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Los Angeles



Nonprolil Organization








Jennifer Siegal end Todd Erlandson document the collage 01 pre -Ia bricated paris in II Mexican village all Highway 1. Grahame Shane critique s the Koolhalls show al MoMA IS an essay on the problem of dispersion, the media, architecture and the metropolis . Peter Samarin explores the operations of II computer program 85 a new 581 of conventions for the creation of archilecturallorm.



The Rem Koolhaas show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York pointed to one of the key problematics of the post·Modern city, which is half fused with media

tural Association thesis of 1971, the unpublished work on the Russian Constructivists or the appreciation of Luna Park and Harrison and Abramowitz in Delirious New York (1978). In Koe:lhaas's pioneering work the image of the city became an important visual commodity, a promotional tool ironically derived from Surrealism. At MoMA Koolhaas began with an extraordinary reading of the section of New York City as an automatic image

hyperspace and advertising simulacra. Like many of his

machine, tracking its media/publicity dimensions in a

generation, Koolhaas had intuitively understood the public relations dimension of the modernist urban project, long before the current scholarly interest in the rhetorical and staged aspects of Le Corbusier's archj. tecture and urbanism. This surrealist reading of the city image inspired much of the research for his Architec·

not·so-random, but wandering approach to the exhibit. This sectional exploration and its dissonant simulacra are a key to Koolhaas's urban projects, which were presented on a landing outside the Architecture Gal· lery. These urban projects anempt to poetically manipulate the repertoire of " Exquisite Corpses " that

"Beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing·machine and an umbrella on the dissectinrrtable Lautreamont N

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Often personal expression and invention w ill find their architectural place not in the world of economic affluence, bureaucracy and codes, but in Rudofsky's world of architecture without architects. The beauty of Rudofskys' observations lies in the natural evolution of built form. We respond visceraUy to these houses or communal environments because they have an inherent texture and relationship to the dweller that most recent residential cor.structions fail to achieve. Buildings that evolve over lime in an accretive manner excite us. Our nostalgic appetite is whetted by an Architecture with this frayed and timeless quality. These buildings are rich in memory. understanding and creativity. Their builders take pieces apan, rethink and reuse them. and pay homage to prior or previous ideas through overlapping. successive layers of resolution. ÂŤBy realizing one's immediate needs. by combining ad hoc pans, the individual creates. sustains and transcends oneself. Shaping the local environmem towards desired ends is a key to mental health; the present environment, blank and unresponsive. is a key to idiocy and brainwr.shing . .. Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver The strength of adhocism pre sents itself as a method for creating spaces in which immediate results are attained. One selects from resources directly available, and begins to describe an environment which is personal, aniculale and subconscious.



A layperson, when building, re lies heavily on observation of the immediate environment, on memories, and on available materials. In this architecture, design and cons truction develop through incremental evolution. The singular permanent solution is replaced at different instances through resolution at a variety of levels. In Baja. M exico. travel south on Route 1; mile marker .73 indicates Campo Rivera. where the unschooled yet fanciful ad hoc village is nestled. Similar to the conven tional trailer park, each compound stakes out an individual plot, here in arid desen terrai n. The Airstream tra iler is the primary keystone tor these land plots. This wagon gives rise to a train of disparate parts. through an ingenious and adaptive use/reuse of materials. The given programmatic modules are those of the trailer, the addition. the outhouse and the \~ater tank. These are never deviated from. and represent the constants among the variable elements of the camp. This is the primary datum of each construction . Inventiveness comes through the manipulation of the modules, while maintaining individual identity using a limited palette of components and materials.

5 han e continued ' rom pagtJ 7 HAkhemy, unlike true chemistry, depended on retention of the allegorical fTlfJ8ning of its ingredients, purporting to achieve results by fTlfJ8ns of mixture, rather than a compound. These spaces, which do not surrender to the order of a system, nevertheless interlock. and in so doing produce a mutual effect. H Craig HodgeNs + MinQ Fung

