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Tom Wolfe on Robert Venturi
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Guild House, Quaker's rest house for elders

As usual, we make use of Architecture to talk about something else. What you see in today's postcard is an excerpt from a 1981 book by Tom Wolfe (which I include in PDF, in English, at the end) in which, among others, he talks about the architect Robert Venturi, well known for his post-modernism and characteristic shapes that any of the 6 readers of this site surely will recognize in many residential and office buildings in our cities.

But we are not really interested in Robert Venturi. We are interested in the pattern, the idea that becomes a method in the real world.

It seems to me that the contempt of the people —transformed into a shapeless slime by the consumer society— the dirigisme, the conventicles of «experts» who know a lot, the woke and paternalistic élitism, their (!!) egalitarian «anti-bourgeois» rhetoric... well, doesn't it seem to you too that these characteristics of Architecture have anticipated and revealed ahead of their time the intentions and way of thinking of the élites? Doesn't it seem that this attitude is now overt and widespread at all levels as a method of government?

Whether we are talking about Berlin's siedlungen, Moscow's kommunalki or Quaker's retirement houses (such as Venturi's Guild House in this case) does not matter: we note how ideologies of opposite sign have in reality all adopted the same rhetoric, which inexorably leads to the same solutions.

Architecture has shown that Man can be forced to live like he who controls the dominant ideology wants, that his way of life and his system of values can be gradually changed, (and more recently, Corona has shown us that Men's inner nature can be also molded if there are no defensive systems in place).
Let's take the original TV antenna on the roof of the rest house, as an example.

Venturi arranges the golden-aluminum antenna in the center of the facade as if it were an ornament, a pinnacle, a flag. In short, something prohibited by the doctrine of the Modern Movement. But which is shrewdly explained as an "irony" (I translate: a taunting, a trolling).

Not so much ironic in the end: the TV antenna, a symbol of cathodic power, physically replaced the symbols of the inhabitants of the complex, placing itself as the patroness of the building. The values of the American dream. It was, after all, so important, as it allowed the old toothless of the «middle-middle class» to get lobotomized every day in front of a screen and thus find happiness. This without forgetting that in the meanwhile the Soviet population was fed simultaneously with a very similar architectural substance, in that case also administered by the «enlightened» élites.

This is still happening today in a totally different context, continuing a process that began about a century ago; the absorption of the socialist non-bourgeois into western capitalism, the transubstantiation into global neoliberalism, with the non-bourgeois becoming diversity.
Non-bourgeois as the sledgehammer to erease all beauty from buildings and cities, diversity as the solvent to let all identities and their peculiar expression percolate into a brown bubbly broth of uniformity.

The time has come for a counterpart to be born in addition to the usual corporate architecture.

Now storm wind blow, winds of Great Reset. You will see how trendy the tiny houses will be. You will see how famous architects and designers will be able to convince us of the goodness of the "solutions" they have developed for us. They will join the polyphonic chorus of doctors, bankers, ecologists of the , globalists and billionaires ... and they will put us in techno-deluxe sarcophagi, equipped with their version of golden TV antenna.

From Bauhaus to our house (Tom Wolfe, 1981)
From Bauhaus to our house (Tom Wolfe, 1981)

 guild house
Posted: 22/06/2021 13:04 — Author(s): Polemicarc


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