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CONTEMPORARY

ARCHITECTURAL CRITICISM-------------------------

OF

QUALIFICATIONS

THE

A

CRITICISM CONFERENCE

AT

THE KNOWLTON SCHOOL

OF

ARCHITECTURE THE OHIO

STATE UNIVERSITY-----------------

APRIL 11, 2009—KNOWLTON HALL AUDITORIUM 10AM-5PM

THROUGH PRESENTATIONS OF CURRENT WORK BY A SELECT GROUP OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS, THEORISTS AND CRITICS, THIS SYMPOSIUM SURVEYED AND ANALYZED THE TECHNIQUES OF DESCRIPTION, DISCERNMENT AND DISCRIMINATION IN RELATION TO THE ISSUES OF ARCHITECTURAL CRITICISM TODAY-----

ORGANIZED BY JOHN McMORROUGH------------------------------------------ TRANSCRIBED & EDITED BY MICHAEL ABRAHAMSON--------------

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Ann Pendleton-Jullian

10

Introductory Remarks

Description

14

John McMorrough Matter of Facts: The New Casual-ty Revisited

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Lucia Allais Did Theory Really Happen?

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John Harwood Architecture as Corporate Ontology; or, The Topology of the System of Objects

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Timothy Hyde, Moderator Panel Discussion: Description

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Discrimination

68

Jeannie Kim

70

Winning

Timothy Hyde Britain’s Ugliest Building

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Enrique Walker

90

Under Constraint

Ana Miljacki, Moderator Panel Discussion: Discrimination

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Discernment

112

Penelope Dean

114

Disciplinary Kickbacks

Ariane Lourie Harrison Situated Technologies/Situating Concerns

124

Ana Miljacki Adaptations: The Architectural Project in the Age of Postproduction

134

John McMorrough, Moderator Panel Discussion: Discernment

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Ann Pendleton-Jullian

Introductory

Remarks

I’ve had the privilege of being the director for eighteen months now at the Knowlton School. My main job today is to welcome you here, which I do with tremendous sincerity and warmth. We all of us as faculty go out frequently into the hinterlands to work with colleagues and have conversations, and it’s wonderful to

have you here with us doing that as well. It’s

a very hearty welcome I give to you. I’ve been interested for a while with biological systems. Over the past year or so I’ve been thinking in particular about the edge conditions between two

ecosystems, especially in tropical regions.

I have a biologist friend at UCLA who’s

been studying the Cameroon Rainforest, specifically the edge zone between the

rainforest and the savannah. They’ve

discovered an amazing new species of bird,

a small greenbull bird about the size of a

robin, and the thing they’ve discovered is that this species on the edge has developed a whole series of characteristics or properties that are different from the greenbull inside the rainforest. It sings at a completely different pitch than the one at the interior so that it can be heard over the different ambient noise in the savannah. This is absolutely fascinating to me. The bird has also taken on a completely different flight property. It hasn’t changed so much its physical characteristics as its mobility and the patterns of its flight specifically to elude predators, because the predators don’t go into the rainforest, they always scavenge along the edges of the savannah. They know they’ll get these vulnerable species who poke out of the rainforest and then

they can pick them off. The reason I’m interested in this analogy is that I think all of us in our careers find ourselves in different positions—sometimes in the rainforest, sometimes the edges. What fascinates me about this conference is the makeup, the people that are involved, John’s description of it was voices emerging that belong to different kinds of critical

ecosystems, the way they emerge and create a new kind of dialogue. I’m very excited about the day, I think this is a wonderful group of people to hear talk about this. I welcome you and am very excited to hear the conversation.

Panel Number One

Description

This panel considered the question of the act of description as a critical operation in relation to both generating descriptions for yet unnamed phenomena and the re-description of established entities in a new light.

John McMorrough

Matter of Facts:

The New Casual-ty, Revisited

Today I have dual roles as conference organizer and participant, so first I also would like to offer my thanks to Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Director of the KSA, for support of the conference both intellectually and financially; for giving us the funds to bring all of these people together. I’d also like to thank Professor Jeffrey Kipnis for providing a model for staging an event like this, and for his encouragement for me to continue the tradition of the KSA positioning itself at the forefront of contemporary debate. I’d also like to thank the students who assisted me with the preparation. Those are all heartfelt. In this panel devoted to description, I would like to start with a description of the conference itself. The title of course is “A Matter of Opinion: The Qualifications of Contemporary Architectural Criticism,” and through the presentations of current work by a select group of architectural historians, theorists and critics, this conference surveys and analyzes the techniques of description, discernment and discrimination in relation to the issues of architectural criticism today. In short, this conference is intended both as a survey and interrogation of the variety and means of scopes—historical, theoretical, discursive and institutional—by which emerging writing is looking at the questions of architecture and design today. The intuition being tested is that criticism may emerge, or perhaps reemerge, as the conceptual framework linking together the loose threads of history, theory, criticality and operational thought. For the “Matter of Opinion”

conference each participant has been asked to make a thirty minute presentation on an ongoing, as yet unpublished text or project. There was no limit on what was to be presented, it could have been a historical or contemporary project, with the understanding that the overall concern of the conference discussion will be on research methodologies and the implications connecting that work to contemporary production more than the particular topics being discussed. That is to say, we’re going to see a wide range of projects today. These people, I think, identify themselves as historians, as critics, as theorists, I myself am trained as an architect, then as an historian, and increasingly find myself identified as a critic. What I really want to do is direct, but here we are. My own presentation for the conference is part of an ongoing set of projects centering around a conference I helped organize last year. I think you’ll be able to see the connection to what we’re doing here. The name of the conference was “The Matter of Facts: Architecture and the Generation of Design Information,” and it was staged basically a year ago at Princeton University. To give a bit of the context, there was a conference a number of years ago at Princeton called “Design Intelligence” which brought together a generation of architects including people like Winy Maas, Greg Lynn, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, and critics and commentators like our own Jeffrey Kipnis who were working through the implications of this idea of design intelligence, the increased capacity of the architectural discipline

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to take on ever expanding issues and competencies in its areas of expertise. Dan Wood and Amale Andraos of WORKac were charged by dean Stan Allen with creating a kind of follow up to that conference. They brought me into the conversation, and together we tried to work on the formulation of what an adequate response could be to that previous conversation, but also create some distinguishing characteristics. I’ll read to you the conference text that we worked on together so you can get a sense of the tone:

Not so long ago, architecture was consumed with the internalized codes of its own creation. Now such disciplined labor seems, well, laborious. Recent architectural work seems unfettered by its categorical status. It sidesteps the historical divisions of autonomy and engagement, and combines theoretical speculations with everyday work. It engages the world with a mixture of serious levity and strategic naiveté. It combines old technologies with new ones and operates across the scales of architecture, urban design and landscape. This is a generational shift of focus from the discipline of architecture to the qualification of the world at large, from matters of form to matters of fact. Through the presentations given by a select group of architects and thinkers, the symposium highlighted this change in attitude and the effects it has on the possibilities of architectural expertise for today.

The decision to title it “The Matter of Facts” had to do with trying to work out an intuition that we had, borne out by this statement, that there was a way in which

both engagement with research and facts about the world were still important, but also a kind of lessening of anxiety about the significant nature of those facts. “Generation of Design Information” was intended to be both a group of architects who were working with information design and trying to make a kind of generational grouping, which I’ll talk about more in a second. In the description of a conference like this as a project it operates in a number of contexts. One of the ones I’d like to discuss let’s call a sort of discursive opposition. At Yale a few months before the Matter of Facts conference, there was one called “Seduction: Form, Sensation and the Production of Architectural Desire.” In this conference a number of young architects—people like our own Kivi Sotomaa, a former professor here, Hernan Diaz-Alonso, Mark Foster Gage—presented their work in terms of their interest in affect. The commentators include people like our own Jeff Kipnis and others. I saw this as basically a group of very talented architects who had benefitted from a close identification of their work with one another, and the generation of an intellectual scene of which they could all avail themselves both in terms of intellectual support, but also institutional support. The inspiration for the conference I was organizing was to try to find how another group of architects could offer themselves the same sort of network of support but through a different set of interests. The idea was to bring together a set of work that seemed to be of the same

McMORROUGH

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McMORROUGH 19

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generation of the seduction group, but had as yet not formed a group identity. The aspiration was to bring together this group with the possibility of testing a plausible group identification. The participants included MOS, Scape, n architects, Aranda Lasch, Atelier Bow Wow, One Architecture, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, WW Architecture and WORKac. The nature of this work is a sort of ongoing interest of mine, and the intent was to simply bring these architects together, have them present their work, and discuss a series of topics. One panel worked on design, discussing the issue of architecture versus design, the stake of disciplinarity in their work. The second with information, having to do with the quality information implied within their work, whether they considered it

an aesthetics of information or a science of information. And finally the issue of generation, which had to do with the way they saw their historical relationship to their forebears. These were the set of topics or provocations that started to be introduced into the conversation through this conference to make a counter-identity for this group. My own contribution to the conference was not only populating it with participants and a theme, but also to provide a framework. The framework involved a number of projects and interests that I’d like to articulate today because this work is ongoing as an essay and a book. In the time between the conference and now, some of these things have actually been published, but these were the frameworks that the conference and the identity were

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trying to work through. The first I’ll call a disciplinary context having to do with rumination. This comes from an essay that I published earlier this year in Perspecta that has to do with the disciplinary legacy of architecture and the moment it finds itself in today. The full title is “Ru(m)inations: The Haunts of Contemporary Architecture.” It’s based around the play of words implied by the title. Rumination meaning the ongoing and continuing circular thought on a subject, and rumination like a cow’s attempted digestion of non-nutritious material. I use this play as a framework for how architectural disciplinarity has evolved over the last forty years, and try to talk about its current status today. I won’t rehearse the entire argument, but basically the idea was that there was this moment of architectural crisis, typically called the death of modernism, that had to do with architecture having difficulty fulfilling some of its utopian visions. This crisis of thought became internalized in the work of a few architects taking on the notion of ruination. Ruination not only in the pictorial sense of ruins, talking about collapse, but in general the way the motif of ruin started to permeate throughout the field. Somehow this notion of ruination, which itself stemmed from a series of historical circumstances—Pruitt-Igoe, the burning of Bucky Fuller’s Dome—set up this condition to which they were responding at the time. Concurrent with that on the side of rumination or thought we have the emergence of the theoretical apparatus to

talk about the discipline of architecture as an autonomous field. Together these two things combine to describe the field of thought in the seventies, a period which for all intents and purposes seems to be in the past, but in fact what I was trying to argue with this paper was that this circular logic of rumination, thinking about architecture’s disciplinarity and its own codes caused a feedback loop, a haunting image of thought that continued to pervade architectural thinking. The contemporary manifestation I have for the image of the ruin from the seventies being transposed into modern thought today was that of the zombie. The zombie for me is a kind of rhetorical

of the zombie. Th e zombie for me is a kind of rhetorical figure of the

figure of the architectural discipline today, both in terms of its practitioners following certain codes that are internally described within their makeup, and over which they don’t have complete agency or control. The zombie becomes the figure of the ruin in animation, the dead figure that has the appearance of life. The potential for release from those pressures is found in the way the zombie also, if you think about it as a mass, emergent phenomenon. Which also describe some of the interests that

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architects today are quite interested in exploring. Through the description of the zombie field as an emergent field could start to describe new situations that weren’t created in the precedent of this haunting image. That was the disciplinary context in which I situated this thinking. The second aspect of this project has to do with a reading of a society that is increasingly in an apocalyptic mode. This has been published recently in Thresholds, the student journal at MIT. In this brief essay called “Design for the Apocalypse,” I’m trying to imagine how, if we look around at the world today with our environmental and economic concerns, what that could do to a conception of architecture that has heretofore been premised by some lingering notion of utopian thought. So if utopian thought is both the good place and the non-place, perhaps architects should start to think about an apocalyptic mode that could replace the utopian mode. If the utopian mode is a non-place, the apocalyptic mode would be sort of an everyplace. If we try to think about how architecture itself comes out of a logic of excess and plenitude—too much materiality, too much time, too much thinking, too much labor—what would happen if architecture reconsidered its relation to capital and the field of production in terms of a logic of scarcity? How would that start to recalibrate architectural thinking in terms of its performance in the world? Those were the two things that were operating as I was putting this set together, and the keynote that I gave at the

this set together, and the keynote that I gave at the conference at Princeton, and the

conference at Princeton, and the revisited title for today, is “The New Casual-ty.” It’s causality, but its also casualty and also casualness in terms of a kind of repose. What I’m trying to work on, the current essay, which will become part of the book, is trying to set these issues in play. Again, the story goes back to the

seventies as a moment where the failure or death of architecture came to the fore as

a mobilizing conceit for the emergence of

the notion of an autonomous theoretical discipline of architecture, which as I’ve previously explained still haunts the field. I’ve started to think of this notion of death and extinction not as the final cataclysmic occurrence in the field, but a periodic reoccurrence. Perhaps instead of trying to think of architecture as a single continuity unified from the pyramids to today, instead we’ve historically suffered

a series of extinctions of a conception

of architecture. These are replaced with something that has the same name, it’s still called architecture, but actually has an entirely different logic and genesis. I’ve tried to position this new causality and casualty in relationship to these historical forces.

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The argument drawing from the previous work is that we know the last big economic downturn in a huge global

sense—the oil crisis—was in the seventies. The reaction to this in architecture was

a bifurcation into two opposing camps.

These two camps I represent with the image of Eisenman’s House III and of the underground building. On the one hand we have architecture becoming increasingly codified—a retreat into the academy—as

a way of working on the problems of

architecture without the exigencies of environmentalism, without the difficulties

of the world proper. This creates a sense of enclosure in order to work on its codes and

a sense of depth and purpose. On the other

hand we have the people who leave that behind and start to work on environmental issues, on form being a subcategory of the notion of performance. Out of this bifurcation we get two opposing ways of thinking about the creation of architecture that have really operated in two separate and discrete realms. If we think about Dubai, which I think is an image of what has happened since the last oil crisis. The oil crisis created the possibility of a closed culture of architectural expertise, but at the same time the rise in oil over the intervening years created vast repositories of capital such that work that had been forged in the early seventies and grown in terms of imagining and inventing new worlds of architectural production are subsequently fulfilled by the promise and the funding of capital itself through oil. With Dubai I think we see the apotheosis of that whole direction, things

that are designed with a sense of removal from the world now being built in the world itself. The argument I’m trying to make is that these ideas are now being tested in the world very late in their

production. Fully-fledged, fully-formed architectural ideas now coming to fruition. Dubai becomes a kind of catalogue of the avant-garde of the last thirty years paid for by the oil reserves. At the same time there is a sense of

by the oil reserves. At the same time there is a sense of the apocalyptic mode,

the apocalyptic mode, these pressures on the situation that say these models are no longer sustainable. We can look at the growing confederation of causes and pressures that are again going to bring to the fore a historical repetition of the same kind of issues we faced in the seventies in terms of how architecture will now position itself in terms of a world at crisis. What is architecture going to do about it? So that is the set of contexts that were informing the new causality:

in a disciplinary context in terms of rumination, in society in terms of an apocalyptic mode, and that produces a new way of thinking than the previous generation that lead to a bifurcation between technology and thought. Maybe

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the new condition can lead to a kind of synthetic rereading of that material. As far as the book has gotten is a Sketch-Up model, and this is a sort of re-kicking-off of that effort. Some of the issues are editorial, because I think in this notion of identification there’s an issue of how you take this to press, how you organize it and things like that, but also— and this is why it’s an ongoing project for me—in the intervening year all the things that I was theoretically interested in, the slightly cheeky notion of an apocalyptic mode, have become all too real and serious as the crisis increases. What was a sort of rhetorical trope I feel has slightly more immediate gravity in terms of the situation, and I’m trying to work through

that. In a way it’s a fulfillment of the earlier prediction, but has also caused me to reconsider how to set that up. That brings us back to the issue of the conference itself. True to my word, this is

a sort of ongoing, loose project that I’ve

presented today, but I wanted to say that

one thing that came out of the conference that was interesting for me was a posting that was made on the site Archinect,

a blog posting, that actually occurred

three days before the conference itself, in reaction to the initial statement. I’ll quote, “No matter how much architecture’s charge has changed in the last few years, the changes don’t always reach our core. The mission statement of this progress- touting conference has definite baggage; a bombastic demeanor written in code.” And that’s from “chip.” I was really fascinated by that, not so much for its criticism of the conference

or its baggage, because I do think the baggage is what we have. Dealing with our baggage is exactly what the conference is about for me. What struck me was this thing about it being written in code. For me this raised the issue of writing. Writing about architecture is how we think about architecture, and is the location for description today. I wasn’t personally offended by the attack on the tone, but it did get me to start thinking about how we do write about architecture? If we’re looking at a situation in which we think architecture is going to recalibrate itself, what’s going to be the impact not necessarily directly on writing, but how will the writing of criticism, history and theory recalibrate as well? That brings us back to this conference, which to me is working through the implications of the previous conference, as well as an application of that model to this question not for design per se, but

for writing and thinking about design. Again, the purpose of this conference is to bring together an emerging group of writers whose work, in a variety of ways and means speaks of the relationship of architectural scholarship to architectural production today. The aspiration is to test the plausibility of new generational identities on emerging thinkers through their overlaps of work and interest. It’s a heady ambition of course, that can only be partially, and admittedly inconclusively addressed in the course of a brief conference. Nevertheless I’m hoping for an interesting and positive exchange.