A t every level, the concept and reality of the construction component is evident. This represents the secondary. The typical 4'x8' sheet of plywood, the 8', 10' and 12' framing module, t he sliding aluminum window unit, the sheet of corrugated f iberglass; all are treated as found and distinct objects. The standard or common is rethought by the builder, using it here in an uncommon or atypical way. The tertiary of each construction is found in its multi-layered deviations. Each specif ic part is situated almost as one would place t he missing piece to a jigsaw puule. As a Japanese craftsperson might hold a stone for hours, contemplating its individual niche, creativity comes through the orchestration of elements within the essential framework and as a final, additive finish layer. Eech point of design and construction represents a new beginning. Here the absolute ceases to have relevance: the given form is manipulated time and again, continually approaching t he totality of its associated beauty. The whole is greater than the sum of its ad hoc parts.

inhabit the post-Modern city-r egion, strange combinations of low density new towns, highly concentrated urban theme parks and massive shopping malls/office parks attached to highways. This imagist, ~Musee Imaginaire" collage approach confronts its own paradoxical limitations in the HBigN 3 architectural projects displayed at the core of the exhibit in the inner sanctum of the MoMA Architecture Gallery.

SURREALISM , ARCHITECTURE AND PUBLICITY The section of the city had a peculiar importance for the Surrealists since it cut behind bourgeois facades and revealed hidden interiors, buried canals of unseen services, providing poin ters to the repressed, collective unconscious. of the city. Through the section amazing and grotesque juxtapositions could be mapped, splendid opulence could be shown floating on a surface 01 abject poverty and filth (the Surrealists loved to tour the Parisian slaughter-houses and sewers). Normal codings could be reversed and thrown into question. At the MoMA installation Koolhaas's subversion began w ith the placement of a long incendiary text in the subway exit of 666 Fifth Avenue, under the street across from the museum, perhaps 100 feet below the exhibit. The text was pan of Koolhaas's forthcoming volume Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large, a witty and nostalgic poem to the global economy, traditional. standardized mass productiOn, sprawling suburbs, t he "generic city " of the new post-M odern city-region and its alleged new center, the giant international airpon Iwhy only one?). The neat black monotype was anfully designed to avoid doors, knobs and mullions in the windows of a large empty store, a victim of the prolonged recession in New York.'s economy .. Reeling from the underground assault, the museum visitors could pick. up the sectionallrail again at nearby newsstands in the styling, fashion and women's magazines w ith interviews given by the architect. At street level, telephone booths carried further pa ssionate messages from S.,M.,l., Xl. spotted by the A.I.A:s Oculus correspondent. Philip Johnson is said to have chuckled as he paused before the monotype posters tastefully announcing the ephemeral nature of the city on nearby street hoardings. These hoardings stand in front of the derelict townhouses to be demolished for a museum extension (they are posted above the cardboard boxes in which homeless people sleep on the street). Once inside the museum the messages continued. Ascending the escalators, the visi tor could look. down at a model of an elegant suburba n house design with a rooftop swimming pool (positioned w here Koolhaas's and Kallhoff 's model of Leonidov's enormous Palace of Heavy Industry project had been displayed in the Deconstructivist showl. At the top of the escalators on the foyer landing Koolhaas's voice could be heard talking about his Lille Project on a publicity videotape. The Architecture Gallery itself was filled with standard, cheaply made New York bus shelters whose large iliumil"lBted panels displayed four projects in place of the usual commercials. This surreal transposition, bringing the street f urniture from the city into the windowless room, faced a blackboard, containing, in the architect's inimitable scrawl, another manifesto lor H 8igness~ in five neo-modernist points, echoing the underground S.,M.,l., Xl. passages.

References Bernard Rudofsky, Architecture Without Architects, New York, Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1965. Craig Hodgetts + Ming Fung Scenarios and Spaces (forthcoming book). New York, Rizzoli, 1995. Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver, Adhocism: The Case for Improvisa tion New York, Doubleday & Co., 1972.

Jennifer Siagaland Todd Erlandson practice architecture in Los Angeles and teach design at Woodbury University.

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BINARY FORMATIONS PETER SAMARIN The process by which architectural 'OI'm! are imagined generally involves deeply imbedded relationships between the mind, Ihe hands and a repertoire of preferred tools Ihat are highly resistant to reeKaminalion. These relationships, more Ihan anything else, define the parameters within which we allow forms to

be created. The profession 01 architecture has slowly, but finally, acknowledged the importance of computers in the office. The machine is accepted 8S a tool that creates enormous efficiencies in calculations as well 8S in the repetitive tasks involved in the

