wohnzimmer weiß modern
translator: joseph genireviewer: krystian aparta today i'm going to speak to you about the last 30 yearsof architectural history. that's a lot to pack into 18 minutes. it's a complex topic, so we're just going to dive right inat a complex place: new jersey. because 30 years ago, i'm from jersey, and i was six, and i lived therein my parents' house
in a town called livingston, and this was my childhood bedroom. around the corner from my bedroom was the bathroomthat i used to share with my sister. and in between my bedroom and the bathroom was a balcony that overlookedthe family room. and that's where everyonewould hang out and watch tv, so that every time that i walkedfrom my bedroom to the bathroom, everyone would see me,
and every time i took a showerand would come back in a towel, everyone would see me. and i looked like this. i was awkward, insecure, and i hated it. i hated that walk, i hated that balcony, i hated that room, and i hated that house. and that's architecture. (laughter)
done. that feeling, those emotions that i felt, that's the power of architecture, because architecture is not about mathand it's not about zoning, it's about those visceral,emotional connections that we feel to the places that we occupy. and it's no surprisethat we feel that way, because according to the epa, americans spend 90 percentof their time indoors.
that's 90 percent of our timesurrounded by architecture. that's huge. that means that architecture is shaping usin ways that we didn't even realize. that makes us a little bit gullibleand very, very predictable. it means that when i show youa building like this, i know what you think: you think "power"and "stability" and "democracy." and i know you think thatbecause it's based on a building that was build 2,500 years agoby the greeks.
this is a trick. this is a trigger that architects use to get you to createan emotional connection to the forms that we buildour buildings out of. it's a predictable emotional connection, and we've been using this trickfor a long, long time. we used it  years ago to build banks. we used it in the 19th centuryto build art museums. and in the 20th century in america,
we used it to build houses. and look at these solid,stable little soldiers facing the oceanand keeping away the elements. this is really, really useful, because building things is terrifying. it's expensive, it takes a long time,and it's very complicated. and the people that build things -- developers and governments -- they're naturally afraid of innovation,
and they'd rather just use those formsthat they know you'll respond to. that's how we end upwith buildings like this. this is a nice building. this is the livingston public library that was completed in 2004 in my hometown, and, you know, it's got a dome and it's got this round thing and columns, red brick, and you can kind of guess what livingstonis trying to say with this building: children, property values and history.
but it doesn't have much to dowith what a library actually does today. that same year, in 2004,on the other side of the country, another library was completed, and it looks like this. it's in seattle. this library is about howwe consume media in a digital age. it's about a new kindof public amenity for the city, a place to gather and read and share. so how is it possible
that in the same year,in the same country, two buildings, both called libraries, look so completely different? and the answer is that architecture workson the principle of a pendulum. on the one side is innovation, and architects are constantly pushing,pushing for new technologies, new typologies, new solutionsfor the way that we live today. and we push and we push and we push until we completely alienate all of you.
we wear all black, we get very depressed, you think we're adorable, we're dead inside becausewe've got no choice. we have to go to the other side and reengage those symbolsthat we know you love. so we do that, and you're happy, we feel like sellouts, so we start experimenting again and we push the pendulum backand back and forth and back and forth
we've gone for the last 300 years, and certainly for the last 30 years. okay, 30 years agowe were coming out of the '70s. architects had been busy experimentingwith something called brutalism. it's about concrete. you can guess this. small windows, dehumanizing scale. this is really tough stuff. so as we get closer to the '80s,
we start to reengage those symbols. we push the pendulumback into the other direction. we take these forms that we know you love and we update them. we add neon and we add pastels and we use new materials. and you love it. and we can't give you enough of it.
we take chippendale armoires and we turned those into skyscrapers, and skyscrapers can bemedieval castles made out of glass. forms got big, forms got bold and colorful. dwarves became columns. swans grew to the size of buildings. it was crazy. but it's the '80s, it's cool.
we're all hanging out in malls and we're all moving to the suburbs, and out there, out in the suburbs, we can create our ownarchitectural fantasies. and those fantasies, they can be mediterranean or french or italian. possibly with endless breadsticks.
this is the thing about postmodernism. this is the thing about symbols. they're easy, they're cheap, because instead of making places, we're making memories of places. because i know, and i know all of you know, this isn't tuscany. this is ohio. so architects get frustrated,
and we start pushing the pendulumback into the other direction. in the late '80s and early '90s, we start experimenting with somethingcalled deconstructivism. we throw out historical symbols, we rely on new, computer-aideddesign techniques, and we come up with new compositions, forms crashing into forms. this is academic and heady stuff, it's super unpopular,
we totally alienate you. ordinarily, the pendulum would justswing back into the other direction. and then, something amazing happened. in 1997, this building opened. this is the guggenheim bilbao,by frank gehry. and this building fundamentally changesthe world's relationship to architecture. paul goldberger said that bilbaowas one of those rare moments when critics, academics,and the general public
were completely united around a building. the new york timescalled this building a miracle. tourism in bilbao increased 2,500 percent after this building was completed. so all of a sudden, everybodywants one of these buildings: l.a., seattle, chicago, new york,
cleveland, springfield. everybody wants one,and gehry is everywhere. he is our very first starchitect. now, how is it possiblethat these forms -- they're wild and radical -- how is it possible that they becomeso ubiquitous throughout the world? and it happened because mediaso successfully galvanized around them that they quickly taught usthat these forms mean culture and tourism.
