17.7.16

K Museum; Sony Building



The K Museum, or K building in Ariake, a 20 min walk either way from Tokyo Teleport or Kokusai-Tenjijo, was meant, I think, to house a museum of infrastructure. Makoto Sei Watanabe designed it, together with parts of its landscaping. As far as I know, it has never been in use. These days it just sits next to the bridge over to Odaiba, unknowing of whether it is forgotten, or has forgotten itself. Yesterday there was an impromptu water park set up next to it, and cosplaying teenagers were having photoshoots in its adjacent park.

Later in the evening we went to Ginza, to have a closer look at Yoshinobu Ashihara's Sony Building. It opened in 1966 and is slated for demolition next year. A couple of years ago it underwent an extensive refurbishment, where the focal point of the building - a gameboy-like facade with light behaving like pixels - was removed. For decades, the facade had been lit up in various patterns, symbols and messages, themselves icons of a futurist Japan at the time when colour-TV was considered a work of the devil to older people in Sweden.

Now the dizzying showreel is moving to Ginza Place, a rather disgusting piece of work I suspected a big name was behind when we passed by it last thing yesterday on the way to the metro. Today it turned out to be Klein Dytham, arguably the most respected and successful "foreign" office in Tokyo. They have a thing for cheesy patterns, I think.

Because of the previous refurbishment, it's very hard to tell what remains of the original design in the Sony Building today, apart from the general massing. The facade has been reduced to a generic billboard, at times given a slight nod to a more dignified past, as contemporary artists are picked to attach some kind of temporary piece of visual art to it. The overall feeling though is one of regression. Although I know nothing of the practical reasons behind the removal of the original facade, it stands out as yet another example of the collective amnesia (more positive: material transcience) of Japanese cities and architecture.

The first floor of the Sony Building has a curious entrance to an English pub attached to it. Spared the spotlights of brash product exposure, it's easy to miss. The sign on the door tells us it's celebrating 50 years in Ginza this year - 1966-2016. I couldn't help wondering if this pub had been there since the very inauguration of Ashihara's building. That to me is Japan, a Victorian, mahogny-clad pub sharing stairwell with an illuminated machine.

14.7.16

a day outside the house

Yesterday, as I exited the turnstars between the blue line platform and Center Minami station, I walked by a small impromptu market stall, with two middle-aged men in wheelchairs behind the tables. One of them wore glasses, and was black. They sold bread. There was a sign hanging at one end of the table, with "bread corner" spelt out in hiragana and katakana. Two nurses stood next to the men; one of them addressed the black man. His responded was slow and clumsy, with a voice that faded away before he had finished. His eyes turned back to the table and the tiny buns there in plastic bags. He smiled a bit, then more widely, in his impeccable baker's hat, baker's clothes, and wheelchair.

I saw them only briefly, but I could understand why they were there and what they were doing. They were not doing macho 14-hour white-collar Abenomics business. They were not even running a company. The black man was a patient from a local nursing home. Assisted by others, he had baked buns which he now sold for nothing outside a shopping mall in Yokohama. Although that's all I know of him, and likely all I will know, his appearance, his quiet mix of embarrassment and pride of having made these things and being able to give them to others, seemed very rare in this city.

As much as people want to be strong and self-sufficient and achieve if not great things then at least things to be noted, when you see someone achieving more - with an afternoon in a nursery home kitchen - than you could ever print out with your portfolio after 10 years and innumerable nights and early mornings in architecture school and practice, it's hard not to ask who is the wisest, who is the most capable, all while you see - in those eyes looking away - that wish to just be able to take care of a normal life, and the knowledge of never being able to do so.

We came back from the mall and the grocery store. The tables were gone. Neither the nurse, the black man, nor his friends were there. Again the white floor, the wide clean windows over the tracks, and the gates to the blue line. Still, going home, going to sleep, waking up and going through another day, I find myself wanting to go back there. I would like to see him again, read the sign that says "bread corner", and I would like to buy a bag of buns this time.