Lucia Allais

Did Theory Really Happen?

First of all, thanks, John, for inviting me. Really; thanks for having a workshop—the idea of a workshop being that you can present fresh stuff and hear what other people think. You can take that as a disclaimer, too: this is fresh stuff, so be lenient, but tell me what you think. The title of my paper has changed from “Dictionary Entry,” to “Did Theory Really Happen?” It’s still about the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, which was formed by Peter Eisenman in 1967 and is rapidly being historicized as the birthplace of American architectural theory. I assume everyone knows the Institute. If you don’t, the working definition for me will be the one given in the Village Voice in 1982: “The IAUS helped make American architecture arty, international and intellectual.” I’ve been asked to write a dictionary entry about the IAUS and I’m also writing a shorter article about it. Both these things have gotten me thinking about how we write the history of theory. Again, the advantage of a workshop is that you can say things perhaps more forcefully orally than you would put down on paper. From the literature on the history of American architectural theory, one certainty has emerged: the history of theory begins in 1968. “It does not seem particularly controversial,” writes Michael Hays, “to mark the beginning of contemporary architectural theory in the sixties, with all the changes in political theory and practice, the history of philosophy, the world economy and general cultural production that the date connotes.” With this connotative definition of history, Hays avoids

historicizing a genealogy that did so much to question the claims of historicism. Hays borrows this connotative strategy, indeed the entire sentence, from Fredric Jameson’s 1984 text “Periodizing the Sixties.” Jameson writes, “It does not seem particularly controversial to mark the beginnings of what will come to be called the 1960s in the Third World, in the great movement of decolonization of British and French Africa.” It’s because theory has taught us to reject what Hays and Jameson both called “history as it really happened,” that Hays contents himself with a single historical gesture, and that is to say: “since 1968.” Joan Ockman recently takes the same approach in the recent issue of Log on 1968—she’s not the only one, just a prominent figure—when she appeals to Jameson to set aside what she calls “history as it really was,” and look instead for “a concept of that history.” This attack on history as it really happened is really an attack on the nineteenth-century historian Leopold von Ranke, the father of modern historical objectivity. Ranke was the first to say that historians should not pass judgment on history, but instead go to the archive and then recount in the most intimate detail history “as it really happened”—“wie’es eigentlich gewesen.” I know this is not the place for a pedantic display of historiography, but let me just read some book titles so you get the point. These are the books that Ranke wrote: History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations from 1494 to 1514; The Princes and Peoples and Southern Europe; The Roman Popes in the Last Four Centuries; et cetera.

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Clearly this is political history. So when we reject the motto “history as it really happened,” what we’re really rejecting

is the idea that the political sphere has

primacy in the writing of history. The opposite pole of this objectivist

history is usually occupied by Jacob Burkhardt. His most famous book is The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy; he is the inventor of cultural history. So you get the picture: world history faithfully recalls political events, cultural history recounts an atmosphere, an artistic tendency, to detect larger cultural patterns. The number of architects featured in Ranke’s history is of course low. In contrast, Burkhardt used an architect, Alberti, as his model for the universal man. So when Ockman, Hays, Jameson and the rest of us reject the idea of telling history as it really happened, the message is that we should be engaging in the Burkhardtian project. But for all this reliance on connotation, there’s always an element of denotation left in these accounts; crucial details that are left in to create what Barthes called a “reality effect.” For Jameson it’s the appeal to colonization, for Hays and Ockman it’s just the date 1968. The attachment to the date 1968 is

a reality effect that takes the place of any real political events. Another significant source of reality effect are the memories of the protagonists of 1968. So there is now a whole generation of people who are

on a tour to give away their memories of what happened. Ironically, all this cultural history has created a myth of origin that

is consistent with what these protagonists actually recall really happened. And

to make matters worse, what “really

happened” is itself described in terms of a retreat from reality into theory. So the idea

is that contemporary theory was born from

a retreat from reality into theory. Here I could quote Bernard Tschumi, who says

“After 1968, nobody wanted to call himself an architect anymore.” Stan Anderson has

a more theoretical version, which says,

“we were afraid of instrumentalization, so we went to look for autonomy.” That’s the basic story. We have, in other words, been left with a real and a theoretical 1968. The first is a massive geopolitical break; it’s made of rebellions, assassinations, wars and elections. The second is a transatlantic literary event; it’s made of –isms and

institutes, issues and disciplines. The real

1968 is real in the Lacanian sense; it is a

long lost dramatic past. The theoretical

1968 is theoretical in the Althuserrian

sense of an epistemological regrounding. If this description of the birth of theory has been uncontroversial, it has not helped to explain how theory became

a very real cultural institution after

1968. Did theory “subsume architectural culture”—this is Hays’s version—or did it compensate for a lack of politics, which is

what Ockman implies? Are we to believe that theory just “happened”? Nobody is saying that nothing happened, it’s just that the impulse to describe what happened is described as an anti-theoretical gesture. These questions point us beyond the foundational texts of theory, and beyond the memory of those who wrote them:

to the institutions that supported this supposed retreat away from reality, and

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to the role played in this entire discursive

framework by actors who were not authors. Today I want to come down on the side of world history, for the sake of argument, or rather that for the sake of

building a better cultural history. We have

to get better at choosing our reality effects.

A side note on my motivations: I purposely

set this up using arcane German figures to distance myself from the current debates

on the history of theory, particularly those

in the American left between Pragmatism

and Marxism, Jameson and Rorty, Hays and Ockman. This is not my project. My motivations are much more selfish: as a historian who’s writing a history of cultural institutions—more mainstream cultural institutions, “world historical” ones like the UN, my goal is to find a historical method that works for both mainstream institutions and for the avant-gardes

like this one.

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I’m going to present three different types of material that can be found in the archives of the IAUS. First, an event that fits uncomfortably in the established

narrative. The question here is, why is ‘68

depicted as a white, and European, event? I’ll then talk about the institutional history of the IAUS, describing the encyclopedia entry which is in some ways pure cultural

history but also pure reality effect. Lastly, I’ll show some visual material produced in the Institute’s early days. The question will be what did theory look like before it was theory? Before it was published in Oppositions in 1973, it looked like social scientific diagrams and grant applications. I begin in ’68. And in order to properly dramatize the idea of ’68 as a date when something “really happened,” I begin with a project that never happened. Sometime in August 1968, Peter Eisenman tore off a piece of yellow trace and wrote in capital letters, “Harlem Plan.” He inked over pencil lines and finalized an organizational chart that linked the New York Urban League, a Harlem school and his own institute. This was to be a new educational mechanism in Harlem, and in the attached grant proposal, Eisenman started from a basic equation:

Black America is in essence urban America. Whether by default or design, the cities have been left to the urban blacks. Today they represent the only true urban culture that has been left in this country.

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A window of opportunity had been opened for a combined solution to two separate problems: the failure of modernist urbanism and the disenfranchisement of the ghetto. The argument is worth quoting at length:

The Black American needs a myth, something to believe in, something which will give structure and meaning to his life. This cannot be a literal or oversimplified mythology such as the study or belief in African history. It would seem that such a myth must come from the encompassing structure of the black community and the black individual. It is here that the equation of black America and urban America becomes critical. The modern city, the utopia on earth, has been the dream if not the reality of much contemporary thought and work in the areas of city planning and community development. For various reasons […] there was no realistic movement. […] However, there is an opportunity now. There is not one aspect in the range of urban problems which has the potential power and image value that could be useful in creating a black myth more important than creating a new physical environment for the twentieth century city. And there is no reason why this cannot rightly be called a black responsibility.

This is followed by concrete proposals for a school in Harlem, which would teach black kids how to be architects, “drawing out knowledge” about their city, and re-projecting it onto the city itself, in a “model block.” This isn’t the Eisenman to which we’ve been accustomed. It’s not the

unrepentant formalist, not the dedicated postmodernist, not the solipsistic designer, not the paper architect. Here we have a clearly stated analysis, and an assertively proposed collaborative solution. To be sure, the language is paternalistic, the argument culturally insensitive, and the discourse totalizing. So the black American is merely the carrier of a degree zero subjectivity that provides access to deeper structure. But, on the other hand, modern architecture is not treated more kindly. The twentieth century city is a failure. Eisenman readily surrenders it to a given constituency as a gesture, as an emergency measure, against alienation. Unlike in modernist planning, the modern utopia on earth is not an instrument of technocracy, it’s an iconographic fix to a mythological bankruptcy. Most out of character perhaps is the implied pragmatism of the argument. The theory depends on a series of conditions for action: an opportunity. The black American and the twentieth century utopia have demanded in vain to be taken as ends in themselves. Instead, they can succeed by becoming each others’ means, by instrumentalization. For the League’s youth, the initiation of the black myth of the future city would yield empowerment. For the architects, it would deliver design work. What are we to make of this? Unlike the Institute, the Urban League was a venerable organization with deep roots in America’s cities and had been empowered in ’64 with large amounts of federal funds. After ’68 it veered away from legal activism towards hands-on pressure, changing its logo to reflect its larger ambitions. Because the director of

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the New York chapter was a protégé of Adam Clayton Powell, the League also controlled well-funded experimental education programs. It is these funds that Eisenman hoped to channel toward the Institute. Here the line between theoretical

pragmatism and financial opportunism begins to blur. But must we therefore paint

a sinister picture, of the Institute co-opting the cause of a disenfranchised population just to get money? The answer is complicated both by the sequence of events and by the pragmatic tendencies of the League itself.

It was the League’s president who had first

approached Eisenman to invite him to participate in the creation of a think tank called the “Black Leadership Institute,” devoted to forming a “radically different person, a philosopher-technician, able to think, operate and put into effect, with the ability to do so in both worlds: America at large and the inner city in particular.” In other words, the League was searching for a radical rewriting of black urban subjectivity too, and architecture was to be its technique. If you look at the list of participating intellectuals, there’s only Eisenman from a technical discipline and that’s architecture. Everything else was to be “law” or “the history of the black nation.” In this sense, Eisenman’s description of the ghetto as a place to grow a new mythology took a cue from the League itself and capitalized on the alignment of their inspirations. The project was never realized. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any intellectual legitimacy. Does this text really qualify as a piece of architectural theory,

text really qualify as a piece of architectural theory, or is it merely an exercise performed

or is it merely an exercise performed for the sake of institutional legitimacy? As an institution-building activity, the Harlem Plan fits uncomfortably in the established history of the IAUS, particularly the history of what Ken Frampton has called the “shotgun marriage” between MoMA and the Urban Design Corporation, the two institutions that brought the Institute together. Consider the better-known Harlem project that sparked the creation of the Institute: the 1966 New City show at the MoMA where Arthur Drexler assigned hypothetical sites to four Ivy League teams and exhibited the results. The show earned the architects accusations of being both too detached and not utopian enough, and of having unleashed their will to form onto an unsuspecting New York. In contrast, in the Urban League, the will to form was offered to a specific

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constituency as a gesture of empowerment. The offer was not unconditional. Eisenman resisted any connection to the teaching of black history, lest Harlem be “rebuilt in the image of an African village.” Asking for the teaching of black history was a very common cause in this period, as a way to support the idea that Harlem was an internal colony that deserved autonomy and control of its school system. By calling for replacing African mythology with the modernist myth of the city, Eisenman was compromising between the League and MoMA. This is, in other words, a combination of two kinds of autonomy: one aesthetic, the other political. This is a kind of post-MoMA ghetto formalism, which of course was never realized. Nor does Eisenman’s 1968 proposal for a new black myth work well as a precedent for the way the Institute eventually theorized myth or the urban. Myth became the preferred pejorative term for an unexamined ideology in the seventies, the prime example being functionalism. Using the term myth to designate modernism’s theoretical error was meant to eradicate the illusion that architects have any political agency of exactly the kind the Harlem Plan proposed to give to the black architect. Similarly, in the 1976 volume On Streets, which aimed to reclaim streets as “components of the urban environment,” the inhabitant was the recipient in a kind of disciplinary experiment. In contrast, the Harlem Plan was to be a part of the Urban League’s Street Academy experiment which started in 1965 to build walk-in schools for dropouts in abandoned storefronts.

Each Street Academy was sponsored by a

corporate donor. The League advertised their visibility on the streetscape as a new type of philanthropy which signaled “the end of the so-called genius academic, the era of corporate responsibility.” The Harlem Plan was never realized. The correspondence between Wingate and Eisenman ends abruptly in 1968, and with

a few denotative and connotative hints, we

can understand why. On the connotative side, there’s the Democratic Convention in Chicago, with its riots, later that year New York City gets polarized in a debate between Jewish teachers and black parents,

forcing the League to take a very public stance against the use of white expertise in education. On the denotative side, there

is a major corruption scandal in the New

York Urban League, and further conflicts of interest might have been encountered anyway. Already in 1968, the Urban League’s student newspaper satirized a project supported by Ed Logue and Nelson Rockefeller, an eventual patron for the Institute. There were bound to be problems anyway. Still, the collaboration reveals very plainly why there was a U in the IAUS:

because Urban was a category of funding in 1968 that you could not do without. This project arose when, for a brief moment, two totally different Institutes sought both to take advantage of funds for urban research and to make something of the fact that “urban” was a socio-scientific euphemism for “black.” The Urban League called the bluff by trying to get involved in urbanism; the Institute called the bluff by trying to get involved in black affairs.

