Architects Patrik Schumacher and Mark Foster Gage face off


(dramatic boom) – [Gabriel] Well, good evening. Thank you guys for coming here. It’s a rare occasion for College Station, Texas A&M specifically, to have distinguished guests in the world of architecture, and practitioners of the
realm as you guys are. So we’re hoping that this will
be some kind of a reminder of how things used to be. Let’s say the times of Gore
Vidal and William Buckley Jr. – Buckley, Gore Vidal. – Gore Vidal. (crowd laughs) – [Gabriel] Ah, so this
is gonna be a good fight. No, seriously. You’re both extremely successful, extremely active in different
aspects of the discipline. You both are great communicators, and you’ve both had numerous opportunities in different world forums to discuss, explain, question your ideas. So we would like to attempt
to make this a bit different, and forgive me for using social media as a kind of gossip sort of introduction, I kind of feel like Perez Hilton here, kind of starting something, to start the conversation. But also giving you guys
a chance to explain, to continue some aspects
and comments first in regards to public policy, specifically in the realm of housing, and some controversial things that, you know, Patrik said. And these provocations
started a media frenzy, and diverse opinions like different sort of opinions. These, then, these issues were, to just mention some of them, abolish land use, abolish prescriptive housing standards, abolish all forms of
socially affordable housing, and privatization of public space, to name a few. Patrik, in one of your entries on November 20, 2016, you explained the following on Facebook. “I’ve recently entered the “emotionally charged debate “of the London housing crisis, “with some seemingly outrageous, “callous, and arrogant propositions “triggering epithets like, “this nasty man, “the Donald Trump of architecture. “Where, while I did not
get a lot of moral support, “while I did get a lot of moral support “and encouragement, “especially from those who
witnessed the whole event, “including the Q and A session, “my comments were mostly, “although not exclusively, “met with disbelief and disgust, “sensationalism in search for notoriety. “These gut reactions represent “not only the current
Left-liberal, anti-capitalist, “consensus within our discipline, “a consensus I shared until fairly recent “and which I would like to challenge now, “but are also fueled by the feeling “that my statements offend
a much deeper set of values, “universally shared values and longings “that I do not want to miss nor challenge, “namely, a deep sense of human solidarity, “compassion, and the longing
for a better world for all.” On November 20th, Mark, on 2016, Mark Gage wrote the following. “Oh, Patrik. “I’m so glad you’re solidifying “your right-wing position in architecture “against anyone who does not subscribe “to your glorious monotheistic, “or Monopatrik, Parametric religion.” (crowd laughs) And November 29, Mark also said, “I do commend Patrik for
sticking to his beliefs “and raising the debate
to a very public stage. “I disagree with almost
everything he says, “but discussion should ensue, “and he shouldn’t be so quickly “personally villainized.” So, Patrik, do you want to start, you know, commenting on this? – Can we switch the light on? I’m really, like, in black. Is that possible? – [Gabriel] Yes. So we can, we can raise the lights. – So, I mean, it was a little shocking to be Facebook’s kind of wave of vilification and information and denunciations. Epithets like Fascist, and extremist. So I had to come back to clarify this. Try to clean that. Anybody was entering the public domain out of his own free initiative to discuss issues of agenda, we should at least give the presumption of wanting to contribute to the collective good. That’s what we’re debating. Which has, sort of fundamental tensions to that piece, which should then screw vilification, which then, of course, substitutes for argument. Because it seems, the problem is with our
discourse tradition, that there’s a lot of taboos, a lot of statements that
you can’t touch, seemingly. And start to make loud
without having that baggage. And it also ties into the kind of mono-platforming of speakers, where it’s taken for granted that what the speaker will come up with is unpalatable and belongs to (audio
interference drowns out Patrik). And I felt that as well. And that’s what was a pity. And so I came back with this statement. And so what I’m propositioning is my way to think through the reasons of that housing crisis, politic crisis, which has been widely
played out in London, is a reality in London, it’s politically, but we also saw (audio interference drowns out Patrik) in Austin. Austin, Texas. Surprisingly, Austin has a headliner for the political crisis coming to town. And so my take on this was, that the explanations and recipes got it all upside down. So, I was picking up on a
series of Guardian headlines what it would be, that it was this kind
of rampant capitalism, that the solution is to storm capitalism, to have more state intervention
and more state distribution. My analysis is that they didn’t have enough capitalism. And the lack of freedom, entrepreneurial freedom, and also freedom of choice, with respect to potential
buyers and tenants who are, in a sense, infantalized by kind of state regulatory apparatus, which prevents the market to
work as a discovery process. And it also prevents us
architects to be co-discoverers and co-inventors with developers and entrepreneurs to address these issues, which, are issues in a new historical condition, of urban concentration, which needs new solutions, new ideas, and it can’t be the old land-use plans, the old standards and expectations about density and separation of functions. And the old, kind of, worn out models of state rationing of land resources. So that was my point. The main point was not
to attack social housing, but was to ask for degrees of freedom for those who are
challenged and researching and wanting to address
the new urban condition. And that was what my primary call was for. And I do believe in market process and entrepreneurship, in freedom of choice to explore, and allow entrepreneurs to
use a profit and loss system and it’s signaling of acceptance and less acceptance to tease out the best use of surveys central to sites. And tease out new products, new synergies, et cetera. That was my proposition. I still stand up for it, I’m still unrepentant and reject defamation and ask for argument instead. – [Gabriel] Mark, would
you like to comment? – Sure. Thank you for having me, first of all. It’s been very generous,
Dean Warden and Ward Wells for opening up his house last night, and of course to Gabe, who I’ve known for quite awhile. But this is a great forum to
actually have a discussion and not just throw names around, as happens so quickly on the internet when you don’t really have to stand up for the things you believe in, you just have to say them, right? So I think it’s great that we’re here talking and standing up
for what we believe in. I also got to put in a
shout out for Texas A&M ’cause I’m a big fan of the school, and I’ve hired a lot of
people from this school, I’ve had, my current right-hand man, Ryan Wilson, is a graduate of this school, and he’s great. But Ryan, if you’re watching this, you’re not so great that
you’re gonna get a raise. (crowd laughs) Doin’ good, but don’t get high and mighty. Also, Zach Hoffman is a
graduate of this school, who’s also my right-hand man, and then went to Yale and is now my TA. But I think a great thing
about a university like this, a university with these
kinds of resources, is, as we saw today in
your student reviews, is you have multiple viewpoints, and you have the luxury of going in depth into those viewpoints, and talking about them
at a really high level. So I hope that’s what
we’re able to do today. I know this is kind of pitched as a Iron Chef or something. Like, Iron Chef Nebraska
versus Iron Chef Germany. I’m not sure how it pans out. (crowd laughs) But, we do disagree on a lot, but we’re both fundamentally fighting for architecture that matters, you know? So I think we probably
share more in common and a belief in
architecture to be impactful in a positive way to society, and we’re very much against the idea that architecture is just a profession. That you just kind of learn how to do and become a BIM monkey and go do. Especially in a research
university like this, I think you have a responsibility to think of contributing
to the profession. So I think both of us are very much on the side of contributing
to the profession. And, I just gotta say, like, that’s not a given
anymore in architecture. Where, oftentimes, narratives nowadays are
taking over for ideas. So, if you say you’re humanitarian, that’s enough to justify
the work that you’re doing as opposed to the work justifying itself. So I think we’re both very much on the side of architecture, and the architecture being humanitarian, but not just having a narrative
of something being good because it has good intentions. And I think we agree
significantly on that point. Where we disagree is, so, Patrik did the World
Architectural forum thing, which was so controversial, and I’m a big fan of provocation, and Patrik’s a big fan of provocation, and we slap each other
with lilies on the internet and have a good time, but we’re good friends. I’ve met him 17 years ago or so and I have a very high, very high, level of respect for Patrik and Zaha and their work together. – [Gabriel] Come on, you’re getting soft. (crowd laughs) – When I heard the World Architectural– – [Gabriel] What is happening? – But he’s Hitler. The end. No, I’m just kidding. No. That’s exactly what can’t happen, this kind of villainization. But when I heard the World
Architectural Festival thing, I decided that, especially when Gabe invited me here, that I would come here to rescue Patrik from destroying his own career. (crowd laughs) So that’s actually what I’m here to do. And say that Patrik was
being very provocative with those statements, but I don’t think he actually
believes everything he said. So, the statement at the end, which was, and I’ll tell you why I disagree with it, but, statement number nine, in his demands presented at the World Architectural Festival, were to privatize all streets, squares, public spaces and parks, and possibly whole urban districts. And I think that’s a
provocative statement. But on the internet, where you have people
reading that out of context, and not knowing how dedicated Patrik is to an intellectual project, you just see rampant
capitalist Neoliberalism, and I think that’s
dangerous for a few reasons. One is, it may work in London, to help Patrik with the
problems he’s facing there, which is a high degree of over regulation, but it also runs the risk of
producing a whole world of, and I mean you no offense by this, but Houstons. Of cities that don’t have
any land use or planning. Or, you run the risk of
Neoliberal capitalism taking over not only public
areas of infrastructure but their future. So, for instance, I went
to school at Notre Dame, which is near Chicago. Chicago just sold the running of their Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge to a Spanish-Austrian conglomerate for half a billion dollars. So this Spanish-Austrian
conglomerate runs the bridge, the public bridge, formerly public bridge in Chicago, for the next 75 years. That limits the amount of
innovation and productivity that people like you can become, if you have an idea, the next Airbnb of parking. That area of expertise
or area of innovation is off limits for anyone
because it’s been sold. The future has been sold
to a capitalist system. – Not off limits at all. – The same thing just happened
with parking in Chicago. The city of Chicago sold it’s entire parking structure and infrastructure to another Wall Street
conglomerate for 99 years. Parking rates doubled
in a four year period. So it’s all fine to say, “Deregulate the world,
let the market bloom.” But at the same time, you have to know that there’s an incredible
risk of monopolies, of overuse, of profiteering, and a whole host of problems that may solve the problems
that Patrik confronts in London, but not necessarily solve the problems of producing civil and
innovative and livable cities. So, so there.
(crowd laughs) – I want to, if I can, just come back on two points. That these bridges have
been sold doesn’t mean that they’re off limits. Maybe they’re much more, now, ready for us, to become our clients and do more things with us, because of incentive
backing up that purchase and backing up the upkeep and improvement, whereas a bureaucrat
lacks those incentives. – Well, the prices have
doubled on the bridge, tripled in parking, and the bridge is now
the most expensive bridge per mile in the United States. – Well, let me, with all– – And I don’t think that’s innovation working in the service of humanity. – It is. Because if these bridges
merit this kind of price, that means they are worth it for those– – It’s not the bridges, it’s their future. – Those using those bridges. The parking, if it was privately under public hand and was subsidized and undersold, it means that we are subsidizing parking, we are subsidizing cars, what we have done, well, in the U.S., you have subsidized suburbia and the building of highways and roads and killed other alternatives, and actually allowed this maybe unhealthy and ultimately ineconomical
spreading out into suburbia, which was only possible because those who actually make these decisions aren’t paying the bills for this. They are subsidized by
kind of a tax revenue, which was then misallocated. Why misallocated? Because those who are using it
aren’t paying the full price. They’re happy to do it under the condition that somebody else pays for it. This is the way state interventionism works against economy. And economy is something we all want, because diseconomies are wasteful of our life resource, of our labors. And that’s what I’m standing up for. Now, when it comes to public space, the same kind of reasoning applies. But what I’m really interested in, in terms of public space, is to have that thousand flowers bloom. That variety of types of spaces. That doesn’t mean they’re inaccessible, that means that there are now many different types of streets, types of squares, types of parks, with different offerings, invigorated for different, catering for different
parts of the population. Whereas the current scheme, it is only catering for
one kind of figures. Of this kind of average, median figure who makes all these public spaces kind of no spaces, none
spaces, nobody spaces. And I don’t believe in
that kind of phrase, in Sunday speech phrase, exclusiveness, everything is for everybody. For me, that means most ways, there’s nothing for anybody. And so you’d imagine the offering which could kind of flourish in urban spaces, in street spaces, with different conditions, you could actually bring in walkable city. You could bring in electric cars only. You could experiment and trial and error all the different public spaces. You could give much
more degrees of freedom, rather than everything now being, in a way, over-policed, and in some places
under-policed if you like. And under-censored and over-censored. And that’s what I’m envisaging. It’s like envisaging
the difference between, for instance, a state newspaper and the kind of flourish
of newspapers and blogs, which are private. Or, if you look at the state provided sort of public bars and spaces, versus all the variety of, you know, gay clubs and private clubs of all sorts of kinds and types and ways. And that would be the model for me, which would then apply to public spaces, to streets, public. And that means there’s much more flourish. And the sense, what I’m
looking at, sterility. State-delivered sterility. Which costs us a lot, but delivers very little. – Well, I would follow up on that and say I’m all for market competition, but I think having a
deregulated environment produces one type of urban space, more often than not. So, every city I’ve been to, and I’ve been to quite
a few in the last year, Patrik’s been to quite a few, no matter where you go, you’re starting to see
a mass homogenization. I was just in Istanbul. I was there 20 years
ago and just last year. And it’s lost any, let’s say, of it’s original characteristics. Patrik and I were just talking earlier about the same thing
that happened in India. That when I land in Istanbul now, I’m walking by a Gap, a Marriott, a Starbucks, a Talbots, and it’s very much like
being in Omaha, Nebraska where I’m from. So, Neoliberal capitalism, when allowed to run riot, it has the tendency to
homogenize urban spaces. Now, in theory, it would allow for great
deals of experimentation, but in effect, I don’t see a lot of that happening to the extent that he claims. The second point is that, I actually think it’s
more robust for a city to have multiple systems
operating in conjunction. So it’s not one deregulated
Neoliberal system only, but what if we had a Neoliberal system in conjunction with some public planning. Public planning isn’t a bad thing. Government isn’t a bad thing. Government is what we do as a collective. So sometimes government
land use actually works. So, in 1860, the Industrial Revolution
was starting to get underway, the United States wanted
to produce universities which allowed for students to learn not liberal arts, but to learn about technology. Yale University, where I teach, was the first land grant
college in the United States. Texas A&M was a land grant college. Where the United States, as a collective country government, said we’re gonna take this land, and either allow you to use
it to produce a university, or sell it to fund a university. And it was a collective decision, about a group of people, in this case at a federal level, to decide what land is for
and what it can be used for. And if there wasn’t that kind of collective innovation and creativity, we wouldn’t be sitting here. There’s no reason, and I can tell you, because I’ve been, in the last year, spent a week in Saudi Arabia, a week in North Korea, a week in Uzbekistan, and I can tell you, this is the hardest place
to get to I’ve ever been to. There’s no reason a
world-class research university should be here in the middle of nowhere. (crowd laughs) But the fact that we have a government that speculatively
thought that every state and every region deserved
a research university, to advocate for the potentials of technology through education is why we’re here today. And that wouldn’t be possible in Patrik’s Neoliberal run
rampant capitalist system. – Well, if it was a good idea, a worthwhile investment, rather than a kind of
partial waste of resources, it would appear here. Mostly through entrepreneurial
trial and error. But probably– – No, that’s not true, that’s not true. It would appear in the major cities. There’s nothing about
Neoliberal capitalism that says the money shouldn’t pool in New York, London, Tokyo, and Frankfurt. And that’s what’s happening
in Chicago with the bridges. – I’m saying if it was a good idea, most probably it wasn’t a good idea. – The money of the people who are using the bridges in Chicago, is going to Austria. So 75 years of Chicago citizens using bridges and paying tolls, all of that money is going to Austria. Because money pools in
deregulated environments. And it pools in places, which I’m fine with, ’cause I live in New York, so if you guys want to
give up your parking, there’s a lot of parking here in Texas, and have it at my company in New York, I’m all for it. – This money isn’t pooling into Austria. It has been a huge swash of money, landed in Chicago, which now can be invested, reinvested, and then, as a drip, feed back to Austria
for the next few years. – Drip feed? I wouldn’t say drip feed. – So, but anyway, I’m saying again, my hypothesis would be, perhaps this university
is in the wrong place. You don’t know. In the market process, you have an information processing, you have a bidding process, you have, you gather, through a price system
and bidding processes, you gather, kind of, many voices and potential
interests and see if they merit– – But a government is the
definition of many voices. A government is many voices, Patrik. – No, it’s not. – A government is the
definition of many voices. – It’s not. The government is, because, there was an idea of a government, I call it a kind of nirvana fallacy, where you presume that this
is true collective action which truly gathers all the valuations and insights and knowledges and understandings and desires of the populace. That’s not happening. That’s a fantasy. What is really happening is, every four years, there’s some kind of
bundling of this decision with many many others into some kind of a package choice of two. People don’t invest a lot of interest in understanding this, there’s a lot of demagoguery, and then we have, empowering a bunch of figures who’ve been coming through
the electoral process, and allowing them, now unencumbered for four years, to make decisions which add up to 50% of the GDP in Europe, and here maybe 35-40%, I think that’s inherently problematic. And who is actually then
pushing and pressuring? These are special interest groups, lobbying, redirecting resources. There’s not much
rationality in the process. And that idea that this would be that collective action, (speaks in foreign language), if we had all discussed it through, every single decision, it’s fantastical. And I find the market process
is much more democratic because people are at the point of choice with their particular interests, choose and select and
vote with their income, with their feet, with their affiliation, with their giving, charitable, et cetera. So I think that’s a much more supple, much more potent a registration of some kind of collective will. – But this is an economic and a, Classical liberalism ended
with the Great Depression and Keynesian economics took over. Now Keynesian economics are only– – Which was a disaster, by the way. – Only market driven economy with slight tuning by the government. Keynesian economics
produced the most prolific period of growth in the
United States history, from 1937 ’til 1974 when the gas prices largely pushed it out of favor and Neoliberalism took over, which was a system of deregulation, largely energized by Reagan and Thatcher. Now, that’s worked fine until we realized that a Classical liberal
system or a Neoliberal system has the capacity for massive failure. It happened in the Great Depression, and it happened in the
2008 financial crisis. So Keynesian Economics isn’t socialism, I’m not advocating for socialism here. It’s a capitalist market-based system which has some light government controls which allows for innovation, but also allows for things like the WPA and the land grant system
which we talked about here. Government in this capacity isn’t something which is determining where all the houses are built. It’s not determining where
you live or what you do, it’s not an authoritarian thing, it’s another system which brings another set of priorities into dialogue with rampant capitalism. But rampant capitalism,
deregulating anything, the Trump-ing of America, or Patrik-ing of America,
as the case may be– – That’s better.