11.4.16

memory

very strange.
those things we keep seem to tell us everything about who we were at that point
until we cannot remember anything else, and start to shift who we were
with what we seemed to be.

Tokyo tomorrow ...
where have I ever been?

9.4.16

suddenly Hertzell

Like walking through a Barbican confusing itself with Stirling and a repainted Hunstanton School.

6.4.16

what to do?

At a certain distance from London, I'm still more or less dragged into it, the architecture scene, of course, because, well, it does have the media, and it did have Zaha. Sadly, it doesn't have Zaha anymore ... just ZHA, which, I fear, will soon be renamed ZH+PSA, then to PS+ZHA, to PS(ZH)A, and then to PSA (formerly ZHA). Please prove me wrong, PS. Or, better yet, do whatever Zaha wanted.

"Turncoats" is apparently becoming a phenomenon. Or, at least it is marketing itself as one. And I did see a few likes on Facebook from friends. So I went to the site, and felt ... several emotions. Part of me started to laugh at the infantile-still-worn-out rebellion against "a stagnant present"; all good I suppose? But, it *is* a bit strange when you do your best to fight the (vapid! self-congratulatory! hero-worshipping!) media, the (inefficient! out of touch! stuffy!) academic institutions, and the (morally bankrupt! conceited! self-absorbed!) architects themselves. Apparently the suggestion is to quit architecture. OK. That is, quit it but basically just staying in the building industry - becoming a Peabody hero (I thought they were loved by architects...?), or Bompas and Parr (I thought they were loved by architects...? #2). I still think the AA graduate who turned into a proper chef and didn't really care about architecture anymore would've been more interesting in this respect. Or, you know, a person who is still an architect, but also the "first architect in the world to acquire the qualification of sommelier" (this guy).

Furthermore, it *is* strange to hate the media and the schools, but then relying on them for attention, influx and panel participants. Partnering up with dezeen, in this aspect, seems absurd. Anyway, the solution to it all, according to turncoats, seems just to be to have shitloads of fun, which is also only possible by getting drunk, saying ostensibly rude things, and turning everything on its head. But reinventing the format, style or setting of the debate is, to me, like reinventing the table because the table is boring. But, then again, I read an article on the flight from Poland showcasing awesome designer remakes of grand pianos - mostly making them 10 times more expensive - so perhaps it resonates with the larger public. Whether that's inherently a good thing, is another thing.

The thing that irks me more is this: how do you counter it? It's like the Venturi debate once again, where you're a "bore" if you don't play. van Eyck certainly did play, but, I find, that if I do the same, I really just become an awful person. I can of course do like I've just done, point out some of the flaws, but even then I cannot avoid being sucked into the generally quite acid style of arguing. It doesn't seem reasonable to put fire out with fire.

I'm worried about it. These days, I don't feel that architecture itself is dying, I feel that architects seem desperate to kill it, reinvent it, subvert it, build it up from scratch. Again. So, nothing can be kept in its present state, nothing seems worth keeping. But fighting seems nice. What does make it even more worrisome is that fighting, the way people fight these days, is safe, because you don't risk anything. The most you can risk is by not fighting, because then, you're a conservative. Nevermind that the idea of fighting the artistic system is as old as Modernism gets, retroactive avant-gardism. In a society of free-speech, speaking freely is the safest thing you can do. In fact, it's come to be expected. The acid stuff, that is. Getting drunk is fairly legal too, because getting drunk has been a part of the avant-garde since the beginning as well. Smashing up the venue is nice too, I guess, unless it was designed by someone in the panel - which it probably was.