production of construction documents. The implications that the presence of a brain with such highly expanded mathematical capabilities could have 8t the earliest stages of the design process - at that point where form is first conceivttd - have been only minimally underslood Of taken advantage of. Whal if archilects understood more clearly the underlying assumptions behind Pfogram languages and could demand of them a tool to rethink the standardized constructions most computer路savvy architects lend to employ? Funher. what if architects sUflendered their own prejudices to the highly advanced capabilities of the computer to understand mathematically complex relationships that are simply too time COfIsuming fOf the human mind to wort outfOfms, in fact. that the limits of our own language have prohibited us from imagining7 This wortc: by Peter Samarin explores a realm beyond the sketch or the malerial model. in


which the tools 01 the computer program - in this case Alias, a program developed for industrial design and animation purposes - provide the possibilities, set the parameters and determine the constraints of a methodology lor the construction of architectural form . Samarin conceived of the topography of the project. sited at the eastern terminus of the Century freeway, as a rflCO(ding of the events that have occurred on the site. AQllinst a grid of the standard house lot size, " intefluptjons ~ were recorded - the carving 01 the 605 freeway. the channelization of the San Gabriel River and the future (al the time of this workl Century freeway by assigning curvatures and elevations to each. This process of building the site in the computer established a working vocabulary of curves that Samarin could then experiment with in the construction of form . Four such curves, joined into a perimeter line. outlined the edge of a proposed shape. By interpolating between these four curves. the



computer was able to construct a wireframe structure of the surface in three-dimensional space . Samarin utilized four specific construction operations in the creation 01 his series of surfaces. In bi-rsif consltuCtion two opposite edges are defined that differ from one another - although the second might be a result of manipulations and deformations applied to the first - and the other pair of edges are defined as identical. The strUCture is an interpolation between the two different curves that is extruded along the lines of the two identical curves. In contrast, swept surface construction is able to interpolate a surface between four distinct curved edges. In square surface construction two faces of a cube are interpolated and the side edges are then defined in order to create a space- enclosing framework. . Finally, there is an extrusion process in which one shape is extruded along the path of another, resulting in a genuine hybrid of two forms . This process is probably the most mathemati-

cally intense of the four operations, and the one able to generate complex forms beyond the ability of the designer to visualize. In each of these operations there are a number of opportunities for the designer to intervene and manipulate the form in order to alter the outcome. As the computer interpolates betwen the edges of the form a single curve, or a ponion of thai C1Jrve, can be faVOfed over others to alter the resulting surface structure. Once the surface is defined, it is infinitely malleable, as it would be in other modeling programs. In some ways, Samarin explains, the process was a little like putting your hands to work inside of a black box. The wireframe structure, at this point. was still a mathematical abstraction: the creation was in fact a two-dimensional projection of an object that had only just been constructed and not yet seen. With the application of a surface layer and lighting effects, views 01 the form could be generaled using


Alias's animation capabitities, and the constructed surface could then be studied as a three-dimensional object. A similar sequence was created from the topographic information. allowing for a series of views through the constructed site. In a project such as this, the uniQueness of the computer has begun to be recognized: it is a tool thai carries with it its own intelligence. along with its own methodologies and sets of constraints. The result of setting aside more fam iliar and more static instruments and opening up the design process 10 the computer's potential is this compelling set of images. -Chava Danielson

Peter Samarin is trained as an architect and is currently working in interactive multimedis.



5 han e continlJ6s from piffle 3 Koolhaas employed his thread of publicity as a narrative promenade woven through the section of the city up into the museum, in a gesture which attempted to recoup an avant-garde impulse of the Situationalist's random ~ derive ~ or - drift. ~ long lost to manipulative commercial art and the advertising industry. The museum itself would never have employed such blatant propaganda techniques in its early drive for modern art and modernism. This mission has changed during the 1980's as the earlier educational drive for modernism fell away and the Post-modern, entert2inment. mall-like aspects of art consumption were amplified in the Caesar Petti redesign of the facil ities for a new commercialism. The abandonment of the didactic, model-filled room of projects by canonical European, modern, dead white architects (single projects by Mies, Le Corbusior, Aatlo, the mummified model of Falling Water etc.) followed the larger shift in the museum towards cont emporary work with corporate and wealthy individual sponsors. The evacuation 01 the canonical models left a void in the Architecture Gallery which occasioned the initial publicity events of the Koolhaas show. Bernard Tschumi came to be the first contemporary architect eXhibited, mysteriously beating the Dutchman to the post as he had done at Parc de la Villene. Herbert Muschamp, the architecture critic of the New York Times; amplified this rivalry by his negative review of Tschumi's show , positioning himself clearly in favor of Koolhaas. Shortly before the opening of his own show Koolhaas scored another publicity coup at t~,e Times, a young reporter enthusiastically described the details of the architect's lifestyle in the -Living- Section. In the end, Muschamp's final review 01 Koolhaas was surprisingly cool, it appeared on a Friday and did not connect with the - B ig~ drive of the show, discoursing instead for half its length about the abstract, formal problem of placing a spiral in a cube (Muschamp preferred Peter Eisenman's tiny show on urban archaeology at the C.C.A. in Montreal. giving it the premier slot on the Sunday after Koolhaas 's opening).

