[iDC] Cities, Speculation, and the Non-addressable

john sobol john at johnsobol.com
Thu Sep 28 10:47:32 EDT 2006

inventive iconoclastic architects have always enjoyed dreaming up wild 
and crazy building designs that posit some extraordinarily imaginative 
and we respect them for it
and once in a great while one of those designs actually gets built
but unless that architectural flight of fancy also offers genuinely 
useful functional innovations it won't stick, it won't matter in the 
long run
it won't extend beyond the iconic moment to inform the way real people 
actually live here there and everywhere
why are gropius and mies as influential as they are?
because their imaginative leaps were useful as well as (arguably) 
instead of drawing direct links between new technologies and wild new 
architectural forms, we would do better to ask first: what new everyday 
social behaviours are being generated by these technologies? and then: 
what kinds of spaces do these new social behaviours need?
it seems to me that by and large this question receives lip service at 
best from many digitally-oriented architects, who are instead focused 
on how new materials and tools can be formally stretched, and what kind 
of cool apps can be embedded in them 
(often informed by their legitimate need/desire to establish a 
professional reputation for impressive originality)
whereas personally i think that the interstitial architectures of the 
lowly internet café, for example, are as worthy of investigation as the 
grand diagrammatic universes – brilliantly conceptualized and executed 
though they may be – of Asymptote, Lynn et al
and that it is in fact from wi-fi cafés, LAN gaming parlours, living 
rooms and other vernacular hybrid spaces that the influential 
architectural imperatives of the internet age will eventually emerge

bluesology • printopolis • digitopia
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