Argument (wip)

I’ve started a Table of Contents to help structure my argument:

Table of Contents – Metropolis of Ego

1. City of The Captive Architect

– Re-con

2. City of Manipulated Reality

– Flat-stages showing different view of the Re-con

– What is Real and what is Unreal?

3. City of Confrontation

– Flat stages showing confrontation between Real and Unreal (Yamasaki becomes Xia)

– Boxing

4. City of The Alter-Ego

– Mexican wrestlers fighting for the people vs. The architect fighting for the people

– The mask/alter-ego – Corb vs. El Santo

– Training (conscious choice of career and pseudonym)


At the moment Chapter 1 is still the same text from my Re-con. I’ve made a start on Chapter 2…

Chapter 2: City of Manipulated Reality

The City of Manipulated Reality is dedicated to the drawings and models that we as architects develop in order to best communicate our design. We present our ideas in a format that best displays our design integrity to the client. But by doing so we neglect to consider other conditions and views that become Reality once the project is built.

Our story follows on from The City of The Captive Architect, where at an undefined moment in time we sat curiously watching Yamasaki at his drawing board. On deconstruction of the stage-set it is revealed that our Japanese-American Captive Architect Yamasaki is in fact palayed by an architecture student originally from China. His costume and lines were choreographed purely to strengthen the argument.

Like Yamasaki and his monograph, the stage has been arranged specifically to exhibit the protagonists argument. The stage-set is designed to be viewed straight on, in elevation. In elevation our imagined section of Yamasaki’s plinth is extremely powerful. But if the audience rotate their seats and view the performance from the side, or in section, then the argument fails. The powerful image of “Reality” in the mind is in fact just a void space. Furthermore in place of the drawing board, the gridded city and Yamasaki’s propaganda are just thin sheets of paper and card, obliterating the argument. In section The Captive City ceases to exist.

If we manipulate our view once more to view the stage in plan it becomes immediately clear that the audience sit on the plinth. The ruined plinths and waste paper bin become the argument as the positive propaganda and drawing board are once again distorted into thin sheets of card.  In a sense the script plays backwards.

The directors control on the audience’s view is not dissimilar to the architects manipulation of the client who through a period of time must understand and believe they are in another reality in order to understand the project. Presentation drawings and models are carefully controlled to show the client exactly what the architect wants them to see. We must have self-belief in order for a client to believe in us and so we passionately proliferate the myth of architect as creator and ignore the idea of architect as destroyer. In the publics eye the architect only ever draws plans for construction not deconstruction/demolition. In order to convince the client the architect must hold an absolute belief in his design and in a way the presentation drawings are as much for the architect as the client. In creating these drawings the architect dangerously seduces themselves, and in their absolute belief of their utopian ideals neglect to consider reality.

Pruitt-Igoe was beautifully manipulated at the beginning, clearly demonstrated by the two articles in Architectural Forum. Published 20 years apart the earlier article is undeniably convinced by Yamasaki’s plans, scaled model and renderings, “streets in the sky” looking out over a “River of Trees”. What these constrained images failed to relate are the vast expanses and failure of organisation by the authorities, picked up on in the later article, which only came to light on construction of the towers, contributing to the projects catastrophic failure.

If we analyse the contruct of the stage further we see the Rhino model never intended to be seen, and drawn in order to create the stage-set. A 3D computer model which will at some point inevitably be physically printed in 2D in order to understand and build the stage-set. A Rhino model that has been drawn on the computer that sits on the students drawing board. On the drawing board are also endless flat-stages being used to manipulate the very argument we are discussing now. The forms in which I have deconstructed my own presentation which gave us views that we were never supposed to have of the re-con. The flat-stage blurs theory, drawing, concept are reality to obscure our view of the original Re-Con.

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