coromandal


the divorce: appearance and performance
March 26, 2008, 3:56 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is a description of how the city’s need for appearance and peformance can be totally divorced from each other.  I wonder about the inhabitants who occupy this condition of divorce.

Do they develop split personalities, which delaminate and separate? In the worst case, are they divided against themselves? Or are we in mendacity to accept the condition as genius and simplicity for the good of the metropolis?

The permanence of even the most frivolous item of architecture and the instability of the metropolis are incompatible.  In this conflict the metropolis is, by definition, the victor; in its pervasive reality architecture is reduced to the status of a plaything, tolerated as decor for the illusions of history and memory.  In Manhattan this paradox is resolved in a brilliant way: through the development of a mutant architecture that combines the aura of monumentality with the performance of instability.  Its interiors accommodate compositions of program and activity that change constantly and independently of each other without affecting what is called, with accidental profundity, the envelope.  The genius of Manhattan is the simplicity of the divorce between appearance and performance:  It keeps the illusion of architecture, while surrendering whole heartedly to the needs of the metropolis.  This architecture relates to the forces of the Groszstadt like a surfer to the waves.

-Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York


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