Habitat

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Dear Mr, Toyoo Ito !


My initial wish, after reading a newspaper-article about you (1),  was to write you a letter. Time passed fast, also because we are building a [peculiar] house in Shikoku's country-side. See your colleague's website: www.uchnet.net, reference  'Landhuis'; Japanese and English plus pictures.
My wish did not vanish, on the contrary; it expanded (as do larger cities.,..).
I also wanted to write an article. In the end I now integrate both wishes in one form, writing my letter to you and constructing an article, both for the eye of the (interested) public and professionals.
As a token of respect for you, I dedicate this reflection, annex discussion, to you.


FOR    TOYOO     ITO-SAN Daring as it is
to investigate the unknown,
even more so it is to question
the known.

-Kaspar 5) p.xi

    
In the second half of October 2006 we visited Venice for the first time. Our visit coincided unplanned with an international architectural exhibition. What completely shocked me and what I could not get rid off, was the content of a concise introduction by Richard Burdett : "The 10th International Architecture Exhibition Cities, architecture and society celebrates cities, the very year that half the world's population has become urban. A century ago only 10% of the people of the planet lived in cities and, according to the United Nations, this number is set to rise to 75%." (2) Later I learned through another source, that by 2030, two-third of humanity will live in cities. (3)

The planet earth's population  counted 3 billion in 1959
[around]  7 billion in 2006
will count [around] 9 billion in 2042

Burdett ascertains: "Understanding the impacts of this growth on people and on the environment has become a necessity, as the links between architecture and society become both more complex and more fragile." That's the same way I see it.

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I feel the need to collect and formulate some proper questions.


?    IS ONGOING URBANIZATION UNAVOIDABLE    ?

It looks as if there consists a development-pattern of apparent autonomous~continuing extension of cities; a perpetuum mobilae, that once being started, always and for ever
will move 'forward' and consequently never will stop or can be stopped.
"We live in an age of unprecedented, rapid, irreversible urbanization,", says Anna Tibaijuka. (4)
Admitted, a large city can be convenient and attractive in terms of provisions as high quality health-care, entertainment, fashion-shopping, educations of sorts, a broad
variation of culture and food or in terms of employment and anonymity.
The latter also being a candidate for nuisance, anonymity, discomfort and criminality.

?      HAVE UNLIMITED ENLARGEMENTS OF BIG CITIES, CENTRALIZATION
ALSO, A POINT-OF-NO-RETURN, AFTER WHICH DISADVANTAGES
OVERSHADOW ADVANTAGES (and counter-productivity takes over)    ?

Allow me to mention some serious disadvantages, first on individual level: always light / never again real silence / living & housing in the center is substantially expensive;
living in a suburb means daily long traveling hours / air and sound pollution / permanent traffic jam's.
"one billion people -a sixth of humanity- live in slums." (3)
On administrative level: the costs of infrastructures of energy-supply, transportation-systems, waste collecting and -disposal, distribution, but also a system of fire-fighting become disproportional high [read: unpayable and un-economical], complicated and extremely vulnerable.
Many persons and authorities in larger cities nowadays already experience those disadvantages.

?    ARE THOSE CONDITIONS BEYOND ONE's HUMAN POWER    ?

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After this sketchy introduction, I feel the urgency to find a [ -the- ] 'bottom~line' of an architect.

?    WHAT IS THE BASIC RESPONSIBILITY AND FUNCTION OF AN ARCHITECT    ?

An answer could be: making an 'adequate' and payable 'house'; the definitions of the terms not being clear.
I prefer to concentrate on the following. Schematic I assume for architects the existence of a dichotomy: either they 'follow' 'the' developments and eventually make the best out
of each situation, O R architects show their [brilliant] capability to step outside anybody's box and make a plea for a rather different, paradoxical concept against the grain.
Repeating the same dichotomy in the words of Paul Watzlawick c.s. (5)

?    ARE ARCHITECTS PRODUCING MORE-OF-THE-SAME OR ARE THEY
WILLING AND CAPABLE TO ENTER THE REALM OF IT's OPPONENT, THE
SECOND ORDER    ?

