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Against Architecture

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It’s all beginning to become clearer.
The plan is to divide Misfits’ efforts more or less evenly across three fronts.

  1. Championing useful yet unpretentious buildings. As ever. 
  2. Not letting the others get away with it.
  3. Highlighting shifts in the cultural landscape (re. 2, but possibly 1.)

So here’s the first post of the year and it has to do with 3, above. It was prompted by the quote below and which made perfect sense. Franco de Cecla, bravo!


“The architect has become an artist of an entirely new kind: he is above all a trend-setter, in the image of Koolhaas, who opens new avenues for Prada’s marketing not only by supplying the “packaging” but by inspiring them with a new spirit. In the showbusiness economy, the artist is the key element, capable of inventing a new staging to ensure the continuity of the spectacle. If it is true, as David Harvey (1) argues, that capitalism was saved by the property industry, we might say that today it has been saved by the creative arts applied to the production of formal simalcura, tendencies, styes and surfaces. The megastar no longer works for fashion because his own name has become a logo, a magic formula that makes it possible to commandeer an area of a city, add his signature to a museum, a boutique or an island of Dubai as one might place it on a T-shirt. Here we must update Debord’s theory (2): art is no longer pure spectacle, it has arranged for its own dematerialisation, redaucing itself to a vague impression of creative elan. All that remains of it is the atmosphere, the allure.”

(Franco La Cecla, Contro l’Architectura, Bollati Boringhieri, Turin, 2008n – as quoted in Pierre Frey, Learning from Vernacular, Actes Sud, 2008)

franco la cecla

Keywords: showbusiness economy, spectacle

chanel new york

This showbusiness economy and the spectacle of architecture could be what architecture PR guru Laura Illomeni was referring to in a recent article over on ArchDaily.


Except it’s not. Illomeni prefers to call it “integrated design and communications” and is all in favour of it. I suppose that if architects can’t do it themselves, then there are people available who will do it for them – ahem.

integrated communications

In 2014, we should all be aware of this nefarious new concept of integrated design and communications. And we should also beware of it.


Just as spin doctors should never become the news themselves, the style and slickness of the advertising should not be allowed to become the content of architecture (as Koolhaas practices and Illomeni preaches).

I’d like to see a new dimension of professional ethics where the use of positions of power to self-servedly manipulate the market for architectural ideas is seen and punished in the same way as insider trading.