Meanwhile, the storm rages on outside. People dying, being beaten up, exiled, tortured, executed, raped. Here as well as there. And, in the midst of this, people love and make love. Children are being born to grow up to kill others, kill themselves, or continue to make love. The world is an absolutely horrible place and a beautiful place, at the same time. You can walk through a park one day, and being thrown into 12 hours of physical interrogation the other. One moment you cheer, the other one you cry, and you don't even know when the switch will take place. When you have, and when you don't, and when you have again. So we play it safe by being naughty when and where it's safe. Of course we can call bullshit on the ornament-is-crime, today, because no-one believes in it. Go to any design site today and you'll be hard-pressed to find something that couldn't be called ornamental. Also, I don't understand the desire to escape academic debate by adressing academic topics. Ornament ought to be the safest one there is. Whether you hate it or love it is irrelevant, it's in the box.

I'm often a bit sad these days that it is so hard to find truly strange, odd and weird buildings. I mean, everyone (outside of Barcelona) must've been positively shocked by Gaudi when he got into his gears, and I guess in a way Las Vegas could be shocking, but did a culturally alternative architecture just stop there? Search for buildings outside of the "contemporary" mantra, and you either have novelty (a strange term, since it's basically just ducks and strawberries made into buildings), neo-Gaudi (absolutely none with the genius, save perhaps Bruce Goff and Hundertwasser, although I haven't heard them mentioned for a long time, probably because they're "too obvious"; as if Mies should be dismissed because he's also "too obvious"), or stuff right in the tracks of the genuine avant-garde (Smithsons to Archigram to Superstudio to Eisenman to Tschumi to Koolhaas to Woods to Pask to Lynn to ... seems to have died after him, can't really call Aravena avant-garde). At the same time, it's sad that it is so hard to find truly strange, odd and weird - but, here's the thing, relevant - debates, articles and discussions. I'm sad probably just because of personal reasons, but... I always felt architecture was more than bickering, pyrotechnics, showmanship, marketing. It IS of course. I know that. And I know that my view of good architecture will always be different from yours. But do we have to fight about it? To we have to renounce the other's existence? Do we have to fuck up the institutions that fucked us up, just because we and a few of us feel that way? Is it fair?

In Candide, Voltaire's final insight seems to be for the wise one to retreat and cultivate his garden, as you will know once you remember it (if you, like me, went through it in high school, at least partially). He cannot win, he cannot change the world. But, is that a resignation? Isn't this, really, Voltaire's most uplifting point? That when we all cultivate our own gardens, we don't have to scorch the land around us. Perhaps what Voltaire saw, was the lack of inherent value in confrontation. In fact, it became counterproductive. You don't have to be wise to realise that, or to practice it. I think we all know it, but when it becomes easy and permissible, even encouraging, to strive for personal dominance, we naturally go in that direction. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a social determinist, but people are easy to mould.

I think architecture has a future - I just hope it's a good one. Not a callous one, like it is now. It really does feel that way nowadays, callous. Because being callous is being safe.

11.3.16

language mixups

When you want to say "oneiric" and you end up saying "onigiric"
then start to wonder which one is the strangest.

When Koolhaas-san arrives in Tokyo, to be greeted with a:
"Koolhas-san, you alived!"

Also just when you insist on living "proper shitty life"
in the city, and you realize that the two are quite interchangeable.

8.3.16

Unsharp Mask / The Fog over Cerulean Tower

When I went to bed last night, I could hardly use the computer. My vision had deteriorated quickly, because of overwork, sloppy use of eyedrops, careless rubbing, and lack of sleep. When I woke up today, it was much the same. Reading text gave me a headache. Looking at floorplans gave me a headache. The only thing that relieved me somewhat was looking towards the yellow-green window towards the garden, frosted, filtering the overcast morning sky, and casting a thin light onto the coffee-coloured curtains. The room was dark, but not terribly dark. It comforted me somehow. Not the hard plasterboards or the rectangular LCD-screen, but soft textile, soft light.