More-of-the same:
"When winter comes and the temperature begins to fall, rooms must be heated and one must wear warm clothing outside in order to remain comfortable. If the temperature falls even lower, more heat and warm clothing are needed. In other words, change becomes necessary to re-establish the norm, both for comfort and survival. (5) p. 31. So far so good, but what about the following, I would say realistic situation: "(....), what could seem more reasonable to relatives and friends than to try to cheer up a depressed person? But in all likelihood the depressed person not only does not benefit from this, but sinks deeper into gloom." p. 34. With other words, "more-of-the-same" is a kind of 'reflex', but does not always work as intended -on the contrary- ! A counter-productive form of problem solving enters the stage.
More-of-the same is acting within the box, so to speak; in Watzlawick's terms this change-type is called "first-order". "(....), there are countless instances in which this form of problem solving and change provides a valid and satisfactory solution. In all these cases the first-order change potential inherent in the system can cope with the disturbance, and the system's structure remains unchanged." p. 38. First-order changes however also can be "(....) incapable of effecting the desired change, because here the system's structure itself has to undergo change, and this can be effected only from the second-order change level." p. 38
So, a 'solution' of the more-of-the-same-type can become the problem itself. Sometimes a solution is of a breathtaking simplicity (and geniality):
"The way out is through the door.
Why is it that no one
will use this exit ?"

[Confucius] p. 77

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Many architect's contributions are variations on the already existing, the more-of-the same. True, roof gardens are made, buildings can be constructed more 'transparent',
esthetically attractive, space between buildings will be extended eventually, parks are integrated in urban-planning, sound isolation is improved, designs are sometimes
spectacular, materials funny or costly, buildings get the function of 'landmarks', higher and / or hazardous than in other metropolis,
However, after all this category of 'creativity', swagger, demonstration of power, guts, bad taste or how you would like to call it, still remains more-of-the-same.
I dare to say, that new variations within the existing order are 'changes' of the more-of-the-same-type and thus cannot be defined as renewal.

?    ARE THERE ANY ARCHITECTS WHO HAVE STRONGPOINTS -ON GOOD
GROUNDS- FOR DECENTRALIZATION AND DISPERSAL    ?

Are architects leaders, guides or followers. ?
For the sake of an open and transparent dispute and debate I strongly object the immanent assumption of uncritical [ ? ] 'accepting' the ever growing metropolis' mega-sizes within the statement: "How we choose to shape our cities, buildings and public spaces -as architects, urbanists and city makers- will determine how we respond to the challenges of climate change as well as addressing human rights, justice and dignity for the billions of people who move to cities in search of work and opportunity." (2)

WHAT GOOD REASONS ARE THERE TO ENLARGE / EXTEND METROPOLIS ?
?     WHAT IS A HYPER METROPOLIS "DOING" TO PEOPLE, TO PERSONS    ?

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It is unprecedented in human's history, that more than one half of the planet's population will live in 'hyper-cities' in near future.

?    HOW TO UNDERSTAND THIS    ?

??????? What vocabulary, questions, mind set, 'psychology', 'sociology', 'social anthropology' or 'morality' one needs to comment on this unique phenomenon.???????
??? What kind of judgment(s), conclusions and points-of-view are we going to formulate ???
? What are the fundamentals ?
I would like to say: please TELL ME ! TEACH ME !
I am pretty convinced what we should NOT do, that is:
wait-and-see / more-of-the-same / just making money,
one way or the other,' après nous le déluge I
'creativity'-for-the-sake-of-'creativity'-only.

