Filed under: Aesthetics, Ideas, Politics | Tags: Architecture, criticism, Kazys, markets, political economy, theory
Goodbye marketechture, um I mean, starchitechture: many hardly knew ye.
At his blog, architecture theorist Kazys Varnelis shares some thoughts and questions on the post-critical moment in architecture, that lavish marriage of private wealth, tidal infusions of capital, technology, building, and design. This movement might be mercifully on the wane, at least for the time being. Varnelis summarizes:
Now that architecture has allied itself with a failed theory of the market, what will become of it? This isn’t an idle question. As society and culture reconfigure, an architecture that has little to offer except a direct representation of capital flows is unlikely to succeed. Moreover, the fascination that post-critical architects had with producing designs through software parallels the reduction of architecture to complex financial instruments that existed primarily in the network. This has already been called into question in the market. Architecture is, as usual, just a little behind.
The failure of markets to justly dispense goods and resources not only re-poses the question of a just political economy, but also with respect to the political significance of architecture. Will we begin witnessing the dethronement of the starchitect as the paradigmatic figure of building and design in culture? Can more critical perspectives on these relationships gain serious traction in architecture education, urban design, philosophy, and aesthetics? I would like to believe so, and in the process make amends for fawning over the overwhelming and nearly stultifying triumphs of Gehry, Mirer, Koolhaas, and the market-driven architecture that defined my adolescence and early adulthood. [kazys.varnelis.net]
Image: The Frank Ghery designed Deutsche Bank building in Berlin. As of this post, DB’s US stock closed today at $30.68 a share, down from a 52-week high of $135.49. Image source, Paw89, Flickr; stock source, Google Finance.
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