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34 DESCRIPTION Th at’s how far this paper has gotten, but the idea of urban as

That’s how far this paper has gotten, but the idea of urban as a category of funding brings me to the encyclopedia entry and to the institutional model of the IAUS. I’m writing a dictionary entry, it’s for an Italian dictionary, the Dictionary of Twentieth Century Architecture, it’s going to be three volumes. In contrast to previous editions there will be no monographic entries, just places. By places, they mean specific buildings, institutes, schools of thought, events, et cetera. Writing a dictionary entry turns out to be a very tedious exercise; decisions are about where to locate information. For example, I’m very proud to say that the Whites versus Grays debate only makes it in the penultimate paragraph because I think putting it up front—although it appears

in front in chronological terms—would oversimplify the rest of the entry. Overall, though, the exercise is one of organization. The only opportunity for an original contribution is for theorization of the institutional hybridity of the Institute. This hybridity is something that people have been talking about all along. In 1967, Ada Louise Huxtable wrote that she hoped the Institute would “provide a link between aesthetics and sociology.” In its heyday, Paul Goldberger reported that the Institute was “an odd combination of the theoretical and the pragmatic.” In the mid- seventies the Institute publicized itself as a “halfway house between school and office.” And more recently Ken Frampton came up with the phrase “shotgun marriage.” There’s one paragraph in which I offer my own

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contribution:

The IAUS was not Eisenman’s first attempt at

a collective. In 1965 he had founded CASE

(Conference of Architects for the Study of Environments). This was based loosely on Team X, but Eisenman soon found that the group lost its “organic connection” and founded the IAUS in part to rectify this “mistake.” Unlike the democratic conference model, the Institute’s structure allowed Eisenman to retain control (he remained director until 1983) and to tailor collaborations. Like the myriad other think

tanks, research centers and policy institutes that proliferated on the North American coasts in the 1970s, the Institute was less

a professional assembly than a nucleus of

experts which brought overlapping networks periodically into contact. Three phases can be outlined in its institutional history.

The next three sections are divided chronologically. So three kinds of projects—urban projects, theoretical projects and public projects. But they are really three think tank typologies, that are borrowed from the literature on think tanks. I’ll read the first sentence in each one of those paragraphs. What follows after that is just a description of the work. “Between 1967 and 1974, the Institute functioned as a government contract research institution producing urban projects for public clients.” So you have to think Rand Corporation, Urban Institute. Then I talk about the urban work of the IAUS. Next paragraph. “Starting in 1973 with the publication of Oppositions

(a journal for ideas and criticism in architecture), the inauguration of an undergraduate program (in association

with five liberal arts colleges) and the move to a larger space, the IAUS began to function as an academic research institute in dialogue with international partners, hosting fellows with public and private funds.” Here you have to think Institute for Advanced Studies, the foreign academies, and a Manhattan campus for other schools like Cornell. Then I go on to talk about Oppositions and the theory as such. Next paragraph, “In 1978, with the launch of the monthly design newspaper Skyline, the overhaul of the public lecture series program Open Plan (with the help of

a massive NEH grant) the intensification of the exhibition schedule and the launch of a book series, the IAUS became a veritable cultural center, and international gateway for foreign visitors and a regional venue for New York architects.” Basically this is when the Institute started thinking that what it was doing was putting “architecture” in “American culture.” I’m showing here a diagram the Institute started using in 1978 to promote itself as a bridge between the private and public sectors. The cultural functions are displayed in the center, between the R&D department and the educational component. My contribution consists in saying that there was a chronological shift between the three functions. This is important not only because the Institute famously defined itself in terms of its independence, but also because it conflated this independence with its influence. In the mid-seventies,

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for example, “the Institute is ideally suited to coordinating theoretical ideas with practical constraints. It has the potential to influence other institutions and other studies outside the specific context of study.” So if the Institute’s main selling point was its flexibility and its influence, my point is that this hybridity was not a stable condition but a progression that eventually led to a significant crisis. This is clearly legible if you map the type of funds that were received by the Institute over the course of fifteen years. You can see the three phases very clearly, although there is a bit of a delay because you get funds a year after you apply for them. I’ll come back to this in a minute, but first I want to say why it’s important to identify the institutional model of the Institute. Because, and I quote from my own dictionary entry, “From its earliest days, the Institute’s vanguardism was consistently taken for willful elitism. Some critics perceived a return to the idea of “architecture as art.” (this is Mary McLeodOthers detected a debasement of American architecture into a “cultural industry.” (this is George Baird). Many interpreted the “intellectualization of architecture” through European theory (this is Jean-Louis Cohen)as gesture of political neutralization, akin to the one operated in 1932 when MoMA purged modernism of its political and social ambitions in order to bring it to an American public as the International Style.’ The analogy is supported by the Institute’s association with MoMA and with the neo- Purist architectural language of Eisenman’s cardboard architecture. Then I talk about

the Grays and the Whites: “the implicit interlocutor in the debate was Robert Venturi.” For whom CASE and the IAUS were “too European.” He’d been invited but had said no. Ironically, the most critical attack on the IAUS’ independence was formulated by a European figure who exerted considerable fascination with the Institute, the Italian Marxist critic Manfredo Tafuri. In his 1978 essay ‘The Ashes of Jefferson,’ Tafuri bemoaned the IAUS’ turn away from urban projects, and its specialization into a “boudoir” removed from political realities. The project of disciplinary autonomy was, for Tafuri a symptom of “the organizational structure of intellectual work in America,” which led Institute thinkers into an “exaltation of its own apartness,” and its architects into a “bureaucratic formalization of metropolitan life.” (Remember this is an Italian dictionary.) Most critiques have followed this Venturian-Tafurian model, of thinking that what was wrong with the Institute was that it was too American or too European. Most have also recalled the Bürgerian critique of the neo-avant-garde: that it rehashes the work of the original avant garde, but does so in an institutional context that avoids its political power. I would like to argue that in our obsession with European models, with the question of transfers, lateness and decontextualization, with the connection to MoMA and cardboard architecture of Eisenman we have forgotten to make one important connection, which is this: theory is not just what happened to American architecture after 1968, it’s also

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ALLAIS 37 what happened to American politics after 1968. Th e proliferation of think tanks, public

what happened to American politics after

1968.

The proliferation of think tanks, public policy centers and research groups marked a shift towards greater emphasis on ideas and agenda-setting in Washington. The capital became a site for a “competition of ideas,” where a few people set agendas and the rest was an elaborate political scene. This was in part based on the post-’68 change from immediate reform towards the development of long- term theoretical models. A new intellectual class developed into myriad think tanks, trying to overcome the empiricism of the so-called action intellectuals. Here I cite Irving Kristol’s famous text “The Troublesome Intellectuals,” published in

’66:

It is quite clear that the intellectuals are in

American politics to stay. Indeed, those government departments that have not intellectualized themselves are finding their political power dwindling. American politics has an ingrained Philistinism and anti- intellectualism. We need the best ideas of the best minds to make our cities inhabitable, our schools educational, our economy workable. At the same time, our best minds need to be chastened by some first-hand experience.

It’s this same rhetoric, basically, that the Institute used to argue that architecture should be theoretical. In fact, Eisenman himself wrote about this in 1977. He said, “What the Institute should become is a unique cultural institution. The model for an institution should be an architectural version of a policy group such as the Brookings Institute in Washington, and

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a think tank such as the Institute for

Advanced Studies.” There’s no reason we can’t speak of the Institute in these political terms. Certainly they afford us a new view of the journal Oppositions. The journal that nobody reads is a staple of political think tanks:

it’s written by a few of the thinkers, filled with difficult theoretical jargon between sober covers and attached to a definitely

happening scene.

sober covers and attached to a definitely happening scene. We also can get a better view
sober covers and attached to a definitely happening scene. We also can get a better view
sober covers and attached to a definitely happening scene. We also can get a better view
sober covers and attached to a definitely happening scene. We also can get a better view
sober covers and attached to a definitely happening scene. We also can get a better view

We also can get a better view of the closing of the Institute. I’ll read the portion of the dictionary entry that deals with its closing. It comes after

Tafuri. “Tafuri’s critique haunted the last days of the Institute, as balancing its commitment to the intellectual reflection and its openness to capitalistic patronage became increasingly difficult. In 1982, the IAUS planned two events that reveal this polarization: a symposium called ‘Architecture, Criticism, Ideology,’ organized by Joan Ockman to salvage the IAUS’ intellectual mission from Tafuri’s damning critique; and a conference called ‘Architecture and Development: The New Investment Patterns,’ organized by

a fundraising committee put together to

raise the funds from corporate architecture firms as required by the NEH grant they received in 1978.” The history of the Institute is portrayed as a decline of public funds and a rise in private funds, but in fact the NEH grant required that the Institute

raise the matching funds from corporate donors. In some sense, it was the NEH who required that the Institute, in its late days, be frequented by a successful class of corporate architects. If you want to really find out why the Institute closed, you should find out why the NEH wanted its Institutes to be both private and public institutions. I’ll do this last part very quickly the get to the diagrams, which are kind of cool. I’ll show a set of diagrams and gloss over the argument I’ll be making about them. These were made in 1973 in a grant proposal, for a “Program in Generative Design,” which is described as “preparation of theoretical studies for the application of structuralism to architecture and urban planning.” My overall argument about the early days of the Institute is that these grant writing exercises were serious theoretical endeavors where Eisenman, Frampton and Gandelsonas worked out tentative positions that were later posited as authoritative programs with much stronger polemical force in the pages of Oppositions. The form of the social-scientific grant proposal was crucial in distilling clarity in both the theories and the authorial voice of the theoritician. Consider, for instance, these two consecutive versions of Eisenman’s opening

statement to describe a research program:

First, I am an architect, not a theorist or historian. I believe in the inseparability of ideas and form.

Next draft:

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First, as an architect and theorist, I believe in the inseparability of ideas and form.

So “historian” is gone, but in the simple transformation of two sentences into one we have the inaugural definition of an architectural theorist: someone who believes in the inseparability of ideas and form. I’m pairing these two images to show that this grant was written to serve two purposes. First to introduce structuralism in architecture, and second, to convince the National Institute of Mental Health that there is an inseparability between ideas and form. In other words, structuralism and formalism are actually two different agendas that are to come together in the diagrams. (I’m skipping over this part of the argument involves showing how the Institute took three-part diagrams, like this Chomskian linguistic diagram, and made them into two part diagrams in order to create a structuralist-like binomial. Then, having created a binomial, a third element (what Eisenman calls “form” and Gandelsonas calls “theory”) is proposed as mediation. In this manner, form and theory appeared to arise naturally as a middle term between structuralist binomials.) There are two kinds of diagrams in the Generative Design proposal. The first looks like this, an organizational chart. The second invokes a kind of hollowed- out subjectivity through profiles of human beings. The first appears in the early grant proposal; the second after feedback is received, from the Institute of Mental Health, identifying “four areas of

weakness”:

of Mental Health, identifying “four areas of weakness”: areas: 1. Overreliance on linguistic terminology 2. No
of Mental Health, identifying “four areas of weakness”: areas: 1. Overreliance on linguistic terminology 2. No
areas:
areas:

1. Overreliance on linguistic terminology

2. No explicit methodology

3. No model which was directly related to

architecture

4. A lack of definition of data.

So the National Institute of Mental Health is telling the IAUS they don’t know what they’re doing. How did they respond to these criticisms? With five diagrams intended to make clear a methodology. First, functionalism is represented as a model where form mediates between function (a door) and subject (a head). Then a diagram shows the weakness in that model, using the idea of scale to show that function (the door) is actually relative to form (the cube) and that forms are relative to each other: big door, versus little door. The third diagram locates this is time:

because you’ve seen big doors and small doors before, the subject has internalized, perhaps idealized, these categories. The fourth diagram then introduces the category of form, which acts as a kind of storage database for the memories of big and small doors. The last image gives the subject an interlocutor, and presents form as a kind of shared code. Form has been successfully externalized. What kind of diagrams are these? First, they’re a response to [Charles] Jencks’ diagrams of a similar process which also feature a profiled human head. In some ways they accuse Jencks of

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not understanding the analogy between

architecture and language. But they’re not formalist diagrams like the Gestalt diagram of two faces in/and a vase, where form and subject are conflated. Here the continuity between form and the spaces outside of it is represented in the oscillation between figure and ground. In contrast, in Generative Design, form is clearly external to the subject. They’re also not structuralist diagrams, like the Saussurian model of language, where form is a

relational component of language.

again, is externalized.
again, is externalized.
Form,
Form,

Finally—and I only

thought of this because of the doors—it’s not the Lacanian diagram of two bathroom doors, that [ Jacques] Lacan proposed to replace the Saussure’s diagram or a tree, of which he wrote, “there may be forms which enter into the symbiotic model unproblematically, but they ultimately pass through a constructed subjectivity.” Here, for instance, male and female. I don’t really have an answer for what kind of diagram this is, but my working hypothesis is that they make a socio-scientific argument for formalism through a structuralist category. This is why the grant was not renewed. To conclude, I’d like to make a quick suggestion that these diagrams for Generative Design and that of the institutional model for the IAUS make the same gesture: they construct a binomial, and let something arise out of it. In the former, it’s “form” or “theory.” In the latter it’s cultural autonomy. There’s also an uncanny similarity of these two diagrams with the Harlem Plan of 1968. It follows the same structure: two elements bridged by a third as a connection to a fourth,

overarching context or patron. It’s not at all unlikely that given different historical forces, the Harlem Plan should have become a reality. You’d have to change a few things: you’d have to replace the Bryn Mawr, Oberlin, Cornell and Princeton students with some from Harlem. And you would arrive at a different kind of theoretical practice in the center, one which is based on the modalities of architectural practice. Instead of form (as in Generative Design) you would have “plan/program/et cetera,” as in the Harlem Plan. So to conclude, I’d like to say that this model is not very different, if you think about it, from the modes of theoretical practice that contemporary architectural discourse is calling “research” today. My conclusion cuts two ways: first, we can’t fall into the trap of rejecting theory simply because we don’t like the image that theory has acquired in retrospect. This (the middle of the diagram) is still the space that we’re occupying today. Second, we have to get better at choosing our reality effects. The Harlem Plan didn’t happen, but it still contains as much historical truth about the history of architectural theory as “any concept of that history.” We are ,in other words, justified in making the judgment that this was either a really good idea, or a really bad one. But we have to be interested enough in what “really happened” to find out that it even existed at all.

John Harwood

Architecture as Corporate Ontology; or, The Topology of the System of Objects

It’s particularly exciting to be the sole representative of the liberal arts college here. I left my cornfield in the able hands of my students to come to the big city. It’s been a lot of fun.To frame how this fits into a larger project—an unfinished, ongoing work—I have, for this talk, two epigraphs that I’ll allow you to read for yourselves, and another that we’ll get to in a second. They’re there to indicate that what I’m going to present today is really part of a series of overlaps that motivated my dissertation and now the book that I’m working on. I’m only going to look at two of the three elements that are explored in the book.They are the computer, the architect and the corporation. Today I’m going to focus exclusively first on the corporation, and then ask some questions about how the corporation comes to overlap with the architect. I do want to emphasize this third epigraph.

The recognition that industry has come to be dominated by these economic autocrats must bring with it a realization of the hollowness of the familiar statement that economic enterprise in America is a matter of individual initiative.To the dozen or so men in control, there is room for such initiative. For the tens and even hundreds of thousands of workers and of owners in a single enterprise, individual initiative no longer exists.Their activity is group activity on a scale so large that the individual, except he be in a position of control, has dropped into relative insignificance.

In 1968, in a preface to the reissue of his classic study, The Modern Corporation and Private Property, coauthored with economist

Gardiner Means in 1932, the legal scholar Adolf Berle re-theorized the “changing content of property.”The concepts of property inherent to common law had deteriorated in the face of a new regime of ownership characterized by what he termed managerial control. I’ll quote from this preface:

The rapid increase in technical development necessarily downgrades the position of physical or tangible things and upgrades the factors of organization and technical knowledge. Organization is not reducible to formula. Technical knowledge is rarely, if ever, assignable to any individual, group of individuals or corporation. It is part of the heritage of the country and of the race. In neither case do the traditional formulae applicable to common law party fit the current fact.

