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Lecture 2

ARC132 Lecture 2 .docx


Department
Architecture Studies
Course Code
ARC132H1
Professor
Zeynep Celik
Lecture
2

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3Contemporary Architecture
January 17th 2013
Histories of the Present 2: Metropolis and Architecture
Clip from movie Metropolis (1927)
theoretically set in 2026
We see two parts, skyscrapers, planes, latest infrastructure. Also featured pictures from
some magazine, scifi for the future. Plot of film resolves around son of master of
metropolis, and his love interest from the underworld. The metropolis in the modern
imagination appears as a utopia and dystopia.
The world modern: think about the start of a global world. Which is not really a recent
phenomenon. Emergence of capitalism.
Industrial capitalism: fed by commerce, mechanized, agriculture and industrial process.
Agricultural revolution emerged at the same time as industrial revolution. This was
because of the mechanization of both. A new way of understanding the world also
occurred – Enlightenment. Liberty, freedom and autonomy were emphasized, French
revolution.
Transformations of society occurred because of the accumulation of capital through these
things, also colonialism. This started in England, and spread to other parts of Europe. A
rise of a new social class – Bourgeoise. They came increasingly more powerful. The
creation of Proletariat class. People who sold their labour.
Division of labour – when machines are used, and any person working on them is given a
single, specific task. Work comes to be called labour, worker called labourer. Social
classes are separated, and inequality is noticeable. The labourer is alienated from the
work he does. Alienation of labour.
Enlightenment talks of more liberty, equality, freedom, but division of labour, etc. negates
and opposes those changes.
Modernity is a compilation of paradoxes.
Spacial consequence of modernity: population displacement to urban centres. Growth of
population in centres also brings shift of capital.
Metropolis: big city.
Urbanism: study of cities, the way people live in cities, and how cities are built/thought
about.
Industrial cities were problems, and how they were solved.
Engels and the Condition of the Working Classes in England (1845)
Child labour, prostitution, exploitation, poor living/working conditions. Industrial
capitalism produces a number of paradoxes. The view was that freedom was free
economy, but if unregulated, it will implode. More impressive the progress, more
spectacular the regression. More packed people are in a place, the more isolated they
become. Modern city was liberating because it provided anonymity and freedom from
surveillance. This meant relationships and interactions with people become anonymous.
Discomfort of public transportation. First time in history where you were forced to sit and
face strangers. Public space of modernity where individuals learned to advert their gazes.
Experience of metropolis was an ―uninterrupted stream of nervous stimuli‖. They also
learned to develop a mechanism called ―blase attitude‖. Indifference to protect oneself

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from the shocks of modernity.
Engels also talked about how space was arranged in the modern metropolis. It was
marked by segregation, from wealthy and poor, private and public spheres of live, men
and women, work and leisure.
Masking in metropolis. Main thoroughfares had to be made ―pretty‖ for the bourgeoise to
pass through. The housing for the proletariats had to be masked from the repulsive
buildings they were. Buildings made more cheaply, not in order to last, but save money.
―A building's life does not end when it becomes physically unstable, but when it becomes
financially unstable‖.
May seem like progress, but think of slums, poverty, rent, segregation, etc.
Problem: Metropolis of Industrial Capitalism
Solution: To Modernize the Metropolis
Haussmannization of Paris: cuts boulevards into the irregularity of the city's streets and
layout. To block future barricades, help with traffic flow, and allow for trains, etc.
Regulations were applied to buildings so streets would have a uniform look. Public
gardens and parks were added. Sewer system was improved, street furniture was
improved and gas lamps on the street were added. Idea of hygeine was used when
planning. This was not received well, as it meant the city was in ruins for decades during
the reconstruction.
Cities were as much shaped by destruction as construction.
Before Haussmannization, different social classes could live near each other. Not after.
Working classes also left the city during this time, and the social structure was changed.
This displaced 350 000 people from centre of city. More bourgeoise moved to the city.
Conspicuous consumption of goods.
As a result of the physical changes, social changes occurred. The activities changed, and
watching and being watched occurred.
Vienna, Ringstrasse
Sitte, Wagner
Fortified walls around a city were surrounded by open space. These walls were later torn
down, and the Ringstrasse was introduced. This meant that the land had to be developed.
Open spaces remained as the city was an irregular shape, and had to be filled with these
spaces, even if they were alienating.
Sitte: The ringstrasse and irregular shapes cause agoraphobia. Interested by self-inclosed
public spaces found in Italy. This was his solution to the modernization attempts, and the
nondescript public spaces.
Wagner: Architecture as utilitarian, rational, but not functional. Criticizes Ringstrasse
because it was not instrumental, rational, modern enough. Historical architecture the
enemy of modern architecture, and called it a stylistic hangover. Won a competition of
annexing the city. Also designed a lot of infrastructure, bridges, train stations, tunnels.
He used exposed iron in many of his designs. Wrote a book: Die Grossstadt. He wanted
to generate additional rings around the city, and cut through these rings. The bits of land
you are left with are developed as modules. They were for 150 000 people, and were to
be basically a self-inclosed place to live. Apartment buildings would be uniform, and

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workplaces inside the module. Similar to the garden city, developed in England, except
garden cities were outside the urban centres.
Modernizing the Metropolis 3: CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architecture)
Urbanism
Avant-garde: group of artists that challenges academicism and claimed to be at the
forefront of artistic developments.
Le Corbusier: out of work in 1920s, so he produced theoretical projects. Ex:
Contemporary City for 3 million, Plan Voisin. Logic of street being replaced by logic of
open space. CIAM Urbanism.
Fourth meeting of CIAM in 1933 (?). Was important because he developed what he had
done in the 1920s. Linear rather than centred scheme. Based on the idea that a city should
be separated int functional zones. Habitation and traffic were to be separated from each
other. After bombing from wars, the layout of the city was changed. More harm was done
to the urban fabric was done after the bombing by people making new plans for the city.
Paradox of post war urbanism.
Postmodern Critiques of Modernizing Attempts.
What was seen as a utopia in 1950s-ish seen at a dystopia in 1970s. The Pruitt-Igoe
destroyed in 1972.
Jane Jacbos: The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Argued for mixed use streets.
Learning from Las Vegas, 1977
Assumed observational, non intervntion. Maybe architects should try to observe,
understand and record cities, rather than interfere.
Rem Koolhaus: 1978, Delirious New York
looked at Manhattan as the true, yet completely unacknowledged place of modernity.
Intensification of density of the core of the city. Modernization has run its course and
what remains after this are malls, offices, airports, things that actually surround us in our
everyday lives. No hierarchy,order, neatness in this type
ARC132H1 S 2012-1-26
The Question of Metropolis (19th C - Present)
Film, Metropolis (1926)
- Setting: 2026
- 2 parts of metropolis
Superstructure (skyscrapers, airplanes; latest technology, N.Y City, si-fi,
futuristic illustrations)
Substructure (underworld)
- How the two structure (sides of metropolis) reconcile each other
- The metropolis, in the modern imaginations, appears as both Utopia and Dystopia
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