The Generic Sublime: Organizational Models for Global ArchitectureCiro Najle
Beyond a certain scale, architecture acquires the properties of Bigness. The best reason to broach Bigness is the one given by climbers of Mount Everest: ‘because it is there.’ Bigness is ultimate architecture. Rem Koolhaas
[T]he destiny of humanity [architecture] depends upon the attainment of its highest type. Friedrich Nietzsche
Approximately 40 years ago, a set of wild images and poignant narratives borrowed from and simultaneously projected back onto the undeniably congested reality of Manhattan were condensed into a retroactive manifesto for contemporary architecture by the young architect Rem Koolhaas. With its “unconscious” theory of Manhattanism and its antiurban concepts of programmatic instability, auto-monumentality, vertical schism, the irresistible synthetic, and the technology of the fantastic, Delirious New York insolently challenged all remaining forms of public life and brought into question the alleged self-evidence of an urbanism of good intentions.
Koolhaas documented his revolutionary model with “a mountain range of evidence without manifesto”—a series of developmental forms of early 20th-century Manhattan, distributed across the island as an amoral pile of defiant architectural debris. Processed and presented retroactively, Koolhaas’s matter-of-fact yet custom-made theory became the definitive expression of the so-called culture of congestion: an archipelago of skyscraper islands made of extreme solitudes, plotted on a matrix that radically segregated one from the other, and floating imperceptibly on the vast sea of capitalism.
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