I called in sick in the morning, distressed with what I saw. Normally - that is, a year before - I would've been shocked, seized by fear, for whatever had happened, for whatever could get worse, for however I would learn to live with this. Nowadays, I adapt quite quickly. I arrived at work after lunch, no changes to the eyesight. Using Illustrator or Photoshop was a pain. Reading the news too, although, stubborn as I am, I continued reading anyway.

I don't know why it happened, but after a while I began to reflect upon this new condition. And speculate. Move. In the head, and with the body, with these eyes I had suddenly been given - or, rather, an exaggerated version of something I've lived with now for about 4 months.

I tend to describe this changed vision as "blurriness", because that's the only word people seem to understand. But, what is actually happening is a strange, if not opposite, then at least very different track. I call it the unsharp mask. As if every line I see, every letter I read, has an outline whiter than the whitest of the paper, jittering and vibrating noisily - as if shining. Perhaps you're making a face now: why is he complaining, if he sees *sharper* than before? Of course, that is not entirely true. It is a form of blurriness as well, but technicalities aside, it makes it very unpleasant to face strong contrasts and sharp lines. The intensity of the unsharp mask takes away the actual ability to see the image.

I think this is where some kind of unique, driving artistic motivation comes from. Not from an imaginary concept, an invented controversy, a temperament willing to piss paint on the canvas. It comes from necessity. The necessity by which we see. Only a man who does not see what we see can do and choose what he wants to change the world into naturally - because for him, there's no choice.

I cannot do a Libeskind, not because I'm thematically opposed to his techniques. I cannot do a Schumacher, not because I do not agree with his political leanings. Today, I couldn't do a Libeskind or a Schumacher simply becaue they gave me a headache. I couldn't look at them. They made me feel physically sick. The buildings themselves. No architects, no contexts, no moral or immoral agendas. And, I thought, why not? Why not accept it? It's not like I can do anything about it, anyway.

I looked in other directions, like a man refusing to eat a certain kind of food because he no longer tastes salt or sweet - like my father, for instance. I went to Rembrandt, to Goya - artists I had no interest whatsoever in before, and perhaps still do not have, other than for the fact that some of their paintings (certainly not all) provided me with a perceptional absence of pain. It was neither cerebral or unconscious - I was just happy being able to look at something without wanting to close my eyes after four seconds. I even enjoyed an interior by SANAA.

When I left the office about an hour ago, I looked towards the skies of Shibuya. It was foggy, for the first night since October - or the first one I will remember, at least. The Cerulean Tower stood only with its red lights popping through the uppermost layers - and even then, much weaker. It was as if the city itself acknowledged this twist of fate and softened the city around me. Strangely enough, by then, the exaggerated unsharp mask I woke up with had started to abate, probably due to a more frequent use of eyedrops during the day. I was a bit torn on how to react. In a way, I was happy to return at least partially to a functioning, regular human being - one being able to rack up Rhino hours for the projects to be .pdffed into the outbox. At the same time, I was a bit sad I had lost this new vision of mine. I had seen things and thought of things I had never seen or thought of before.

Such as how the present condition values sharpness - in times when we're all losing our sight quicker and earlier, a form of visual tinnitus, countered by turning up the volume (maximising the histogram span). The city throws sharpness at you, in every white-brick-black-mortar facade, in every halogen sign, in every window, steel, steel - even the wood refuses complete seamlessness. Text, text everywhere, there to be read. Advertisements, road signs, product descriptions, cars, subway ventilation outlets. If we counter sharpness, it is intellectual - a willingness to "question" and "subvert" the "present condition" which I've just described. Not out of necessity. And hence, it is just a poser's position, as unable to deter sharpness as surely as it will be blind before turning 60.

It also brings me to wonder about the graphicality of our artificial world. Not "graphical" in the sense of "graphical violence", "graphical promiscuity", or similar, no, "graphical" in formal terms. Early Modernism is its sharp lines, wherever we go. Architecture. Art. Sculpture. Writing. From Mies to Corb to Duchamp to Moholy-Nagy. Kandinsky and Klee enter from the idea of contrast. Bright colours, intense colours. Turrell and Klein bring it to the extreme and LeWitt combines them. Simple vast spaces of evenness, and a punch of black, or throbbing red.

