Article: Ellen Dunham-Jones on Koolhaas

Here is an interesting article by Ellen Dunham-Jones to follow up on our conversations regarding Koolhaas’  visions and narratives of the contemporary city:  http://places.designobserver.com/feature/rem-koolhaas-irrational-exuberance/37767/

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Readings on a territorial scale

Please post comments for the readings of April 8th – Boeri and Cosgrove – here before the morning of April 7th.

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“Rire jaune” with Koolhaas

“La Ville Générique a éliminé le caractère des lieux ainsi que la substance de l’urbanité traditionnelle en réduisant l’espace public et la rue à de simples illusions de ville, elle devient ainsi un ‘lieu de sensations faibles et distendues, d’émotions rares et espacées” **

From the reading of “JUNKSPACE”: this is a representation of R.Koolhass ideas made by a copy/paste of a few thoughts of his…

endless building – bubble structure – containers – Bermuda Triangle of concepts – petri dish – Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends – fuzzy empire of blur – vicious parody of ambitions – quartered the way a carcass is torn apart – superblocks – unmemorable – dress code: sandals and parka – neon – structures emerge like springs from the mattress – authorless world – forms search for function like hermit crabs looking for a vacant shell – …

** Commentaire repris du “Journal de l’Architecte” (parution Mardi, 22 Février 2011)

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Comments for March 18th readings

Koolhaas leads us through the city holding a very personal light. He is a citizen observer and yet a practitioner. All three texts are polluted by the very mundane details of architecture practice; gypsum wall boards, steel stud connections, HVAC ducts route. But Hell is made out of details. He knows, he has obviously been to Hell. This dual personality of his allows him to lift a veil on the urban experience of the everyday citizens.

Do you need the architectural eye to observe the decay of space? I guess to us it is a constant sty but for most citizens, it is just a recurrent but punctual conjunctivitis. Older generations often complain about the cities decline but it is mostly in nostalgic terms. Cheap décor is the plague. Gyproc condos. Although Koolhaas’ ”Notes to architects” in Junkspace reminds me that a lot of architects are part of it, almost embracing it.

(Koolhaas’ metaphors are sometimes delicious. Postmodernism bashing is a ton of fun to read.)

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The Generic City

Please post your comments  on Koolhaas’ texts – The Generic City,  Atlanta and Junkspace – here by the morning of the 17th.

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This notion of « terrain vague » is interesting for me in a way that it is closely linked to my previous subject of investigation on the ABC-MTL exhibition. As showed in my analysis, those empty spaces, are a major point of importance in the inhabitant’s lifes. It a focal point of meeting for shared public activities and therefore, become improvised public spaces that have a major role to play in the community building process.

In the text “Transurbance”, I specially enjoyed the metaphorical representation of those interruptions and unbuilted zones that the author does, firstly using the image of an « archipelago of islands in an open sea » and further on, making reference to « a sort of leopard-skin with empty spots inside the constructed city and full spots in the  middle of the country side».

We can clearly observe these sporadic « voids » in Mama Rosa movie. Indeed, most of the movie take part in an undefined historical area in the middle of the built settlements which somehow become a strong case study for the representation of the dwellers everyday lifes.

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This notion of « terrain vague » is interesting for me in a way that it is closely linked to my previous subject of investigation on the ABC-MTL exhibition. As showed in my analysis, those empty spaces, are a major point of importance in the inhabitant’s lifes. It a focal point of meeting for shared public activities and therefore, become improvised public spaces that have a major role to play in the community building process.

In “Transurbance”, I  specially enjoyed the metaphorical representation of those interruptions and unbuilted zone that Carreri does, firstly using the image of an « archipelago of islands in an open sea » and further on, making reference to « a sort of leopard-skin with empty spots inside the constructed city and full spots in the  middle of the country side».

We can clearly observe these sporadic « voids » in Mama Rosa movie. Indeed, most of the movie take part in an undefined historical area in the middle of the built settlements which somehow become a strong case study for the representation of the dwellers everyday lifes.

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Terrain Vague Montreal – link

Worth looking at before next Monday’s session:

http://roerichproject.artefati.ca/emergence/terrain-vague/
http://roerichproject.artefati.ca/

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Terrain Vague (and Pasolini’s Rome)

Please post your comments regarding Ignasi Solà Morales’ Terrain Vague and Francesco Careris’s Transurbance texts for Monday’s session here.

After our round-table discussion during the first half of our session, guest speaker Luca Caminati will be discussing the notion of terrain vague in Pasolini’s Mamma Roma (1962). Previous viewing of the film and  Chapter 5 of John David Rhodes’ Stupendous Miserable City are required.

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Sunshine or Noir

Having lived in the City of Angels and gone through architecture school in the 80’s I can attest to the readings. Benham’s interpretation of LA and its four ecologies reminded me of my fetishism with LA. Coming to the city as a foreign student I had known LA, way before I ever stepped into its magic and wonder.  I remember my bewilderment soon turned into confusion, as everything that I associated with a traditional city was not present in LA. What Betsky refers to, as Public space is a place where many activities overlap: rich confusion, commerce, seduction, and filth. Public space work not as a design element, but is instead carved out by wheeling and dealing, crossroads, and the chances at freedom, where a person emerges from shadows into light that grows into the ever-extending space of public gathering and demonstration, and seeps into every open pore of the city.  I was disoriented by its scale and speed – from its vast freeways to its glamour and glitz that came alive at sunset (driving on PCH). Soon, I was also inducted into its lifestyle – driving alone to SCIARC, those long hours (even when the distance was short) I found a new kind of independence that I began to cherish.

The polemics at school was about modernism and post-modernism – social context was never talked about much. Infact one of the studio projects was about Bunker Hill Redevelopment that Davis talks about. Formalism was all that mattered  – It was a historical moment. In retrospect, I can attest to the fact that everyone those days was obsessed by the notion of  Los Angeles as a spectacular city.  Innovation was in the air – a promise of a city created by contemporary materials and new forms by its (to-be) star-architects Gehry, Mayne, Moss and others.

The city’s spectacle – its imagery consumed and subsumed everyone for the next few decades whose affects the invisible Anglicans are still reaping in the shadows of fetishism and capitalistic greed. Debord’s concept of spectacle is still beyond dispute – in our passivity we have sidelined the city’s invisibles and our urban environments testify to that in all major cosmopolitan cities of the world.

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