29 d’octubre del 2012

kees christiaanse: 'fuck the programme?'

un article recurrent al taller sobre l'arquitectura en el temps i els conflictes que suposen els canvis d'ús respecte les condicions inicialment previstes. condicions temporals en estat pur.

un artículo recurrente en el taller sobre la arquitectura en el tiempo y los conflictos que suponen los cambios de uso respecto a las condiciones inicialmente previstas. condiciones temporales en estado puro.

"During the presentation of the 'Pakhuizen' project on the Oostelijke Handelskade in Amsterdam, the architect Felix Claus was asked why his design for an apartment block didn't look like an apartment block. 'Because,' he replied, 'I designed a squatted office building.' Around the same time I showed a client around the new building for the Rotterdam Polytechnic and remarked that we had actually made a converted warehouse. This fact inspired the man to commission us to design a building in the form of a spatial - architectonic sculpture, the programme of which could be determined at a later stage. 

(Andy Warhol and Billy Name's Silver Factory, 1962-68)

A converted warehouse is the perfect accommodation for a communications consultancy. So perfect that a new building designed in accordance with a carefully prepared building programme would never have achieved a comparable character and quality. (...) The success of this form of cultural recycling lies not just in the historical component and the location, but also in a strong architectonic character and a certain dimensional grandeur (not to be confused with the naive concept of 'flexibility' which usually results in bland buildings).
Evidently, buildings turn out better when they are not designed for a specific programme, and building and programme are obliged to make radical adjustments to one another. Sometimes this results in an enormous release of energy. Occasionally the building succumbs to the whole process.
The recycling and typologizing of designs is a frequent occurrence in history. As a small boy growing up in Amsterdam South I was firmly convinced that it was possible to see Central Station from De Lairessestraat and later on I discovered that the Rijksmuseum stands on the banks of the IJ. Until well into the 19th century it was quite normal to design city blocks and public buildings as identifiable types while relegating the programme to a subordinate role.
In late May, Rem Koolhaas addressed a gathering of over 1200 people in Berlin and exhibited his winning design for a theatre in Oporto, Portugal. This building is an enlarged version of an earlier design for a house. Koolhaas's 'fuck context' philosophy, as applied to the competition for the Rotterdam Luxor Theatre for which he produced a revised version of his Cardiff opera house design, has evidently been extended to 'fuck the programme'. The man who for twenty years has let programmatic parameters guide his designs has finally arrived at the lobotomy he so beautifully described in Delirious New York.

The day after Koolhaas, Peter Eisenman lectured to fewer than 400 people in Berlin and showed his winning design for a museum at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, a 'morphed-warped' structure. A baseball stadium had been already added and then removed again at the behest of a capricious client. At the design presentation, the mayor of New York had asked: 'What's in it?' 'A museum,' Eisenman replied, 'but do you care?' 'Do I care, what do you mean?' demanded the mayor. 'Do you know Bilbao?' asked Eisenman. 'Yes,' replied the mayor. 'Do you think it matters, whether there is a museum in it, or not?' grinned Eisenman, to which the mayor replied, 'Eh, hm... no!..., ok let's also build a Ball-Buy-O.'

So it's OK to design without a programme. I blush to recall a dispute with Ben van Berkel (all of 10 years ago, incidentally) who responded to my remark that you should have at least three valid reasons for drawing a curve, by subtly informing me that he did not allow his architecture to be constrained by Cartesian motives. He was absolutely right! Nowadays Van Berkel's designs are guided not just by the construction but by many other parameters, including socio-psychological ones that consultants (known as 'pathfinders') feed into computer programs that manage an entire design task. I hope for Van Berkel's sake that his programs contain enough fuzzy logic to equal Nietzsche's fröliche Wissenschaft when it comes to solving complex tasks. At least he can rest easy in the knowledge that his buildings will function even better in their next incarnation.

The person who knew all about this was Kasimir Malevich, who stated that his Architektons had to be conquered by a civilization that merited them. 'Architektons simply exist, without function, built of opaque or transparent glass, concrete, bitumen felt, heated by electricity... everywhere accessible to the occupant who in fine weather is able sit out on its surface.'"
(Kees Christiaanse: "Fuck the programme?", Archis nº 74, 2000, p.40-51)

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