Even as of a few days ago, Anish Kapoor acquires the rights for the "blackest of black", a new material of this intense search for the utmost contrast.

All these things come *after* the way I see. Not before.
It is a prime example of the body operating way before the mind
of the eye seeing before there is a word to describe what it sees (and wants).

I still see this way. Not as intensely as a few hours earlier, but it's there, and it keeps me thinking. I will keep it. I will adopt it. Maybe it leaves me, I don't know. It's there now, at times, sometimes less, sometimes more. I make use of it because I need to, and where I don't want to use it, I don't.

Maybe it should also be mentioned how all of this started: not very surprisingly, with a medicine. The withdrawal from Olanzapine. I won't go into the details, but it is a weird thing to think of: that while the avantgarde is speculating on how biochemical interventions may change our way of perception, I have become an unlikely specimen and outcome of an experiment of this calibre. It's rare, of course. It's very rare. The only similar account I've read about was from a woman in the US, whose hearing became extremely intensified and augmented after she quit - and stayed that way. I suspect a similar thing has happened to my eyes.

This hasn't changed the world, but it has pulled me in a different direction. I cannot design buildings the way I've designed them before, quite literally because they discomfort me. I need something else, of which I don't know of yet. How it will look like. A blurred building? (Not the Blur Building.) Without the white and without the black? With hardly a line? I don't know, but I want to see.

22.2.16

haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate

The wushu master studies how to fight with a sword for 10 years.
Then, he spends 10 years forgetting about how to fight with a sword.
Finally, his mind will be the one that does the fight
and anything his hands pick up will be a sword.

30.1.16

1

The southwest exit-corner of Komazawa-Daigaku Station has late-night food holes receding from the street in mute light, or mauling the cars with fluorescents to tire the drivers, all face-front. There's a chain there - it is a chain not because I know it, but because the printed menu photos on the wall are as plastic as the meals in bespoke windows of average noodle bars - which serves gyuumeshi. The beef there comes without ponzu sauce, and oomori (large )is a necessity, not a choice.

The same could be said for the skyscrapers for Tokyo Bay, "tenkomori"-portions (sky-high) of retired dreams, for a city now beginning to shrink. If the rice can be stacked, if the sashimi has no bottom, then let us now measure the servings of Kohn Pedersen Fox as manga-versions of vertical engineering. When the mountains are not enough (yamamori), and when the haikus no longer has that comical tint to them, we go for the heavens.

After a few "irrashaimase!s", you eventually figure out that there's a shokken/meal ticket hanbaiki/vending machine outside, under plastic covers for the rain, permanently. The alcove isn't noticeable inside, and in the dark of a commuter's midnight, it's easy to miss in lieu of the illuminated doors. It's the businessmen hurrying home to their wife that serve the revealing custom.

If there's not a vending machine for it, it's not necessary, at least not for those craving for time. One could be led to think that they had them already in '64, when the expressways were erected at a pace unmatched by anything before the idea of dropping a couple of million yens from the tax funds into the construction industry took form. These funds were not endless, of course: concrete is cheaper than land, as were the expressways routinely erected over rivers and canals, something the Nihombashi bridge knows well. Neither are those drunk kaishain trading their beds for a Friday night safe pavement doing so with money in their pockets. Meanwhile, convert the machines into workers (instead of the opposite), let the workers sleep, and you'll have all of Norway piping the drainage of this ageing infrastructure.

As with most short stops for food, the counter runs a U around the two employees, one cleaning, one serving. The place does not offer disposable chopsticks, so the box, a kind of house for machine-made colonnadic finger extensions, cannot be allowed to go empty. The 1000 yen I put forward for my bowl - so unaccustomed! - is shifted to a cashbox on the third shelf beyond the U. It takes less than 3 minutes for the tray to arrive.

