Stairway to Heaven

As the wonderful and frightening year of 2010 is coming to an end, I can’t resist posting a project of very recent crop that has certainly made me smile. This is a prized – i.e. legitimated – composition that speaks of a utopian drive that recently is again permeating architecture culture.

The Stairscraper, by Nabito Architects. Via Arch Daily, Designboom, Arch-Times, Green Building Elements, Plataforma ArquitecturaModern Technology, etc…

As in some locations the building industry recedes, the decreasing output of new, relevant built architecture is compensated by the production of imagery and narratives that speak again of the power of imagination within the discipline.

In very pragmatic and acritical (or shall I say post-critical?) times, imagination in architecture seems to be put aside as something superfluous and vain. But whenever architecture feels itself abandoned by the economic system, the creativity of imagination is again cherished as a possible emergency exit.

As Stanford Kwinter eventually noted in his editorial for Abitare 506, or as Rory Hyde somehow reflected last summer, it is already clear to some of us that architecture is facing a new divide in between its acceptance as essentially a production of culture or, on the other side, its ineffable progression into the corporate making of added value so as to sustain our paradoxical levels of consumption.

In the so-called age of the experience economy, imagination is, of course, used and abused on both sides of the fence. But if used as a speculative tool, imagination always carries a critical edge that is more in tone with culture’s ability to make us a more reflexive society.

Given this motto, and after just having gone through last year’s must read for the architect sect – the witty and much-appreciated graphic novel Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzuccheli – I can’t also help but putting things into an ironic, all-seeing perspective, courtesy of Portuguese artist Miguel Soares.

This intriguing 3D animation is, in fact, one of the “visual artifacts” I’m using to trigger a number of micro-fictions that will come together as my contribution to LOG’s upcoming issue on the absurd, guest-edited by Michael Meredith of Mos.

Here’s to a warm welcome into the future’s inevitable absurd dualisms.

One response to “Stairway to Heaven

  1. Pingback: shrapnel contemporary

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