Friday, 26 August 2011

Notes from 'Junkspace' by Rem Koolhaas

Air-conditioning has launched the endless building. If architecture separates buildings, air-conditioning unites them. Air-conditioning has dictated mutant regimes of organisation and coexistence that leave architecture behind. A single shopping centre is now the work of generations of space planners, repairmen and fixers, like in the Middle Ages; air-conditioning sustains our cathedrals.


Junkspace is additive, layered, and lightweight, not articulated in different parts but subdivided, quartered the way a carcass is torn apart - individual chinks severed from a universal condition. There are no walls, only partitions, shimmering membranes frequently covered in mirror or gold. Structure groans invisibly underneath decoration, or worse, has become ornamental; small, shiny, space frames support normal loads or huge means deliver cyclopic burdens to unsuspecting destinations... The arch, once the workhorse of structures, has become the depleted emblem of "community", welcoming an infinity of virtual populations to nonexistent there.


Because it cannot be grasped, Junkspace cannot be remembered. It is flamboyant yet unmemorable, like a screen saver; its refusal to freeze ensures instant amnesia. Junkspace does not pretend to create perfection, only interest. Its geometries are unimaginable, only makable.


The aesthetic is Byzantine, gorgeous, and dark, splintered into thousands of shards, all visible at the same time: a quasi-panoptical universe in which all contents rearrange themselves in split second around the dizzy eye of the beholder.

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