on inside of front cover. 2. Joseba Zulaika, “Tough Beauty: Bilbao as Ruin, Architecture, Allegory,” in Iberian Cities, ed. Joan Ramon Resina (New York and London: Routledge, 2001), 12. 3. “Yesterday, Prada; Tomorrow, the World,” New York Times, 20 June 2002. 4. Thomas Frank, One Market under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 253.

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