we created an emotionalreaction to these forms. so did every mayor in the world. so every mayor knewthat if they had these forms, they had culture and tourism. this phenomenonat the turn of the new millennium happened to a few other starchitects. it happened to zaha and it happened to libeskind, and what happenedto these elite few architects
at the turn of the new millennium could actually start to happento the entire field of architecture, as digital media startsto increase the speed with which we consume information. because think abouthow you consume architecture. a thousand years ago, you would have had to have walked tothe village next door to see a building. transportation speeds up: you can take a boat, you can take a plane,you can be a tourist.
technology speeds up:you can see it in a newspaper, on tv, until finally, we are allarchitectural photographers, and the building has becomedisembodied from the site. architecture is everywhere now, and that means thatthe speed of communication has finally caught upto the speed of architecture. because architectureactually moves quite quickly. it doesn't take longto think about a building. it takes a long time to build a building,
three or four years, and in the interim, an architectwill design two or eight or a hundred other buildings before they know if that buildingthat they designed four years ago was a success or not. that's because there's never beena good feedback loop in architecture. brutalism wasn't a two-year movement, it was a 20-year movement. for 20 years, we were producingbuildings like this
because we had no ideahow much you hated it. it's never going to happen again, i think, because we are living on the vergeof the greatest revolution in architecture since the invention of concrete, of steel, or of the elevator, and it's a media revolution. so my theory is that whenyou apply media to this pendulum, it starts swinging faster and faster,
until it's at both extremesnearly simultaneously, and that effectively blurs the differencebetween innovation and symbol, between us, the architects,and you, the public. now we can make nearly instantaneous,emotionally charged symbols out of something that's brand new. let me show you how this plays out in a project that my firmrecently completed. we were hired to replace this building,which burned down. this is the center of a towncalled the pines
in fire island in new york state. it's a vacation community. we proposed a building that was audacious, that was different than any of the formsthat the community was used to, and we were scaredand our client was scared and the community was scared, so we created a seriesof photorealistic renderings that we put onto facebook and we put onto instagram,
and we let people startto do what they do: share it, comment, like it, hate it. but that meant that two yearsbefore the building was complete, it was already a part of the community, so that when the renderingslooked exactly like the finished product, there were no surprises. this building was already a partof this community, and then that first summer, when people started arrivingand sharing the building on social media,
the building ceased to be just an edificeand it became media, because these, these are notjust pictures of a building, they're your pictures of a building. and as you use them to tell your story, they become partof your personal narrative, and what you're doingis you're short-circuiting all of our collective memory, and you're making these charged symbolsfor us to understand. that means we don't needthe greeks anymore
to tell us what to thinkabout architecture. we can tell each otherwhat we think about architecture, because digital media hasn't just changedthe relationship between all of us, it's changed the relationshipbetween us and buildings. think for a second aboutthose librarians back in livingston. if that building was goingto be built today, the first thing they would do is go onlineand search "new libraries." they would be bombarded by examplesof experimentation, of innovation, of pushing at the envelopeof what a library can be.
that's ammunition. that's ammunitionthat they can take with them to the mayor of livingston,to the people of livingston, and say, there's no one answerto what a library is today. let's be a part of this. this abundance of experimentation gives them the freedomto run their own experiment. everything is different now. architects are no longerthese mysterious creatures
that use big wordsand complicated drawings, and you aren't the hapless public, the consumer that won't acceptanything that they haven't seen anymore. architects can hear you, and you're not intimidatedby architecture. that means that that pendulumswinging back and forth from style to style,from movement to movement, is irrelevant. we can actually move forward
and find relevant solutionsto the problems that our society faces. this is the end of architectural history, and it means thatthe buildings of tomorrow are going to look a lot differentthan the buildings of today. it means that a public spacein the ancient city of seville can be unique and tailoredto the way that a modern city works. it means that a stadium in brooklyncan be a stadium in brooklyn, not some red-brick historical pastiche of what we think a stadium ought to be.
it means that robots are goingto build our buildings, because we're finally ready for the formsthat they're going to produce. and it means that buildingswill twist to the whims of nature instead of the other way around. it means that a parking garagein miami beach, florida, can also be a place for sports and for yoga and you can evenget married there late at night. it means that three architectscan dream about swimming
in the east river of new york, and then raise nearlyhalf a million dollars from a communitythat gathered around their cause, no one client anymore. it means that no buildingis too small for innovation, like this little reindeer pavilion that's as muscly and sinewyas the animals it's designed to observe. and it means that a buildingdoesn't have to be beautiful to be lovable,
like this ugly little building in spain, where the architects dug a hole, packed it with hay, and then poured concrete around it, and when the concrete dried, they invited someone to comeand clean that hay out so that all that's left when it's done is this hideous little room that's filled with the imprintsand scratches of how that place was made,
and that becomes the most sublime placeto watch a spanish sunset. because it doesn't matterif a cow builds our buildings or a robot builds our buildings. it doesn't matter how we build,it matters what we build. architects already know howto make buildings that are greener and smarter and friendlier. we've just been waitingfor all of you to want them. and finally, we're noton opposite sides anymore. find an architect, hire an architect,
work with us to design better buildings,better cities, and a better world, because the stakes are high. buildings don't just reflect our society,they shape our society down to the smallest spaces: the local libraries, the homes where we raise our children, and the walk that they takefrom the bedroom to the bathroom. thank you. (applause)