The utter destruction of the traditional concept of property in the wake of what is commonly called today the management revolution was accomplished through a radical division of labor.The rise of management assigned control over the workings of the corporation decisively separated ownership (exercised through financial instruments such as securities and futures contracts) from control, and moreover dispersed control and ownership alike through the articulation of differentiated degrees and modes of property. Here is the other epigraph: a very famous type of image, from a famous book on management called TheVisible Hand. It has become a commonplace to assert that the response within architectural history

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and theory to such facts has been wholly inadequate.We’ve become increasingly aware of the shortcomings of our shorthand. Architects names are our shorthand for a firm; or, as in the case of SOM, architectural historians anachronistically restore the name Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to the firm in a perverse form of longhand; the statements of Presidents and CEOs are shorthand for the desires of a vast productive enterprise; single machines or products shorthand for complex apparatus; and so on, and so forth. However, we still await a theory adequate to the description of architecture and its related disciplines within this new regime of property. I don’t think this means that we haven’t made some great steps, some progress in this regard, and I think that the fruits of serious engagement with these problems are already visible on the branches of a growing tree of historical and theoretical work. One thinks immediately of the pioneering work of John Summerson and Reyner Banham, the critical essays of [Guilio Carlo] Argan and [Manfredo] Tafuri, and the network-driven methods of historians and theorists such as MarkWigley and Reinhold Martin, and not to short any of us here, those of us in the room today. There are certainly many more works— from sociologists, economic and business historians, media theorists, and so on—that might form something of an archive of approaches to the problem of narrating or describing the diffuse subjectivities that inhabit and inherit the advanced capitalist world. My efforts in this direction are centered on the insistence that architectural historians must engage directly with the character (I

use this term advisedly) of the objecthood of the corporation. One cannot do this anthropologically, peering through the fronds of the potted palm from the corner of the secretarial pool or the boardroom—as William H.Whyte did so famously in The Organization Man—since one is precisely not dealing with a logic that places humanity at its center. Nor can one approach this problem solely from the vantage point of technics—as did a famous figure such as ThomasWatson, Sr. in theorizing his own corporation, or Lewis Mumford—since this would lead us inevitably to describe corporate architecture and corporations themselves only as perfect realizations of a schema (i.e. technocracy) when it is anything but such a perfection. Rather, I would like to lay out the beginnings of an argument for considering the ontology of the corporation and its material reference, drawing from the key concept of Berle and Means’ study. That key concept, which only appears in the margins of the text, is the term control.This term is in frequent use amongst critical theorists, of course, and is one familiar to all of us. However, we also understand that it is all too often used as a loose metaphor for the internalization of discipline at a universal level (e.g. the schematic theory of control as a state of being laid out in Deleuze’s influential, unfulfilled and paradoxical prolegomena Postscript on the Societies of Control). In describing the changing nature of corporate endeavor, Berle and Means point to a crucial component of control, and this is the specific emplacement of subjects and objects. In law and economics, control is always already a

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matter of position. Noting this, it would be

best to approach a descriptive theory of the corporation topologically, that is to privilege the logic of placement or logistics of property, in the state of shifting and radical dispersal that we find it; to look past the images produced by the corporation to the organizational principles that position images into a configuration that might be properly called a corporation as such. Bouncing between the image of the corporation as a good thing or a bad thing frustrates our effort to understand the corporate body. In a sense, we’re stuck in a de-ontological position rather than an ontological one. Just as necessary as a revision of the topology of the system of objects that forms the corporation, however,

is the revision of the notion of architectural agency within that system. One might argue whether or not architecture can be situated inside of this system. This image is from a wonderful ‘70s

management manual, and we’ll keep that up there for a second as I dive into something

a little ugly. I think we’ve heard already

quite loudly from contemporary critics the notion that the architect (or the industrial designer or graphic designer) is but another object within this system, but I think this is only true up to a point.This talk will be an attempt to situate that point. So let’s start on the ontology. The first step might be to define the corporation. I think this is, unfortunately, easier said than done.When it comes to ontology, to language, to jurisprudence and even to its fundamental field of operations— what we call, in another form of shorthand, the economy—the multinational corporation

is a fundamentally unstable and slippery entity. Perhaps the best demonstration of this is a thought experiment devised by the economic historian and theorist Andrew Hacker in the introduction to a collection of essays that struggle to define the multinational corporation at the moment of its self-evident dominance ofWestern culture in the mid-1960s. Many of you have probably looked at this book; it’s called The CorporationTakeover. Although it’s a bit long, I think this thought experiment is worth quoting nearly in full for the remarkable clarity with which it poses the fundamental problems confronting those of us who would seek to define the corporation. So here’s the quote:

By 1972, American Electric [a fictional company] had completed its last stages of automation. Employees were no longer necessary. Raw materials, left on the loading platform, were automatically transferred from machine to machine and the finished products were deposited at the other end of the factory ready for shipment. AE’s purchasing, marketing and general management functions could be handled by ten directors, with the occasional help of outside consultants and contractors. Beginning in 1962, AE’s employee pension fund had started investing its capital in AE stock. Gradually it bought more and more of the company’s shares on the open market, and by 1968 it was the sole owner of AE. As employees became eligible for retirement—some of them prematurely due to the introduction of automation—the fund naturally liquidated its capital to provide pensions. But instead of reselling its AE shares on the open market, the fund sold the stock

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to AE itself, which provided the funds for pensions out of current income. By 1981 the last AE employee had died and the pension fund was dissolved. At this time too, AE became the sole owner of its shares. It had floated no new issues, preferring to engage in self-financing through earnings.

AE, the story continues, decided to lobby Congress for the passage of a bill that would limit the importation of foreign electric generators.The bill passes as the story goes, but a group of Senators are disturbed by AE’s lobbying practices, and they decide to hold an investigation. I’ll now return to Hacker’s thought experiment.There is a member of the corporate board of directors and a Senator. Just to separate them, the Senator will have a slightly gruffer voice. We begin with the director:

[…] and if we undertook these educational and political activities, it was our view that they were dictated by the company’s best interests. Senator:When you say these campaigns were on behalf of the company’s interests, I’m not clear what you mean.Were you acting for your stockholders here?

Director: I’m afraid, Senator, that I cannot say that we were.You see, American Electric has no stockholders.The company owns all its stock itself. We bought up the last of it several years ago.

Senator:Well if not stockholders, then were you acting as spokesman for American Electric’s employees, whose jobs might be in danger if foreign competition got too severe?

Director: No, sir. I cannot say that either. American Electric is a fully automated company and we have no employees.

Senator: Are you saying that this company of yours is really no more than a gigantic machine? A machine that needs no operators and appears to own itself?

Director: I suppose that’s one way of putting it. I’ve never thought much about it.

Senator:Then so far as I can see, all of this political pressure that you’ve applied was really in the interest of yourself and your nine fellow directors.

Director: I’m afraid, Senator, that there I must disagree with you.The ten of us pay ourselves annual salaries of one hundred thousand dollars a year; year in, year out, and none of us receives any bonuses or raises. All earnings are applied back into the company. We feel very strongly about this. In fact we look on ourselves as a kind of civil servant.

Senator: And by the company, you don’t mean stockholders or employees because you don’t have any, and you don’t mean the ten directors because you just seem to be salaried managers which the machine hires to run its affairs. In fact, when this machine gets into politics or any kind of activity, it has interests of its own which can be quite different from the personal interests of its managers. I’m afraid I find this all rather confusing.

Director: It may be confusing to you, Senator, but I may say it had been quite straightforward to us here at American Electric.We’re just

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doing the job for which we were hired; to look out for the company’s interests.

Okay. End quote, and end of this silly performance.The example that Hacker works up here—both Hacker and I admit freely—is quite extreme. However, I think it clearly demonstrates that the identity of the post-WorldWar II (i.e. managerial or modern) corporation is not reducible to its employees, to its products, to its productive apparatus, or even its punitive directors. As a result of such an analysis, one is left with nothing more to hold onto than the frequently repeated phrase in the story, company’s interests. The identity of the corporation is thus diffuse. It is a relation rather than an object or a collection of objects, an imperative statement rather than a definition.The plurality of corporate interests indicates that the corporation is both a specific form of capital—we should recall Marx’s description that capital, of course, is not a thing—but also a desire to perpetuate itself through an autonomous and self-reflexive production and reproduction of discourse. In ideological terms, one might say the corporation thus takes on a different aspect to each subject that it interpolates. It appears differently to an owner or stockholder of a corporation than it does to an employee, a customer, and to other public or private organizations. Therefore, the abstract status of the corporation as a discursive machine indicates that it is immaterial. It is therefore quite simply incorrect to treat a corporation as an architectural or design client or patron like any other; yet a corporation, nonetheless requires a material apparatus—in AE’s

case, automated machinery and a board of directors—in order to function. Function will be the key term for us.The material manifestations of the corporation are what allow it to interpolate and interact with other organizations and individuals. It could not communicate its interests to the US Senate without its director any more than it could produce generators without a factory. Without a design, without a rational and material grounding in the world through which it can operate, the corporation would literally cease to be. It would simply disappear: a dissipation of capital, a false statement. In the corporate context, then, design must serve as a medium—a phenomenon of appearance, as Derrida and many others have pointed out, that has an uncanny status, moving between spaces and times and belonging wholly to neither. A design is a pattern, an ordering or a plan for ordering. To design is thus to give order to aim to order.The term arises, of course, from the Latin designare, to name, and retains to the present this sense of classification. In a very real sense, to design is to posit a taxonomy, to arrange the world into a closed and ordered system. But a design is also an end. A design is simultaneously that which is made in preparation for the coming of an object, necessarily preceding that object, and an end in itself.The uncanny temporality of the term is captured with perfect ghoulishness, I think, in Shakespeare’s line from MacBeth, “where whithered murther towards his design moves like a ghost.” There is, though, an additional paradox that appears, and appearances are going to become increasingly important in

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Hacker’s thought experiment. His Senator asks incredulously whether or not the corporation can be a machine that needs no operators and appears to own itself.This raises again the question of the ideology of the corporation. By that, of course, I mean its logic of appearance.The fact is self- evident whether one considers the fictional American Electric or the very real (IBM, GE, Raytheon, etc.), the corporation is an entity that quite unlike the individual human being—who must rely on rights other than property rights such as the right to self- determination or so-called free will—can treat itself as its own property.This apparent paradox is, of course, a fiction of classical and neo-classical economics. A good way to parse this apparent paradox is via an examination of money. Philosophers of economics and social researchers have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that money is not—as classical and neo-classical economists would have it—a simple medium of exchange. Rather, it is what some have termed money of account, a measure of value and valuableness inscribed, issued, secured, reabsorbed and constituted by the state purely independent of its physical form. Money is the potential to own rather than the owned object.This demonstrates for us the key category error of considering the corporation solely as either an individual entity or as accrued or accumulated capital. Money can no more own money than a social relation can be said to own something.What is owned by and through the corporation is only ever a concrete set of objects. Much like money, the corporation only owns itself (i.e., is the proprietor and guarantor of its

own value) insofar as the state guarantees, condones and even wills its right to value. The fiction of a truly transnational corporation and the concomitant heady visions of moneyless economy, rather from the eschatological left or the neo-liberal right, are as groundless as the very idea of a groundless money. Instead, the corporation is the fiction of self-ownership and self- determination chartered and endorsed by the state.The multinational or transnational is a coordination of these charters and endorsements built up out of state sanctions rather than negating them. As a case in point, we might look to Charles Eames’ well-known diagram of his own practice,The Office of Charles and Ray Eames, in which we see the state, nearly erased, attached to his most prized client, IBM. Now I want to shift a little bit away from an effort to describe the character of the corporation to the efforts made by designers to do this work, because I think it gives us another type of insight. Given that the language of corporate economics is so often out of step with the ontology of the corporation, it may be surprising to learn that designers themselves grasped this high level of abstraction early in the management revolution. Indeed, they did so even before most of them became involved with the designing of so-called corporate character. One might assume, therefore, that an easier purchase might be earned on the situation of corporate design by admitting the nebulousness of corporate ontology and instead turning to the stable, unified identity of the industrial designer. Despite the fact that much of the history of industrial design is written from a

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biographical perspective, with some notable exceptions, such an approach unfortunately gets us not much further. Since I’m instead dealing with the overlap between corporation and designer, I’m going to make recourse again to an excellent and, I think, really powerful, thought experiment to make my point, this one by the first industrial designer to theorize the industrial designer rather than industrial design, HaroldVan Doren, the author of the treatise, Industrial Design:A Practical Guide of 1940. After some insightful and quite self-critical remarks—it’s a surprising book, and worth revisiting—on the nature of the still-nascent discipline, van Doren turns the third chapter in to attempting to define the most crucial aspect of his treatise, the designer’s place in industry. Despite the rather definitive-sounding title, the chapter begins with a litany of questions. If, asVan Doren had already argued, design is of critical importance to industry, then “just where does the designer fit into that scheme and what is his relevant importance?What should be his precise relationship to the various departments of the business he is serving, and how will he fit within the existing framework of industry?” The answers,Van Doren admits, are uncertain, and “it may be a matter of years before the designer will find his proper level in the kingdom of commerce.” Instead of grappling with the whole panoply of existing arrangements between industrial designers and corporations, he, like Hacker twenty-five years later, turns instead to defining a search for “just where the designer fits” by composing a business

fable. In this fable, the fictional business, literally named Empirical Manufacturing Company, faces losing market share because its sturdy and very reliable machines are more massive and ugly than those of its competitors then entering the market. Van Doren describes the structure of the company in strikingly coherent and incisive terms. The quasi-military structure of the Empirical organization is much like that of any other American company of its size and reputation. Each officer is responsible to his superior and eventually to the commander in chief.The board of directors holds the purse strings, but has faith in the company president, a vigorous executive in middle age. Although the board may dictate fiscal policies, it leaves details of management, disposition of operating funds and general merchandising policies up to him. This him, however, is no unitary subject, but rather a diagrammatic set of relations. Below the president, two vice presidents manage the two main arms of the company, roughly divided into a production branch and a sales branch andVan Doren illustrates the management system of Empirical with a diagram. Nowhere in the diagram, he points out, has any provision been made for design. As Empirical’s sales continue to tank, the company’s managers fumble for a solution, and eventually the vice president for sales is charged with hiring an industrial designer to help the company out of its funk.Van Doren then revises the organizational diagram of Empirical to illustrate the changed situation. Surprisingly, however, the industrial designer is nowhere to be seen, only his “sphere of influence,”

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registered only by a grading to demonstrate the relative intimacy that the industrial designer has with the working of a given department, gives any evidence of the designer’s presence. The implication is that the designer and the corporation are entities of wholly different orders. He (and at this point they were nearly all male) overlaps with areas of corporation rather than becoming part of it. Moreover, the designer’s value to the corporation lies precisely in his ability to be smoothly integrated into the managerial structure.The immanence of the designer to the corporation—his simultaneous and diffuse impact on each area of that structure—constitutes an irreducible difference between himself, corporation and product. I think that last distinction is important, although I won’t be talking about

it today.Van Doren then outlines many of the ethical imperatives that structure this situation—the designer’s need to keep his relationship to the client wholly confidential, for instance, so as not to interfere unfairly in capitalistic competition, his need to work on the design in the earliest stages of development to justify his presence and influence at each subsequent stage, and his need to preside over the difficult gray area of planned obsolescence insuring that products replace one another rapidly, but not too rapidly. Here isVan Doren’s summing up of the role of the industrial designer:

At his best, the designer is an animator, a builder of enthusiasm in others. He knows how to work with others, meeting executives on equal footing, and still gaining the confidence of the man on the bench. He brings to his

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client a broader design point of view than a man can have when burdened with the responsibilities of everyday operation. He fully acknowledges the superior technical knowledge of the men in the client’s organization. He cannot and does not presume, of course, to tell them how to do things which they have learned from years of research and expertise, but through his very contact, he may contribute a helpful knowledge of materials and methods gained in the plants of other clients.

