Obsolescence-less

Research

 

“Choose what you want to do – or watch someone else doing it. Learn how to handle tools, paint, babies, machinery, or just listen to your favourite tune. Dance, talk or be lifted up to where you can see how other people make things work. Sit out over space with a drink and tune in to what’s happening elsewhere in the city. Try starting a riot or beginning a painting – or just lie back and stare at the sky.” Cedric price - Fun Palace

 

Exposed to the political, economic and social forces that underpin the metabolism of the city, architecture appears perennially slow to react; impart obsolete from its inception. To engage in this battle against time and desire is to speculate forms of transitional, flexible and ambiguous space.

Obsolescence beyond economic measures was a significant part of architectural debate and culture of the 1960s stemming from a discourse on consumerism, expendability and an aesthetic of change. A key figure in the debate, Cedric Price suggested that architecture should perform as a connector in the city, generating activities through the exchange between site, users and the built environment; originating multiple meanings as opposed to the single value of a person’s desire.

Instead of a cycle of demolition and replacement (expendability) or permanency and perennity (conservation), the specter of obsolescence inspires a new system in which architecture and urban forms remain contingent. That is ‘contingency’ beyond the technophilia of physical change and flexibility to a condition of porosity, openness and ambiguity. Spaces that incorporate misused or disused as marginal variables to their total structure, demanding constant interrogation and negotiation; creating spaces and forms that expand, transform and enhance future uses.

 

 
Fun Palace, Cedric Price

Fun Palace, Cedric Price