Using certain words as [UN]NATURAL, LIVING, ARTIFICIAL, EXISTENCE,
ESSENTIAL, NATURE, need a minimum of description [signalement] if one will not
end as the tower-of-Babel-saga did.
'NATURAL' for instance is also decease, suffering and dying; 'ARTIFICIAL is not only my mobile phone, but also my credit card [money anyhow] and our double isolated
house.
[Still lacking a proper description ].., referring to 'metropolis'...
? How much adaptation-capability we may expect from a human ?
? Adaptation-of-what-exactly ?
? How much noise, pollution [of what ?], concrete / glass / steel, travel-time per day, crowds, stress, artificiality,...a human can digest or reasonably handle in medical-, biological and / or psychological terms ?
? What is a house 6) ?
? What is a city ?
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Humans, being originally biological, nomadic creatures with straight lines to animals, behaved 'unnatural' by covering their body's against temperature differences. They behaved 'unnatural' by changing their nomadic existence: "The event that set humankind on the path toward modernity was the adoption of farming, beginning with the domestication of cereal grains, which first took place in the Near East around ten thousand years ago (...)" (7) p. 2 They behaved 'unnatural' some years later: "The first civilizations arose around five thousand years later in Mesopotamia and Egypt, two parallel cultures founded on a surplus of cereal grains produced by organized agriculture on a massive scale. This freed a small fraction of the population from the need to work in the fields and made possible the emergence of specialist priests, administrators, scribes, and craftsmen. Not only did beer nourish the inhabitants of the first cities and the authors of the first written documents, but their wages and rations were paid in bread and beer, as cereal grains were the basis of the economy." p. 3 In the paragraph "the urban revolution" writes Standage, p. 24: "The world's first cities arose in Mesopotamia, "the land between the streams," the name given to the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that roughly corresponds to modern Iraq. Most of the inhabitants of these cities were farmers, who lived within the city walls and walked out to tend their fields each morning. Administrators and craftsmen who did not work in the fields were the earliest humans to live entirely urban lives. Wheeled vehicles trundled through the matrix of city streets; people bought and sold goods in bustling marketplaces. Religious ceremonies and public holidays passed by in a reassuringly regular cycle."
Humans continued on the 'unnatural''path. "Wine was the lifeblood of this Mediterranean civilization [Greece], and the basis of vast seaborne trade that helped to spread Greek ideas far and wide." p. 3
Making wild time-leaps and jumping on different subjects: "Global sea-routes were established, and European nations vied with one another to carve up the globe." p.4 Cities emerged, colonies were established, slaves were traded, science developed as did technology exponentially. Planet's population grew substantially, notwithstanding massive exploitations of cultures, nations and people, deceases and ever larger, more cruel wars, the recent ones counting in millions of death.
Now reading in my daily about Ito-san's former thinking "(...) the idea of an architecture for the "virtual" body - the parallel self that lives on the incessant diet of electronic information in the modern metropolis.", saying "(...) that contemporary man was a "Tarzan who lives in a forest of media," and his architecture should be a form of "media-clothing". (1) All together rather alienated, corny, vague, dreaming would-be-'artistic' in-crowd-jargon, in the clouds and triple-fake, accepting hypes as a status quo and so called 'renewal'; exactly the 'new-clothes-of-the-emperor'. And the Tarzan-association: as a child I saw the original one with Johnny Weismüller. He controlled, he helped, was smart, honest and powerful. That profile is by far not the [poor] inhabitant's of a modern hyper-city. On the contrary ! Therefore I am happy to read in the same article, that Ito-san replaced his weird thinking: "In this decade, however, Ito has decisively swerved away from this path to re-engage the forceful physicality of the structural and material dimension of architecture. He has returned to the "real"."; the journalist, commenting his recent projects as 'organic forms'. "Ito feels this bodily pleasure that can be experienced via architecture and space is being lost in the wholesale embrace or the virtual."

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Where Ito-san gets my unconditional YES ! was when reading about a NAMA~feeling, being my catch at a straw and actually the lead in this reflection.
"In little over 10 years, mobile phone technology and Internet technology have changed things radically. I think that, without doubt, people, especially young people, have lost a kind of 'rawness', a nama feeling. I had originally hoped that by engaging with virtual worlds, such as when playing computer games, a new and interesting kind of sensibility would develop among people. However, in truth, I soon began to feel a sense of betrayal. I concluded that the more this virtualization occurs, the greater the need for the primitive body."
"The recovery of the "real" that is so new for Ito and his successors suggests a yearning to reconnect to the sources of the architect's art: material, structure, nature and, significantly, people." May I say, that Ito-san re-invented humans ?

I strongly doubt that today's metropolises are necessary for a number of reasons.

