Commodification and Spectacle in Architecture: A Harvard by William Saunders

By William Saunders

Greater than ever, architectural layout is obvious as a way to advertise advertisement ambitions instead of as an result in itself. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, for instance, easily can't be thought of except its meant position as a catalyst for the commercial revitalization of Bilbao and its skill to draw vacationer money, despite its architectural advantages. A equipped surroundings meant to seduce shoppers is prone to provide quick gratification than to ask self sustaining notion and mirrored image. yet how damaging, if in any respect, is that this unheard of commercialization of architecture? Framed with a provocative advent by means of Kenneth Frampton, the contributions to Commodification and Spectacle in structure stake out a number of positions within the debate over the level to which it truly is possible—or desirable—to break out from, withstand, or recommend believable possible choices to the dominant tradition of patron capitalism. Rejecting any dreamy nostalgia for an idealized current or earlier during which layout is totally divorced from commerce—and, at times, celebrating the pleasures of spectacle—the person essays variety from indictments of specific architects and evaluations of the career to broader matters approximately what the phenomenon of commodification capability for the perform of democracy and the well-being of society. Bringing jointly a magnificent and sundry workforce of critics and practitioners, Commodification and Spectacle in structure might 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 tuition. he's the writer of contemporary structure: images via Ezra Stoller. Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of structure at Columbia collage Graduate college of structure, making plans, and renovation and writer of many books, together with Labour, paintings, and structure.

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People who shop at Wal-Mart do not want to kill off their old downtown; they want to save a few dollars, have a wider choice of goods, and so forth. Who can blame them? People want cheap energy and low taxes. Who doesn’t? But in pursuit of what we want we get dead rivers, cracked sidewalks, dumb kids, and crime. Individually rational market decisions can have collective outcomes that few, including those who 17 | Less for Less Yet John Pawson Architects, Pawson House, Notting Hill, London, England, 1994.

Any misgivings can be waved aside with the claim that this state of affairs is now simply inevitable, so we might as well grab the benefits with both hands, and any criticism can be rejected as a point of view that naively fails to understand the financial expediency of culture’s pact with commerce. 13 Since design is by its nature heavily dependent on commercial patronage, its practitioners have no great incentive to analyze the relationship. Attempts to encourage designers to do so are highly instructive.

It is a tragedy of some proportion that “form follows function” is true neither of nature nor of economic development. 5. I believe that they are after the wrong sort of complexity, but that is another matter. 6. Indeed, I predict a market in digital construction details, perhaps whole building pieces like auditoria or staircases, traded between firms, or perhaps marketed by McGraw-Hill. 7. These dates are very rough, of course. I consider the Weissenhofseidlung in Stuttgart in 1927 to be the watershed event.

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