THE SURREALIST SECTION AND THE LAYERS OF THE POSTMODERN CITY The approach to the exhibition, wandering through the city section and city media, gave a clue to the organizational layering of flows and the architect' s informational, imagistic vision of the city, Arriving at the landing at the top of the escalators in the foyer to the Architecture GaUery, with the crop-dusting helicopter permanently suspended overhead, Koothaas's video presentation reinforced this emphasis. He enthusiastically argued that the space-time compression flowing along the lines of the T. G.V.'s 180 m .p.h. tra'ns would provide the momentum to lift the decaying textile town of Lille into the fanks of the best office parks of twenty-first century Europe. A vast model of the new complex stood closeby the monitor, showing the old railway station and Jean Nouvel's triangular shopping mall, which was linked to the T.G.V, station, positioned beside the highway System, surrounded by an enormous linear parking garage and straddled by a series of office buildings commissioned from a variety of architects. In the background loomed Koolhaas's Congress Expo !Exhibt. tion Hall-Conveotion Center), an enormous OYBI building located beside the highway and seen speeding by as an indistinct blur outside the architect's Masserati windshield. To judge by the photos in Anyt9 (October 1994, pp. 24-(0), surrealist sectional magic was assured in the parabOlic, concrete, dished roof ~ garden ~ of the vast CongrExpo building. Here the captured skyline and unusual roofscape may offer a rare and welcome respite from the circus of flows below. The delicacy of the Surrealist' s relationship with advertising and commercial marketing becomes clear in Koolhaas's delight in describing the marketing convention of Mazda salesmen in the CongrExpo building. Here hundreds of new cars and dealers could be united on stage. The architect's enthusiam accentuated the ability of the building to host

publicity events on a vast scale and manipulate time in staged simulacra, commercial urban spectacles and media circuses. The merging of Surrealism and advertising in mass marketing becomes explicit, w ith architecture as its largely uncritical facilitator and handmaiden, These new, interior, urban media spaces are places of space-time compression mapped in the network of larger global communication, marketing and transpoftation flows. These internalized spaces attempt to concen trate vast new mass meetings and hyper-real publicity events, but have almost nothing to do with the traditional city, beside whose decontextualized corpse they are sited. Their creation is also dependendent on International capital flows, in this case manipulated by the state to create a suitable real-estate package, set within a larger city-region, For Koolhaas these interior spaces are crucial components in defining the image of the postModern city. Interior sectional revelation of surreal juxtapositions lorm the basis of Koolhaas's urban image making in a collage of ready路made elements. Koolhaas's voice-over on the video emphasized Lille's new center as the interior, self referential sectional excitement of the ~ E space-Piranesian. ~ connecting to the T.G.V. Here his surrealist sectional predilictions came clearly into focus. A monster, muttHevel pedestrian interchange hall was dissec ted by escalators and overlooked by the highway, linking visually to the trains. Sectional transparency transforms urban transportation flows into a spectacle, hopefully very different from the utterly banal, state sponsored panopticon in the circular central space of the old Charles De Gaulle Airport outside Paris. His image of hyper-concerltration, although greatly miniaturized for the small provincial town, echoed his heroes 01 the oil-rich Rockefeller dynasty, who planned the New York Rockefeller Center in the 1920's and 1930's. This real-estate venture and public relations toffort (10 cleanse their name aher press revela tions of their unscrupulous business methods) was an economic and urban disaster according to Robert Fitch in The Assassination of New York (1994). The construction of EuroUlle demonstrated Koolhaas's skill in this tradition of urban image making, moving Lille into the post-Modern commercial realm, employing largely interior, sectional, urban spaces and manipulations of the city skyline to project a positive and dynamic future . While Koolhaas 's vocal commentary for hyper-congestion at Lille filled the foyer landing, the neighboring Melun-Senart project offered silent visual testimony of the compJimentary city-media argument for dispersal. Using the ~Exquisite Corpse" technique, the random distributions of the city section could be replicated in plan. Surrealists had passed a piece of paper around a table, each filling a space and folding the sheet to hide their contribution. creating a collective effort, the - ExQusite Corpse, ~ which would break the dominance of a single, centralized authorial voice. Chance juxtapositions would be assured, potentially revealing another glimpse into the repressed unconscious. At Melun-Saner! the energy flows of the postModern city are woven across the landscape using a variation on Ian McHarg's ecological analysis of landsc'apes in combination with the ~ E xQuisite Corpse~ random, collage technique, Koolhaas produced the city plan through a process of subtraction. Some landscapes were safeguarded for their agricultural, aesthetic or recreational value, as positive regional images which would enrich the city-media experience. Other territories were avoided as negative fieldS which would detract from the city-im&ge, because they were polluted by negative environmental impacts, such as highway noise, noisy airpOrt runway approaches, industrial wastes or electromagnetic energy from high tension wires. Diagrams presented the new town sectors as four distincllayers of attroction ond repulsion which created a composi te tartan of cellular activity and nodal points of interaction. The large, beautiful model mounted high on the foyer's long wall glistened with copper inserts, bright colors and nonstandard elements symbolizing the variety of built environments and their interpenetration. like the British newtown MiltonKeynes of the 1970's, the Melun-Senan plan romantt. cally mimicked the standard logic of dispersed, American. tract development in Edge Cities producing


