Patrik Schumacher, Log28, Summer 2013
Architecture is faith, hoping in things unseen, and nowhere more ambitiously than in the summer shows. Here is the future wrought unfettered by pragmatics or planning: the promises made for the Jerusalem that we, the next generation of designers, will build for you. Pray tell me, what is today's kingdom of heaven, and who does it belong to?
Bartlett Unit 17's models milled out of ore and coal wallow in pitch gloomth, a cadaver of a landscape, the texture of death, snarling a pessimism, apocalyptically but impeccably. The architect-as-undertaker offers a cinematic macabre deliciously manufactured, rendering a superior brand of the popular bleakitecture. Elsewhere and at the AA, the future belongs to scripters, architects are but midwives to a world already programmed to be made by robots made by robots; tomorrow's buildings increasingly conform to the trope of Grasshopper's polkadot geometries mapped parametrically across impossibly complex, infinitely variable, contortionist NURBic facades. Some corners of this show are so supersaturated with these doilie weavings, swooping and squiggly, romantic, rhapsodic and baroque, as to proclaim a glorious, or tedious, renaissance of mannerist ornament. The Cass, by contrast, knowingly, wants architects as the diggers and dreamers of the family: lots of graphite and plaster, lots of tea stains and texture, less cybernetics, more ontology. Are we?
img: AA drl