Pithily, becauseVan Doren is a good writer, he quickly reduces this at the end of the chapter to an aphorism, “Industrial designers who take their work seriously cannot afford to play the prima donna.” Although he never offered such a cogent and systematic theory of the relationship, the leading corporate design consultant to the American multinational from the 1950s to the 1970s, the architect and industrial designer Eliot Noyes, still had a gift for articulating that relationship, and he frequently echoedVan Doren’s ideas in precise terms. Following Noyes by being himself diffuse, the designer held up a mirror to the corporation, allowing it to view itself as a coherent entity.

Design often illuminates the nature of the company to itself and stimulates fresh internal courses of action.The processes of sound industrial design touch the phases of product planning, ergonomics, engineering, economics, manufacturing, aesthetics and marketing, and so must be an integral part of the company’s product development processes. For such a role, the design consultant must be some combination of designer, philosopher,

historian, educator, lecturer and businessman.

To those unfamiliar with the unusual self- image of the corporate design consultant, I think this description may smack a bit of pride. However, Noyes and his fellow industrial designers, humble in most all cases, saw it quite the other way around. The idea was to serve as a medium to the corporation, a way of rendering it material, providing it with a character that could pervade the entire organization. I think we see here the designer taking on a role that is similar to the popular understanding of money, the ability to serve as a medium that makes exchange possible.This is all fine and well, but I think we still have a remaining question.What was this unified subject that Noyes sought to articulate in order to cure his patient, the corporation, of its fragmented self-image? His first true corporate client, IBM, was not simply a maker of business machines, Noyes reasoned in an interview in 1966, rather it was in the business of controlling, organizing and redistributing information in space.This, Noyes recognized, is a matter of what he called environmental control. He said, “If you get to the very heart of the matter, what IBM really does is to help man extend his control over his environment. I think that’s the meaning of the company.”This definition of IBM’s identity serves notice that the critique of function must be the commonplace separation of function from form. Rather, it must be conducted to develop a concept that governs the separation of control from ownership, from form, from position. As Jean Baudrillard hypothesizes in his landmark critique of postindustrial society, it is a matter not

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of objects, but of a system of objects.The system skews means-ends rationality even as it is produced by it. Here I’ll quote from The System of Objects. “Functional in no way qualifies what is adapted to a goal, merely what is adapted to an order or system. Functionality is the ability to become integrated into an overall scheme. An object’s functionality is the very thing that enables it to transcend its main function in the direction of a secondary one; to play a part, to become a combining element, an adjustable item within a universal system of signs.” To take an example of the articulation of corporate function by way of conclusion, we may look at how the system is rendered by designers.The logo, considered first and foremost by the designer as a derative technique, not a representational one—and this distinction is an important one—serves the function of rendering the utensil (i.e., the useful thing) into the object, a thing set into relations with other things in order to define the corporate subject.The logo is

thus affixed to the entirety of the collection of objects within the corporation through the logic of communication.The products, rendered object, in turn lend the subject

a material and functional existence. As

Noyes put it when speaking of the need for these objectified products and utensils to find a home within a coherent space called

architecture, “A typewriter sits in a room in a building.There must be a sense of their relationship in each of these.”The spatial deployment of these objects is complex, and

a careful description would take me all day,

and well beyond the time allotted here. We can readily see in Noyes’ plans and diagrams

and staged photographs and design models, I think, a careful repetition of a spatial trope of cloistering these subsystems of objects. Further, these architectural systems— and this gets back to the question of the transnationality of the corporation—are integrated into yet another regime of organization through the tele-technological capacity of their contents, stitching together different corporate emplacements into a broader network that transcends geographical and political boundaries even as it’s defined by them. It is this system, with its irreducibly complex goings on managed from a central hub, that we identify when we use the term multinational corporation. In this talk, I think I moved upward and outward in scale sketching out the system of objects, but we might just as easily move in the opposite direction, identifying the control function of the designer at each mediatic stage. The aim of my remarks today is quite simply to point out that this systematicity is not a static totality, which would, after all, be to describe the corporation as an object. It is plainly not that. Rather it’s a web of relationships reliant on this key functional separation between ownership and control.Within this web it

becomes possible for the architect to assert, as Charles Eames did in his work for IBM, that “everything is architecture.”

Timothy Hyde, Moderator

Panel Discussion:

Description

Timothy Hyde (TH): Let me start by repeating what John [McMorrough] said at the very beginning in his remarks that he’s brought us here to give individual presentations, but not so much to hear the specifics of those presentations as to try to elicit some strands and commonalities and differences of opinion among those different strands.What that means, unfortunately I think, is that I have to propose that we treat your papers as a kind of reality effect to talk about something else. The initial way I propose we could do that is that the papers were all positing a very specific type of description that I think of as an indirect description. My shorthand for that—not knowing anything about quantum mechanics—would be, as I understand it, the description of something like the Higgs boson or any of the other subatomic particles which is never a description of the thing but always of the effects of the thing, the residue that is left after the event that shows a subatomic particle actually existed in that place. I think that’s actually very similar to the kinds of operations and events that you’re talking about. To be specific, my example from Lucia’s paper is the initial diagram of the Urban League in which architecture is et cetera, architecture is something that will only become visible through its interactions with known processes and events. Similarly, in the diagram from van Doren, the map of the corporation, the architect or designer is only visible as the gray field, and therefore only known through the map of the corporation as an effect or residue that occurs in the corporation itself. Maybe stretching it a little further in John’s case, but I think you’re still

thinking about architecture as something, an effect or consequence of the known, the reality of the apocalypse. It becomes visible in a certain way only as the effect of it. In each case there’s an indirection, not dealing with architecture as such but through its appearance, its format or its association or its relevance to known narratives. The question I’d like to pose as a way of kicking things off is that all of those are practices of description that have a high degree of dependency on being able to articulate the concrete thing that is making architecture visible: the corporation, the format of social science, the narrative. All of those seem to be things that have their own way of being described, their own format in a sense. I’m wondering how much of the practice of description here is actually a sort of appropriation of a mode of description that’s already occurring elsewhere, is already built in elsewhere, and how much is a wrestling with the conjuncture of the two?

John McMorrough (JM): I’ll start, simply because I was really struck with the three presentations. I think it’s really difficult to achieve unity out of these three, and in my own case, I have an increasing awareness of the precarious nature of what I’m trying to work on as a contemporary topic. So I think both of your presentations helped me to realize that as a contemporary topic, I’m trying to write a narrative through previous narratives in a way that doesn’t devalue that work, but sets it in a particular context with me.

I especially appreciated Lucia’s presentation of the secret history of the Institute, and it makes me realize that what I

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was trying to do was work through a series of mythic constructions. In the end I still feel that the nature of those constructions—your presentation shows their contingency—I still feel there’s a certain amount of inevitability operating through these myths or constructs as they deploy in the field. In the world I’m trying to operate in it’s a question of constructing new myths from old myths. One as just an appreciation of that work, and two it makes me wonder how to position these in terms of audience and the effect of that. I’m taking Timothy’s question and repositioning it as another question.What is that field of operation? In Lucia’s case, it was really like a corrective to a certain conception that we’ve built up through both the practitioners and those who follow. In my work I’m trying to take what had been built upon and show its seams. Not to displace the origin, but to see how it perpetuated over time.You’re really offering a corrective to those assumptions. In your positioning as an architectural historian but also an historian of culture it responds to a couple of different audiences. For me, the question is who the audience for those revelations were in your work, and how that perpetuates.

Lucia Allais (LA): Any more tough questions? I’m working against a very large project that’s happening right now to tell the history of the Institute, and I’m not going to be the person telling it.That narrative relies on the agency of the actors who were in it; it’s less about format. It also relies a lot more on the myths and explicating the myths. In a way I think the people who are taking the Institute as a prehistory of the present really

do a lot of interesting work about what those myths have become. For me, not talking about that is also just trying to let people work on whatever they’re working on. The idea that correcting the myth at the base gives you insight into the idea of effects and myths is what’s interesting to me. Culture is an effect, culture is the space that’s opened up for myths, and the opportunism for that is what I’m looking for in my work elsewhere. That applies for UNESCO and it applies for the Institute. Also, in terms of the opportunity for me to identify this as an interesting project that looks so similar—it’s really uncanny if you read the proposals—it sounds like conference after conference about what research should sound like.Word for word almost. For me, even taking out that piece of paper—which nobody else is going to take out because it just doesn’t fit particularly well—that’s a contribution to architecture. You can tell me what else you want and I’ll find that.

JM: It’s all sort of there. It’s a Rorschach.

LA: My point is that when you go into the archive, there’s something you have to do to the archive.This is Rankian objective history. Right now, if you wanted a more polemical point towards architecture, it’s the way we just use theory to mean that we can’t do history because it would pop the theory bubble or something.That’s what I’m writing against. It’s okay to talk about the history of theory, it’s not going to make theory go away, and the idea that we can’t talk about what really happened is sort of screwy. In terms of interdisciplinarity, this project is

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a lot more interesting to the historian who

has an office next to mine than anything else that the Institute ever did.They do not

care about the Whites and the Grays. He doesn’t even care that it’s not important to the history of the Institute.To be able to have that discussion for me is super interesting. In

a way, that reveals my intentions. The public

policy stuff is a small contribution to the history of architecture, but in a way more

a gesture towards opening up the field so

that it can talk to other people. By it I mean I. I suppose that doesn’t really answer the question, but I talked for five minutes.

John Harwood (JH):Your due diligence, right? Is it my turn? In response to this question of trace effects and causality for what its worth in narrating these things, on the one hand, I’m amused and interested in this quantum mechanical approach, because

it can offer a certain kind of distance. I could

say, “there’s a very high probability that I’m actually here right now.” You can actually take a step back and say this is one such effect and therefore one such cause for what we see in architecture. Rather than simply reading architecture in a paranoid way as though it were some sort of inscription that can be decoded if you simply bring the right secret decoder ring along. I like that analogy. I would also respond by saying that

I think Lucia raises an important issue,

about the enduring legacy of historicism, its bifurcated nature, and the difficulty of deciding whether one is going to be uncovering patterns and laws, therefore making an appeal to a discourse that is itself historicist like economics, or do this nitty gritty stuff and make history out of that as an

archaeological enterprise—not, of course, in the Foucaultian sense. I’m at a bit of a loss except to say that I’ve tried to avoid coming up with a monolithic reading of the corporation as a means for explaining—which would be to explain away—architecture as it has come

to be, to defer de-ontological questions for a moment to try to figure out what’s going on. I think I would end up on Ranke’s side rather

than the other side with Burkhardt. I don’t know whether he’s the right name for that side.

LA: We could rename it what’s really going on .

JH: I suppose we could go back to de Tocqueville or something. Peering through the palm frawns with a pith helmet on to discover the grand laws of history.

LA: Cultural history versus objective history is basically the predicament that they’re talking about the sixteenth century Popes. So their choice is whether you tell the history of six Popes in a row or one Pope—in Burkhardt’s case, one civilization no matter the Popes, but all the art that looks the same. In our case, this has the potential of becoming a lot more powerful because there are a lot of architects who are still working with those myths.That’s

the point of saying what I said. If I say the Whites versus the Grays does not matter, it’s going to take a lot of work to convince a lot of people who think that it really matters. Even in John’s presentation, as a shorthand, those two things are more real than anything that you showed, even though we worked really hard to show that the piece of paper

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that says Harlem Plan is a lot more real by the standards of objectivist history than the Whites and the Grays debates. Those houses matter, but in terms of telling the history of the institution as an institution, which is my project, the piece of paper was a lot more determined and embedded in the history and so forth. I do think that there’s the problem of recent history, and I was trying to say that maybe this helps. I could have talked about Foucault versus whomever, of Badiou versus whoever the opposite of Badiou is, maybe Latour versus Badiou, but those things are not being usefully deployed in architectural discourse today to undo those myths.

TH: A further parsing might be the

interrelationship of format and agency.You just separated them out to rebuff me—I know you didn’t mean to do that—but the interrelationship between those two things is another way you can distinguish beween the Rankian and the Burkhardtian.They would both be interested in that relationship, but placing a different value on either side of the binary. In the papers and in the discussion I’m hearing more, and thinking more about to what degree is format being posited here as a precondition, a preconditioning of agency?We’ve talked about architecture for a long time as a free will, as volitional, then we swung the other way and talked about its determinism.You’re opening up the possibility of a more nuanced rendering

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of the relationship of format and agency in each of these presentations.They’re not the same, and I think that’s the nuance that is potentially valuable.

LA: I think when Eisenman decides to let go of CASE, which is like CIAM, and start the Institute, he’s struggling with that. What is architectural agency? He makes the executive decision and that’s how he’s going to do it.

TH: It’s really all right there in his quote. “As an architect and theorist.” He’s working to adapt to an existing grant structure that already exists.

LA: I’m also talking about very specific people. I wanted to ask John [Harwood] if you’ve thought about design as intention, like, “What are your designs on my daughter?” Is that something you’ve considered?

JH: I tried to put that into the description of design as an end, as something that is in mind before one starts something.

LA: I always thought that there was a kind of Anglo definition of design which is an objective, and then there’s the Italian, which is the thing that you draw.

JH: Disegno.

LA: So which one is yours?

JH: I think it’s both-and. For the corporate situation it has to be, because there are two functions that design is playing. One

is to provide an image and a coherence, acting out the corporation’s will to form, the other is to allow it to function. It’s the taking place of the corporation itself and also the corporation’s behavior. It accounts for its ability to change.This is why the logo multiplies.

LA: It’s like a pattern.

JH: Right, pattern would be the one that’s closer to disegno.

LA: It’s the zombie.The zombie is design.

TH: But in the zombie case, there’s still the format/agency question.The formatting is more a generational one, and the agency is being displaced.There is an agency, but it’s an unmotivated agency. It’s a power that lies outside of the zombie. It doesn’t know why it’s doing what it is. It’s still the same question.

LA: There’s also a performative aspect to it. The format of the zombie is to walk around visibly. Is that your implication with the architects?You didn’t have just one zombie, you had a whole bunch of zombies.

JM: The notion of a disembodied subject as it comes through in the corporations is interesting because in some ways I’m trying to address architecture as field, that it operates both historically but through a mass intelligence.That’s always the case, probably, but within that set of work there’s an interest in animation or emergent principles that come out of a field. Not determined, specific intelligences but a mass intelligence. For me,

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that’s the zombie flash mob or anything like

that.That’s the way that on one hand the field operates, and on the other the interest

is in emergent systems and swarm in design

itself, there’s a funny overlap. Some of it has to do with the adequacy of the metaphor

to describe the condition and the design intention. For me there’s a problem in working through the legacy of this period that we’re talking about in terms of articulating

a new position.What I get out of this

conversation is the distinction between trying to generate a new concept out of the material as opposed to offering a corrective

to a previous situation.The answer to the thing can never be that it’s wrong. For me, the answer to the thing always has to be that

it works through its implications into the

next iteration. As an operative critic, I’m trying to situate myself into that and offer a framework so that can become legible. It’s interesting in this context to see that that’s a very different kind of effort that inherently involves speculation and making stuff up. Trying to see if those things can achieve a certain kind of gravity.

LA: I’m making a lot of stuff up as well.

JM: But the aspiration is to offer a corrective to previous narratives that illuminates possibility.

LA: I’m going to give you a polemical response, which is that you think you have to deal with those myths, but you really don’t.The field of architecture today thinks that it has to deal with those myths because it’s their inheritance or whatever.The

lesson from the archive of 1968 is that they felt immense pressure to deal with some inheritance, and they did in some ways,

but they also completely threw it out the window, and it was very difficult.