– Produces vast inequality. In the system of Neoliberalism, so 1974 until today, one percent of the world’s population has more money than the other 99 percent. It’s a vast pooling of financial resources in very limited areas. And that money isn’t being reinvested in things like architecture. It’s being parked offshore, and the interest is growing. But people in Chicago
aren’t getting to spend the money that they’re dumping
into parking or into bridges. The people who made the money, private citizens in Austria, Patrik, you’re Austrian. German?
(crowd laughs) – Okay, can I come in? It’s a lot of– – Patrik’s getting a bit agitated. – There’s so many fallacies in this kind of little segment that I would like to pick them apart. – Please do. You’re all about Fake News, have at it. – So, I had to discover those as well, because 2008 wasn’t, in my analysis, the result of deregulation. It was actually the result of systematic regulatory blocking of the self-regulating
capacities of markets through a number of interventions. And that mixed system is
maybe the worst of all systems to some extent. – It was the de-regulation of the financial industry to produce weird alchemies of systems of money. – Wait, wait, wait. I’m not finished. – I know, but you can’t just
tell these students things that no economist in the world believes. It’s you and Steve Bannon on this. – Mark, your pack of fallacies you presented– – Quote who you’re
referring to when you say that the global recession had
nothing to do with housing. – I’m referring to a lot of people. – Name one. – The whole– – Name one. – Peter Schiff, David Stockman. – And tell us what they said about it. – I will. I will tell you. And I can start picking it apart, what actually delivered this
irrational excesses, not, market process properly self regulating without government intervention would never spiral out of control. So what are the elements? One thing is very important to start with, it’s deposit insurance. So here we have a banking system, and we have savers. All of them put to sleep. And you have, otherwise, in a free system, you would worry where you put your money because it’s not guaranteed, you would watch out, you would receive information, get information, where this money is going. What it’s invested in, and not only look at the interest but also at prudence. If the government puts all these millions of invested, interested, eager eyes off that ball, and thinks it can substitute
with a handful of bureaucrats who personally don’t invest in this, who’re actually in the revolving door back within government, then you delude yourself. Another thing is the whole
history and series of bailouts, where misinvestment
should be not socialized and not be bailed out, so that people keep ramping
up the risk and realize that they’re good on the upside and the downside is being socialist. Socialized. The whole idea of mortgage securitization, where your mortgage originator receives the mortgage and hands it off to somebody else, gets money and sells off more mortgages, and this, who picked up these mortgages? It was government institutions. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Who were guaranteeing these
and were picking them up and had kind of certain tick box rules which meant that if you could do that, you don’t care if this is
really a good mortgage, if these guys really can pay, if these properties aren’t overvalued. The more over your
valuation the more merrier, because you hand off the
problem to some kind of state socialized system. That sets up that whole
securitization and what. Then also the government coming in and pushing banks to
lower lending standards. Pushing banks, directing where the money should flow, back to where it’s collected. People who are into savings, you have to push back
savings into an area where they actually can’t borrow, won’t be able to pay back, and at that stage of life, but you have to, you’re
otherwise penalized. And there’s so many of these elements. When it comes to the rating agencies, who usually would then go
in and rate banks and so on, they have been pushed and blocked because everything which you offer in the public for saving
has to be triple A, so there’s whole distinctions of triple A, double A, A one B, et cetera, is meaningless if basically non triple A is illegal to
sell in the public market. And they’re on and on and on. All these irrational
distortions which prevent. And the final one, the most important one, the continuous money pumping, where you, whenever there’s a kind of overselling the stock market and there’s things of reducing, you pump money and inflate asset prices. And that has been happening. That is central bank intervention, where you actually have
an artificial money which becomes a political tool also allows government
to keep taxing by sales by just purchasing and
distributing borrowed money– – But one of the key problems you note– – So this isn’t capitalism
failing, this is– – One of the key problems you note– – Crony capitalist
interventionism failing. – One of the key problems you
note is capitalism failing. – It’s not capitalism. – You look at the failing
of Lehman Brothers. When too much money pools
in a particular location, the government can’t allow it to fail. Because it would destroy
the entire economy. – But it should never
have gotten to that point. – So it is places, so much money has pooled
in Lehman Brothers, in Chase. – Lehman would never have had that money weren’t that every single
time the government comes in, whether it’s the Asian debt crisis, it bailed out and guaranteed
the American bank loans. Whether it was the Mexican and Latin American bank crisis, it bailed out. Whether it’s– – Well we can agree on that. We can agree on that. The bailout is a problem.
– It’s the whole– – The circumstances that required it are also a problem. When too many resources
pool in too few hands. – A free market wouldn’t have, a Lehman Brothers is an
absolute monster entity, which in the free market–
– But all of the market regulations you talked about, nowhere near that many
existed in the 1920s– – It wouldn’t exist in the free market. – Nowhere near as many
existed in the 1920s, and you still had the Great Depression. – The Great Depression was already a state interventionist creation. – Everything is the problem
of the state, right? – Yeah, absolutely. – Okay. – [Gabriel] Well, let’s, you know, based on that list, let’s move on. – Absolutely. – [Gabriel] You know,
we’ll continue a little bit with politics but we’ll kind of– – Yeah, we should, let’s
shift off the gear. – [Gabriel] And kind of a little bit, some of the things also that you guys said in relationship to this. So also Patrik, on Facebook you said, on November 20th, “My alternative is not dictatorship, “but a market-based society “that in contrast is based
on voluntary interactions.” You also talked about your
skepticism of democracy, the end of democracy power politics, the sociological and diverse literature on economic instability and probable developmental
dynamic of a society. But, however, in earlier, sort of conversations, you’ve talked also about
revolutionalist capitalism and your points of view
on historic materialism. On November 29, Mark, you wrote in response to
Mark’s conference in activism, “On a positive note, “I share the spirited
sensibility of Accelerationism, “but don’t find it’s
adolescent hyperbole useful. “I want to produce more than hot air, “but agree with it’s fast-forward drive. “I wish I could introduce
to the Accelerationist kids “to become more serious “and engage with adult sociology, “like Lachmann’s theory of society.” And Mark, you said to Patrik on November 29, “If it’s all solved, “and architecture’s overhanging
reached it’s pinnacle “with Patrik-metricism, “then by all means, “keep man-splaining the world to everyone “from the exalted all-knowing position “that you occupy.” Mark, you also talked
about in the article, “Architecture, Branding, and
the Politics of Identity” you start from the Hays argument that much of the 20th century architecture has been an equalizing force in service of social justice and equality, and usually against
accumulations of power. You go on, saying that, “If architecture is to have any power, “it no longer needs to be justified “by it’s social performance
or simplistic narratives. “The building looks like a mountain “against a backdrop of mountains. “Or by it’s carbon print, “or by drawn diagrams that
show it’s shape was derived “from sun angles or sewn envelopes.” My question to you guys is
in terms of your thoughts on the problem of reframing
or changing the economic, or the possibility of changing the economic political status quo, or is there room for political, for new political or economic projects, if positions like Accelerationism, specific in terms of using some of the Neoliberal political
and economic tools is, and, it’s just again that bring with that with full animation and others, could this help or hurt
the future of architecture? – Well I’m not advocating your
position of Accelerationism. Like, I read it, and
just so everyone knows, Accelerationism is a kind
of philosophical position, relatively new, but basically, wants to end Neoliberal capitalism by pushing it to it’s
extreme point of failure. So there are actually a
lot of Accelerationists who were very happy
Donald Trump was elected because they pretty much think he’s gonna tear the machine
apart from the inside. So, I think Accelerationism is interesting as a provocative thought exercise, but I think neither Patrik nor I probably think it has a real future as an architectural
backbone for production. Would you agree with that? – Well, I mean, it’s not an architectural theory, it’s some kind of, for me, it’s more on
the fundamental level, where do we want to drive that global society ship we’re kind of steering. And, I would say, for me, a political discourse, just to mention, you mentioned my kind of anti-democracy stance. What I mean by that. I think to the extent that there is collective action and public resources collected through a tax system, those allocations, I would argue, should be done through
a democratic process or maybe not, universal suffrage and so on in advanced countries. But what I hope for is that a political debate isn’t always geared to this one thing. That finally we all hold
hands and make a decision, here or not, Majoritarian, and then all run into this direction, but we have various tendencies
which we advocate for and they can grow against each other, compete and test each other out, rather than this sort of one fit all. And I think the hope to reducing the scope of democratically public
collective action, and substitute more and more for that private initiatives. Entrepreneurial decision processes, market-led. That’s my point on democracy. Which means, sometimes when you accuse, “Oh, you don’t want democracy, “you want dictatorship.” I call what we have now as some kind of majoritarian dictatorship to some extents. The dictatorship of the majority in a way. And it has all these flawed processes which make it questionable that it is even a kind of majority perspective and view. Accelerationism is for me, as something on another level, of interesting. It’s basically the spirit
of what do we know, what do we want, are we, we have to make choices collectively or individually I suspect in various countries, in various regions, in various cities or in groups. Do we go for and opt for a bit more risk-taking, a bit more venturesomeness, or are we going safe and slow. And I would, just in terms of my spirit and my curiosity about the world, I want to see real change, I want us to move forward, I don’t want to be around
in 20, 30 years and say nothing has much changed. It’s been all kind of, we’ve played it safe, we don’t allow, if we don’t all hold hands and agree that something might be, is a good idea, and we’ve kind of appraised the risk and we are risk averse, only then can make
somebody a step forward? No. I’m somebody who say, hey, let’s those who are risk
takers try something. Let’s not be kind of all hold hands and be nannies of each other. And have a process
which has more dynamism. And that is the Accelerationism. That, hey, we’re
interested in technologies, people who say, “I don’t mind, I’m gonna become a cyborg, “I don’t mind having a chip
implanted in my brain.” And not say, hey hey,
we have to prevent that. We’re not allowing that. Things like gene modification, crop modification, all sorts of things, space travel, you know. I’m just more, hey, let’s try it. And those people who are
willing to take those risks, it’s not going to be
killing us all at once. That’s the Accelerationist spirit. The spirit of venturesomeness, the Nietzschean idea of a superman. You know, I don’t believe
in humanism in a sense, I’m an anti-humanist, not because I don’t like people, but I don’t like the idea that there’s a kind of human nature which is fixed and
stable and forever given, and that, and then say
things like in architecture, “Oh, people like kind of small scale, “they like it cozy, they like it warm, “they like historical motifs,” as if that was a natural condition. No, I’m saying, hey, there’s some people who really want to be, want something very very artificial, and something very very extreme, and they want to be super dense, and they want to be super
reinventing themselves. And that’s the spirit of Accelerationism. Which I subscribe to, and that’s why you’re kind
of interested in the future and to explore new technologies and you, you’re willing
to take some risks, not, of course, extraordinary
or inordinate ones, but this should be everybody else’s view. And I feel that, the freedom of capitalist venturesomeness, and where we don’t, maybe entrepreneurs can charge forward and try things and see if it catches on and take the risk and lose their shirts. That’s, I think, where we, in 10 years, in 20 years, you really have the excitement
of a different world. And that’s what I’m into. And I want to proselytize for this. I don’t want to make a vote
and then we all have to run, hey, proselytize who’s coming who is following this tendency, our architecture speaks towards this, we don’t want to play it safe, that’s Accelerationism for me and it comes in kind of ways which are very much libertarian and
market capitalist in spirit, and there are those who see that somehow, because it comes out of Marxism, Marx was an Accelerationist. He was the most fervent Accelerationist. And his kind of enthusiasm for capitalism was that capitalism was
transforming the world. It was ripping through all the traditions around the world and it was pushing people out of the ruled idiocy into some kind of realization that it was, it was the cold water of rational, being thrown into kind of a
rational world of self-making. He was the great Accelerationist. So there’s also kind of Left Anarchist Accelerationist projects, which I don’t believe in, and you have, and when I’ve
criticized some of that, it’s also related to cyberpunk, and all sorts of technology freaks. I like that. But what I don’t like is it’s kind of hipster and hyperbole and less here, and what
it could be and should be, it’s also the youth of these characters, we can’t expect the 30
year old to be so erudite, and it’s settled. So I’m very much interested, but I also want these guys to grow up. And I think they will realize, like many of my ex-Left comrades of all branches of the Left, they’ve migrated into a
direction of Libertarian. They still want radical change, they don’t want to just settle
for the status quo we know. And I’m also somebody who was, somehow, uneasy with just
settling what everybody is saying, just repeating the commonplace, just playing what’s always been played. And I’m getting tired also of 10 years, nearly, of stagnation. I’m somebody who was, I’m a searcher. So that’s why I was radical
in all sorts of directions. So I’m not dogmatic, but I think I’ve found something which the whole generation of
people are moving into and pulling through, and I just want to say this, look at this stuff. Look at economics, look
