16 Mar Megaform as Urban Landscape
Kenneth Frampton (Architecture, Columbia University, author of Modern Architecture: A Critical History)
Friday, March 16 / 6:00 PM
Loma Pelona Center
Throughout the developed world, the proliferation of urbanized regions, as opposed to historic cities, has led to a state of affairs in which the practice of urban design is virtually impossible outside of the provision of essential infrastructures dealing with transport, power, telecommunications, water and waste disposal, etc. As has long since been observed, the megalopli in which 50% of the world’s’ population currently live would not be negotiable at all were it not for the graphic signage which forms an indispensable part of the universal auto-route system. In the author’s view, the only way in which this “non-place, urban realm” may be consciously mediated is through the creation of landmark megaforms embodying such programs as combined shopping/community facilities, sports centers, health campuses, universities, air terminals, etc. The self-conscious evolution of such normal/programmatic types dates back to 1916 and is first evident innormal/programmatic types dates back to 1916 and is first evident in the work of expressionist architects such as Poelzig, Scharoun and Mendelsohn, as well as in the architecture of such acknowledged masters as Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto. This megaform-cum-landscape approach to regional urbanization, as first theorized in Vittorio Gregotti’s Il Territorio del Architettura of 1966, will come to be further developed in recent one-off, large scale, urban interventions by such architects as Arthur Ericson, Barton Myers, Steven Holl, Alejandro Zaero Polo, Farshid Moussavi, Weiss/Manfredi and Mendez da Rocha. This lecture seeks to trace the emergence of the megaform as a potential critical strategy for dealing with the de facto, space endlessness of modern, urban development.
Sponsored by the UCSB Art, Design, and Architecture Museum and the IHC.