JM: I appreciate that.

LA: It was very difficult, and it was a very intelligent effort. In a way, the built work belies how little they actually took from

what they had learned, how much they invented, and I would say that the field is way too concerned with how to reinvent history.There’s a lot more freedom than all that.

JM: I think we’re actually on the same side

of this question. For me, the notion of the identification of the zombie was trying to identify the contingency of that position, and with the new casualty thing, that you could generate new things. It’s not historically motivated. One could start to speculate in

a different way.The zombie is an endgame

of a certain kind of thought that manifests in a certain kind of work. As I’m working through this material trying to offer up other images, one can imagine the end of one thing and the beginning of another with

a more radical break.The zombie thing is a

diagnostic for precisely the condition you’re talking about. It’s not a recipe for the future.

LA: But you’re still talking about people who are concerned with being continuous or discontinuous.The reason the NewYork

Urban League project is interesting to me

is that it’s pure pragmatic opportunism:

someone needs a myth, someone needs a

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DISCUSSION 63 subject that is empty. If that had worked, that would have been fantastic. However

subject that is empty. If that had worked, that would have been fantastic. However we can make that happen today…

JM: My point with the Ruminations piece is to precisely identify what you’re talking about. People relate to this myth because they think they have to, and they don’t. That’s precisely my point is to identify that, not the inevitability of it, but the way they fall.What I’m trying to bring out in that piece is that that identification is partially incomplete.They’re cognizant of their partiality.They are able to let it inform their work with a full set of haunting things.They don’t fully articulate things because they assume so much. I’m trying to draw light to that condition in precisely the same ways you are, but from a different angle.

TH: I think that you’re very much in parallel, just as a diagnosis and prescription. You’re not actually in conflict. Let me just open the floor to the other participants and audience for questions.

Jeffrey Kipnis (JK): I have a couple questions if that’s alright. One is, do you make distinctions among theory, history and criticism in your work, and are those distinctions valuable? More importantly, in the middle- to late- ‘80s and early ‘90s, the breakaway from theory shifted architectural criticism to the discussion of effects rather than processes. One of the things that I find interesting listening to all three of you is that you maintain the mythology of effects without its historical positioning

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64 DESCRIPTION and its institutional positioning, or even its economic positioning, as if it was self-

and its institutional positioning, or even its economic positioning, as if it was self- evident.

I’m wondering if the regime of effects has become a self-evident mythology for criticism, or are you going to be able to offer us a critique of that at any point? Or is that not what we’re interested in?Was there an incredible success at the overturning of justification that we’re stuck with effects for eternity?

LA: I’m not interested in effects.

JK: But the reality effect seems to be something you’ve emphasized.

LA: Yes, absolutely. I was trying to give

some landmark theory that people would understand, but I would address the issue of effect from the point of view of history. From the point of view of criticism I’m not interested in effects, but from the point of view of history the discourse of effects is precisely the discourse on figuring out agency, intention and unintentional things. I’m very interested in that, but not through architecture. Institutions are effects in a way that’s not architectural.

JK: But the argument you gave about Ranke and Burkhardt was one about processes, not about effects.They weren’t people interested in the degree to which they would be instrumental, but what was the most authenticated version of process.That

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seems to be a relapse in the relationship of criticism, at least for me, to an argument that’s been overturned, as much as I appreciate it; and I cannot wait to call Peter [Eisenman] and tell him about your bringing up the Harlem Plan. I’m going to record his comments.

LA: Peter knows I’m writing this. I’ll say that I was not theoretically consistent in this presentation, and the place in my work where I feel most pressure to be theoretically consistent is not a forum like this one. When I present my history of architectural institutions to historians of other things I feel very much the pressure to use words like effect and agency, and I would not use the word effect.That’s sort of a lame response, but I do think that for me criticism is the type of writing where I have no professional obligation. I can talk about things and not get the pre-professional questions. There the question of effects has nothing to do with the ‘90s switch in criticism to effects. For me, it’s purely the question of whether the culture industry in which we are now operating is just an effect. Was that the effect of theory or did theory create that? That’s the particular effect that I’m interested in, not the fact that the IAUS was a very glamorous place, and the fact that it produced some of the most difficult and important texts in architectural theory. I’m sure it’s connected to the ‘90s shift to criticism of effect, but I’m interested in the earlier, the original, effect. Culture industry plus theory equals what?Which one came first?Which one is cause and which one is effect?

JH: I certainly wouldn’t want to call the critique of process an accomplished deed. The aim, for me, the critical focus here, is to articulate a body of what you and I call theory that would not theorize itself as such.There is in fact an articulate genealogy of designers, members of organizations in the archive of twentieth century corporate America that can be mined in order to explain an otherwise inexplicable phenomenon for architectural and art historical discourse. Art history at the moment has very little capacity to interpolate something like General Electric. It really cannot describe either it, if it is a thing—of course I take the position that it’s not a thing—it cannot describe its effects, and it certainly cannot describe how it works.This I think is unfortunate.The political and critical project would be to try to arm architectural history and criticism with, to get right down to it, a series of words that would allow it to begin that project.

Panel Number Two

Discrimination

This panel considered the role of qualitative judgments in architectural writing and explored the means and frameworks by which it is possible to make such claims today.

Jeannie Kim

Winning

My disclaimer for this is that as someone who was trained as an historian it’s now

a bit weird to be in a position where I’ve

abandoned that project and I’m talking about what I do every day, but I’ll give it a shot. The National Design Awards have been given every year for the past decade by Cooper-Hewitt, a Smithsonian Institution, with the premise that the awards recognize the best in American design. In an effort to distance the granting of the awards from the museum itself, a curated jury

is invited annually to review submissions

and choose winners over the course of several days. As with design awards in

general, the notion of the National Design Awards has become rather mundane, celebrating past achievement rather than recognizing innovative methodologies or processes.The awards also have to combat

a general saturation of accolades in the

design disciplines. In architecture alone, the esteemed Pritzker, Rome, RIBA and AIA Gold Medal have been joined by the Emporus Awards for skyscraper of the year, theWorld Architecture Festival Awards and the International High Rise Competition, which is atomized to the point of being limited to buildings over 100 stories. It is clear from just the images of the past ten years of the National Design Awards that this particular interpretation of design innovation from the first decade of the twenty-first century is in fact a reactive one. Although there are some moments (particularly in 2005, when Diller, Scofidio + Renfro and Stefan Sagmeister won, or in 2007 with Jonathan Ive) when the awards have been at least timely if not projective. Just because I know that the history of the

National Design Awards has a fairly limited audience—I myself had literally no idea

who had won in the past before taking this job—I’ll slow down and remind everyone of precisely who in fact has won what is arguably the most important comprehensive design award in this country. In Lifetime Achievement:

2000 Frank Gehry

2001 RobertWilson

2002 Dan Kiley

2003 I.M. Pei w/ Leila and Massimo Vignelli

2004 Milton Glaser

2005 Eva Zeisel

2006 Paolo Soleri

2007 Antoine Predock

2008 Charles Harrison

In the very short-lived category of American Original:

2000 John Hejduk and Morris Lapidus

2001 Geoffrey Beene

It quickly lost steam, but I love the fact that in 2000 both John Hejduk and Morris Lapidus won. In the category of Design Mind: (from this point on finalists will appear in brackets next to the winners)

2005 Katherine and Michael McCoy

2006 Paola Antonelli

2007 RobertVentuti and Denise Scott-Brown

2008 Michael Beirut (Michael Sorkin, Bruce Nussbaum)

In Architecture:

2000 no award

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2001 Peter Eisenman (Asymptote, Pierre Koenig)

2002 Steven Holl (Rick Joy, SHoP)

2003 TodWilliams + Billie Tsien (ARO, Fredric Schwartz)

2004 Rick Joy with Polshek Partnership (Joseph Spear, RafaelVinoly)

2005 DS+R (Tom Kundig, Antoine Predock)

2006 Thom Mayne (BernardTschumi, Stanley Saitowitz)

2007 Office dA (Enrique Norten, Dan Rockhill)

2008 Tom Kundig (LOT-EK,Weiss/Manfredi)

Because our collective disciplinarity is ostensibly represented by this category, I’d like to pause and note the fact that in 2000 no one actually deserved this award. I should also mention the awards process briefly. Nominations are solicited from approximately forty people in each state; these include critics, academics, past winners and others. Nominees—who are required to have their primary practice in the United States for at least seven years— are then asked to submit their portfolios, which are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary jury in the spring. Despite the strange trajectory of architecture winners and finalists seen here, it is difficult when one thinks of the context of American design to think of an established practice that could potentially redirect the mood swings of the previous nine years. Who is missing, in other words, and how can this list be validated? Is the intellectual

project of architecture recoupable in the context of a juried award? I think the 2009 winner is a small step forward, perhaps due to the fact that this year’s jurors think of architecture in a way I’m sympathetic toward. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you who that is, because I didn’t finish the press release before flying here yesterday. [Editor’s Note: 2009Winner SHoP Architects, Finalists ARO, Michael Maltzan] I also felt somewhat responsible for undoing some of the damage of the 2008 season. Although the architecture winner for last year generated lots of money for the gala (which happens to be the museum’s only real fundraiser) and also a lot of press (including a feature article in the NewYork Times Magazine and Men’sVogue) the selection caused a lot of ire within the discipline among the limited population that cares about such things. Here are the winners in Communication Design, a category that historically has been a little bit less nostalgic than most of the others:

2000 Ralph Appelbaum (Fabien Baron, April Greiman, Stefan Sagmeister)

2001 John Maeda (Ed Fella, LorraineWild)

2002 LucileTenzazs (Pablo Ferro, Maira Kalman)

2003 Robert Greenberg (Cynthia Breazeal, Joseph Holtzman)

2004 Graphical.media (MTV, Second Story)

2005 Stefan Sagmeister (2x4, Pentagram)

2006 2x4

(Chip Kidd, Jake Barton/Local Projects)

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2007 Chip Kidd (Paula Scher/Pentagram, C&G Partners)

2008 Scott Stowell (Stephen Doyle, Prologue Films)

Corporate Achievement, an award that is given to an institution or corporation that embraces design as part of its ethos:

2000 Apple

2001 Tupperware

2002 Whirlpool Corporation

2003 Target

2004 Aveda

2005 Patagonia

2006 Nike

2007 Adobe

2008 Google, Inc. (OXO, JetBlue)

I want to note that though it has always been defined that way, 2009 is the first time the award is actually given to an institution and not a corporation. [Editor’s Note: 2009 Winner:Walker Art Center, Finalists Dwell Magazine, Heath Ceramics] Fashion Design:

2003 Tom Ford (Chritina Kim/Dosa, Narciso Rodriquez)

2004 YeohleeTeng (Narciso Rodriguez, Marc Jacobs)

2005 Toledo Studio (Project Alabama, Maria Cornejo)

2006 Maria Cornejo (Thom Browne, Peter Som)

2007 Rick Owens (Narciso Rodriguez, Phillip Lim)

2008 Ralph Rucci (Thom Browne, Zac Posen)

Interior Design, a category that is populated

by architects rather than actual interior designers:

2005 Richard Gluckman (Hugh Hardy, Michael Gabellini)

2006 Michael Gabellini (Anabelle Selldorf,Tsao & McKown)

2007 Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (David Rockwell,Tsao & McKown)

2008 David Rockwell (Deborah Berke, Diane Lewis)

Landscape Design:

2000 Lawrence Halprin (Steven Holl,Thom Mayne, Samuel Mockbee)

2001 Julie Bargman (Diller + Scofidio, LOT-EK)

2002 James Carpenter (AnneWhilston Spirn, George Hargreaves)

2003 Michael vanValkenburgh (Laurie Olin, Rocky Mountain Institute)

2004 William McDonough (Andropogon, Ned Kahn)

2005 Ned Kahn (PeterWalker, Kathryn Gustafson)

2006 Martha Schwarz (Ken Smith, Andrea Cochran)

2007 PeterWalker (Ken Smith, Field Operations)

2008 OLIN (Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Stoss Landscape Urbanism)

And finally Product Design:

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2000 Paul MacCready (Niels Diffrient, Chuck Holberman, Ted Muehling)

2001 David Kelley/IDEO (Maharam/Nike)

2002 Niels Diffrient (Blu Dot, Ayse Birsel)

2003 Herman Miller (Antenna, SuzanneTick)

2004 Yves Behar (Interface, Burt Rutan)

2005 Burt Rutan (Boym Partners, Bill Stumpf)

2006 Bill Stumpf (Antenna, Jonathan Ive)

2007 Jonathan Ive (Smart Design, Karim Rashid)

2008 Antenna (Karim Rashid, Boym Partners)

So who decides? Each year the jury is selected by the person in my position in conversation with the director of the museum.The juries are composed of respectable people from the various disciplines, but it becomes even more of a surprise, for example, that there was no architecture award given in 2000 despite the presence of Daniel Libeskind and William Mitchell on the jury.There are very broad guidelines given to the jury, basically the only direction the museum provides, resulting in subsequent, somewhat predictable outcomes. Fifty-eight percent of the winners come from the Northeast, eighty-eight percent of them are white, and they’re overwhelmingly male. I apologize that this talk is basically about what I do for a living. My current job more closely resembles that of the wedding planner than someone with an actual critical

project.You’ll have to bear with me for some navel-gazing. The honorees are fêted in a celebration at the White House.The previous administration was particularly fond of dessert, evident in the fact that half the press photos provided of the event were actually of the dessert course. One was actually topped with Pop Rocks, which led to some confusion among the older guests who thought they were having minor episodes when they began bursting in the back of their throats. It doesn’t need to be said that this will be a much more exciting event to be a part of this year.The awards are celebrated at the museum in the fall with a week of free admission, public programs and a gala attended by people like Dennis Hopper, Zac Posen and Parker Posey, and Diane Lewis.This is the wedding part. An enormously expensive tent is set up over the garden in the back of the Carnegie Mansion, and six hundred fifty guests are meant to be transported by the décor. Last year we couldn’t afford to drape the ceiling, but the theme was having recycled wedding party elements used as centerpieces in an Alice in Wonderland, then afterward they would all be returned to the same place they came from. There are several other programs associated with the National Design Awards. There’s the business breakfast, featuring last year a panel discussion between Bruce Nussbaum of BusinessWeek, Marissa Maier of Google, Bob Greenberg of RGA and Amy Raiden, who until the recent financial downturn was the chief innovation officer at Citigroup.There’s the educator’s open house, when public school K-12 teachers

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KIM 75 come and learn about how to introduce design into their curriculum.There’s the winner’s panel,

come and learn about how to introduce design into their curriculum.There’s the winner’s panel, the teen fair, which is actually the most fun, where designers includingTim Gunn come and sit around small café tables, then six hundred New York City high school kids come and ask them about what they do.This is actually the most intimidating event, because there’s nothing like six hundred high school kids to make you feel like you were a total loser in high school.This year, the National Design Awards Gala and related events will coincide with an exhibition celebrating the past ten years of winners. It will open in the fall and travel to four venues around the country. Despite my skepticism about the role of the awards in a critical context, framing the past decade through this unreliable filter has prompted me to think a lot about

audience and also the year 1982, which I will tentatively suggest here is our last watershed moment, and could be a way to frame the first decade of the awards for the purpose of this exhibition. I want to suggest that since 1982 there has been a process of domestication of the technological innovations of that year, while also being aware that it’s creating a new myth in order to close this past decade of work. Through various media channels, coverage of the National Design Awards reaches a subscription audience of two hundred million people.That terrifying statistic comes from our marketing department, so I’m not sure how reliable it really is, but the opportunity to curate an exhibition about the awards is also an invitation to collectivize the past decade of design. I don’t mean to suggest that this