at market capitalism, look at libertarian philosophers, economists, theorists. It’s not toxic, it’s not nasty, it’s actually a version
of what we all seek. We’re seeking freedom, emancipation, charity, prosperity, and I think there is a chance there. Of course, is it guaranteed
that this works out? No. Let’s accelerate. – Well, I mean, contemporary Accelerationism is written by Steven
Shaviro and Nick Srnicek, like, there’s a whole
slew of people writing it, but it’s almost entirely focused against rampant Neoliberal capitalism. That’s it’s sole purpose. So Patrik is saying, “Yes, let’s do Accelerationism, “but have rampant Neoliberal capitalism.” It’s a total conflict in sympathies. So I don’t really even
know where to start. I’m not, myself, like, a dyed in the wool defender
of Accelerationism, I find it incredibly provocative as a thought tool to get
to certain directions, I don’t really find the
direct architectural links at the moment, but the one thing I do know is that every Accelerationist who I’ve met or had a discussion with, would totally turn over in their grave or their Lazy Boy or their Eames chair, if Patrik was like, “Let’s do Accelerationism
through Neoliberal capitalism.” It’s like, totally impossible. Totally contradictory. It’s like, let’s make ice out of fire, ’cause everyone likes being warm. – It’s totally congenial. – It’s, yeah. I mean, I don’t think
either of us feels strongly for or against necessarily
Accelerationism, but I think we enjoy the spirit, I just think that the
Accelerationism is interesting ’cause it has certain affinities with science fiction, and certain new voices into
the architectural profession, which are very interesting, but it’s sole purpose is to overturn Neoliberal capitalism. And Patrik’s sole purpose is to make Neoliberal capitalism seem conservative. – We were the first university, the first six year, you
know, school of architecture in the country to invite
Nick to lecture here on Accelerationism last year. Well, let’s move on to something a little bit more interesting also. – How could it be more interesting
than government politics? No, just kidding. – Let’s go architecture. – Yes. Let’s move to aesthetics. Patrik, in “The Autopoiesis of
Architecture: Volume One, Thesis 17” you talked about the
aesthetic values as an archaic that evolved with the evolution of society and it continues today, and a code of beauty
that has been utilized as a pivotal note for the differentiation of societal functions, systems of art on the one hand, and architecture and design on the other. With Autopoiesis, architecture’s
aesthetic evaluation is regulated via styles
and specific programs that serve to concretize the
advocation of coded values. The change of dogmatic
rigidity and aesthetic regimes are therefore suggestions
of the possibility of a unifying aesthetic idiom and the necessity for
an aesthetic revolution. Mark, on November 29, you wrote to Patrik the following. “Patrik, you are stuck in the 19th century “if you think Aesthetics is the same as Pater and
Wilde’s Aestheticism. “Aesthetics is a form of engagement, “as it turns out, a rather powerful one, “culturally, socially, and politically, “as we are only now
learning in more depth.” Mark, in your article for Log, 33, “Killing Simplicity: Object-Oriented Philosophy
In Architecture,” you talked about Graham Harman’s, or referred to the examination of objects, through the relations of
overmining, undermining, and duomining. The true reality of an
object is so knowable it does have perceivable qualities as Harman refers to as essential, the real object that
withdraws from experience, as essential object that
only lives in experience. I’m questioning that, so kind of reframe the
question a little bit better. In the book, “The Estranged Object”, Michael Young looks at estrangements as an aesthetic effect bound
to notions of the familiar. Estrangements delineates attentions between reality and representation. This experience not
only can produce shock, but an allure. Does not reveal the true
essence of an object or conditions. So, based on this premise, can we move, should we move, from a defamiliarization to estrangement to a search for a new… We should move from
defamiliarization to estrangement to search for a new aesthetic experience? And finally, for Jacques Rancière, changes in the political
and predicate on shift, changes in political
are predicated on shifts on aesthetics. This explosion of the
post-beauty aesthetics, Rancière positions, is
that politics is a struggle of an unrecognized party
for equal recognition in the established order. So, are young architects
today searching for equal recognition within
the aesthetic regime? Does architecture need to be stopped being evaluated as part
of an ethical regime and needs to be evaluated
as an aesthetic regime to obtain some kind of equality? – Well, I’m gonna start by, okay. So aesthetics is a really pretty loaded, pretty tricky term. It means different things
to different people. The base understanding of aesthetics that most people have emerges from a position of Aestheticism, which is a late 19th century position, most clearly advocated by Oscar Wilde, but also his kind of mentor, Walter Pater. But it’s a position that was intended to protect art from capitalism. So the idea was l’arte pour arte, art for art’s sake, art not being part of the marketplace, art being something separate and sacred that’s protected from the kind
of vulgarities of economics. So, what that translates into today, is that when you say aesthetics, people are talking, people
think you just mean, oh, whether it’s pretty or not. It’s kind of irrelevant. It’s not a very serious subject. “Oh, he just has an
aestheticized project,” which just means, it looks a certain way but
it’s not very important. So that’s actually, like I said, a late 19th century idea about aesthetics. Aesthetics today, as advocated by philosophers
such as Jacques Rancière, who I personally have a kind
of growing friendship with, but we had a discussion
at Yale not too long ago at a symposium organized, says, in a sense, that aesthetics is
among the most important ways we relate to each other
and our environment. Graham Harman, the father
of Object-Oriented Ontology, says aesthetics is literally
the first philosophy, because it’s how we understand the relationship between
us and everything else. Patrik came out really hard
against that symposium. I mean, really hard. Like, I cried–
– [Patrik] You didn’t. – When I read his Facebook post. and it takes a lot for me to cry. But here’s what he wrote
on his Facebook page about this symposium where I had philosophers and architects and artists and curators coming together to talk about the possibility of different forms of
aesthetic engagement. Patrik writes, “An ivory tower dripping
in theoretical activism. “Forthcoming Yale symposium,
Aesthetic Activism, “casts aesthetics as the primary discourse “for social, ecological,
and political engagement. “Political problems may be addressed “as aspects of aesthetic experience.” This is what he says, “Really? “That’s great, so as aesthetes, “we can now claim to
be political activists! “How is this meant to be credible? “How do you pull this off? “By inviting one of those
aging but ever-adolescent “hyper-trendy French
philosopher communists–” that’s Jacques Ranciere, “who thrive in elite
universities and art fairs “and let them dazzle your politically “and philosophically innocent
architectural audience. “Then pile in lots of
the latest super-trendy “hyperbolic radical theory
including Accelerationism,” which he just claimed to like, “Disobedient Objects, Immaterialism,” a book which he just read, “Object-Oriented Ontology,” which we’re talking about here tonight, “and Xenofeminism,” which he already quoted when he said let a thousand different ideas bloom, which is an advocacy
position in Xenofeminism, where they say let a thousand sexes bloom. So he totally slams all of the aesthetics projects on the table, based on a century-old
reading of aesthetics, and then claims on the stage to claim that some of
them aren’t half bad. So I don’t really know how
to attack that problem. Or that question. Maybe you should ask him.
(crowd murmurs) – [Gabriel] Patrik? – I think that, yeah, well, what I was
worried about most was not a debate about aesthetic values or aesthetic regimes, but the claim of an activism through aesthetic practice and
aesthetic reflection. That’s why I find. And, of course, activism meaning political transformative activism. And I think that’s overreach, also, of the field, of the discipline, and my view of the relationship also between our discipline and politics is one where the innovations within major political societal trajectories are developed in the political systems. And architecture’s role is to adopt, translate, facilitate, those societal trends, be they social, economic, political, rather than the site of original political discourse
and political action. I think that’s fantastical and not credible to me that these are primary sites, and this is kind of, again, I think artists and
curators and art critics delude themselves if they
think that their world, the art world, is a kind of world of trenchened political dynamism and activism which really could shift
and change the scene. So that’s, I felt was, one of those occasions of
overreach and hyperboles. I don’t know the details of this. Maybe I was, I was, I was, ungenerous?
– I’ll take that as a apology. And prejudicial on this? But I had looked at some
people like Rancière and Badiou, those kind of old, leftover Communists, who were sitting or playing with– – [Mark] Aren’t you yourself
an old leftover communist? – Were playing with students
for the last 40 years and hadn’t made any waves, hadn’t adapted in any way, and in some kind of incestuous
little marginal circles. I don’t respect those people as activists because I was an activist and it meant something different to me. And there’s my skepticism. This is kind of designer trendy arty farty kind of form of pseudo-activism perhaps. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t interesting debates to be had about aesthetic conditions and so on. And I think for me, I would say one thing, which condones what Mark was pointing out, is that, yes, of course, we are all navigating the world on the basis of aesthetic sensibilities. We must and have to because the world is complex and rich, the depths and functioning and underlying potentials and capacities are not worn on the surface, but the surface is an indicator which we have and grasp. And if I step in a space, I’m selecting the people I might talk to or have the probability of having a relatively fruitful
and mutual conversation on the basis of their demeanor, what they wear, how they look, how they dress themself up, by their posture. The same, on the place itself, I’m selecting on the basis of signals. These are aesthetic signals. And what appeals and what repulses is also something which we are recognize, what’s vital, what’s good, where would flourish. And sometimes we have false sensibilities and that’s why we need to, there’s an inertia in these, we’re conditioned to like certain things, history moves on, these conditions change, and what was a dream and what seemed lovely and
beautiful to be aspired to, for instance, that suburban
house with the garden, is maybe a kind of poisoned chalice. Get off that trip and start to love and like the density of an urban environment. The chaos which you might other find. So what was ugly, has to become beautiful. And how is that done? That’s done through aesthetic revolutions where artists come in and help or architect protagonists who say these stairwells of urban villages and satellite cities are oppressive, they’re ugly, they’re the anti-image, and what I’m really
going for is the kind of exuberant chaos of a Tokyo, you know, with a plethora of advertising and vibrancy and density and mixity, and that’s what I’m going to. And how am I going to get in there? By crashing in and layering and disrupting further that fabric. And I’m not going to be polite, I’m not going to be clean, I’m going to be messy and violent, because that’s the way
I inhabit that space and re-inhabit it when I’m
picking up that factory and slice a new building through it. That’s the aesthetic of Coop Himmelb(l)au. The aesthetic of architecture must burn. The aesthetic of a kind of, and this is maybe a bit
over graphic, kind of, a torso ripped through by the car crash. That collage. Celebration, and so on. This is required. And similarly to the aesthetic revolution is the Modernists delivered. Where they broke asunder
the kind of historic, classical, and neo-historical cities and said there’s a city of glass, steel, without proportions, without borders, without, without, without references. – So, you’re admitting the capacity of– – These aesthetic revolutions
are incredibly important. – You’re admitting the
capacity of aesthetics to produce intellectual revolution? You just did. – I, not intellectual revolution, aesthetic revolution. – And then remember that part
in the beginning of this– – Aesthetics, there is
aesthetic revolution, there’s intellectual
revolution required as well. – So why would you come out
against a group of people talking about aesthetics being a form of social engagement when you just said it
happened in Modernism? – No. It is a translation of social revolutions, which didn’t originate in architecture. They originated through a labor movement, as well as technological revolutions, who didn’t originate in architecture, as well as social revolutions,
post first World War, which opened up a new
territory of exploration, which then architecture
adapts to congenially. And that’s the role. These don’t originate in architecture. – So is that bad or good if that happens in today’s climate? – We just have to, we shouldn’t, we have to understand our
particular contribution to an overall societal
progress and trajectory. – I thought that was
the entire description of the symposium I’d organized. And I also just want to add, that part in the beginning of the talk, where we talked about how it wasn’t valuable to call people Fascist and villainize them, when you take one of the most significant philosophers in the world, and call him, and I quote, “a hyper-trendy philosopher Communist,” that doesn’t add to the discourse. That doesn’t add to the discourse. And if you don’t want to be villainized, you can’t villainize other people. – I accept that. It’s a bit of a less of a villainization. But he is a self-proclaimed Communist, I mean, so. – [Gabriel] I’m curious about this. I mean, maybe it’s a short
question with a long answer, but why are we today interested or discussing activism? You know, a few years back, I would have never thought of activism– – Well, largely, for something that Patrik
and I are both against, that you can now win the Pritzker Prize for doing a small project and just saying you’re socially engaged in some capacity that really has nothing to do with the architecture itself. That the narrative of
humanitarianism and activism, now, I’m all for
humanitarianism and activism, I don’t think it can be used in place of architecture functioning in
the terms of architecture. So I think our interest
in looking at activism in terms of it’s aesthetic protocol, is trying to find ways that architecture might engage that problem that don’t involve the so-called using recycled blue jeans and designing wonderful
places for poor people and all the kind of standard narratives which are being used in place of architectural
qualities, right? So I think Patrik and I
absolutely agree on this, and the purpose of that symposium was to bring together some people who are working at the different edges of
aesthetics and architecture, and pull them together, and think if there is a social project in a contemporary engagement
with the aesthetic. – You know why, I mean, I admit, I was prejudicial, I was, kind of, slightly– – I forgive you.