diverse, widely segregated pockets of urban imagery and investment (Koolhaas had studied Atlanta's growth). The final model on the foyer landing brought together the themes of sectional space-time compression in the center and the peripheral, - Exquisite Corpse~ layering of surreal plan analysis into one project. The project for Yokohama developed the logic of American multi-functional regional malls, whose parking lots house the cars of office workers, shoppers and cinema goers in shifts throughout the day (as at the Galleria complex in Houston). The Yokohama plan proposed a multi路functional city--center based on the car parks of an early morning fish market. The city路media image was accelerated to shift from early morning market to daytime shopping center and office park, to night club district in the evening. Functitlns were again woven in bands. this time in three dimensions around highway ramps and car park structures, producing a matrix of dense urban uses tightly programmed around the clock. The perspex model of this project. illuminated by different colored flashing lights. perhaps to represe nt different uses at different times, presented an image of accelerated flows and transparent connections as the post'Modem city m..utated hourly in section. City-media here took on the problem of the ephemeral. accelerated, compressed, sour,d-t/i tEj; quality of the architectural and urban image in the post-Modern City, as the prelude to the visitor's entrance into the inner sanctum of the Architecture Gallery.

THE LIMITS OF SURREALISM AND THE VERTICAL PROJECTS After all thiS public foreplay with tentacles stretching down into the subway, arrival at the inner sanctum was somewhat anti--climactic. A blue-gray light suffused the room , reflected from the gallery walls, which were plastered with mottled gray drawings, reminiscent of construction bluelines. These drawings, mounted directly on the walls like fly-posters for rock bands on New York streets, referred to the bus shelter directly in front of them. Amongst the matrix of bus shelters stood often enormous models mounted on big bases to raise them to eye level, each shimmering perspex cube almost rivaling the black mass of the shelter. The walls _re strangely uninviting. The blue-gray light reflected off the walts conspired to make the gallery feel underlil. anowing the illuminated poster panels on the bus

O.M.A./Rem Koo/haas Zentrum fur Kunst und Medienrechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany, 1991 .

O.M.A/Koolhaas Urban Ring, Yokohama, Japan, 1992.

shel ters to dominate. along with slides projected onto the building facades of the modelfOf the Kahlsruhe Center For Art and Media Technology. The facade of this building thus became the central locus. an immate· rial. constantly changing flow 01 information and images projected on a vast. urban billboard by a suspended. constantly clicking Kodak Carousel slide prOJector. A large blackboard mounted floor to ceiling on the wall to the lelt of the entrance announced the logic of the Vertical Projects in the Gallery. contribut~ ing to a dark, penumbral. slightly funereal ieel of the room. Unlike Tschumi's brightly.lit, suspended, free floating installations. the buildings were displayed in a very static manner like dinosaurs' bones in vast cases. Koolhaas's handwritten text on the blackboard provided further grist to the city·media machine, re-echoing the theme of Bigness first broached in the subway perhaps 100 feet below. The blackboard urges that.