Some of my objections are economical! other motives concern efficiency, physical- and mental health as well as aesthetics.
The costs of living and / or working in a metropolis are sky high because of the metropolis itself.
I am not only referring to prices of ground, offices, houses and food, but also to day- nurseries, education and medical care. The same comment can be made about transportation of materials and persons, infrastructures of sorts, maintenance, each of them and in combination being pretty complicated. The complicated wheels prove to be
most delicate and vulnerable: if one small part dysfunctions, the whole system will be seriously affected with a fair chance of stagnation of the whole machinery. A metropolis
is counter-productive in terms of efficiency, because of it's high costs, density and complexity. On top of all this air- and sound pollution is omni-present, functioning as a
total attack on human's senses and the general condition in a metropolis; permanent stress is a common phenomenon. All in all an unhealthy incubator.

Despite some architectural 'highlights', an average metropolis is ugly, far too ugly. Designing is the expression of powerless bungling of the human race [Abalos &
 Herreros] (8) I take notice of the term architectural pornography in contrast with this couple's wish to prickle the senses. Should an average inhabitant be happy or feel lucky with Ando, who once defined architecture as 'the box that provokes' ? I would like to add: a box that provokes, irritates, intimidates or impresses for impressions sake.
Architects are often the problem.


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Architecture is often too static [Lynn]. Kroll opposes passionately the barbaric modernity; the functional does not function anymore. I saw Ban described as an over-average self-glorifier. Caruso St John: there is little which one can admire.
Diversity is not beatific.

Much architecture's bottom line is boring, mannered and bombastic, a vulgar, 'sexy', technical rhetoric, easy and selfish going and much sought after,' an account of fashionable debacles, an embarrassing embrace of the poorness, indifference and barbarian business ethics, mould of pure disdain for humans, life and nature [this sharing with many politicians and religions] in order to compensate their primitive, cocky and misplaced vanities. Architects taking the main stage with star airs, swapping extravaganza and gadgets with substance and content -actually expressing professional laziness, fear, a lack of fantasy and morality- , architects making empty, intimidating, dull forms for form's sake, media randy, who glorify in the mess of the postmodern city. However, iconic power can remain incidental and renewal can be admirable but barely exiting.
Gregotti, an admonishing and eloquent voice towards architects who hardly dare to leave their modernism-shells, rewrites the second half of the last century's architectural history almost overweening. During a speech for the New York Architectural League [1983]: "The worst enemy of modern architecture is the conception of space solely in terms of economical and technical requirements, indifferent for ideas about the location...The origin of architecture is not the primitive hut, the cave or the mythical "Adam's house in paradise". Before he changed a pole into a column, before he piled stone after stone, humankind laid a stone on the ground to distinguish a spot in the middle of an unknown universe in order to recognize and stipulate it. [p. 95] In a poetic way he denounces functionalism.

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In this paragraph I specially want to focus on Japan's capital, Tokyo. Each metropolis has it's own characteristics. So in the interest of this dispute's content it seems proper to me to discuss a real city [as an example].
My personal reason is, that I don't only live permanently in [West] Japan -also being in the process of constructing a new house in the very country-side [! ]- (9) , but I had four times a shocking experience in connection with cities in this country. Visiting Hiroshima in the early 80s, arriving from the Seto sea, seeing trams functioning, people shopping, others hastening to appointments, parcels being delivered, lazy walking schoolchildren and more: a lively city functioning at all levels, I only could cry in silence, being aware of what happened to this city in August 1945. The contrast was overwhelming. Kind of the same I felt in Nagasaki and Tokyo, the latter being bombed 'conventional' almost totally. During time having got acquainted with Kobe, I only could shed my tears after a nightly telephone call in Amsterdam, that a large part of the city was destroyed by the Great Hanshin Earthquake [ early morning 17 01 1995 ], killing more than 6.000 persons and injuring many more.
Those disasters bring me to another mega disaster, about which occurrence is no doubt, a certain earthquake in Tokyo. It's government stimulates and organizes drills, teaches
it's inhabitants where shelters are, advice them to keep some water stock, some food, a blanket and a flashlight and warning them not try to join their family. Realistically
spoken I only can put the rhetorical question^ can anybody be prepared for an heavy earthquake ? My estimation is, that the chaos will be complete; no less. The death and
wounded one's, the countless, manifold personal drama's and the material damage is a Guernica.
The human and economical costs are multiple, just because of the density and complexity inherent to a metropolis.
The metropolis -as such- multiplies the misery.
Saving operations will be highly in-sufficient and in-efficient.
Worldwide such a Tokyo earthquake disaster will have a tremendous destructive impact on the world's financial dynamics.
Rebuilding the same metropolis is again most complicated and excessive expensive.
Another disaster will appear, may be slowly, but guaranteed. "Global warming may raise sea levels this century faster than previously expected," (10) See levels could rise 140 cm. by 2100. That's not only pretty soon, but also double the previous forecasts and a sign that we did not thoroughly understood this problem. A similar message about wider implications was on my daily's front page (11)