(crowd laughs) – Oratorical about this. – ‘Cause I did call you Trump, so, it’s one to one. – I was surprised, because… And it was a revenge for
your horrendous counterpoint to Parametricism 2.0. I admit that. – It was done with love. – So there was a bit of
a vindictiveness there. But, I mean, what surprised me, it seemed to me also, where is the earnestness because you haven’t been an activist as far as I know you. – I’m a gay kid from Republican Nebraska, and you’re saying I’m not an activist? Fuck you.
(crowd laughs) – It seemed to me, and look, correct me– – I have fought my
share of uphill battles. – Okay, I’m sorry again. Maybe I was prejudicial on that level. But what I felt, when I, the way I’ve known you, you’ve been maybe shifting a series of positions and trends and fads, which I call Triple O as a little fad, when we come to this, because– – You just said four minutes ago, “Hey, let’s try it. “I’m a searcher. “I don’t want to be around in 30 years “and see nothing has happened.” – Sure. – So why would you denigrate the people who are trying to make things happen? – No, I’m not denigrating those
projects, those students– – You called it hyper trendy and a fad. – Triple O, yes, I know. – So the philosophy
architects should all stop it is Parametricism, and there’s no reason to continue
thinking in architecture, ’cause you’ve figured it all out. And that’s why people call you Fascist. It’s not because of your beliefs, and I know you’re not a Fascist, but the authoritarian position you articulate with Parametricism is very off-putting to a lot of people. Because nobody wants to be told how they can and how they cannot be creative about architecture. – Okay, let me come back. There’s a fine line, and it’s not easy to tread. The degree of harshness, of bluntness, which one puts a point to make it clear can be quite judgmental sometimes. And I have a thick skin, and it shouldn’t be ad hominem, but an idea can be castigated as problematic, bankrupt, backward, fallacious. And that’s often too much for many. They say, “Oh, no, no, no, “all ideas should have equal value, “they merit an equal amount of attention, “and don’t do that, “you can’t do that.” And I say no. If you want to reach somewhere, we need to shake, criticize, and also fight over a direction, a philosophy, a concept. And my view on why I was a bit curious, because the Triple O discourse, there isn’t any, or very very little, sense of activism and
political engagement. I mean, it’s emerging slowly. So that was one thing. And that, suddenly, I didn’t see how you just inventing, in Parametricism 2.0, that Parametricism is finished, and Triple O is the new thing. That’s what your words were. – No one ever said that.
– You could have trashed this, you hadn’t read properly,
I think, the articles, you were relying on previous readings and understandings, and you trashed it.
– In that article, I wrote that, in law, Triple O, I said, has no manifesto. No manifesto, no formal agenda, no criticism of anything preexisting. If you read, that’s the base article of Triple O that I wrote in Log. And it claimed nothing
against what you’ve done, it claimed no formal agenda, and it claimed no, nothing in particular. – Let me come back to that again. So I felt, what does Ranciere
have to do with this group? This is just shifting position rather too rapidly. It seems rather eclectic and flippant. How is he here with that? So that was my suspicion. – But you still don’t
see the link to this? – And I’d just swallowed this horrible kind of, that A.D. piece. So I have to again, tone that down.
– But you don’t see that linkage? Ranciere talks about aesthetics as being the political
location of politics. And Graham Harman and Triple O talks about aesthetics
being the first philosophy in how we relate to objects in the world, and you don’t see a
connection between those? You’re not going to allow my generation to work through the
possibility of a connection? – You do what you want, but,
(crowd laughs) – No, but you’ve said you’ve just said it was
a fad and irrelevant. And nobody wants to be told how we are or are not allowed to be innovative. – Okay, maybe these are
slightly strong words, but. – Well, just to continue, you said in your lecture about Parametricism at the Venice Biennale, that Parametricist architecture must obey, “That it has no platonic
or discrete figures “with sharp outlines. “That it must avoid familiar typologies. “Avoid platonic/hermetic objects, “avoid clear-cut zones and territories, “avoid repetition, “avoid straight lines, “avoid right angles, “and avoid corners.” Now, if you’re going to tell
me how I can be innovative, but I have to obey these things, that is not a liberating position. That is not a searcher, that’s a dictator. – No. I’m just, what the
heuristic of Parametricism, the retrospective, canonization, making explicit what has been implicitly a rule ruthlessly in exception less adhered to by a whole
generation of architects who haven’t used a circle,
a square, a triangle before I started canonizing
for over 15 years, not a single one. There ought never went
for pure repetition– – Just for the record, I was a Classicist, and all I used was geometry for a decade. – I was saying that, I was trying to define, I was trying to define a movement. And similar to the way the
book “International Style” at the end of the 20s, was defining what had
happened in retrospect, I was trying to canonize. There is a series of principles, rules, which explain why we recognize it, why this is part of one cumulative collective
research and investment and set of values, and I was trying to tease out
and make explicit these values so that they become criticizable that you can realize, hey, yes, true, I haven’t, and nobody
in that movement has, used rigid platonic forms, uninflected placing in juxtaposition or just collaging. I’m also excluding, we want difference and heterogeneity, but we don’t just leave things uninflected in juxtaposition. That’s taboo. Because if you do, then you’re in a Deconstructivist mode, therefore, in a Parametricism mode, you do something with it. You let one squeeze and shift and radiate through the other and so on. I’m just describing retrospectively what has been adhered to, what was the implicit rule set which defines this movement. And I then also say, why is that a good idea? What are the advantages? What does it deliver? How is it congenial to
contemporary society to work with mutual adaptation embedded it in context, working with gradient with a new form of superimposition which allows inflection of these layers and they become resonant with each other. This has a lot to do with the society, where multiple institutions communicate with each other, merge into synergies, locate themselves into context
which they connect up to. I look at swamp formations and gradients and viewer lounges, high performance spaces of business. They use these kind of
new swamp formations, open landscape-like territories for high-production,
high-performance spaces. That was what I was doing. I was retrospectively canonizing, and then I was
rationalizing and explaining why these are good ideas. Because if we all run like this and we all give us of these rules, we better have good motivations to do it. And the intuitions were validated– – But we didn’t give
ourselves these rules. – And that’s what I’ve done.
– You gave us these rules. – That is not a dictate. This is a revelation. Why people had dictated that to themselves and their colleagues for 15 years. – But people hadn’t. It’s revisionist history. You’re claiming these as a project that nobody signed up for. Greg Lynn, one of the pioneers
of digital technology, has, in his BMW plant, in multiple of his projects, used straight lines and sharp
outlines and right angles. Absolutely.
– Not really. – And you’re rewriting as
if all of these people, and also not giving credit to
those people in your books– – I did, hundred percent. – That there are multiple
projects that went in– – I give everything. I give everything, I claim nothing, I give everything to them. – There are multiple projects that go into the digital project, not all of them are your Parametricism. So I think it’s a form
of revisionist history. – It’s not my Parametricism, it is our Parametricism. You included.
– But nobody wants it except you. – Why? Why? – Why? Because nobody wants to be
told how to be creative. – The problem is that stuck-upness. That sense of wanting to be unencumbered and be your own genius and own free agent. – But only you get to be a genius then. – I’m giving everything to, all the credit where credit is deserved, but that’s Greg for sure, Eisenman, Greg, Zaha, Jesse, FOA, the whole lot of them. – But you think all of
them would self-identify as Parametricists? – I wish, but I don’t mind–
– I wish. We can call them. – I still have, as a critic, I don’t think it relies on this. Everybody here can
appraise these analyses, the revelation of the
underlying principles and see for themselves whether they match up. Whether these characters and friends want to self-identify, and of course it’s a tough thing if you’re marching this career and somebody else wants to label you? Why didn’t I do that myself? That becomes a problem of personality, an insult, perhaps a kind of resistance, I understand that, and I can, if that’s the problem, then it’s their problem of inhibiting it and hampering it and kind of resisting to work with these explicit descriptions and own them and run with them, because if you make principles explicit, you can also extrapolate them and further accelerate them. Or critique them. And that’s what I would, is my invitation, whether that’s been taken up. I know there’s been a resistance, I think that a resistancy
should praise and judge whether this resistance
is actually meaningful and the sign of strength, or the sign of weakness. I think that it’s a sign of weakness, and I see younger figures, who don’t have that
chip on their shoulder, actually understanding this. And you can check for yourself whether these descriptions
are doing violence or matching up with what has happened. But my work is also going beyond that. I’m making the next steps, so what’s the next stages and steps of upgrading the field? Where would we have to go? And I’ve been talking about tackling much more social functionalities, that Parametricism does not only have a new set of repertoires, and techniques and methodologies, but it also has a new understanding of the brief social programs and how to understand it, which is, in my view, Parametricism– – But what’s your, your ideas are in conflict. If you’re saying government is bad because it’s monolithic and authoritarian, but your position on Parametricism is monolithic and authoritarian. – It’s not authoritarianism. Where is that
authoritarianism coming from? I’m just entering a discourse. Discourse. I have power over nobody. I’m just making offerings, theoretical and argument of offerings, and you should counter
them with argumentation rather than–
– Well I am, it’s called Triple O. But you just called it a useless fad. – It’s not authoritarianism. The thing is this, there’s a problem in
our discursive culture where propositioning mode, which makes a claim, and I make claims like this, yes I make the claim, but the superiority of these repertoires, I’m invested in this and I see the advantages, and I don’t see any other style, any other mode of working. For instance, Post-Modernism, Minimalism, Deconstructivism hardly exists anymore, Neo-Deconstructivism? Give me something else. We will come to the Triple O kind of work and what its merits and shortcomings are– – But there is no Triple
O work to go over yet. – I’m just saying that this oeuvre, and it’s not our oeuvre, only a collective trajectory of research which has a cumulative and evolution-gaining maturity each year, each decade, depths of application, depths of integrating technologies, structural, environmental. Now tackling more explicit social functionality measurements and processes using agent-based model. Tell me any other
paradigm or way of working which matches up with that, and that’s the challenge. Yes, it’s a strong statement, but it’s a true statement, I would argue. Or argue otherwise. Who’s standing up and saying Post-Modernism is the way forward? Who is standing up that
Minimalism is all we need? And then I’m asking back, Minimalism? Really? That, what the likes of Chipperfield and Rogers are doing? That’s something we had
available to ourselves within the field 80 years ago. And if you tell me that
Minimalism is the answer, what did we do the last 80 years? We wasted our time. What do we do at our research universities and academic discourse for? If Minimalism is the answer, and we had it 80 years ago, we then should shut down the discourse, the schools, the journals, the pretense of making progress. So that can’t be it. So, and I’m making
these statements strong, but argue with me. Tell me where I’m wrong
when I make a statement. – I’ll tell you where you’re wrong. – You’re making strong statements, tell me if I’m making a false statement. What’s false? – No, I think you’re right about things like Minimalism, but remember it took 250 years to get from Brunelleschi to Borromini. It took at least 15, 18 years for us to get from the very first digital technology in architecture to you even coming up with
the term Parametricism. – Yeah, exactly. – Architectural projects
require time to develop. – I agree with that. – Triple O has been in
architecture for maybe three, four at the absolute most, years. It has had no time to
produce a formal agenda, a manifesto-ed agenda, yet you seem totally confident in cutting it off at the head so that it has no time to develop. – I’ve looked at it.
– And that’s irresponsible. Because you articulate, you occupy an exalted
position in architecture, and you have a lot of power. – No, no, no.
