Thom Mayne, Jeffrey Kipnis, & Eric Owen Moss: Architecture & politics (October 25, 2011)

Hernan Diaz Alonso introduces Jeffrey Kipnis, Thom Mayne, and Eric Owen Moss.

Jeffrey Kipnis opens up the discussion with the premise that throughout history, architecture has primarily served people in power, referring to Georges Bataille, Robert Hewes, and the film “V for Vendetta.”

Responding to Jeffrey Kipnis, Thom Mayne and Eric Owen Moss debate their role as architects within the political realm. Thom Mayne discusses his views on the nature of the city and the architect’s contribution to public life, citing his recently published Combinatory Urbanism, and Morphosis’ competition design for Olympic Park in New York City. Eric Owen Moss argues for an individually-minded sense of idealism, rather than one driven by a desire to serve the public. Kipnis argues that Moss is individualistic and idealistic as a formalist, while Mayne is more pragmatic and idealistic as an urbanist. Kipnis asserts that multiple truths are valid, while Moss is more interested in the exception, rather than the rule, as the only truth architecture can impart to the public. Kipnis and Mayne discuss school projects as political projects.

The discussion concludes with a Q&A Session, covering China, Russia, totalitarianism, social inequality, typography, e.e. cummings, Mark Z. Danielewski’s “House of Leaves,” Rem Koolhaas, and meaning and symbolism in architecture.

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