The Architecture of Clouds

The city is like a field of clouds.
The rubber grid* of a networked city

The builders of the Tower of Babel lacked the material of reinforced concrete. We lack the material of language confusion, which we need to complete it.

There is no solution for the city.
The strategies of urban planning operate on the matrix of diverging impossibilities.
The architect has to choose one and be responsible for it.

Clouds are symbols for rapidly changing states. They form and transform themselves through the complex interaction of changing conditions. Viewed in slow motion, the architecture of urban development could be compared with patches of clouds.

The words urban planning and urban development belong in a shop for architectural antiques and should be replaced by phantasms still to be defined, which fluctuate and flicker like the television screen after the broadcast day has finished. White noise as urban strategy, as a digitally networked system without hierarchies, is the play of the suburbs and development on the peripheries and edges, which will mold and determine the image of our cities and the quality they have to offer.

The notions of center, axis, and spatial sequence will have to be replaced by tangents, vectors, and sequences of images. We shouldn’t lament the loss of public space, but reinterpret it as a fluctuating, networked media event: one that is more like a semi-conductor than a sequence of spaces.
The development of architecture is furthered by strategies comprising searching for lines and fields of possibilities tied together by chance, anti-logic, and anti-authority.
But the coincidence of systems - both as built space and as media space - becomes the basis for new designs and projects, the rubber grid as the premonition of a dynamic network of designs for cities like clouds.

1995

 

* Referring to the 1965 Beatles Album “Rubber Soul.”

There is no solution for the city.
The strategies of urban planning operate on the matrix of diverging impossibilities.
The architect has to choose one and be responsible for it.