God Save Architecture – STAR Studio at AAS Tilburg

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February – April 29, 2011

God Save Architecture
Criticism and Demagogy, A Story of Contemporary Architecture

God Save Architecture is a research course that aims to develop critical assessments of today’s most dangerous clichés, assumptions, and demagoguery in the field of architecture.
An alarming lack of criticism and an exponentially growing demagogy are the two features that describe the discourses in today’s architecture. The course is a reaction to this.

The abundance of images and information, the global fears, and the crisis have created a climate of total confusion and opportunism. New gurus preaching architectural salvation appear constantly and the agenda of architectural institutions seems to lose credibility. Ideology has transformed into propaganda. Principles are as flexible as necessary to flow with the trends.
However, in a time when a huge percentage of architects are unemployed and our institutions struggle for funding, the few with money have enormous power. This dangerous situation produces a significant moment where there is no place for critique. The Market Economy rules absolutely everything. Nobody dares to question.

Six Anti-utopias:
Literally-green buildings, opportunistic saviors from crises, vague systematic rejections of the iconic building, a completely chaotic and incomprehensible preservation mania, a revolting pseudo-moral expectation towards architects, and a blind assumption that public space saves all…. seem to be the holy cows of  the moment.
The course will focus on the development of a thorough critique in the form of an anti-utopia for each of these topics.

Before diving into argumentation, in order to get acquainted with representative examples of criticism, students worked with texts and materials from the always relevant group Superstudio. And in order to be trained in fallacies they had to analyze critically the intro text of Ole Bouman’s Architecture of Consequence; one of the biggest and most current representations of demagogy in architecture

Chapters:
!-God Save the Icon
?-God Save the Green
?-God Save Preservation
?-God Save Public Space
?-God Save Ole Bouman
!-God Save the Architects

Students:
Bob van der A, Renske Aben, Bart Bisschops, Sander de Bruin, Suzy Chong, Nafthaly de Graaf, Bert van der Heijden, Babak Jabery, Martijn van Linden, Jeroen Michielsen, Paul Muselaers, Teun Nuijten, Milja de Smet, Sarah Stoffels, Joris van der Vorst, Milou Wijsbeck

Tilburg Academie voor Architectuur en Stedenbouw  
God Save Architecture, Criticism and Demagogy, A Story of Contemporary Architecture
Guest Teacher
Research Course
Master of Architecture
Tilburg, the Netherlands
Spring 2011