· Bigness does not seem to deserve a manifesto; discredited as an intellectual problem. it ;s apparently on its way to extinction .... throvgh clumsiness, slowness, inflexibity, difficulry. But in fact, only Bigness instigates the r69ime of complexity that mobilizes the full intelligence of architecture and its related fields .• Bigness in addition has the virtues of disrupting the scale considerations of classical canons. allowing the free play of modern machines and totally decontextualizing the architectural object (like conven~ tion centers, sports stadia and mega-malls). The Venical Projects further developed the logic of Lille and Yokohama. "Big" buildings were cities in themselves. the modernists' dream of the ocean liner as self-contained community. detatched from place. mobile and decontextualized. The ambition of the Vertical Projects. as at Yokohama. was to encapsulate and replicate the life of the city within one single building envelope or enclave, providing for a shitting and changing use throughout the day and over time. Sectional and plan juxtapositions derived from the Surrealists would be engineered to give an appearance of diverSity and difference. despite the enormous unifying effOlt which concentrated regional, even national and international flows in one space. These buildings became tOlal, parallel worlds, a self-feferential hyper-space, like the Surrealist's ~ Musee Imaginaire"a largely unconscious, collective memory device or image bank which conditioned behaviour for those within its conlines . The bland exterior lacades of the Vertical Projects were intended as blank boxes. masking the variety of interior life where flows would be articulated on ramps against fixed. functional uses

contained in sculpted boxes (like miniature, interior cubic versions of Ihe Ofganization 01 Tatlln's Tower. the Constructivist's Monument 10 the Third International). The effects of media played a small role in these projects, which relied instead on a relatively conven· tional vocabulary of modernist. luncllOnal articulations to creale Ihe urban imagery of congestion, llows and activity. The "Espace Piranesian" olUlle proved prototypical in this sell-feferenlial effect, as in its emphasis on the spectacle of mass circulation and enormous scale. The sectional organization and plan juxtapositions of the tiny, blJilt, Rotterdam Kunsthal demonstrated in miniature the promised vinues of the other jumbo-sized projects in the Gallery. Each plan cell contains one funclion, one image. In section the project is like a splil level ranch, connecting to the surrounding park on the lower level and highway on the upper leve!. A central fire Safely box contains a iairly steep ramp connecting the levels and forming one cross axis. A service road passes through on the lower level parallel with Ihe highway forming the other cross axis. The exhibition hall and auditorium are located in cells on eilher side of the ramp and step up in section to avoid Ihe service road. The gallery is conventionally litlrom plate glass windows, while the auditorium contains many nice lighting devices and small scale Slructural dispiays-animating the interior surfaces as in the earlier Netherlands Dance Theater. As in that theater. a cafe is hidden under the slope of the auditorium floor in a beautilul. cryPt-like space. lit by artificial light. The venical fire-safety service core .s extended onto the roof 10 carry a billboard and projection screen Visible trom the highway. The sequence ot larger Vertical Projects appeared to propose both larger boxed partitions and a more dynamic interplay between partitions and ramps in plan. In each prOlect Koolhaas rapidly proceeds to try to break down these monster programs into intelligible distinct cells with dlSlinct images, set within the secure perimeter of the cubic enclave. The huge model of the Tres Grand Bibliotheque 011989 nicely illustrated this strategy wilh its plaster-caSI white programmatic elements distribuled like sculpted organs throughout the section of the vast building. As at Yokohama, each plaster-cast cell contained its own distinct program and image, this time vertically layered inside the grid of Maison Domino-like library sta cks. with elevator cores providing the venical connections. The Karlsruhe project appeared to keep Ihe boxed inlerior cell·image partitions of Rotterdam, but With escalatOfs in a separate boxed lone which wandered pasl the vertically stacked panitioned rooms and linked outside to the nearby stalion. As at Rotterdam It was the exterior of the building whICh acted as a publicity billboard, addressing the center of the city on the other side 01 the railway tra cks. In the library for the University of Paris at Jussieu of 1992 the vertical sectional juxtapositions were this time married to a spiraling ramp perhaps inspired by Wright's Guggenheim or Mike Webb's "Sin City" Project 01 the Archigram years (setting off Muschamp's musings). In the Jussieu project the spiral also weaves down through the podium of the miserable, existing monument to French bureaucratic modernism in a surprising attempt to link the sterile dinosaur to ils small·scale historic surrounding neighborhood. The Venical Projects demonstrated the limits of the surrealist impulse as it became imbedded in the logic of the slate bureaucratic apparatus. These wele totally controlled, interior environments very different from the libertarian impulse of the Situationist technique of sectional. narrative "Derive." or the Surrealist techniQues of the " Exquisite Corpse" or Ihe • Musee Imaginaire_" Slowly I began to read Ihe penumbral lighting and funereal tone of the inner sanctum as a typically ironic perfOfmance by Koolhaas, framing the public display of these vast corpses in a temporary graveyard, a suitable resting place for such megalomaniac urban and architectural aberrations of the lale 80's and early 9O·s. The taudry bus shelters, gray walls and apocalyptic blackboard pronouncements reinlorced this impression. In this suggested reading Koolhaas's use 01 subdued lighting and aggressive public relations skills masked a display of self doubt. lacerating his modernist soul in public in the blue-gray


