Monday, May 24, 2010

Fascist Architecture or Ambiguous Architecture?

Some things in my industry never cease to amaze me. The driving need to FORCE people to live in an environment that is NOT desired is one of those things that I just cannot grasp. I simply cannot figure out why architects seem to want to practice the dictatorial control over the way that people live. While we actually debated this concept many times in school, how architects can change behavior, I always thought that we were attacking that problem by imposing our own personal concepts upon our clients, instead of satisfying the individual needs of those clients.

The top photo is of Pruitt-Igoe, a government subsidized housing complex in St. Louis. It was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the same dude that did the World Trade Center. Mile High Pixie posted about this housing complex last June and to this day, folks are still commenting on her post. Check it out.

The second photo is a concept by Shelter Architecture called Bearden Place. In the article, they hit every single current talking point. Sustainable, affordable, passive building, you name it, they hit upon every little buzzword in the article. And just like Pruitt-Igoe, this planned development is hideous. And just look at Mr. Bespectacled Sweater Vest strolling the grounds!!!

Even though the two housing projects are vastly different in their appearance, P-I is very ambiguous looking, where the windows make the thick-fingered, clunky looking buildings appear lighter, and B-P has very few windows and becomes basically a highboy with drawers sliding out of it, they are very much the same in their delivery.

In a word, UNLIVABLE.

While talking to The Old Ball and Chain this morning, I realized one of the many, many reasons that I think developments like this fail, CONTRADICTION.

I guess you could break designers into two camps, one would be the folks that think they are creating ART, and the other would think that they are creating SPACE. Yes, I realize that there are plenty of different ways to divide the architectural profession, but this way seems to make the most sense to me.

These types of developments satisfy NEITHER camp. In other words, they are failures from the jump because they ignore the primary reason for building, protection or security. This protection can be from weather, from crime, or from NOISE. To satisfy this very basic requirement, you simply cannot shoehorn folks into a block of multi-family housing. Sorry, it is just not feasible unless the spacial requirements demand it. But, then again, I have never understood why four million people would want to live on a very small island, either.

There is another drawback to developments like this. Illustrated perfectly from a comment on Pixie's post:
The architect's intention was to promote interaction and more socializing within those open 'galleries' for the residents who lived there; not as a cost saving measure. What all of these buildings lacked a strong resident manager for each unit who could keep tight control of who belonged there and who did not.

This statement tells me everything that I need to know about the reasons for developing something as inhumane as a Pruitt-Igoe or a Bearden Place, SLAVERY. And you can delve as deeply into the theory as you want, but the bottom line is dictatorial control of the SHEEPLE who live there. The basic philosophical ideology of tenements ignores the individuality necessary for successful living. You SURRENDER your individuality for the "greater good of all." Of course, the greater good ALWAYS reduces the best to the level of the worst.

Herein lies our lesson for today. To have success in ANY society, be it Pruitt-Igoe or Nebrastenntuckysaw, you simply must have the capacity for everyone to get RICH. When you limit individuals to the pinnacle of every other person, the only thing that you promote is failure. And I am NOT going to like everyone that I meet. Certainly I do not want to be FORCED to see them every day and have to interact with them. Losers exist and they affect everything that we see, touch, think, and feel.

And then Barry Obama becomes president.

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Anonymous said...

You sound like that libertarian nerd Rand Paul! Except that coward is backtracking, I bet he is in favor of social security and medicare/medicaid now....he is the typical coward politician, no principles. (EXTREMISM IN THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS NO VICE!!...he tries to be like BG but doesn't have the balls to go all the way, because in the end he is just a politician that wants what they all want...POWER)

But back to your post topic, what is wrong with control? By staying within the 'rules' of society aren't people already behaving like slaves??? The overseers (police, FBI thugs, DHS thugs, building/code inspectors, IRS, judges, and national guard) are in place to hold you in check. What I am getting at is shouldn't gov't be composed of self organizing communities instead of what the world has now, where thugs at the top control your life? I am looking for increasing the size of the carrot instead of having a stick.

So if your tolerating the present situation are you not then a slave?
I can admit my involvement in this trade, and accept that I am a slave because I allow them to keep me within the 'rules' and I internalize this by keeping myself in check when they are not looking. Can you say any different? Or am I incorrectly analyzing something, because I see a contradiction between rules and freedom (how can you have 'freedom' when you have 'rules').


Anonymous said...

Also, isn't chaos the logical conclusion of ever increasing freedom?


Paul Mitchell said...

Roderick, I actually said this a couple of days ago, "I have no need for any laws." The reason that I can say that without any hesitation is because I only want what I earn. To achieve this, I can only do business with people that choose to deal with me, no man can be forced to deal with me. This is the FIRST tenet that is necessary for civilization to succeed. Our country's government does everything that they possibly can to make freedom and liberty impossible.

Rand Paul chickened out with the Meet the Press appearance. He could have used a live television format to let everyone know the truth of his opinion of the Civil Rights Act. But, instead, he is retreating from making his election a referendum on the Obamoron and instead he is basically shooting himself in the stomach. Everyone knows that the liberals and Paul's Democrat opponent are going to play those soundbytes again and again.

There comes a time in life when there are certain thresholds you SHOULD cross to discuss those issues. NOW IS THAT TIME.

MUD said...

Paul, I don't think that any society has room for everyone to be rich. What we do need is that if you are willing to get an education, work hard you can be rich if you want. When we started to put everyone in the same house and make everyone equal that things started to break down. I want to at least look like I am richer than the next guy even if I am not. (Ha, I am) I saw a bunch of houses built out of metal shipping containers. It was cheap, sound but in the end it looked like a pile of shipping containers that even rats couldn't be proud of. Oh well, MUD

Paul Mitchell said...

MUD, I do believe that all societies have room for everyone to get rich, there are just some folks that do not have the ambition to accomplish that feat. And I do agree that a forced "equality" makes everyone equally poor.

Not all of those shipping container houses suck though most do.