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exhibition is somehow going to present a new way of critically understanding the work of the Polshek Partnership or Rick Joy, but it could grant projective meaning to an otherwise nostalgic body of work. I’m testing out a way to bookend the exhibition. So why 1982? In 1982, Kevin Roche won the Pritzker Prize.This year’s winner will actually be announced tomorrow. In general, the National Design Awards, like the Pritzker is sometimes too late, occasionally right on time, but with few exceptions tends to mark the end of one’s career rather than the beginning of something interesting. Architects, and designers more generally, have a thing for associating movements or generations with singular dates: the year 1000; 1789; 1917; 1932; 1945;1968. But 1982 can perhaps be seen as a predictive rather than a reactive year, and one that transformed the way that design is produced rather than just what it looks like. This is an obvious and belabored moment, but “Blade Runner” was released in June of this year, and “Tron” a month later. Our contemporary urban condition is prefigured here, as it often is in movies, but movies like “Blade Runner” also offered a stark counterpoint to the prevailing view of architectural formmaking at that moment. Construction of Michael Graves’ Humana Building in Louisville would begin that fall, and, as additional context, James Stirling’s Neue Staatsgalerie would also be completed that year. Of course, simultaneously there were indications that the apotheosis of the crisis of architectural form represented by the Humana Building would be rather short- lived. Zaha Hadid would win the Peak

competition, Peter Eisenman won the competition for theWexner Center, and although the firm was actually established in 1978, Herzog & de Meuron would complete their first two significant projects in 1982, housing in Basel and the Freie Photographic Studio inWeil-am-Rhine. Autodesk released the first version of AutoCAD in February of 1982, Sun Microsystems was established in the same month, and although it was a commercial failure, Apple released the Lisa, the first personal computer with a Graphical User Interface—in other words, windows, menus and icons rather than just text. Adobe was also established in 1982, founded to develop the Postscript language, which now has been supplanted by its own successor the PDF, but essentially made it possible to print high-quality graphics and text on the same page. Other things it did well included device-independent printing and on-the-fly rasterization.Two years later, Apple’s Laserwriter would become the first printer to ship with Postscript already installed, sparking the desktop publishing revolution of the 1980s. A year later Adobe would release the first version of Photoshop, a program that has fundamentally changed the way that design is conceptualized, rendered and distributed. The Intel 286 microprocessor was also released in 1982, allowing for the processing of sixteen megabytes of RAM as opposed to one.This led to the development of multitasking applications like Photoshop. Although the Intel 286 was rendered obsolete by 1990, running an application like Photoshop wasn’t even possible before 1982. Although it was first launched in August

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of 1981, MTV reached thirteen million households by January of 1982. Responsible for changing our understanding of visual culture, and, as many alarmist articles of the eighties would claim, inundating our youth with too many images, MTV also more broadly contributed to a shift in our understanding of advertising and branding; an impact felt less keenly in architecture, perhaps, but one that was decidedly transformative in other design disciplines. For anyone who was alive before 1982, you’ll recall the difference between network commercials at the time versus MTV’s approach to advertising and branding.They were vastly different. Mitsubishi DiamondVision installed a twenty-six by thirty-six foot screen at Shea Stadium in 1982. Large-scale video displays were also installed at Foxboro Stadium and the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the same year.The now ubiquitous large-scale video display was notable for its optimal viewing angles, allowing spectators to enjoy the view from any seat because of its use of four dots rather than three to produce a single color pixel.This allowed for pixels to be shared dynamically as patterns moved across a screen.The explicit architectural connection in this case is still somewhat latent and largely suggested in movies, but if we return to the idea that the awards are somewhat nostalgic or reactive by nature, it should be said that this is the first year that the museum will give an award in Interaction Design. It was by far the most interesting category and one that is moving more quickly than any other design discipline. It is also very obviously contaminating all of the other fields in a way that will require more critical

attention in the near future. A few examples of the resonance of DiamondVision technology in architecture are UN Studio’s Galleria Department Store in Seoul where the façade is a moving LED screen, Peter Cook’s Kunsthaus in Graz where the lighting effects make an arguably ugly building slightly better, and perhaps U2’sVertigo tour of 2006 where seven retractable, transparent LED curtains produced a virtual space on the stage. One

could also bring up the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympiad, which ended in a spectacular recreation of the building itself as

a result of all the lights.

This rambling job description has no conclusion, but I want to end with the fact that 1982 was also the end of the last major recession in this country. It was of course

a very different one, since the ‘81-‘82

recession was at some level deliberately caused by the Federal Reserve whereas the

Fed is pretty much powerless in our current economic crisis, but—and this is admittedly

a very familiar refrain—bad economies are

often good for design. I remain hopeful that 2009 could be our next 1982, although

if you’ve been following the debate being

played out in the NewYork Times and Design Observer, it is also clear that designers, like everyone else, rightly hate economic crises. I’m positing this as a possible way to cap off the potential catalogue to the exhibition, but the impulse to rethink design and to embrace issues such as utility and beauty or innovation and practicality simultaneously are not new, nor are they limited to periods of apparent crisis, but perhaps they could now happen more quickly and potentially be even more far reaching.

Timothy Hyde

Britain’s Ugliest Building

Though it’s tempting, I won’t keep you in suspense: the Southbank Arts Centre in London is “Britain’s Ugliest Building.” So declared a survey in the Daily Mail newspaper right after the completion of the first phase of the building in 1967. That epithet has attached to the complex with remarkable consistency over the past forty years, supplemented now by a supporting cast of adjectives, like surly, bunker-like, dank (according to Richard Rogers), bleak (so says Nicholas Pevsner), and so on. Advocates have tended to offer only tempered praise of the building. For example, Peter Murrow, writing in The Architect’s Journal said he could only hope that over time would “assert itself and make people learn to like what at first was unfamiliar and hateful.” In a 1968 review of the Southbank Arts Centre, Charles Jencks acknowledged the preponderance of hostile reactions. “One

man’s meat is another man’s poison,” he said. But Jencks countered these reactions with

a challenge: “All this criticism which has

occurred, while understandable, is slightly beside the point.The building was probably

intended to be conventionally ugly. So while critics may have reacted in the right way, they have drawn the wrong conclusions. It

is rather as if the critic reacted correctly to

a gargoyle, a grotesque or a Francis Bacon

only to reject them as un-beautiful.” In this talk, I want to take up Jencks’ challenge. What might be the correct conclusions to be drawn from the ugliness of this architecture? What conclusions might be drawn from ugliness more generally as an aesthetic, experiential or theoretical condition in architecture? I want to tell a story about the

Hayward in order to suggest that perhaps ugliness is a matter of opinion, but of a very particular kind, a kind of nagging uncertainty that actually hinders rather than assists resolutions of judgment. The Southbank Arts Centre stands along the Thames River in London, next to the Royal Festival Hall that was the centerpiece of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Where that building belatedly adopted the linear forms and referential conceits of pre-war Modernism, the architects of the Southbank Centre employed the post-war techniques of New Brutalism. Inside the clustering, irregular forms—that disregard compositional geometries, that ignore existing configurations implied in the site— three volumes contain the programmatic spaces of the Southbank Centre.Two are concert halls—the Queen Elizabeth Hall facing the river, and the Purcell Room behind—and an art gallery, the Hayward, at the rear of the site. Much of the lower level of this complex is given over to car park, service access and also to a large undercroft that opens toward the river. Above this level, a deck loosely wraps around the full exterior of the buildings. A pedestrian who descends down onto this deck fromWaterloo Bridge or who climbs up to the deck from

below, then is able to circumnavigate along a

rambling route up and down stairs, along a series of widening and expanding pathways along the full perimeter of the buildings. Along this path all of the surfaces—the deck, the walks, the walls, the railings, the steps—have the unvarying grayness of a material palette limited to precast aggregate panels and exposed cast concrete. The design here was the work of the

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Department of Architecture and Civic Design of the Greater London Council, but three young architects on the council could claim credit for its being conventionally ugly: Ron Herron,Warren Chalk and Dennis Crompton, who by the time Queen Elizabeth inaugurated the building in 1968 were very well-known as members of Archigram.The emerging attitude of Archigram may be in evidence, but the design owes much more to projects like Alison and Peter Smithson’s project for Sheffield University, which Reyner Banham had invoked in 1955 to elucidate the exemplary traits of New Brutalism: the use of materials as found, the constitution of structure as a relationship of parts, and the production of an affecting image.These three traits, Banham argued, were the constitutive properties of the architectural je-m’en-foutisme or “bloody-mindedness” of New Brutalism. It’s hardly controversial to suggest that the ugliness attributed to the Southbank Arts Centre is precipitated by its Brutalist approach.The rawness of the concrete surfaces, the insistent articulation of separated parts, the desire to produce an image impressed upon a viewer’s consciousness: together these constitute its ugliness.The adjective ugly is never far from any Brutalist building, of course, but I want to suggest that Banham’s tenets of Brutalism can be used to open up toward a concept of ugliness, a different concept of ugliness, that is something much more than a companion term for appearance.

Pile Rather than regard the modus operandi of brutalism as nurturing qualities that produce ugliness, consider that Brutalism might better be understood as the toleration of deficiencies whose consequence is ugliness:

less the production of ugliness than an insufficiency of not-ugliness. Charles Jencks proposed that a confrontation with the rambling architecture of the Southbank Centre readily incited the verdict of ugliness because “there is no underlying coherence, no visual logic which helps to explain the functional logic; the programmatic spaces hide behind a confusing, hostile pile of jagged in situ sludge.” One of the architects,Warren Chalk, explained that “the basic original concept was to produce an anonymous pile subservient to a series of pedestrian walkways: a sort of Mappin Terrace, for people rather than goats.” Mappin Terrace, an artificial landscape built at the London Zoo in 1914, was an experimental use of reinforced concrete, so, despite its appearances, very much a considered design of form. MappinTerrace, though, has since served as a habitat for a wide variety of different animals—emus at present—that suggest that its shape, while purposeful, is not at all precise. Like Mappin Terrace, the pile at Southbank was fashioned for use and occupation without the aim of a precise compositional whole or a precise form. Individual parts do have specific criteria—for example, the concert halls have their acoustical imperatives with ramifications for the selection of finishes and for the regulation of airflow through their ductwork—but outside, on the

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HYDE 81 decks, people are free to circulate, free to enter or bypass the venues, and

decks, people are free to circulate, free to enter or bypass the venues, and their movements are accommodated with figural contours rather than precise formal determinations.The asymmetries, the

each of which alters the configuration to which it has been added, but without tending towards any fixed or determinate end.The architecture is, in fact, a pile. Suspended in a process of formation,

sectional shifts, the ubiquitous expansions

a

constant increase or decrease, a pile

and contractions tolerate so much variation

is

always an insufficiency of form, an

that any perspective continuities of configuration here dissolve.The massing of the complex, decomposed into two heaps front and back, similarly refuses to admit causations, hierarchies or relevancies; the parts here fend for themselves or simply compete with one another, not only the three programmatic centers, but also their components. No a priori logic generates the differentiated form here, nor does a totalizing frame harness them a posteriori.The visible but indeterminate form results from the accumulation of incremental decisions,

instance of informe. In the pile alongside the Thames, no fixed relation to site, no hierarchy of movement, no interdependency of structure and no geometric order has determined a fixed arrangement of parts. This indeterminacy, like the mountainous shape of Mappin Terrace, enables possibilities prescribing or proscribing future eventualities.This un-formedness in the pile also instigates the state of ugliness, which unlike Albertian concinnitas permits excisions and additions to be imagined without guilt. Other architects have not hesitated

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82 DISCRIMINATION in imagining alterations to the Southbank Arts Centre. In 1979 Architectural Review published a

in imagining alterations to the Southbank Arts Centre. In 1979 Architectural Review published a proposal to fill in the voids and overhangs of the complex with glazed enclosures, in effect smoothing out the irregular contours of the original buildings. In 1994, a competition solicited larger scale interventions that would redress the deficiencies of the brutalist buildings without interrupting the presumptively complete form of the adjacent Royal Festival Hall.Two finalists proposed the same strategy: a roof, to be built over the Southbank Centre. For Michael Hopkins, the roof should be one of his trademark tents: eight pylons stretching a bowed fabric roof across the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery.The new profile would give the Royal Festival Hall a very crude double, with the original shape of the arts

complex now disguised underneath a more uniform shell that mimics the adjacent form of the Royal Festival Hall. The other finalist, Richard Rogers, also sought to reconcile the arts complex with the Festival Hall by revealing the latter and concealing the former. He proposed to spread an enormous glazed roof across the site; a glass wave that rises up from the base of the Festival Hall and sweeps over the Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall, submerging them inside what was immediately dubbed a new Crystal Palace. The remedial ambition of the design is evidenced by the smooth, sweeping roof enshrouding the disorderly pieces of the original complex.The wave answers the ugliness of the ugliness of the original architecture—answers to what I’m calling its lack of form—with an excessive form

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that contains the existing elements as exhibits, now contained within a glass vitrine.

Stain In both of these remedies, the materials—a smooth glass wave or a taught plastic skin—would counter the Brutalist architecture just as much as their formal consolidations were to do. Both proposals would have transformed the exterior spaces into interiorized spaces to make the terraces and the walkways habitable for cafes, shops and so on. I’ll return to the question of interiority, but I first want to make the more straightforward observation that these roofs would also have kept out the rain. Keeping the rain off the buildings would not merely be an architectural symptom of the perennial British concern for the weather, it would also directly address a further aspect of ugliness. Recall that another exemplary trait of Brutalism was its use of materials “as found.” As found referred not to a preference for unalloyed materials, but rather for the unadulterated display of materials in architectural form. In the Soutbank Arts Centre, precast concrete panels, poured concrete surfaces surround any visitor; the roofs, the columns, the walls, cast as one piece, assert the structural primacy of that material, while board markings or the grain of aggregate on individual surfaces shows direct attention to sensible qualities. Many critics of the architecture of the complex have singled out for particular comment this pervasive concrete: its drab grayness in the weak light, its coarse texture, its inhospitable coolness, and inevitably its appearance

when it rains. A sympathetic reviewer in 1967 offered a prophetic warning: “For the visual excitement of turning a roof into a wall without changing material or finish and without tiresome drips or the petty intervention of a gutter one has to accept a bedraggled look on a rainy day, possibly resulting in permanent staining.” Such stains upon the concrete surface, which the architecture does encourage with its lack of a drip along the roof edges, produce an additional state of ugliness distinct from the aspect produced by its unformedness. Mark Cousins has argued that a stain, however it’s caused, is a form of excess:

A stain must be cleansed. Is this because the stain is ugly? The stain is not an aesthetic issue as such, it is a question of something that should not be there, and so it must be removed.The constitutive experience is therefore of an object that should not be there. In this way, it is a condition of ugliness.

The stain is as pervasive as the concrete it marks at the Southbank Centre, occurring in the damp streaks along vertical edges and also in the residual puddles scattered along many of its horizontal planes.Weathering has not been the only cause of the stained surface here; the undercroft, notorious now as an uninviting space appropriated by skateboarders, has been covered in graffiti:

stain upon stain layered upon the concrete surface.The marks of the rainwater above and the marks of the graffiti below should not be distinguished from one another on account of their different provenance. Both are stains upon the architecture fostered by architecture’s own susceptibility to the state

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of ugliness. What response, then, does this second register of ugliness, this thing out of place, warrant or compel? The necessary expedience of the as found approach certainly contributed to the conventional ugliness, as Jencks called it, of the architecture, but now, in this register, some desired experience is anticipated as well, revealed by the third tenet of brutalism, that the building should produce an affecting image. An image, Banham explained, “requires that the building should be an immediately apprehensible, visible entity, and that the form grasped by the eye should be confirmed by the experience of the building in use.” Banham added that the image was “something which is visually valuable,” which I take to mean something to which value can be attributed, not necessarily something already possessing a determinate value. Something which is visually valuable.While classical aesthetics assume this value to accrue in pleasure, something beautiful, for New Brutalism, Banham said, “Image may be defined as quadvisum perturbat, that which seen, affects the emotions,” affects them with pleasure, displeasure, or, pointedly, some mixture of these two. Nicholas Pevsner, writing his entry on the Southbank Arts Centre for his authoritative Buildings of England series conceded that its walkways produced “a thrilling experience, if the weather is fine and you are at leisure.” “But,” he asked, “what if it rains?What if you are late? What if you find steps a strain?”Then, the nearest comparison to the walkway’s “bleak effect [would] be Piranesi’s Carceri.”