haze 01 the Gallery. before the required arrogant display 01 monumental certainty.

CONCLUSION The Venical Projects also revealad the limitation of the Surrealist critIque. as the projects collapsed over the edge 01 " Bigness" into either a commercial or a political quagmire. The cult of " Bigness " is one of centralization and standardization. once lavored by modernist corporations and symbolically represented by the Rockefellers. It was also beloved by dictators in many ages, rang ing from the Pharcahs to Napoleon. Mussollni, Stalin, Hitler etc. Koolhaas's pre-emptive defensive strikes on the theme of "Bigness" seek to deflect criticism from the weakness of the situation in which he linds himself . The funereal tone ot the inner sanctum was no accident in a period 01 dispersal and miniaturization, cheap CD-ROMs, the World Wide Web and Internet, mass home computer ownership and global communication so crucial to the ~generic" citymedia machine. Paradoxically the two largest Vertical Projects displayed were in a direct line of descent from Ihe megalomaniac schemes of 80ullee for a gigantic Bibliotheque National at the time of the French Revolution. Here all global information would be centralized, ordered by the state and disseminated to the people on a vast scale in a monumental setting. Totalitarian logic distrusted people and relied on a superior central Intelligence to educate and to guide Ihe general population like sheep. uSing terror II necessary. The Surrealis!"s joke 01 the " Musee Imaginalre, " a collecllve imagInative space of random juxtapositions based on the dream work of Freudian analysis, could be adapted to authofl\arian traditions. The cult 01 imagery and hyper·reallty could easily be manipulated to serve politicians and big business. massaging populations via the media to accept new visions 01 society or buy new products. Neither Surrealism nor Modernism was immune from this manipulative impulse. Salavador Oali opted for Franco and the Church, while Aragon and others became Communists despite Stalin. Meanwhile countless advertising agencies have drawn upon Surrealist works . Manfredo Taluri in Architecture and Utopia demon· strated how the utopian and dystopian impulses became integrated into the process 01 capitalist. industrial·state production through the dleam of a cen tral controller, a single controlling imagination or point of view. The integrating element of Koolhaas's surreal theater of operations is precisely the dream 01 controlling the imagination of the controller, through publicity images coordinating state and commercial planning {thus the inventory of ready-made projects devoted 10 post· Modern diversity, malls, ollice parks etc.!. As a media anist the architect seeks control of the urban image. which has become a commodity at play in the marketing strategies of state or private developers attempting to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Koolhaas's tomb to the unbuilt Vertical Projects at MoMA beautifully demonStrateo his awareness of this difficult megalomaniac situation. while simultaneouslv tryng to distance himself. subverting the normal devices of publicity to his own ironic and poetic ends. attempting an impossible demonstration 01 transcendant personal independence.

Grahame Shane reaches at Columbia University in the Urban Design Program . He has published tInicles recently in Casabella 1f597·598 and the DeSign Book Review.

Newsletter, May 1995  
Newsletter, May 1995  

Rem Koolhaas and the Post-Modern City by Grahame Shane, Binary Formations by Peter Samarin, The Alchemy of the AD Hoc by Jennifer Siegal and...