MOSA1 - Rem Koolhaas "Imagining Nothingness"


Rem Koolhaas "Imagining Nothingness" - 1985_...

ISBN-10: 1885254865 // ISBN-13: 9781885254863

Sujet : Imagining nothingness

Auteur : Koolhaas Rem

Diffusion : in S,M,L,XL, 010 Publishers, 1995

Where there’s nothing, everything is possible.
Where there is architecture, nothing (else) is possible.
Who does not feel an acute nostalgia for the types
who could, no more than 15 years ago, condemn
(or was it liberate, after all?) whole areas of alleged
urban desperation, change entire destinies,
speculate seriously on the future with diagrams of
untenable absurdity, leave entire auditoriums
panting over doodles left on the blackboard,
manipulate politicians wirh their savage statistics -
bow ties the only external sign of their madness?
For the time when there were still…thinkers?
Who does not long for that histrionic branch of the profession that leapt like clowns - pathetic yet
courageous - off one cliff after another, hoping to
fly, flapping with inadequate wings, but enjoying at
Jeast the free-fall of pure speculation? Maybe such
nostalgia is not merely a longing for the former
authority of this profession (no one can seriously
believe that architecture has become less
authoritarian) but simply fantasy.
It is ironic that in architecture, May '68 – « under
the pavement, beach » - has been translated only
into more pavement, less beach. Maybe architects'
fanaticism - a myopia that has led them to believe
that architecture is not only the vehicle far all that is
good, but also the expianation for aIl that is bad - is
not merely a professional deformation but a
response to the horror of architecture's opposite,
an instinctive recoil from the void, a fear of
Berlin is a laboratary: its territory is forever defined;
for political reasons it cannot shrink. Yet its
population has declined continuously since the
wall; it follows that fewer people inhabit the same
metropolitan territory, but must maintain its
physical substance. With boldness, it could be
assumed that large areas of the city have ended
up in ruin simply because they are no longer needed.
ln these circumstances, the blanket application of
urban reconstruction may he as futile as keeping
brain-dead patients alive with medical apparatus.
What is necessary instead is to imagine ways in
which density can be maintained without recourse
to substance, intensity without the encombrante of architecture.
ln 1976, during a design seminar/studio led by O.
M. Ungers, a concept was launched with as yet
unrecognized implications: « A Green
Archipelago » proposed a theoretical Berlin whose
future was conceived through two diametrically
opposed actions - the reinforcement of those parts
of the city that deserved it and the destruction of
thase parts that did not. This hypothesis contained
the blueprint for a theory of the European
metropolis; it addressed its central ambiguity: that
many of its historic centers float in larger
metropolitan fields, that the historic facades of the
cities merely mask the pervasive reality of the uncity.
In such a model of urban solid and metropolitan
void, the desire for stability and the need for
instability are no longer incompatible. They can be
pursued as two separate enterprises with invisible
connections. Through the parallel actions of
reconstruction and deconstruction, such a city
becomes an archipelago of architectural islands
floating in a post-architectural landscape of erasure
where what was once city is now a highly charged nothingness.
The kind of coherence that the metropolis can
achieve is not that of a homogeneous, planned
composition. At the most, it can he a system of
fragments. In Europe, the remnant of the historic
core may be one of multiple realities.
In this theoretical Berlin, the green interspaces
form a system of modified, sometimes artificial
nature: suburban zones, parks, woods, hunting
preserves, family lots, agriculture. This "natural"
grid would welcome the full panoply of the
technological age: highways, supermarkets, drivein
theaters, landing strips, the ever-expanding
video universe. Nothingness here would be a
modified Caspar David Friedrich landscape - a
Teutonic forest intersected by Arizona highways; in fact, a Switzerland.
It is a tragedy that planners only plan and
architects only design more architecture. More
important than the design of cities will be the
design of their decay. Only through a revolutionary
process of erasure and the establishment of
« liberty zones; » conceptual Nevadas where all
laws of architecture are suspended, will some of
the inherent tortures of urban Iife - the friction
between program and containment - be suspended.
The most recent additions to the slag heap of
history landed there because their stylistic ugliness
made their true contents invisible; the exploration
and cultivation of nothingness would reveal a
hidden tradition. Some hippies have been here
before: the whole inarticulate horde of sixties
Anglo-Saxon counterculture - the bubbles, domes,
foams, the « birds » of Archigram, the philistine
courage of Cedric Priee. (How bitter to be
rediscovered at the moment that amnesia has
swallowed your own past!)
Imagining Nothingness is :
Pompeii - a city built with the absolute minimum
ofwalls and roofs ...
The Manhattan Grid - there a century before there was a "there" there ...
Central Park - a void that provoked the cliffs that now define it…
Broadacre Ciry ...
The Guggenheim ...
Hilberseimer's "Mid West" with its vast plains of zero-degree architecture ...
The Berlin Wall ...
They all reveal that emptiness in the metropolis is
not empty, that each void can be used for programs whose insertion ioto the existing texture
is a procrustean effort leading to mutilation of bath activity and texture."

Photo fond :

Document lié : Rem_Koolhaas.pdf

Voir aussi :

Groupe thématique : texte

Notions - mots clefs : rem Koolhaas,berlin,nevada,néant

Activités : Texte

Famille : Texte ouvrage et direction d'ouvrage, Concept tous

Échelle : XL

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