– You do. – [Gabriel] I have a
question for you Patrik. – I want to come back to this. – You should be encouraging innovation. – I’m looking at the stuff carefully, I’m not just dismissing it. – But then how could you get it so wrong? – No, I will, let’s analyze. What is, what is it? As far as I’m concerned, there are two points I want to make. First of all, historical. I believe that a new start isn’t merited just for the sake of another new start. It’s not a credibly productive
and valuable contribution if we have, just coming into gear,
just starting to flow, just starting to, maybe a small rollout and taking over institutions and a generation of
architects invested in this. But we haven’t even dented
the built environment on a larger scale. We haven’t done what Modernism’s done. Modernism has really, totally, a total remake of the physionomy of the built environment globally. That’s all of Modernism. Including the world of artifacts, every single product, everything. This is Bauhaus, this is Bauhaus, this is Bauhaus, this is Modernism, this is Modernism, everything is Modernism,
Modernism, Modernism. It was sweeping, it was exhilarating, it was a total makeover and remake. And we should be aspiring to that. Now if we, after a few, 15-20 years, are getting tired of this, because we haven’t dented and we go on to something else just to be something different– – No, it’s not to be something different. – That’s not merited, because the civilization hasn’t radically shifted and changed. The tendencies which
Parametricism is catering for, the opportunities of a
computational revolution, flexes with civilization, a new economy on the one hand. Those technologies–
– Patrik, you’re a, in the beginning, politically, you articulated yourself as a Libertarian and market-driven. The value of something is
determined by the marketplace. If Parametricism was so valuable, then it would be doing
better in the marketplace. – It is doing relatively well. – It should be killed off if it’s not being produced in the world and not finding a market. You yourself articulated that
as the definition of value. And if Parametricism isn’t being built, isn’t being picked up by architects, it needs to be allowed to die. – Well– – That’s your, both of your logic– – There is, wait, wait, wait, wait. – That was my article you referred to. – That’s the question
of degrees of success. when I joined Zaha Hadid
Architects we were four. 2007, 2008, this was 20 years afterwards, we were 450. – Because it’s the style for you. – Look at, and also, Parametricism isn’t going to make it? Look at the new Mumbai
airport, it’s Parametricism. Look at the new the new Shenzhen airport, it’s Parametricism. Look at the projects we’ve done. Compare it to Modernism, let’s say in 1930. What we’ve achieved, what we’ve put out there, goes far beyond in scale, range, reach, than what have they achieved. And then what? 1950s, 60s, 70, a total makeover. I’m on that path. That’s what I want. I’m ambitious. I want to, I’m seeing
Gropius, Mies, and Corb coming together in Behrens’ office, seeing and discussing the implications of an industrial age, post revolution of the first World War, seeing the implications
of a mass audience, a mass democratization, electrification, industrialization, and then, in the Bauhaus, you have a very small group of people thrashing it out, and then, it’s succeeding. I find that very very inspiring, and why not? Aspire for that, rather than seeing it as some kind of, and I think there’s still a chance. And we were on that route, from ’92, ’93, ’94, all the way through to 2007, there was an incredible, you were still part of that, flourishing. Taking over Columbia University, the AA, many schools, Biennales, our projects flourishing. FOA coming out with major projects. And so many other new
firms being out there. What killed this was the economic crisis, I believe. All those projects in Europe shut down. All those projects in Dubai shut down. A lot of things, stagnation. And then this kind of loss of confidence, that loss of nerve, that, this drawing, that austerity thing, that overreach. And of course there was over exuberant, there were mistakes made, there were second rate versions of this. And that was all kind of, there was this huge backlash, and then, of course, also the confusion about the politics, which kept it in the way
and took over the schools. So I think, you’re not at the end of the story, and I’m just not a dictator. Who can I dictate? You do what you’re doing, but I want to influence and invite this group and others to participate in research. I’ve written a treatise
of over a thousand pages because I’m committed to this, I’m trying to think
through the implications, and how the new media, how the new technologies fit into this, the new sociologies and
the socio-economics tie in. And we want to make architecture relevant. And that’s, I think, the route. Now, historically, where is this new transformation? Like, 1920? Or, I believe post 1980, 90. That transformation maybe. The market revolution. We have Neoliberalism, yes. A different stage in the
socio-economic makeup. A different technological stage. Internet fueled, robotics fueled. And we are working on this. We are congenial to that, and we are much more invested. Now, it comes to Triple O, to a large extent, what I see, particularly as reconfirmed when I looked at Cory’s work, when I look at today’s work, when I look at you discussing
an interview today, largely that which makes
sense to me in this discourse, is actually a rebranding and relabeling of things we’ve known for 20 years. And you should know them, because you’ve gone through
the Deleuze and got to read the understanding of continuous re-reading, of exploration, of virtuality, of untapped capacities of innovative– – [Gabriel] Can I ask a question? – What’s new about
Object-Oriented Ontology– – [Gabriel] Patrik? – In the same way Accelerationism– – It’s just a rebranding of
something we already know. – Accelerationism is allergic
to Neoliberal capitalism, yet you conflate the two. Graham Harman’s sole position is that objects are to be understood as withdrawing based on their
own merits and qualities not in that they are
becoming something else. Which is entirely Deleuze’s position. That all things are in the process of becoming something else, so philosophically, those two positions
couldn’t be more different. And it’s very very easy to say– – But in the architecture,
in the architecture– – There is no architecture.
– There is. Those who claim,
– I have made no claims that I am doing the
architecture of Triple O. – SCI-Arc, all those
models, all those projects, Tom Wiscombe and the rest of it, what I’ve seen on Cory, what I saw earlier on your wall, the way these things make sense, and what, they really must be so, because I think Triple O is a reliving, rebranding, in architecture of insights we’ve had. They’re coming in a new disguise– – That’s such a bastardization– – Because these are
the insights to be had. – That is such a banal
bastardization of the position. – But I had those insights, and I was talking about the Virtual House, I was talking about virtuality, I was, there is– – There is no discourse– – The enigmatic withdrawal is nothing but the untapped potential
capacities undiscovered, unknown. And to be expected, to emerge. – No, they can’t emerge in Triple O. That’s the entire point of Triple O is that they’re withdrawing from access. – What I’ve seen today–
– You’ve just made two claims about Triple O, which are the opposite of Triple O, which indicates to me that the only– – The architecture of Triple O– – You only understand one of the O’s. – The architecture of Triple O– – [Gabriel] I have a question for you specifically on Triple O. And what I thought–
– Why would you ask him about Triple O? He just articulated twice, two opposing positions. – No, but I was trying to think, you know, what is the relationship between Triple O to my understanding, and Parametricism. And I’ll read it to you, and if you think, you know, if I’m completely off or not. I would like to ask you about the question of digital tools, the new materialism, the connection between
Object-Oriented Ontology and object oriented programming and the stylistic logic of Parametricism as a way of understanding
the impact of digital tools in architectural production. Could this be related
to Harman’s discussion of Heidegger’s invisible tool, so Parametricism could
be seen under the scope of Triple O as a type of invisible tool that architecture exists– – You’re gonna give him a heart attack. Stop. (crowd laughs) – Okay. Let me come in. I will now refer to the
work I’ve seen today, I’ll refer to the work
which I’ve seen at Cory’s, I mean, but more mature work, let’s say. Harman is at SCI-Arc, brought in for a reason. There’s a series of figures, Tom Wiscombe and others, who are explicit, using
those figures as references. Now let’s look at the work
and what the attributes are and how they are coming from Triple O and are using the Triple O vocabulary to explicate them, and I would say, the
positive elements of that, The aspects I’m interested in, I’ve known all about them. And there are shortcomings. Where they’re actually doing
less than Parametricism. Where they’re doing, they’re basically doing Parametricism, and at that time, this label didn’t exist, 1995, ’96, ’97, or even earlier versions. The early versions when it’s this start of this idea of a machinic process. This idea of an enigmatic strangeness which confronts us. The idea of assemblage versus organism, this kind of open endedness,
of object relationism. And it is also, these things you see in these objects. What is unusual is that they’re kind of severed off from the ground and just placed there. There’s a lot of internal interest and intricacy and migrating readings and sub-readings and capacities untapped and discovered and so on, and the fallacy is here, because it is called
Object-Oriented Ontology, that all the interesting ideas are things we’ve known a long time. There’s a new element
which severs this off, what’s the advantage of this? Why should we have
these things floating as severed off, an object? What’s the merit of this? Nobody can tell me. The other thing which I find very– – Because that’s not the idea. – These, what’s the merit of it? Merit? Societal merit of this? There isn’t any. There’s none. Because these corporations, these institutions, aren’t severed off. Why are they sitting in
the city to begin with? To have their tentacles out, to connect up, to radiate through, to be porous and inter-articulating. The other thing which I’ve– – I love how you’re advocating that a new generation of architects discussing ideas through architecture in a university setting, isn’t what we should be doing? – No. I’m doing that. And I–
– As far as Triple O– – I’m continuing the discourse. – Patrik, you’re not, you’re rejecting it. – I’m sitting with Tom Wiscombe, I’m debating this, I’m discussing it, I’m recognizing– – But you’re not discussing this, you’re saying it’s a fad and it’s useless and happened 20 years ago. – Please let me finish my discussion because you’re not
discussing it at the moment. I’m discussing this, and I want to discuss it
with you guys and with him. But let me finish this
point, very important. ‘Cause I need to wrap this up and then you come back and you discuss the merits. I’m challenging you with
respect to the merits. And I’m telling you now the dis-merits. I’ve mentioned the merits, and they’re all the merits we had already and are appellate. And we need to be re-reminded and not that they’re always fully evident in some of the work, but I’ve been intellectually, they’ve been on the table, just mentioning the
Virtual House Competition. And re-read the brief and
read what John Rajchman has been saying and how this sits with that excessiveness, that ever untapped potential virtuality. How is that concept of this stronger or different from the
Deleuzean concept of virtuality in it’s architectural application. That’s the next challenge. I want you to answer. Now, when it comes to these objects, and I’ve been sitting with
them and looking at them, what I really appreciate and treasure, that this is design-orientation. That they’re not a
political debating club, that we’re actually designing, that you’re investing energy, passion, that we build large models and that these are, there’s intricacy of detail, materiality, there’s tectonics, there’s space. All of this I adore and love. And that’s why I find, and also I love the fact
that the whole school is investing in that competitively. Versions of the same. I love that. I don’t like pluralism of anything goes, I like concentration. Like Columbia in the 1990s, we should remember a kind of thrust of a collective effort working on issues, using the same vocabulary. And what I find tragic and pathetic, that there is this kind of rebranding and new set of vocabulary, forgetting all these old texts, and trying to start from begin. But then you restart, you actually end up with the same, minus some things which
deserve to be there. And what I challenge these guys for, where is the grasshopper sophistication, where are the algorithms at play? Where is that additional sophistication? Where is the integration
of tectonic logics? We had already integrated
through Achim Menges through Philippe Block– – Well, one of the merits–
– Wait, wait, I haven’t finished. – Brief. Brevity. Clarity. – I’m finishing now.
– You’re not. You’ve been going on for a decade. – I’m finishing now if you’ll let me. These projects fall short against us because these articulations lack that tectonic structural rationalism, they lack environmental
genial rationalized, there isn’t a social
functionality discourse. So they’re in a sense, aborted halfway achievements, and that’s my point. – Graham Harmon’s last
book, “Immaterialism,” was engaging Triple O in a social format– – No, answer my earlier question. Can you answer them or not? They’re direct challenges. – What question?
– What’s the merit. – What’s the merit? – What’s the merit. – The merit is that, instead of thinking about architecture as valued by it’s relations, in that, it looks like a bird– – No, of the project. – Or it’s made–
– Give me a close reading of a project. – I am. Down, boy. (crowd laughs) God, as far as Triple O, you know nothing, Jon Snow. Triple O is largely a rebuke to your authoritarian insistence–
– I’m not authoritarian. – That architecture needs to be defined by its relations. Triple O is offering my generation an opportunity to think about architecture based on its qualities, not its associations. That’s a fundamental difference with what your position is, and a fundamental difference from what Post-Modernism is, and it offers a position
of architectural realism that’s opposed to the idealisms, continental idealisms, that your generation so gloriously dedicated themselves to, yet seems totally willing to abandon. So you couldn’t, in 1992, in one of your single surface projects, identify how it clearly existed as a manifestation of Deleuze, and it would be asinine
to ask you to do so. Ideas are vehicles for architecture to be innovative and explore, and that’s what we’re
doing with these ideas, and if you think architecture is something which is just used to
illustrate philosophy, you have a fundamental misunderstanding– – I never say this–
– Of the relationship between architecture and ideas. Architecture is not a
cartoon of philosophy which seems what you want to make it into. – You are making it a cartoon. And I think that the Triple O discourse for me, looks like making architecture a cartoon illustration.
– You don’t know, I am part of the Triple O discourse, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about what Triple O
architecture looks like. ‘Cause it’s a body of ideas we’re researching and experimenting with. I’m doing it at Yale, they’re doing it at SCI-Arc, some people are doing it here. I’m sorry, but we’re
not doing Parametricism, because you said, I don’t want to be around in 30 years and see that nothing has happened. We don’t wanna be doing
Parametricism in 30 years. Because we think it’s something that’s been tried and played out and offers no physical
or theoretical material from which to continue. You’ve largely killed the digital project by making it your own and
calling it Parametricism. Nobody wants to be told
they can’t use right angles or they’re a fad. Or that they’re not looking at Deleuze and they’re a fad. Or that they’re looking at things which may have something
in common with ideas from 30 years ago. No one wants to be told the circumstances of their own creativity, which is what your entire
project of Parametricism is contingent on. So Triple O for us, it’s all vowels, Triple O, (inhales deeply) it’s a breath. From all the crap you’ve
been saying for a decade. And if it’s nothing else, it’s succeeded. – Okay. Chill.
