Composing an argument

When spectacles are collected, we designed spaces to exhibit them, to show them off. But more than often, as architects, we cannot stand to have the focus being stolen, so we designed a spectacle to house the spectacles.

Take Tate Modern as an example, do most of the people visit for the art work or the Tate Modern itself?

Pompidu Center was designed with an intension to be flexible, hence able to house various exhibitions and events, but was it the exhibitions that we remembered, or the Pompidu Venter itself?

Did the architect created the gallery with the real intention to compliment the art pieces or to compete with them?


To move this to a city context, if we treat the city as a gallery space and the (ruined) icons as our spectacles we can start to treat the ruins as objects. We can cut the permanent relationship between the ruin and the city, and have them only exhibited in the city for a set period of time before shipping it to another city.

The cities will no longer be recognised by their icons, but rather, the fabric of the cities, their “viewing platforms”.

We will put a clear definition identifying art and architecture. As an iconic architecture had served its use, and fall into ruin, we break it into modules and put into storage for future exhibition. At that point, the ruin cease to be architecture, it will be treated as an art piece. Instead of forcing a new building typology on it, we accept it as an art piece, keeping it purely for its historic and artistic value. This way, we keep the ruins while not having them putting a permanent impact on the future development of the city.

To free the city of its iconic ruins means to open out awareness to the rest of the city. Instead of seeing London as the Tower of London, we see the River Bank that provide the stage set of the spectacles (ruins). Like when we talk about the Saatchi Gallery, we recall the balcony overlooking the exhibition, rather then the exhibition pieces.

For the ruins, when we put them into a different city context, we get to view them in a different culture and begin to see the different sides of them like how we are able to view a painting differently in a different curation.


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