Pevsner’s critique reveals that the first two states of ugliness at the Southbank Arts Centre—its irresolution of form, and the appearance of the stain—join with a third aspect of ugliness, the discomfiting sense of an un-empathetic architecture.The encounter between person and architecture here is all roughness: the coarse concrete surfaces that are both tactile and injurious, the rambling terraces that solicit chance encounters, but foil planned itineraries, the distortions of scale and orientation that defy commensuration with the body, and the unsettling disarticulation of the architecture into parts and fragments throughout.

Irritant Here, then, is a third register of ugliness, not ugliness within the architecture, but ugliness as the relationship between the architecture and a person who encounters it.When Mark Cousins suggests that the ugly object is an object out of place, it is not the disturbance of the place that constitutes ugliness, but rather that the ugly object—by looming too large, by already exceeding its own boundaries—threatens some sovereign subject.The ugly is that which is neither contained within itself nor capable of being safely contained by something else. As, then, a disproportionality between architecture and a person, ugliness prevents the proper definition of boundaries or of separate and intact exteriors. Ugliness therefore compels disgust, as rendered in all of its actions, in all of its metaphors of repulsion.This self-preserving repulsion, whether in the form of vomiting, turning away or simply crushing something underfoot, is intended to sharply and

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immediately distance a person from the ugly thing that confronts them.Yet however hostile the criticism of the Southbank Centre has been, I would not argue that its ugly architecture has prompted such a violent disgust.The bleakness that Pevsner feels—the oft-disparaged streaked concrete surfaces, the difficulty felt in navigating the decks—accumulate in the perception that the building is not sufficiently accommodating to its human users. All these elements prompt degrees of what is obviously displeasure, and though disgust would be at the extreme of the spectrum of displeasure, I would argue that ugliness has a more subtle key, one that prompts an affect much more akin to irritation. Where the urgency of disgust compels an unmistakably urgent withdrawal, the nagging effect of irritation emerges from a relentless but unavoidable proximity.The ugliness of this architecture irritates because of such a proximity, because it produces the sense of a persistent and mistaken conflation of architecture and person. Unlike emotions, affects do not narrate the experience of a singular coherent subject, but rather displace that experience into a separate and encompassing mood. Affects are the relationship between consciousness and circumstance, but they’re detached from individual persons. Consequently, affects are more diffuse than emotions, they are vague, not unlike a pile or a stain. An ugly feeling, such as envy or anxiety, is induced by the lingering proximity of its source, condensing all of the interrelated factors of a given situation rather than apportioning those factors, as in the sharper emotions of disgust or anger. An ugly feeling emerges

without precise causation from the layered stimuli of a given situation, and the ugly feeling provoked by the Southbank Centre thus summarizes the several and the different instigations of a felt antipathy into a generalized but very vivid mood: irritation. While the active manner of disgust would provoke a violent overcoming of its objective cause through flight or fight, the passive manner of an ugly feeling like irritation could only be extinguished by a complete transformation of the situation from which the feeling emerges. In the absence of such a transformation, irritation persists as a simultaneous pulling together and pushing apart of the person and the architecture.

Puddle Ugliness is colloquially invoked as a failing, but in its capacity to synthesize different dimensions of vagueness—the irregular form, the stained surface, the irritating affect—and thereby produce a consequence which, unlike beauty is not affirmative, and unlike estrangement is not self-exhaustive, ugliness possesses a conceptual potential very much worthy of elaboration. Last summer, the Hayward Gallery celebrated its fortieth anniversary with Psycho Buildings, an exhibition about the peculiar relationship between people and architecture. Psycho Buildings aimed to examine the relation between buildings and embodied minds, and to test emotion and intellectual engagement with physical structures. Familiar questions for architecture, but ones very aptly posed at the Hayward because of the poignancy of any encounter with the architecture of the Southbank Centre, let alone one deliberately

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HYDE 87 sown with architectural traps. The artists in the Psycho Buildings exhibition were each asked

sown with architectural traps. The artists in the Psycho Buildings exhibition were each asked to design and produce an installation that would be located within or around some part of the Hayward Gallery. Most of these installations offered very overt reflections on interiority as a trope of psychological space or memory. Some did broach, though obliquely, the idea of ugliness. For example, Ernesto Neto’s stretched fabric room punctured by large involutions certainly flirts with the current formalism of the grotesque. Mike Nelson’s violent disfiguration of an upper gallery paid homage to Gothic narratives of imprisoned monsters, and also literally defaced and scarred the gallery surfaces. Ugliness did enter into these installations, but without inducing the compound sense of ugliness that I’m proposing is the real potency of the surrounding architecture. The Hayward building has on its

uppermost level three sculpture terraces whose steeply angled parapets contribute to the overall restlessness of the Southbank Arts Centre.Though actually extensions of the gallery’s interior spaces, they imply that the lower pedestrian deck that forms the irregular surround at the entry level continues into, out of, and then through the buildings on an upper level. During the Psycho Buildings exhibition, the trapezoidal terrace on the southeastern corner of the building became the improbable site of a boating pond, installed by the artist collective Gelatin. The installation, titled normally, proceeding and unrestricted with without title—a convolution of the nautical definition used in accident logs— consisted of three plywood boats, a floating jetty, and a pond created by filling the entire pan of the terrace up to the top edge of the surrounding parapet. The jetty was jerrybuilt from scrap and

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88 DISCRIMINATION listed unexpectedly as you walked on it. The boats were inverted pyramidal shapes in

listed unexpectedly as you walked on it. The boats were inverted pyramidal shapes in which two people sat facing each other, one pulling at a pair of highly shortened oars and with two empty five-gallon water jugs as stabilizers. Clumsy but seaworthy, they could be propelled along the pond with reasonable facility.The depth of the pond wasn’t much more than a meter, but the black lining of the terrace and the reflections on the surface made it impossible to judge, and with the water up to the parapet edge, an exaggeration of dimension gave the sensation of a much more serious nautical endeavor, and one being conducted fifteen meters above the ground. Physicality and experience were the mediums here, with resonant references directed back toward the Hayward building itself.The rickety jetty hammered together

from bits certainly made use of the as found approach, and the resulting wooden pile was as formally incoherent, but as functionally capable as the surrounding concrete pile. Gelatin thereby produced what the exhibition pamphlet described as an incongruous “pastoral idyll, suspended above the ground and nestling against the Hayward’s concrete Brutalism.” Charles Jencks had predicted in 1968 that the Southbank Arts Centre would create an architectural setting “where one can imagine deliberate acts of burlesque.”The boating pond was exactly that: a deliberate act of burlesque elicited by the architecture and therefore, I would argue, a fulfillment of its condition of ugliness. Superimposed upon the architecture, the boating pond creates another puddle, larger and more purposeful, but not separate

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from the atmospheric manifestations of the architecture.The surface of the water both contradicts and echoes the board-formed concrete of the parapet.The smoothness

it creates—which, by the way, realizes

Banham’s hope that Brutalism might overturn the customary subordination of topology in architectural thought—differs from the smoothness of those enveloping roofs that had once been proposed. Not a wave, now, but a puddle. A puddle embedded

within the ugliness of the architecture rather than overcoming that ugliness. At the outer edge of the terrace, the seeping stain of water now results from the overflow of the pool, so that the stain—that which still does not belong—nevertheless is able to claim an equal priority to the surface through the performance of ugliness. The boating pond, I would conclude, reveals that incongruity is exactly the positive experience that ugliness enables, demonstrated as well by Gelatin’s own contribution to the Hayward Gallery postcard series. Incongruity, a state of misalignment or misappositeness, shares the characteristic lack of correspondence between two respective domains—the building and the person—that I identified as a first quality of ugliness. As a condition of friction that does not arise to the state of conflict, incongruity also resembles the passive affect of an irritation that does not rise to disgust. Incongruity produces

a curious state of equivalence, insofar as

neither source of the incongruity may have

a greater claim to rectitude than the other.

Perhaps the terrace was a boating pond after all.

This plausible coexistence establishes

the potent subtlety of incongruity and by extension establishes the promise of ugliness itself.While a critical perspective will always capably highlight difference or contradiction, to do so it necessarily establishes the inequity of its two terms, the object and the critique. One of the two is registered as wrong or incorrect against the other. Incongruity, as I posit it here, results when both sources appear correct and with some measure of formal and mutual dependence, when both legitimately occupy the same space and time and are therefore naturalized within their given situation—or as was in the case of the boating pond, delightfully obvious yet at the same time totally impossible. As it enables incongruity, the ugliness of the Southbank Arts Centre at once suspends and admits narration. It suspends it by diffusing emotion—which would narrate the experience of a subject—into affect, which does not, but also admits it through the fragmentary circumstance of the boating pond, which is an event fashioned in pieces, like a story becoming a plot. Narrative enters here long enough that experience, judgment and opinion occur, but it enters in pieces and without a clarifying referent so that affect persists. Ugliness is precisely what choreographs this process of admission and suspension. Incongruity, produced adjacent to the formal wholeness of beauty, slides immediately, inevitably, toward parity or some other critical mode. Ugliness, with

its absence of wholeness and completion, with its ability to foster incongruities, has a

generosity that beauty lacks. I’m happy to confirm, therefore, that the Southbank Arts Centre is in fact Britain’s Ugliest Building.

Enrique Walker

Under Constraint

(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the

(Afterword)

(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the night
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the night
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the night
(Afterword) attempt. Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the night
attempt.
attempt.

Raymond Roussel died at the Grande Albergo e delle Palme in Palermo the night of July 13th, or the morning of July 14th, 1933. Before his departure from Paris, he had entrusted his publisher with the posthumous publication of a book which would reveal, as he thought was his duty, the method he had used to write several of his books. Comment j’ai écrit certains de mes livres appeared two years later and earned Roussel the recognition he hoped it would, and had so intensely pursued since his sensations of glory when writing La Doublure at the age of nineteen. Roussel completed his first book after six months, during which he was gradually filled with a euphoria of extraordinary intensity. He worked day and night, without the slightest deviation, and with no sign of fatigue. I shall reach great heights, he claimed; there lies within me an immensely powerful glory like a shell about to explode.

His enthusiasm greatly diminished during the printing of the book and, since it eventually passed unremarked, completely extinguished after it was published.This failure plunged Roussel into a profound state of depression which lasted several years, and from which he never fully recovered. According to the doctor who later attended to him, following his crisis, Roussel still maintained the unshakeable conviction that glory was a fact. So throughout his life, he sought public success hoping that it would revive those earlier feelings of exaltation.Yet to no avail, for aside from the interest of some supporters, mainly the young surréalistes, who were far from the broad admiration Roussel strove for, his work attracted little attention. His books went unnoticed or were received with incomprehension; his plays, staged at his own expense to reach a larger audience, provoked scandals or were the object of derision. Roussel found some glory elsewhere:

with his piano performances, with his pistol-shooting trophies, with his design for a luxury caravan, with his patent for a system for insulating buildings, with his formula for an improved knight and bishop checkmate, and with his impersonations, where, as he claimed, his success was enormous and complete. During the last years of his life he attempted to recapture his earlier euphoria with the use of narcotics, which led to his death of an overdose. His will, deposited with his lawyer six months earlier, and seemingly his very last resort to achieve public recognition of his right to literary glory, instructed that a copy of Comment j’ai écrit certains de mes livres be sent to a list of twenty-two of his supporters, and that it

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then be issued for sale. A series of notes to his publisher prior to his departure to Sicily established the definite contents of the book and instructed that his photograph at the age of nineteen, the time when he felt he had l’étoile au front, appear on its frontispiece, as well as in all reissues of his works.This last book would reveal the secret to several of the others. Roussel owed his gift of invention to a method which he had discovered at about the age of thirty, after the years of prospecting that followed the writing of his first book.The method entailed creating two phrases that sounded, and were spelled, almost identically, but had entirely different meanings, and then writing a story which would begin with one and end with the other.These pairs of homonymous or almost homophonic phrases would present a series of problems, or équations de faits, which it would then become necessary to solve logically.Thus the phrases, les vers de la doublure dans la pièce du Forban Talon Rouge [the lines of verse of the understudy in the play of Red-Heel the Buccaneer] and les vers de la doublure dans la pièce du fort pantalon rouge [the worms in the lining of the patch of the strong red trousers], were the basis for Chiquenaude; just as the phrases, demoiselle [young girl] à prétendent [suitor] and demoiselle [pavior’s beetle] à reître en dents [soldier of fortune in teeth] were the basis for the complicated apparatus Roussel described from page thirty-one onwards in Locus Solus. I shed blood over every phrase, he once confessed. Roussel worked in complete seclusion and with great effort for a fixed number of hours each day, often to the point of

exhaustion. According to the rules of his game, once he established a pair of phrases with double meaning, or else diverted a found phrase into a homonym, he would have to solve the problem of bringing together the elements which derived from

the pair, regardless of their disparity, and formulate their relationship on as realistic

a level as possible, in a text written in the

most neutral way.The method of word- pairing, not unlike a table de dissection, would offer the chance encounter of elements whose meticulous resolution would in turn release unforeseen invention.

I have traveled a great deal, he said, yet from

all these travels I never took anything for my books; imagination accounts for everything in my work. His posthumous book would explain his method, for he felt that future

writers would perhaps be able to exploit it fruitfully, yet also imbue the work with a secret, let alone install the fantasy that this secret was a key to its understanding.The work bears no inside, however, no hidden treasure, no mystery to be deciphered. Raymond Roussel committed to a secret procedure that actually held no secret,

a writing which did not entail a reading.

The method does not actually shed light on the work itself, but rather on the workings that preceded the work. Just like in his novels, where mystification is followed by revelation, Roussel meant to explain his secret after his death. He thought it was his duty to do so, but also hoped that he could gain a little posthumous recognition. Only his very last book would afford Roussel the great heights for which he had always thought he was destined.

Only his very last book would afford Roussel the great heights for which he had always

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WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
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WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau
WALKER 93 Georges Perec Raymond Queneau

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94 DISCRIMINATION the group Oulipo
94 DISCRIMINATION the group Oulipo
94 DISCRIMINATION the group Oulipo
94 DISCRIMINATION the group Oulipo

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WALKER 95 The book, called (La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of
WALKER 95 The book, called (La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of
WALKER 95 The book, called (La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of
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Life A User’s Manual

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Saul Steinberg

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(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by
(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by

Knight’s tour

(La intact. Life A User’s Manual Saul Steinberg named the of order 10. Graeco-Latin square by

96

DISCRIMINATION

96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
a new section begins.
a new section begins.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
chapter.
chapter.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
different grids.
different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.
96 DISCRIMINATION a new section begins. chapter. different grids.

WALKER

97

WALKER 97

98

DISCRIMINATION

98 DISCRIMINATION (La AVoid about the supposedly the device MacGuffin
98 DISCRIMINATION (La AVoid about the supposedly the device MacGuffin
98 DISCRIMINATION (La AVoid about the supposedly the device MacGuffin