(crowd laughs) I say this to myself as well. So I think we are on the wrong track here, let’s ease it a little bit, but. I apologize, I was over-agitated. – No, it’s good that we’re
heated about this though. No one else is. There are so few people that are heated about their architectural
discussions and ideas, and I love thinking about
architecture with Patrik. He is an incredibly
educated and, you know, it makes my arguments finer when I get to brush them up against people like Patrik. So this isn’t a bad thing. This is what academia
is supposed to be about. It’s not about coming up with narratives or learning BIM, it should be about disagreements, and you should all have them. And you should be on my side,
(crowd laughs) but if you don’t want to be, I encourage the argument wholeheartedly. But you fought just as vociferously in the last two decades
for what you believe as we do for what we believe. And all of the people who said that digital stuff isn’t architecture, it’s all crap, you can’t build it, you thought the same about those people as I think about you now, and trust me, you don’t want to be one of those people. You should be encouraging the generation that’s attacking architecture
for the sake of architecture with the same intellectual
and energetic ambitions that you did. – I am, because that’s why I’ve given the time of my attention and critique. And that shows enough. I’m not debating Leon Krier. I’m debating with Tom. I’m sitting with him like this, I’m going to the reviews, I’m thrashing the model with them, and I critique. And tell them, hey, why are these articulations just invented on the spot? Why are you dismissing? I mean, of course, you can’t do everything at the same time. It’s easier to just model them. And you are now interested
in some kind of strangeness, but that you can have that strangeness with the strangely unfamiliar rationality a la Frei Otto. What frustrates me, we’ve been there. And I’m a big sponge. I’m a big learner. I’m reading and learning from Venturi, from Eisenman, from Christopher Alexander, from Colin Rowe, from Greg Lynn, from Jeff Kipnis, from Jesse Reiser, the ideas, and I’m attributing everything to them. – But you can’t learn anything– – And some things to add to that. And I find, when Lars
Spuybroek was the one, actually and I was a student of Frei Otto, but I wasn’t validating this, pushed Frei Otto in our faces and said, hey, Parametricism. But we’ve been trying
these NURBS surfaces, and now we have these
sort of morphologies, but with, and rationality of form
finding and lightness. And we were all running with this, we didn’t have to be told twice. And I find it tragic that, and they were strange, and look at the variety of this, it wasn’t just NURBS, it was the anticlastic tensile structures, the kind of blobs of the Mannheim Project, kind of skeletal proliferations. And then say this, go bring that into a digital proliferation where you have even more of those. That was Sembilan who got it, Achim got it, Michael Hensel got it, the whole EmTech group got it, I got it, we were running it. But it’s hard to work on a, Philippe Block is doing it, SCOD. So we are doing this. And then we’re seeing, and Tom, yes, it’s hard to do it all at once. And he’s discovering. But I think these things
lay over each other. We made progress, we were, at that moment where we
created these model monsters and were interested in the ambiguity, in the fertility and strangeness. We’ve been there. And now we’re saying, hey, but now, we have to build these things. We have to win in the market, we have to make them cost-effective. And we also have to make them function with a sense of lightness. We’ve been all this. And don’t misunderstand, and I’m into this increasing
of the heterogeneity, the differentiation, not only of type, I’m talking about setting up a project, a multi-ontology project. Multi-system set up. I’ve been saying this for 15 years. Now, the point is this, you’ve got to read this. The point is this, what frustrates me, there is kind of stuck up thing where you’re sitting here, I’m not sure if you’ve read my treatises, I’ve written a thousand. You say I’m intelligent, that you’re learning from me, maybe you do that now. And next time, you get it. Because there’s depths of articulation, depths of reasoning, depths of pointing, close readings, literature’s rehearsed and re-rehearsed. And Kipnis was the one, at least he was going and looked at this and he counted how many times
Jeff Kipnis was mentioned, and he would say, “I’m winning. “I’m the most cited figure “in the Autopoiesis of Architecture.” Now that’s what I’m trying, that’s what I find frustrating. Is to look at this work and it’s rebranded and what’s different is backwardness. And what’s good, we already have and run with it. So please join the project, or at least say, hey, I know this is the next
level of reworking this, I’m working on this element and aspect. I’m part of this movement, you’re part of one thing, and these artificial divisions are over-exaggerated. And to some extent, the folding and early part
of Parametricism was also hysterically trying to differentiate from the Deconstructivists as well. A lot of this flows through. And I’ve been reading Deleuze in 1987, it wasn’t even heard of, these folding and these things. Within the context of Deconstructivism. So I think there is a kind of hysterical branding and differentiation, and I want a big tent, a big house where we deliver this together. We together. Not in kind of, Parametricism is finished and rubbish and Triple O is flying, and I have to now think, I’m outmoded, I’m thrown onto the dustheap of history? I’m not. (crowd laughs) – We agree to disagree, I think. – [Gabriel] I think we’re getting tight on our, sort of, time. – Sorry I’m getting too agitated. – No, no, it’s good.
(crowd laughs) – But I don’t think you’re
on the dustbin of history. – One of the premises of of the book is really to discuss, really,
things about the discipline. I think you both have been, you know, you’re very
active in the discipline, you obviously love and
care about the discipline, and thus the reason why we
like you and you’re here, because we believe in the discipline. So, you know, you’ve talked about problems of undermining, problems of, you know,
something is happening. So can you guys tell us a little bit, to close the note on your take on the future of the discipline, or you know, thus the
reason why you care so much? – Okay. Quietly.
(crowd laughs) – Deep breath. You wanna hold my hand? – You’re great.
– We’ll do it together. – So, no. No, I’ve come around. While I was just recalculating
what had happened, to many of us, and I never claimed originality
of these contributions. Jeff and Greg opened my eyes, not only mine, they opened Bill and Shalan’s eyes, opened Hani’s eyes, it was like (dramatic exhale) all of us. And we know where the origin
came from and what the, but also, the lineage is, so I’m not making any claims. But I’d also been thinking, and I had my own resources
to bring to the table, which is a kind of, a long history of trying to
understand how society works, reading sociology, socio-economics, political ideas. And, so what I’m bringing to the table, and this founding of DRL in ’96 was actually premised on this, of giving sociological depth to these formalisms. And I saw the congenial tying up with the new managerial
self-organizing patterns, blurring of boundaries
between departments, layering of all matrix organizations, where you’re several
departments at the same time, and I said, hey, this is
what Eisenman is doing, the gradient is this kind of, where you have not department A and B, but all the in between of competencies. There was a mapping of
these formalisms and tropes and ways of creating space on institutional processes and happenings. And there’s no accident that
some of these came through the Deleuze and coterie, because they were describing, and one of the things they were describing was also complexity theory
and these kind of events, but also the way the Left had changed. It was no longer the kind
of Leninist-catered party democratic centralization, but it was the kind of
free flow of struggles. The currency of struggles. It was the Altamira movement, there was self-organization. And that was the smooth stretch, assemblages of organizations, where you don’t have a
hierarchy of a catered party, but where you have different, there was guerrilla war, there was groups where you have leadership
circulating and emerging and groups adding, and
particular conditions, new parts of the organization, reshuffling. This is what this algebra’s
abstracted implies. So there was also a
sociology at play there. So, I’m the one who’s bringing in that sociological depths, the congenial to history, how this matters, how this evolves with
this societal processes, and that was pretty much, in DRL, the first task was, okay, we take these repertoires for granted. We’re gonna use, we used gradients, we used superimposition, we used layering. But the layering isn’t
the Deconstructivists, it’s the layering where, where these layers affect each other, resonate with each other, are scripted off of each other and on top of each other. Later, we discovered
that scripting is the way to really do what we wanted to do. And that’s quite interesting. So we’d also, we’d draw on technologies we have a desire to do. And I had corporate fields, I had corporate organization. I had headquarter textures. And the city then asked the
problems to show the potency of these repertoires that mean something. Not just a new style,
a new fad, potentially, but they have real depths, like Modernism had, because Modernism remade the world and this is going to remake the world. And Google Campus, I wasn’t working at
have, and other places, and then look how Google
Campus was designed. What did Heatherwick and
Bjarke Ingels come up with? There comes sort of a Frei Otto style, open, flowing, sponge feel space wrapped up in tensile
and shell structures, hey, that’s for me confirmation, because the spaces Google desires and craves for and needs, the greatest prosperity and
research engine of the world, that’s confirmation for me. I don’t need market
confirmation necessarily. I need strategic client confirmation, and that’s, for me, a confirmation. I wish that we had this project. So that’s my thing. And then my current research, where are we going? We’re taking, now, we’re working further on the sociology. We’re working further on what I call life process modeling, where we want to show that these spaces, and nearly become more scientific, we are ramping up scientific, not only on technological fronts, we now want to become
scientific much more on the social performance, sociology, integration, gathering, dispersing, reassociation, how many encounters with
how many different people, and how many communications can you have in that texture. And know. And get a handle on how
we should distribute a hundred meeting rooms. And openings, and vistas, and separations and connections. I’m working on that. And for me that’s very important. While at the same time repertoires of technology, repertoires of formalism, are welcome to proliferate, I’m stimulated, what
I’ve been seeing today, and it makes me think how
we can integrate this. But we need to integrate
at that sophistication. We are, at the moment, winning airports, we’re winning big master
plans and complexes, that’s what we need to add to. And you can’t do that by doing just the kind of art piece here, you need to also, of
course, you start there, but you need to have a
collective understanding. Where the frontier is, it isn’t the frontier of 20 years ago. We’re on the frontier of taking over, of showing, of doing Google Campus, of doing the new districts. And we need, we need some freedom. We need to get the
bureaucrats out to do it. That’s where we’re at because I’m, we are, well, we need to do what Modernism did. Otherwise what have we done? We haven’t started. We’re a drop in the ocean. We ought to redo a city. That’s what I’m working on, that’s what takes larger writing, this takes proliferation,
this takes many things. And I want SCI-Arc to be part of this, I want this school to be a part of this, I want all the schools to be
pulling the same direction. Look at Modernism in 1965. Every single one, every architect worth his mettle and self respecting was a Modernist. What else could he have been? That’s what we need to reach, that’s what I’m working for. And, at the end of Modernism, you had series of sophistications. You had cybernetics and
complexities folding in. You had methodology
reflections folding in. And we need to reconquer all this, I feel. And we’re developing a
mature, potent style, ready to make a real,
real dent into history. Not having another kind
of iconic signaling. Do you want to take, I don’t, I want a real transformation. Or, is it good enough,
that every five years, we’re having a new kind of project, a new kind of thrill, a new kind of connoisseur mindfuck. Not good. I’m not interested in this. If that’s the discipline, I
don’t want to be part of it. – [Gabriel] Mark? – I was writing that down. “Connoisseur mindfuck.”
(crowd laughs) I always posit that in the history of architecture, every architect that thought they were doing something innovative, thought it was gonna go the distance. I don’t think anyone signs up with a series of new ideas, thinking that they’re gonna
be a connoisseur mindfuck. I’m pretty sure that Brunelleschi, when he started using pilasters
upon his return from Rome with his good friend Donatello, wasn’t thinking, I’m just gonna do this for a bunch of Ivory
Tower blowhards, right? The problem is, that
you can’t write history when you’re in it. You can only write it from the future. And my, let’s say, distaste for Parametricism, is that you’re writing its
history from the future. And I think Parametricism as a language isn’t a language. I think it’s a technology, and I think most, as I’ve said multiple
times in my writings, most suburban home builders in the Midwest who do Tuscan houses use
parametric technology. BIM is Parametric. The parametric technology
has nothing to do with the stylistic ambitions
that you’re interested in. So I think people absolutely
are going to continue with Parametric technology, the thing is that I don’t think a lot of people want to follow in your footsteps and try to adopt your stylistic signature, ’cause I think it would be futile. I think you and Zaha are
in my, like, top five of all architects ever.
(crowd laughs) 60% Zaha, 40% Patrik.
(crowd claps) But, no. I mean, the kind of language, which you developed, I think is an aesthetic language. And I know you’re gonna
hate me for saying that, but I think it’s powerful because it’s an aesthetic language. – I’m not disputing that. – So part of my interest in aesthetics is to find out how it’s
so potent in those terms. And I don’t think it’s potent in the terms of technology, I think it’s potent in the
terms of aesthetic effects. The truth is, that all of us are gonna be
using parametric technology whether you want to or not, even if you’re gonna grow
up and become a Minimalist, you’re gonna be doing it within a Parametric software system. So the differentiation between
Parametric and not Parametric is like, useless at this point. The stylistic position– – No, but they’re not using it. They’re not using it. It’s not like they’re using it, Minimalism isn’t using it– – But you don’t get to say how people use or don’t use
technology appropriately. You can say how you use it appropriately to produce your aesthetic signature, and I think you use it brilliantly. – No, there is a difference, there is a difference. – Well, this is my turn to talk now. You had yours.
(crowd laughs) So Parametricism, to me, is a technology and everyone’s gonna use it regardless of whether they want to or not. The kind of fluid digital
surface is something which I think Zaha and Patrik
were so successful with, that it actually turned
off other architects because it makes us seem as
if we’re copying Zaha’s work. So I know a lot of
architects in my generation who were working with digital surfaces at the same time Zaha’s office were, but they managed to produce such a cohesive body of work with it, and, in a sense, the language is so clearly
associated with Zaha at this point, that we wonder if there’s other– – That’s our weakness. That’s our weakness. – That is your weakness. But it’s also an incredible strength, I think you’ve done quite well with it. Our question is, how do we use this technology, but not use it in a
way that reappropriates Zaha and Patrik’s signature style? And one of the ways we
can do that is to say, oh, well, we’re all gonna use squares, they don’t use squares.
(crowd laughs) And we know that that’s
absolutely asinine. We could say, we’re all gonna use concrete, and get back to the rawness of materials, but that’s also asinine. So instead, a group of
us started looking around into other fields and saying, what if we
didn’t re-think architecture as a signature style, but re-thought it’s
intellectual assumptions, just to see what that does in our work. And we landed on a very
close collaboration with the number philosophers, which, according to Patrik, Graham Harman hasn’t
done anything original that Deleuze didn’t, I’m sure he’ll be really happy to realize his entire career for the last 30 years has been a total and complete abject waste of time. Nonetheless, he’s had some successes in philosophy and multiple other fields. But I find this very
productive and interesting. And I would be the last person to claim, as Patrik did, that Parametricism is about
territories, not zones, no straight lines, no right angles. I make no claims for my interest in Object-Oriented Ontology, Speculative Realism, Dark Ecology, Xenofeminism, Accelerationism. These are just people with ideas. And I work in a university, I have an office that’s
really intellectually driven, and I like to deal with ideas. And I think Patrik does a disservice to our generation in saying that the ideas
that he stumbled upon are the right ones that
we need to continue with. I wholeheartedly support your ability to not only use those ideas but recruit people to follow them. But as far as I know, not a single one of the
people you’ve quoted, Greg Lynn, Jesse Reiser, Alejandro Zaera Polo, Karl Chu, Preston Scott Cohen, would identify themselves
as being Parametricist in the way that you describe it. They have very different projects and I think it’s a mistake
to try to fold them into your personal
interest in Parametricism. I think their ideas are about
some very different projects– – Do they have something in common? – This is, you may have something in common, but you and I are both white, but that doesn’t mean we architecturally have
something in common. People share commonalities, that doesn’t put them in the same camps. And I think you may have
commonalities with them in the same way that Le
Corbusier used right angles and Brunelleschi did. But that doesn’t make
them both Modernists. – They have something in common the way Mies, Gropius– – The purpose here isn’t
to categorize people. The purpose here is for me to say that I’m interested in– – That means you’re refusing you’re refusing a theoretical task. Out of sensibility.
– No, absolutely not. Because Kiesler used the same formal language you did without Parametricism. – The theoretical historical task– – So you can’t link
people together by virtue of a common sensibility of form. – So art history is a fake? Is a waste? – No, I think you don’t get to write it. And you definitely don’t get to write it before it’s happened. And I think that’s what
you’re trying to do with Parametricism.
– So, but you, you can’t write it– – So my interests, because this is my moment to wrap up– – I can’t write it, you can’t write it, who can write it? – As a kind of connoisseur
mindfuck communist, whatever I am at the moment.
