The late Harry Seidler, of an earlier generation of Australian architects who actually managed to have some measure of world standing, was said to have declared:
"If you can't be famous, be notorious."It was a clever strategy which Seidler, brash Viennese refugee, used in his earlier years to bootstrap himself to prominence in his new home, clearly hoping that he would indeed become famous one day. When he did become sort of famous, he actually did stop making such an effort to be notorious.
Perhaps a similar strategy helps explain why Patrik Schumacher, Zaha Hadid's loyal lieutenant, took to Facebook with one of the more self-serving inane rants about architecture I have read for quite a long time. I think most people would have passed on his initial castigation of "critics and critical architects" for their agnosia, or form blindness - as predictable marketing of the firm's trademark approach to architecture ..... It was the next installment of petulant imperatives that went viral.
"You need to know someone is looking in order to publicly tantrum."I guess anyone reading this will have no doubt as to my opinion of such statements.
In my terms, even if you try to reduce architecture's task to an irreducible, it would have to be something like 'form, organisation and codified meaning'. Perhaps Schumacher would have us believe that 'communicative spatial form' captures my notion of form and meaning, but reading the last four paragraphs of his proto-manifesto makes clear that it isn't so.
As to 'organisation', he is dissembling. His firm's parametric exercises are mostly just big empty sheds with voluptuous surfaces, under whose redundant volumes and structures simple diagrams of circulation cope adequately with the building program. Those diagrams mostly work in 2D, and are given a tweak by teasing them out of the single plane with a few ramps. I hasten to add that I don't think there is anything wrong with such a strategy. It works, and it liberates. The crime is to pretend that it's not what you are doing.
But for the moment I don't have the energy to properly set out, at greater length, why I might find Schumacher's approach to architecture quite so offensive. So I'm referring readers to one of the more accessible commentaries. I don't always take kindly to the Opinion pages on Dezeen, but the piece by Mimi Zeiger is a pretty good read.
Access the Dezeen article here.