Conflict and Natural Disasters
Terrorist vs. Architect
Hi all,

I was recently reading a book called "After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City" edited by Michael Sorkin and Sharon Zukin. (Published New York: Routledge, 2002.) and came across an interesting quote on pg 72 ...

"... terrorist is the exact counter-figure to the architect... the terrorist mobilizes the whole psychopathology of fears buried beneath the architect's obsession with efficiency, comfort and pleasure."

Do you agree with this statement?
Kerri Eckert
Terrorist vs. Architect
Kerri, The quoted text is just plain weird. The implication is architects have an obsessive desire to design because they are motivated by fear???
Someone is out to lunch on this one.

Furthermore, as shown by too many modern designs today, I see no evidence of any desire let alone obsession for efficiency, comfort and pleasure.
Frank John Snelling
Terrorist vs. Architect
"Architecture is a cult, and the last thing a cult wants is to be transformed into a proper scientific discipline."

"Defining a cult.

A system may be identified as a dangerous cult if it has the following characteristics, combining aims with techniques:

1. It aims to destroy

2. It isolates its members from the world

3. It claims special knowledge and morality

4. It demands strict obedience

5. It applies brainwashing

6. It replaces one's world view

7. It has an auto-referential philosophy

8. It creates its own language, incomprehensible to outsiders."

N. Salingaros
Kenneth Huo
Terrorist vs. Architect

First, conventions of perception regardless of media exposure, conflicting philosopophies or whatever are not changed by any single event.

One most always be cognizant of imported assumptions made through language.

Terrorism is not a new phenomena on the planet. The idea that architects should somehow validate a greater role for 'terrorism' as a political expression of any sort by letting the concept of terrorism dictate professional attitudes is absurd.

One of my first queries to Archnet, was about the degree to which nuclear holocaust has or has not affected the real concerns of architectural design - an equally absurd concept which I now reject.

This is not to say there are not engineering realities and methodologies which address issues of defense or war, protection of populations etcetera - only to say that the architects' world is first and foremost a celebration of civilisation, not the destruction of civilisation. We can create spaces which promote positive use, people friendly environments which promote better communication - we can make architectural statements which celebrate the higher, positive uses of material reflecting the nobler goals of humanity and civilisation; we should not make statements which surrender the best qualities of our training, perception and humanity on the altars of conflict and violence.

Terrorism is not merely an attack on expedience and comfort - it reflects deepseated issues reflective of the same old tired sources of human angst as always. Terrorism will NEVER and cannot ever dictate to the higher art of architecture and esthetic human expression. To be a great architect is to leave a lasting legacy, not a nightmare of 'paranoid' architecture and the mentality of cave-dwellings.

ma salemah!
Anthony Stewart
Terrorist vs. Architect
Your quotes about both 'architecure is a cult' and the definition of the word cult is right on target for those turn architecture into a political arena. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Terrorist vs. Architect
Is architecture a political arena?
Kenneth Huo
Terrorist vs. Architect
Architecture is not a political arena. I might suggest that the lack architecture however, is:

Architecture is macro-communication between civilizations and cultures, communciation which, rightly or wrongly may be perceived by individuals or groups of individuals as expressions of moral, human value. This always transcends mere 'politics.'

Our work can never be constrained as mere political expression (which is what terrorism ultimately a form of) by virtue of the fact that great buildings always survive their designers and/or patrons.

They seem to outlast the civilisations which give rise to them as well.

Ancient cities, covered by sand and built in antiquity are still communicating to us today. We may agree or not with what they tell us - but it cannot be denied that their messages still exist.

ma salemah! (in this life, or perhaps the next)
Anthony Stewart
Terrorist vs. Architect
Architecture should not be a political arena, but the modern view today is that every field and every issue is political and therefore everyone must have a political agenda so that there is no such thing as impartiality.

But the problem with dragging in such an unbalanced viewpoint, is that architecture degenerates into iconic "one liner" political (aka idelogical) statements which blur, confuse and camoflage. :(((
Frank John Snelling
Terrorist vs. Architect
I think that all kinds of people make up this world,

Hence it would be rather terrorist v/s a non-terrorist.

Architecture is a celebration of humanity. Terrorism is exactly opposite.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Terrorist vs. Architect
Another obvious fact: there can be no such thing as 'terrorist' architecture. In a world which demands complementarity, the whole idea becomes moot.

Even the subjectivity of esthetics denies any logical premises from which to proceed: bad architecture may exist, unesthetic constructs may be judged as such, but 'terrorist' architecture is a laughable concept. Let us pray it doesn't catch on in the popular media....

I am very happy to see almost a general trend so far toward the more humane view of architecture.
Anthony Stewart


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