(crowd laughs) But I will say this, I will say, I’ve had incredibly
enlightening discussions with people from the worlds of philosophy, douchebags from art history, or whatever you want to call them, brilliant scholars, brilliant thinkers, and they have really fundamentally changed the output of my office. So we haven’t used single
surfaces in a while, I’m sure Patrik wishes
that were otherwise, but we’re using technology in ways we think are productive according to a different body of ideas. That doesn’t mean our
projects are unrelated, of course they’re related. But that doesn’t mean
that they necessarily have the same ambitions and goal. And I think as an
architect in your position, if I were in your position, I would be absolutely encouraging the younger generations
and their exploration precisely because they’re doing it in the terms of architecture and not trying to do it
in the terms of narrative, in terms of humanism, or sustainability, or justification for anything other than architecture
for architecture’s sake. That architecture is a discourse of form and qualities and all of the work that
I’m doing intellectually, with a lot of other people
in the group that I’m in, doesn’t make any claims
about architectural projects that have a background in Triple O, making any particular claims, we’re asking questions. Which is why the symposium I put together was one of asking questions. I said multiple times in the discussion, in the poster, and in the discussion and will in the book, that my symposium was an
invitation to curiosity. An invitation to curiosity is not a dictation of a set of ideas. An invitation to curiosity is what we do in a university setting, and it’s what architects
have historically done with ideas in producing new genres of architectural language. So I think, for my generation, I don’t want to sign up for Parametricism. I love the work that you’ve done, but don’t sign me up for it and don’t co-opt me just
because I use some of the tools. We have different ambitions, different background, I think architecture
is the stronger for it, because it allows us to
have discussions like this, I think we have more in
common than we do apart, but I would encourage all of you to take what we’ve said up here today, whether it’s Parametricism or Triple O, or Object-Oriented Ontology, or, I mean, or Accelerationism, or what your professors are teaching you in different languages and
different formal strategies, and try to combine them into something which makes sense to you, but try to keep it contemporary. Like, I wouldn’t fall back
into historic positions, I would try to take what we’re doing, or what we’re discussing, and try to find what makes sense for you. Because architecture is really only a good profession if you
love what it is you do and believe you’re making a difference. And it’s not a profession anymore, that we all sign up for
certain schools of thought, and I call myself a Postmodernist. Venturi famously, like Nixon, on the front cover of
Architecture Magazine, had his hands up like this and said, “I am not a Postmodernist.” When he’s the most familiar architect that you would associate
with Postmodernism. People don’t want to be compartmentalized into certain schools of thought, Because that limits their
freedom for creativity. And I don’t want to be compartmentalized as a Parametricist or anything else, because I don’t want
to limit my creativity. I don’t want to limit
it now or in the future. All I can say is, we’re looking at a series of ideas, we’re talking to some very smart people who give us a lot of interesting feedback and open our eyes to new ways
of thinking about the world and our work, and our position in it, and my work is reflecting that. And I would not want any
of you to copy my work, and I think that’s the biggest distinction between Patrik and our eyes, that he wants recruits, and I would much rather have a generation of new thinkers that I can support to produce arguments that are as unique and resonant to them as Triple O and some of the
things we’re dealing with are to me, and as Parametricism has been to Patrik. – [Gabriel] Thank you
guys, it was amazing. (audience applauds) I think we covered the two hours, but in case there is someone
dying to ask a question and have something, there is two mics at the front, so you can come down and ask your– – And what you saw today was like, a family quarrel.
(crowd laughs) This isn’t like Trump and Hillary, this is more like, you know, Bill and Hillary. (crowd laughs) – Okay, come on. Mic in the front. – [Julian] Good evening. My name is Julian, I teach Design Computation in Architecture here at A&M. Great debate. Thanks Mark and Patrik. But I don’t think you will
ever agree with each other. Patrik said, tessate. So why don’t we test deregulation? How about building a
Parametric model to tessate and to simulate it, or probably optimize it, using regulations as parameters? And Mark said there are BIM monkeys. So we can try, like, let BIM monkeys to tessate. So what do you think about the idea of testing it? Not in the real world, but in the computer world first? – Modeling capitalism? – [Julian] Deregulation, yeah, whatever parameters we can have. – I would say that’s fascinating, the proposition, this is not a new proposition. There was a so-called
Socialist calculation debate, where I’m coming from, socio-economic and politically, the ideas, the market processes, information processing, telecommunication, system gathering, multiple knowledges distribute into resource allocation systems and so on. And the attempt was then made, to hey, yeah, maybe we can. This challenge to the Left was quite stark and shook up a lot. That central plan, without markets, has no chance to economize because there’s no prices, no market prices, which will allow you to
calculate multiple inputs and compare the different options of resource allocation. And they thought they can substitute, through a computational simulation, and there’s this kind of famous example, of the systems theorists helping Alexander to try to have this kind of computer control room
to try to simulate, no? There’s a complexity barrier, a complexity issue about this. And in the end, what I have to say, although I accept, maybe, that as with computational enhancement, one could start to simulate regulatory impacts and get a handle on feedbacks, it’s very very complex, and there is, computationally, agent-based economics, agent-based computation, agent-based sociology, I’m looking it and I find it fascinating, but I think there’s
the complexity barriers of the real process. The market as it’s real life, self-computing system, is very very difficult to really simulate. We’re very very far off. And all kind of forecasting
models of all types are tragically off the mark when it comes to longer term projections. It’s a bit like the inability to forecast the weather
more than a few days. We’re making inroads, but we don’t know what the
weather’s gonna be in six months. And that, I find it interesting, but, at the moment, I’m a skeptic. Because it is not only
the calculational problems but the gathering of
the input informations. Because what you would wish and how you would choose, being confronted with
an unexpected choice, no market research can kind of simulate what you would do. That information isn’t available. So, I’m interested in this, and fascinated with this, and I think I couldn’t totally exclude that this would allow, maybe, some of the blundering of Interventionism to be ameliorated, if we can’t risk together a more, letting the real world compute itself, we might look to these kind
of systems and mechanisms. And it ties another, what I wanted to say, about my project, is agent-based parametric life positing models much more complex than the normal circulatory crowd models. There we have desires, beliefs, agencies, multiple agencies, individualized agents. There is also computational barriers. And how much veracity does that give me? I don’t even know yet. But you’re on, your question is on the right track. But it won’t sway me off the political project
of Liberalization. – I would say your question
is on the wrong track. I mean, the calculation
can approximate reality, it can’t calculate reality. And the reason for that, and one, well, it reminds me of this short
story written by this, by the Argentine author Borges, who I’m a huge fan of, but he has a short story
where one of the characters has a map the same size
as the thing it’s mapping. So a map of Texas the same size of Texas. And it’s exactly that question of– – [Julian] But simulation
is to simplify the problem. – Well, that’s the problem, that’s why I was gonna
actually bring this back to the, you know, useless derivative ideas of Triple O, and say that one of
the aspects of Triple O is that the true aspects of objects and their information
withdrawal from phylaxis. So you might be able to say, look at my shoe, it’s like, silver, it has metal spikes, but you can’t ever know everything
about those metal spikes. No matter how much
analysis and calculation, metal is only formed, all atoms larger than helium are formed in the nucleus of dying stars. So sometime between four
and 13 billion years ago, the metal on my spikes were formed in the star
that went supernova. So there’s a limit to
how much you can know about the spikes in my shoes, which means that not everything
is gonna be calculable, no matter how good you
are at Parametricism. – [Julian] It’s going to be complex, but– – It’s going to be complex?
(crowd laughs) – [Julian] There will
be ways to simulate– – If you can track down, before tomorrow, which star the spikes
for my shoe came from? I’ll believe you. – [Gabriel] But they’re sparkly. – [Julian] But there
are a lot of behavioral, a socio system that could be simulated. I’m glad to hear that there are considerations about simulation. Thank you all very much. (audience applauds) – [Gabriel] Anymore questions? Renee? – [Renee] I have, just a follow up comment to that suggestion, which, an alternative to
simulating that, is just, Patrik, you need to come
build in Houston, Texas. (audience claps) – [Audience Member] Hi. I’m wondering, what the relationship
is between Parametricism and your vision for the
privatization of public spaces. Because, when you explain it at the AA, and several lectures, you mention how it would
solve the garbage spill and the visual chaos that
we have in a lot of cities. And it’s something that you
touched on at the beginning, with how you go to Istanbul, you go to all these places, and you start to find the
same thing over and over. And so I’m wondering, how the, it almost seems like the privatization of all the public spaces
would be the perfect ground for all these different objects that once again create that visual chaos. I’m not sure, I’m wondering what your thoughts are. – You’re asking him? – [Audience Member] Both of
you, if you have something. – I’d say the most interesting
thing about humanity is that it’s unpredictable. And as soon as you develop the world’s most perfect magic algorithm that’s Parametric, that designs the world’s
most perfect public space, I think most architects
aren’t gonna want to use it. Because I think we have an interest in innovation and creativity, and I think that’s not calculable. So if Patrik designs the world’s most perfect software program, I think the architects are
gonna be the ones that hack it and get it to do something different. And that’s why I love architects. – So my view of this is, and I was surprised in Austin about this, the way I see the Parametric city, city development under the
auspices of Parametricism, a hegemonic disciplinary Parametricism, which is, of course, not a dictate, but it’s a convergence self-selecting through better arguments
and compelling by, I’m imagining, Parametricism be hegemonic, as Modernism was in 1965. And what would that mean? It would mean, in my view, that we wouldn’t, to
have identity coherence, legible complex variegated
order in our cities versus that disarticulation and garbage spill white noise and chaos. How would that be possible? Not with a top down overarching plan, not with a master algorithm, but with a palimpsest style accrual of multiple interventions by multiple authors, each with an ethos of Parametricism, which is about validating connections, residences, connectivities, but in unpredictable ways. In creative crafting of new
algorithms with each project and new decisions about how you resonate your project with the presences which laid before, with the road network, the topography, with all sorts of things
you relate in and fold in. And the more the merrier, because the more you do that, the more sophisticated and intricate. You’re relating back unpredictably because we’re all authors and there are so many different
ways and authors and ideas one could do that through. Connect through geometry, though line and through materiality through patterns of porosity, through inversion rather than, or amplification. And that for me, is totally unpredictable. And for me, the analogy is
the multi-species ecology and evolutionary process. It’s totally unpredictable, yet it forms a series of principles. And the principles are, principles of adaptation, of resonance, and embedding, but how that organism is dealing
with a certain challenge. And how one organism
grafts itself symbiotically onto another is unpredictable. And this is a trial and error, there’s no preordainedness, but in these processes of nature, whatever is coming out will be organic, will be, have registration, resonance, will have variation. And that’s what I predict. And there’s identities. Each valley, each microclimate, each space is forged with recognizability, navigability, an order. A rule-based order, but the rules aren’t written once for all. I’m saying just rule-basedness
is the principle. Now you come in and craft
and invent and create rules, unheard of, unseen, but they’re systemic and rule-based and they have, pick up
a series of factors, which factors they pick
up is again up to you. You can’t cater to
everything all the time. So that’s, for me, the view. It’s a kind of past-dependent
immersion of identities, of orders, nature-like in general
abstract principles. And the thing it’s very
important to grasp, that when I’m talking of Parametricism, I’m only establishing
a series of heuristics, and I’m called and provocative, and taboos and dogmas, but they’re very very abstract. And the abstraction allows
so much space of exploration. And I’m saying also this, that Parametricism is a
flourishing in opportunity of individualization
and career development, subsidiary styles,
individual contributions, and if, what Achim Menges is doing now, is so radically different from what Philippe Block is doing now. But yet, they’re both in Parametricism and they use tools that
are equally sophisticated, equally other, we’re far beyond where everybody just has
glossy NURBS surfaces. You have these kind of
woven carbon fiber textures, you have the kind of stone articulation, you have many many other things. Folding metal, pleating, they are 3D printing, robotic, all sort of things. And that’s, I think, is beautiful, unpredictable, and what that space, which I’m holding open,
which I’m defending, which is not exclude Minimalism, it includes Postmodern, it excludes all the
backwardness which doesn’t know, hasn’t understood, hasn’t learned the tools and lacks sophistication capacities. Yet that open space, an invitation for creative contribution is far larger in it’s versatility, than all the other styles put together. Far larger. – All right, so having, following up on that, who here, having heard that, how unbelievable Parametricism is here, who here wants to be a Parametricist? Please raise your hand. No, come on, raise them
high so I can count them. We have four. Four out of, I don’t know, 100, 200, 300. – It’s a start.
(audience laughs) No, I’m very comforted. And every one of you, you can contact me on Facebook, I’m answering questions. – Look, as a marketplace of ideas, that’s not a big market share. – Who shifted worlds, built environment, and the world of artifacts? Every single thing we encounter? It was three figures at the Behrens office meeting and shaking hands. Lenin and Trotsky transformed the whole of the Eastern Bloc and half of the world. – You want to be the next
Lenin and Trotsky, okay. – It’s not in the numbers, it’s just commitment, and it needs to be more
than one that’s for sure. – [Audience Member] What if we looked at more at the overlap, let’s say, between
Parametricism and Triple O, and saying that, as you said, these are holistic ideals
that could be applied and help to organize, and what if, in an urban scheme, right, you have Parametricism
working at a grand scale, but then all of a sudden, Triple O, assessing, or, not assessing– – No, I think no matter what, there’s no O in Parametricism. No matter how you slice it. – Well, what I’m talking about is– – [Audience Member] But,
in both arguments, there’s, you address Parametricism
being able to address the specificity required
between structural components, help programs, all these different things, that even result in the aesthetic
of Zaha Hadid Architects, but at the same time, Triple O talks about the uniqueness and the sort of one-to-one
relationships between objects if we were to assume that all people are at the same level as, like, buildings. – Okay, let me and let me come back. First of all, yes to give credit, Triple O is only around for ten years and architecture starts
to flood and work with it for five years. Now, where is the architectural theory, elaborate and detailed and explicit, which compares and
competes with what I’ve, again, I have to repeat it. Not my Parametricism. That movement which I’m a part of and I’m rehearsing and making explicit, I’m talking about ontology as well. I’m talking about, look at my lectures. You can go back ten years ago. The radical ontological shift, where totally new perimeters and entities, totally new ontology comes into play and becomes part of our design
medium and design capacities. We’re talking about things like splines, blobs, NURBS, gradients, scripts, associative logics, these are not only totally new things, unheard of in architecture
until this point– – A gradient? – In architecture to this point, yes. – That’s not true. That’s a total, John Russell Pope in the National Gallery used a gradient of stone. He’s one of the best
Beaux Arts Classicists in architectural history. That predates Parametricism by 60 years. – I mean something radically systematic capturing and driving upon. Now, where is the equivalent of these exuberant, thrilling, stimulating, new ontology? And also saying, from single system to
multiple of these ontologies interfacing and resonating
with each other. Where is the equivalent of
these particular concepts you can run with and spend
a career on elaborating. Where is that elaborate theory in that camp? Maybe, you are very sophisticated, I’ve noticed you as one of the brightest lights of the school, and I’m asking you, in return, please– – That’s just ’cause he asked
you about Parametricism. – We had a lunch conversation, and I notice intelligence.
