Category Archives: Mary Katherine Heinrich

Double-Dipping: Using time-share to stop being the problem

Architecture’s relationship with economics in the past four or five decades has been tense. An entire subculture of the discipline, often known as the “Resistance Model,” formed with the explicit goal of holding strong against the forces of capitalism and consumerism. The architects that held to this model saw the economic (perhaps only financial) forces around them as degrading true value. But their approach to architecture was hardly what could be called active. Rather, it was negative (in the non-Adornian way); it sought to negate mainstream desires. In his famous 1982 debate with Christopher Alexander, Peter Eisenman asserted: “The role of art or architecture might just be to remind people that everything is not all right.”

These architects were, in many ways, reacting against the failures of modernism and feeling that the only way architecture could successfully contribute to society was to be merely architecture, nothing more. In the current architectural climate, a large portion of the discipline is reconsidering the effects that we know architecture has (on environment, socio-technic structures, and the like), and wondering what effects might be unforeseen.

In this context, what looks like architecture seeing itself as the answer, might actually just be architecture trying to not be the problem.

Departing from the views of Eisenman, much of current architecture seeks to fulfill mainstream desires, not negate them. Bjarke Ingels has built an entire firm (and concept) around popular culture and mainstream consumption. Others have looked for signifiers of community needs, rather than tracking economic consumption. This project by AA graduates provides shade in public spaces with a low investment of capital.

Project by Asif Khan, Omid Kamvari and Pavlos Sideris. [image source: dezeen]

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