Kenneth Frampton There is an aphorism by Adolf Loos that goes as follows: “There's no point in inventing anything unless it's an improvement.” It’s an ironic remark, but also a challenge to this moment in time, where everyone seems to be losing it.
Commerce will tell you that this is ridiculous from the point of view
of architecture. Now you can say,
"Well I don't give a damn about
commerce, this is an artistic work!"
But Architecture is not...Fine Art in that sense. [Architecture] is a modus, which has to deal with certain kinds
of reality. Its poetic comes through
its transformation of reality....
The question is, What are the limits in which this transformation can take place? You have to talk to society in some way — in a way in which you can appeal to some kind of evident values. It can be money values, but also can, at the same time, can it be other values?
Otherwise it's like a conversation between the deaf and the dumb! There's no reason why we're to do anything! I could tell you to cut six more slots into this thing, and it wouldn't make a difference. It's a negative critique of the project, but
it's also a critique of the whole
You have to have a principle; otherwise you cannot communicate anything to anybody. Why should I invest my money in this, as opposed to some other project? You have to have a reason! Otherwise the architects don't even talk to the society! Don't you see that predicament?
These computer renderings
produce aesthetic affects very well, seamless, very seductive, but they
are not about anything. They are delusions! They are mirages! I'm sorry, it's very aggressive to say this, but aren't we going to start talking? It's just ridiculous to say, "OK — individual interpretations," so on
and so forth. One has to talk about something fundamental; otherwise we're never going to talk about anything anymore!
Demitri Porphyrios I'm not sure what you're talking about.
KF I'm talking about the fact that there is a total degeneration in the capacity to discuss anything.
DP Do you want some coffee?
KF No, I don't. Sorry, I don't...
DP Look, look, look. This is a disgusting situation. It's not right
to get upset.
KF It's something to get upset about! We always have polite discussions; we have to sometimes get upset, because otherwise we just don't talk about the things that matter.
I am the founder and president of
this San Francisco-based nonprofit that honors the life and advances the legacy of Joshua Abraham Norton (c.1818-1880) — best known as
the eccentric and visionary,
Learn more here.
A grassroots initiative to redevelop and restore Gabe's Tower (1963) as an economically and culturally vibrant symbol and icon of Owensboro, Ky.
Learn more here.
Looking at Three for the World,
Eli Attia's 2002/3 design for the World Trade Center site (pdf below), the towers themselves might not be your cup of tea.
But the big architectural idea
that Attia offered with his design — which could have been adapted to a variety of aesthetics — was far superior to anything that rebuilding officials offered to the public or, for that matter, even considered.
Download a PDF of the design here.
18 years. Same ranch house,
same middle class street, same Southern Baptist church, same western Kentucky town. That's
how it started. A 2-year stint as a classical-singer-in-training in Nashville (yes, Nashville). A master's degree in religion and philosophy at St. Andrews University in Scotland.
A 3-year turn in the postgraduate theory mills of Duke University. Liberal church, then none. Emigration to Manhattan, 1998. Escape to Brooklyn, 2003. Flight to San Francisco, 2010.
These (sometimes polemical) observations and speculations on architecture, design, media and politics are part of an attempt to understand that everything we encounter creates our sense of place.
Why the effort? Because most of us — including me — have not begun
to appreciate what a radical and necessary enterprise "making the world a better place" is.
I live in San Francisco, with my
wife, my dog, and a benchmade, all-stainless Parsons table that I would make love to if I could.
Classically trained? Sure. (See Orientation, above). But think David Bowie. John Cale. Middle Tom Waits. Randy Newman. Neil Hannon. Maybe a little Anthony Newley and Tony Bennett for good measure.
Narrative; Commercial (political, organizational, PSA); Audiobook
Listen to demo reel here.