The food you eat is the food you saw, and the cook you watched was smooth or sloppy, a student or an old woman with eyes thinner than sumi brush strokes. One room, no kitchen, no need for walls (except for the toilet). They call it LDK (Living-Dining-Kitchen) in the real estate brochures - perhaps fitting for this establishment as well, the difference being: that in the presence of strangers, there are no physical signs of affection. You eat, you trace the walls, you eat. Save your curious hands for the koshitsu izakayas, drinking-eating-bars, private rooms.

23.1.16

1964, now void

Two policemen stand outside the gate to the prince's palace, calm, smiling to each other. I walk by. In the other direction, old men and young women run their rounds around the palace, a Saturday jog, sweating and panting but not stopping, not for a moment.

A five minute walk away, I see baseball grounds, expats playing tennis under American East Coast instructions - they move to gain heat. There are no English instructions to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery. There were no visitors, but, I greeted the man in the reception with a bow, and the woman on her lunch break with a smile.

The Olympic Stadium is gone. I've only seen it in pictures, but now I just saw a big empty hole with a wall around it, sometimes punched through with plastic windows. Demolition done. No more machines. No more workers. Puddles of water here and there. The grass had returned. To think, this was what this valley next to the Sumida River once looked like, 400 years ago. It could be like that - no, it *will* be like that - sometime in the future, as well. Tokyo reached peak population in 2015. 37 million. Imagine them all gone. Imagine all the buildings gone. All the streets. What do you have? Hills and rivers. New sprouts of grass.

A big hole in the middle of Tokyo.
It is scary to behold - a sort-of third catastrophe.
An earthquake. A war. And now, a sports event.

There is still snow on Fumihiko Maki's Metropolitan Gymnasium. There are benches on the court in front of it, next to the soda vending machines, four out of very few benches in this city. I sit there and eat a hotdog. I am the only one sitting. There are good views to behold from the upper deck of the gymnasium, I can tell, good views for a few seconds, before we are bored, order a coffee and talk about next May's vacation plans, instead.

In Shiodome, few people. Schlagers from hidden speakers, restaurants on several floors, with one, two customers, waiters constantly worried about their next salary constructing the widest of smiles just greeting disinterested strangers.

The Yamanote to Shibuya is surprisingly empty.
The journey is surprisingly short. In Shibuya, of course
the masses of black suits, jackets and coats never cease
to wade beneath the neon.

19.1.16

buying juice for the blueberries that we see on the package

Snow on the tracks, and the city is stunned. Hat on, but no gloves. My hands attach to the laptop case, one at a time, shifting, to exercise the blood. Expecting an easy journey to Shibuya, but stunned as well when I reach Komazawa Park Entrance. What looked like people waiting (for no reason) turned out to be a waylaying snake into the underground, twitching, hit by the fever of a train that might be coming, might be not, and moving onward.

2½ hours. I smiled at times, had time to put on my headphones and put them away again, and the reverse with my hat. Four trains arrived, two with me first in line, but with every new pair of doors that opened, people seemed to be beamed in with a cascade of tired faces to fill up the carriage even more. Snow melted on the doorframe, a grey-haired man closed his eyes and soaked his face, voluntarily? I don't know. I spent time guessing whether a bag or an umbrella would get stuck in the door.

The feeling of having the weight of another person on top of you
only that you're standing.

How does one remember this?
People share their commuting stories over lunchtime.
It's normal during snowfall.

17.1.16

I left the humidifier on all night

Dust accumulating on the floor, skin flakes and fragments of crisps that turned dour with time - now gone. Sucked up and stored away - and then, the question of who takes care of it. Not me. Not yet. Unless I am forced. Such as with recycling.

I do not yet know if it is a cloudy day outside, but I've made a guess I hold for more than a guess. The window is grey, hence whatever is out there ought to be grey.