– So you paid him. – So I’m asking you, give me some of the idea which, architectural idea, which you found empowering and sophisticated and revelatory, out of that discussion with
Triple O and the studio, and then, let’s see what it is, and see if I had it in
my repertoire already. – [Audience Member] So, for instance, I think that informing architecture through the data that
we have access to now is very relevant, and I think you mentioned how, you know, just the sketch or the visualization of something beautiful or whatever, it is no longer appropriate to build upon, and actually have in our,
I guess, built environment. But I wouldn’t undermine
the vision of an architect to, sort of, build on personal, sort of, like, experience, to say that, based on ideas of Triple O, or perhaps a mix of everything can craft what the experience and, of the human condition, to be in the future, if that makes sense? – Perhaps planted, but if you can’t make it explicit, if you rely on something is happening, that supercomputer, but I don’t know what. But I’ll ask you again, back, give me a specific architectural idea– – [Gabriel] We have another question too. – Not an abstract that could be an architectural idea, and should not validated, I’m asking you, give me, or point to
an architectural idea, which fascinates you, which empowers you, which is new and original. Is there one? And then, let’s have it, and let’s see where it originated, and if it’s really something
new beyond Parametricism. That’s the challenge to you. Can you, have it a go? Or am I too pushy? – [Audience Member] I don’t
have an answer now, I guess. – So– – You can’t be a Parametricist, then. Sit down.
(audience laughs) – You have failed your interview. – [Gabriel] We have another question. – But I hope, and I think you, this is what we call in German, (speaks in German) this means, you’re really laying it out. You’re saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t answer this question. “I can’t name a single
idea which I find original “and is inspiring, “so I’m standing empty-handed.” Now, humble yourself, I’ve called you one of the brightest guys, and a self-reflective humbleness, which I have–
(audience laughs) Because I am not pretending that I can deliver the insights. I’m doing it out of my own. I’m giving it all to Marx and Lumen, Derrida, Deleuze, Guattari, Jeff Kipnis, and so on and so forth. Now, I’m going, go back to some of my writings, and then see if you can appropriate this, and next time we meet, you can give me those thrilling ideas which inspire and empower you. And the fact that you found them there, doesn’t devalue them. Then we’re kind of fetishistic Madonnas. Self centered, dysfunctional, pricks. You should look at ideas and run irrespective of the origin, that they weren’t yours, make them yours. And that’s a field, that sense, where you’re coming from, you want that sense of self-reliance, which I think is totally fallacious, and we’ve known in Post-Structuralism that everything is intertextuality, there’s a death of the author. And this sense, that’s the myth. But there’s authorship
of claiming something, running something, adding to something. And whatever we’re adding, 99.9% is somebody else’s work and that is the way I also
appraise my contribution. As that last 5%, 1%, into a discourse, and that’s all we can hope for. We are in a very mature,
sophisticated culture. And we can’t pretend, that’s art school business. And even there it’s fallacious. That you kind of pull it
out of nothing and nowhere. But it has to be valuable, because I’m a valuable person. I priori. Sorry. – So, in short, you can have an original idea, as long as it descends from one of his. Good luck.
– Total absurd, absurd character of what I am saying. He knows better than what you’re trying, you’re trying, you’re just trying to– – Just because a student
wants to use a gradient doesn’t make him a Parametricist. – You’re not, we’re having a serious conversation. – Just ’cause a student
wants to use a gradient or a territorialization does not make him a Parametricist. You can’t claim all interesting
aspects of architecture are Parametricist. – We have, we are entertaining each other, but we also have some serious business. – [Gabriel] But, let’s move
on to our next question– – And you’re an entertainer, perhaps. – [Audience Member] Maybe I can shed light to the whole discussion. I’m a computer graphics researcher. I have been doing shape
modeling since 1980, late 1980s. You know the person who
create the blob is like, (mumbles), I know them. And then the people who create NURBs, and then that’s another group of people. But what happened in the ’90s, I want to give a light to
why Mark is opposing to you, in the same time I would also give light, there is no need to oppose here. It’s a little bit complicated structure. Let me explain. In the 19, around 1990s,
middle of the 1990s, I believed that implicit surfaces, we know, were the NURBs. The reason was, NURBs were not able to create
all possible topologies, because they had a problem. Like, because we had some
kind of rectangular piece, and you just map it,
you cannot do anything. So I, but I was working
on implicit surfaces. I thought that I will kill the NURBs. So some of my papers, rejected from computer graphics community, they said that, okay,
we are doing the cars and all kinds of interesting stuff, what are you talking about? But what happened, we were sure in the
implicit surface community, we will win over the NURBs. But what happened in the 1998, a movie came, they still probably remember it, like the “Geri’s Game.” And then they include
the subdivision surfaces. When they include the
subdivisional surfaces, we were killed. As in, in business community. So it is like always going
on, process like that. What is the, your mathematicals, what is the power of your
mathematical structure? Subdivisional surfaces
improved the whole thing, and then I start to work
on parametric surfaces and we built the, actually, several people knows about it. Like, we built the top note and then many people start to use it, because we combined the
subdivisional surfaces with the polygonal modeling. So, what happened, then, recently, and then I was thinking, you
know that, what killed us, another thing in the new, the– – T-Splines? – [Audience Member] T-Splines. Because the T-Splines improved the stuff. Now that I’m working on
something, I will say it can turn into what you
are, you may be right. And then I developed something called representation of the tree manifolds, and then, I wrote a paper, we still try to implement them, and then this can
combine the NURB surfaces and then we can get the
much more generalized stuff. And then, I think a
month ago, a person came, and then he was working,
the mathematician, and I was not sure that
I was able to represent all possible tree manifolds. Because what is the problem? – What’s the question? I’m sorry, what’s the question? – [Audience Member] I think he knows. You are coming from the math background. – Well, okay, what’s the question? – [Audience Member] I
just had a quick question. I will answer to your– – Well, can I just say, I mean, thank you. Seriously. Because I owe you a debt
of gratitude, we all do. Because, realize more and more, there’s a whole, not to be taken for granted, scientific community–
– Of course. – Computer scientists,
geometrists, mathematicians, sophisticates, which deliver things for us
we take for granted too easy, and we should cherish that, and should utilize that, and exploit the capacities of this in all different aspects of our field. – [Audience Member] Maybe
I can finish my comment, like, I think your question is, can we build all possible buildings with that method? Because if you cannot
build, it’s restrictive. Am I right? That’s what is, that’s your question. But he claims that he
can build everything. Actually, the answer is– – But what’s the difference? Who cares how you did it? I advocate, I care what
it is, not how you did it. – [Audience Member] If we
can theoretically prove that you can build every possible case– – But who cares? – [Audience Member]
Representational power, that’s– – The story behind how you got
to what you wanted to build is not as important as
the thing you built. So whether you use T-Splines or subdivision surfaces, or NURBs, or polygons, or high resolution, or low resolution, or plaster casts, or timber, the story behind the thing
isn’t as important as the thing. – But, In the final analysis I agree with Mark. However– – But we thank you. ‘Cause we love your tools. – But I want to mention
something that’s important, because we live, I’m also tragically
confronted with the fact that while, in the ’90s
and 2000s, up to 2007, most students, schools of architecture invested in appropriating those tools, developing skills, upgrading skills, that’s no longer happening. – Yeah, that’s true. – And I think there is,
in the final analysis, what the capacities are, but I believe that the wonders of what we would dream up and wish for, we’re relying on these
and will be chief tools and not through some kind of handmade sketch drawing model, or simple, even modeling, we have
to use a bit of scripting and evolutionary algorithms and many many more sophistications. We need to stay on track. And therefore it matters
in the school environment. Not on the outcome, but
how you’ve reached it. That you’ve invested in these skills. And when you first do it, you will lose the competition
of those who can just, check, do it by hand. But it’s very important that we, not in the final analysis, there, you really, the tools
have to show its powers. But in an individual career,
and each learning curve, but also at the beginning
of this movement, our products were not winning competition. We were losing, and we deserved to lose,
because it wasn’t ready. But it was clear that playing
with this, learning this, investing this. Going, the hardware that one was hardware, to use these tools because
you had the learning curve. You had to learn these tools. And that’s still very very important. So sometimes, we have to
also treasure the process. – We’re in total agreement. Take a picture, right now. Total agreement. – [Audience Member] I have a question. I am (mumbles), PhD
student, and teaching here. So, my question is about
the future of our profession or our discipline. As architects, we are now
learning computation tools, we have to learn, and we
have to be capable to learn like, a scripting, better. It’s better for us to learn scripting, to customize our Parametric models. But, my question for both of you is how do you forecast or
expect the profession, are we losing authorship
in terms of, like, the computer is during the simulation and the modeling and the optimization, and we are, we’re becoming
more like draftsman. This is a notion that is, I feel like we are losing
authorship as architects, and maybe architecture is not as before. So, for example, we are supposed to adapt
to new technologies, and sometimes we need support, or we need the interdisciplinary
with computer science, with visualization, and with other, because of the technology advancement. So, I mean directly, how do you see the
authorship of architecture? How to regain authorship in another way? Like, how do you? And the question is for
both of you, thank you. – I have a view on this. Very clear. No, it’s empowering and
enhancing authorship. Because what you, in a sense, outsource, is a lot of routine decisions. You would sit there and
scratch your head and do them, and so on. And I think that the outsourcing
of routine decisions now, if you have algorithms and rule-based, and even the evolutionary ones, where you step back even further. Initially, it was, you
outsource just the hand. The drawing those 500 lines, sort of letting it print. We’re much beyond that. And so it’s empowering if
you don’t have to draw them, and you just print them, you have time to think
and decide and appraise and evaluate and choose
and that keeps going. The more we abstract away, the more we give routine decisions to the executions of algorithms, they can write varied variations, we are set free to have
the higher level decision. And purview more overall choices. And make them more informed, and more strategic, and
more empowered decisions. So the authorship increases. Because you’re not an author, when you break your back, and doing that drawing. You’ve been the author when you decided which drawing to make and not in the execution machine. So I think the authorship increases. And also the challenge and sophistication of being that author, because you have more
strategic, more top view. You purvey more choices. You select out of a much
larger universe of possibility, which is Parametricism, far larger than the Minimalism, where you just have to choose which rectangle to shift which way. So authorship increases. But of course, it’s dependent
on all sorts of tools, repertoires– – I agree with that. I would add something different to it, again from my school of thought, which is, at the moment,
Triple O, not surprisingly. But Graham Harman did his, I believe his dissertation, on Heidegger, and uses
this idea from Heidegger called the broken tool analogy, or tool analysis, it’s from tool analysis, tool and being. Where Heidegger says that
something is invisible to your attention if it’s functioning in accordance with its
nature, essentially. So no one right now is paying
attention to their chair. I’d imagine, no one’s thinking, like, oh, my chair, it’s great,
it’s supporting me right now. But as soon as your chair breaks, folds to the side a little bit, all of a sudden you look at it. And you touch it, and you’re trying to find
what’s going wrong with it. That means it came to the
foreground of your attention. So, architecture one of
the ambitions in Triple O, is to try to produce an architecture that comes to your foreground of attention without necessarily doing,
like, Deconstruction, which is just breaking the architecture. Making a stair so it doesn’t work. So, I believe authorship in the future is more contingent on
bringing architecture to the foreground of your attention than to making it look,
let’s say, functional. So, in the Heideggerian
and Triple O sense, when Louis Sullivan, and I
mentioned this today earlier, said, “Form follows function,” according to Heidegger’s reading, that if form follows function, and architecture looks like
what it’s supposed to do, it’s invisible to your attention. Which means a century of architects have been making work that’s invisible to the
consciousness of its users because it appears as if it functions. So authorship, for me, is
very much contingent on about bringing architecture
to the foreground of intention without doing the simple
deconstruction thing, which is just making it not work. And that’s a problem for me, and it’s an interesting territory, and it excites me, and that’s my answer
and I’m sticking to it. – [Gabriel] Thank you guys, I think we’re done with the questions. Thank you. (audience applauds)

12 thoughts on “Architects Patrik Schumacher and Mark Foster Gage face off

  • Out of shear curiosity, I'm currently writing a research paper on OOO and the interest held by a group of contemporary architectural educators/practitioners (10 week course, fourth year undergrad) This is one of my favorite references I've come across. Patrik delivers a critique about OOO's emergence in the architectural discourse. So much respect for these three guys on stage. Lot's of quotable content here. "Connoiseur mindfuck." This definitely characterizes how most people at my school feel about OOO, yet know nothing about it.

  • There's a delicious irony when Patrick says "let a hundred flowers bloom" around the 17:00 mark. It's like having a modest proposal.

  • We are witnessing a genius. I don't think people actually understand the sophistication of Parametricism and it's full potential. Saying Patrik is underrated is an understatement at this point.. We're going to be retroactively looking back in awe of these pivotal moments

  • I love these kind of debates, so much passion and anger from both sides. This is what academia should be. Ideas worth defending, and worth attacking. More of this!

  • Gage is intelligent and all, but Schumacher is well-rehearsed in debate vs. state-interventionist and socialist arguments. He's been defending his libertarian position in public forums a while now, and it shows in his ease of retort to Gage's infantile terms of debate.

  • Awesome debate, Mark holds his own surprisingly well even though I fundamentally agree with Patrik's assessment of OOO as simple avant gardism, a shallow reading of an irrelevant philosophical notion appropriated to create an architecture that's different for the sake of being different. Just my completely unqualified assessment, both men clearly have valuable insights to share with one another and all of us. Shame about the audio at the start.

  • Triple O is gibberish nonsense in Architecture. I get that many people are enamored by it due to its esoteric philosophical nature. But just watching Triple O inspired Architects, in this video, fail to articulate and enumerate what links their theory with their works speak volumes of how silly it is as an architecture movment.

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