Lebbeus Woods is one of my biggest inspirations. His Deconstructed© forms were very fashionable when I was in my most impressionable stage of architecture school, so the message was delivered by fashion. But his raw discussion of upheaval and reconciliation through form / space was the real lesson. The unfortunate part is, it turns out very few of us were listening to the message, not just aping the fashion.
Without Woods’s exploration of the possibilities for spaces and constructions to be challenges to hegemony or previous societal ills, I would not have discovered architectural or critical theory – subjects that will forever challenge me to explore and continue learning. I would not have discovered the theoretical polemicists who preceeded him – Superstudio, Archizoom, Archigram, and most importantly (and not coincidentally, his primary influence) the Situationist International.
This article – which uses Mr. Woods as an example of how we have lost our way as a profession due to the influx of capital in the latest boom is pollyannish, because… uhh… Nick, that’s what happens in a boom… People are too busy doing to reflect… But additionally, it’s inspirational and challenging – as is this commentary by Kazys Varnelis.
Please read and contemplate both, and consider YOUR role in how we’ve gone astray, as I am forced to consider my role. All politics are local they say, and I say that all spaces are local – if nowhere else, local to to your mind and psyche, and Lebbeus Woods’s speculative spaces are not excluded by their lack of instantiation.
While this is what we expect from Mr. Varnelis, and prize him for; I applaud the usually vanilla Nicolai Ouroussoff for taking a first move toward some sort of challenge to mere affirmation of the rectitude of the 6 billion-headed-beast that is the current mode of late capitalism that makes us all our own whip-crackers. The journalistic world is without any true voices of dissent in architectural criticism, and it is nice to see him dabble his toes into the deep waters of radicalism. I await the day that he dives in, and am excited for the possibility.
Thanks Nick, thanks Kazys, and most of all – Thank you Lebbeus Woods.
P.S.: This could be the beginning of a renewed voice of dissent. Which means, in the usual self-obsessed terminology of our current mode of production – that my stock will rise. ha HA!