This temperature does not sooth me, but it soothes my face. Chills it, reduces it to principles of humidity. If the remote is on the bedside drawers, and the filter needs cleaning, we prefer silence and ice. Clothes reveals themselves as heat, as preserved air, as my survival in this room.

Meanwhile, on a Japanese game show, bubble soccer players do not want to be associated with clothes anymore than Lucio Fontana wanted to be associated with the canvas. A roommate says: I'd really like to do that some day. So is the wish for smashing an inflated plastic body into another stronger than being intellectually and spiritually uplifted by a slashed piece of fabric. It's what is.

My lamp has three modes. The first: full-on. The second: hardly any difference from full-on. The third: too weak to be considered purposeful for anything, at least as long as we have the other lamp by the bed, which we fail to turn on at 3 AM without tipping over the precious bottles of eyedrops we've placed next to us. I see little with these eyes, and hence, until this room has built its own glasses, I wear the world on my nose.

Across the street: Fumihiko Maki's Spiral, and a dusk that falls over the KFC sign. All that money, all that time, all those drawings, and now I care more about how the pepped cola retreats from the ice cubes as I suck up the last of it. It is as should be. Wax-infused haircuts focusing here on the spotlights reflecting in the window, there on the ex that they consider texting again. All is as should be.

When we want a playlist for the customers, we call in a marketer.
Nobody asked L. M. Young whether music needed a purpose.
With or without him knowing it, we took a purpose for it.

the Tokyo that is

Do we really need to call it architecture
in order for it to be architectural?

As I was showering today, I wondered to myself: what does public and private mean here? Truth to the medium and the solid and the function and the context and everything else we know of, or should know by the time we graduate? What purpose - really - does this language of architects serve, beyond serving the architects themselves, their community, their thought of influence that - naturally - in the eyes of every architect - is representative for (yet apparently never authoritarian to) the greater society, the greater good?

It seems to me that it doesn't really exist because anyone particular particularly needs it beyond the architects. Buildings are buildings, but we say: electromagnetic clouds might be our new cities, and then fashion steals terminology from architecture in order to gain the same credibility that the dippers gain from hijacking Popper, Benjamin, or TEDx. We like to think that hard-earned facts, the skills of Raphael, are worth more than scribbles from a three-year-old (if he's not eating the crayons) - all while, ironically, great artists undo, rewind and unlearn these skills they were silently born with. Maybe not so funny once we consider our loneliness (despite the drama), impotence (despite the budgets), and dedication to architectural culture - the culture I was caught up with in London.

Example. Let's see. Free-space. Coined as flexibility by Mies, developed as radical form by Woods, applied clumsily by me and shrugged upon by the jury in 2009, now all the rage as heroic pragmatism and ironic resignation at the point where intellectual freedom has to extend beyond the super-control of a liberal market state controlled by franchised autocracy - it is said. But is it relevant? Who says that it is relevant? Philosophers? Architects? Architects wanting to be philosophers?

Actually, let's be frank: who gives a fuck about "free-space"? What am I going to do with it? It's like saying that the skin is a piece of "free-clothes." That aside, it exists because it is willed into existence by an architect. He fabricates terms for that which the Other(s) take for granted, something they need (he claims), but lack the expertise to formulate. So the architect exposes ideas instrumental to advancing practical culture, the application of ideas. But wherever I went, I always needed the supermarket more than served/serving, the sexual fantasy of the shower room more than the typologico-stylistic variations of Rossi.

I preferred this inbred side of architecture more when it was consciously aware of its contradiction-of-a-criticism-of-contradictions and reproduced itself from within, producing a kind of monstrous child continuing this autogamy once it had grown up - than pretending to extend vague research to problems we get an altruistic kick out of in conjunction with a new Architizer thread. So let's look at it from another point of view. Let's forget that we're architects. Let's forget architecture. What do we have? And is it relevant?

If he doesn't use a kitchen, and never will
why give him a kitchen?