Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Architecture of Persuasion
The architect’s role has traditionally been seen as one of service provider, but to what
extent is the architect’s role as one of provocateur?   Can the architect
promote ideas outside of those ones chosen and brought forth by corporations and developers?   To what extent does the architect use “inception” to generate projects of his own choosing, or reframe who and what the ideal client is.  

Global media circuits, including areas of internet black holes (limited or banned access areas) and places where media message is controlled.

How might the architect be a double agent - who is at one moment advisor and the other working of own self interest -  one who is able to realize economic and political trends - observing  financial markets, real estate sources, and government decisions - and through inception, implant architectural ideas - whether for social, cultural, or political agendas - into the minds of power structures?

This mental “inception” occurs through the use of media, including images, videos, commentary, blogs, and interviews, which posit an idea into the subconscious of the power structures, beginning its way as the most consumable - the abstract image or diagram.    This diagram can also occur as a physical installation.  All of this focuses on the production of an idea rather than a production of an “architecture.”  The idea, rather than an architecture, cannot be canceled or delayed, but, adapted, reconstituted, and reincorporated into other projects; mostly, if not realized immediately, it lives on in its subjects until it can be brought to fruition at a later date.    

In this way, the architect can work at two scales.  The first, through implanting the public mind with visions - who are unaware of the meaning of their actions - in advocacy for the architect’s own self interest.  The other means of operation is at the scale of the seats of power, a whisper in the ear of a ruler.  This architect, however, may live dual lives, at one moment architect, at another, critic, whose roles, like those of Le Corbusier and Charles Jeanneret, are separate yet intertwined, and that feed off each other.  

Inception could be used to persuade a city government to rethink its physical environment, reposition private interests to more public uses, promote a typology over another (such as high rises in a historic  low core) or destruction of a historic neighborhood for new development among others ends.

Inception occurs through a variety of means, including the designer who carries a totem, such as a felt tipped pen, a model making crew, a set of water colors, messed up hair,  horn rimmed glasses, or a cape.  A signifier, which makes him know himself from the others, and the others from himself.  A symbol that at one time makes him recognizable and at the other time a mystification.  This makes his enamored subjects weak to his “inception.”

Relevant Legal Instruments that Govern:
access to information, media channels - who controls the media? means of
dissemination? free speech, free press
Government/Economic Conditions:
economics of idea generation, economics of building, architects in state of reflection on
times of where seemingly powerless.
Everyday Uses/Misuses:
Architectural image as one that constitutes the real, use to persuade/convince/contest.
Additional Categories/Qualifiers:

Developed/Inherent Dis-balances:
Looking for power differentials:  
Who are the existing players?:
Architects, citizens, media/press, corporations, governments
What are the existing relationships between players? (circumvent, emphasize, rectify, qualify relationships?):
Architect’s typically have been subservient, service providers, but how might they provide for ways of promoting their own ideas, working through a balance of cunning and intelligence to persuade power structures?

Potential Case Studies (Concentrate on Architecture)
London and New High Rise Towers (Architecture overpowered traditional viewpoints).
Seattle Public Library by Rem Koolhaas (conversation about digital and physical)  
Civic Friche type sites (http://www.civicfriche.com/)  (architecture driven, proposed sites)
“Project Westwood” by Roger Sherman, cityLAB (http://www.citylab.aud.ucla.edu/projects/westwood-village/)
SHOP Architects (joint venture projects)
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Culture Shed - develop own “client”)
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Museum of Image and Sound - emphasis on public access )

Reading List:
Architecture and the Digital:  
Internet Censorship
“Civic Architecture in the Digital Age” by Amy Murphy
“Exploring Digital Resistance” by Adrienne Russell
“Where Do You Want to Go Today: Cybernetic Tourism, the
Internet and Transnationality,” in Nicholas Mirzoeff, ed., The Visual Culture Reader
“Architecture-Eye” by Hal Foster.  Section:  New Media and Technology, Diller Scofidio Renfro
Contested Land and Mediascapes: The visuality of the post colonial city” by Kevin
Code/Space by Rob Kitchen and Martin Dodge
The Information Architecture of Cities by Coward and Solingaros
“Strategizing networks of power and influence: the Internet and the struggle over contested space”
911 Digital Democracy by Barbara Abrash
“Digital Governance” by Anton Wohlers  
Persuasion Architects in Design (www.degrama.com).
Reconsidering the Enabling Architect: From the Architecture of Persuasion to Blank
Architecture by Sergio Lopez Pineiro Architectural Research Quaterly, vol. 14, no. 3
(2010): 286-288
SapientNitro:  IdeaEngineers
Practical Art of Persuasion:  Harvard Business Review by William Ellet
Medium is the Message
Patterns in the Sand by Bossomaier, Terry
Design by Deception: the Politics of Megaproject Approval by Bent Flyvbjerg

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