Water is also a problem in another respect. "One problem is that while access to water is
still improving in rural areas, its availability in cities has declined in many parts of the
developing world. This decline is worrisome, given the unstoppable trend toward urbanization." 7) p. 270 True, Tokyo is no city in an developing country, but already now, it's water is not agreeable to drink and I am not convinced, that the water supply can continue on a still larger scale for a reasonable price. Drinking water management world wide claims each year a huge budget. (12)
Japan already changed it's capital several times. Why not now ? What on earth makes the country's- and metropolis' governments do nothing, except some [probably highly hypothetical] emergency-preparations? Again: why is Tokyo in it's present manifestation necessary ? The country's and metropolis' leaders cowardly stay inside their 'box', ignoring the immense counter-productivity in many respects; just lazy and irresponsible continuing the old path ['more-of-the-same' or, when the 'solution' becomes the problem (5)].

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Is such a metropolis necessary in terms of communicating with each other ? NO; communication is definitely untied from location; a lot of 'desk-work' too.
Is Tokyo a healthy / happy place for the majority of it's users ? Is a healthy and happy life exclusively destined to the now-Tokyo ?
Japan only uses 20 - 30% of it's territory. This small part is overcrowded and overburdened, expensive and hectic. Why not spread the functions, which now are
pressed together in the large centers ?
My thesis is, that by spreading only advantages will be harvested.
A hyper-metropolis is an anachronism.
The harbor function could remain, of course.
Banks, insurance companies, stock-exchange and other financial institutions could better find a cheaper, safer and more natural surrounding,
as could,
at another location,
the national government, annex parliament and ministries [not in every country the government has it's seat in their national capital; the Netherlands for example], and universities and other educational institutions.
Large business offices could be wiser planned near their [main] plant[s].
Entertainment, art and some sport events could eventualy remain in Tokyo, as might the imperial family.

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Except a low percentage of privileged metropolis-users -whose opinions should be neglected here- a metropolis, considered as a human condition, is an attempt on humankind's existence. The users are put into exile, into an alienating, extremely artificial surrounding, refrained from their origin: nature, architects willingly cooperating in depriving humans of their treasure. This sacrificial offering for money and vanity's sake is an expression of disdain. Personal pomposity and an excess of truly ugly buildings insult any eye. A metropolis is more a curse than a blessing for humans. What's keeping counter-productive situations going on and even make them worse ? My answer is: indifference, this being a pandemic cancer. James Martin's answer -though talking about another topic: not solving global warming effectively- probably would be: apathy, both explanations being pretty close to each other. "If everybody was exited about solving the problems, it would work fine, but that's not the case. It will take a catastrophe to get most people interested -this is how things happen." "(,...)the UN Declaration of Human Rights was drafted after the Holocaust." After the horse has bolted the stable-door is locked. "We're almost certainly going to get some kind of catastrophe in the next 20 years or so," (13)
My explicit writing leads to parry alleged satisfaction statements of metropolis-users on beforehand. I now take the liberty to freely use some thoughts of Dawkins 14) As well as religious persons, metropolitans probably suffer from a 'delusion', an obstinate, false belief a person sticks to notwithstanding a strong proof of the opposite. If one person suffers from delusions, erroneous ideas, it's called insanity, if more people suffer from it, one calls it religion, loving one's country, the (latest) fashion[-hype] or satisfaction. Back to inertia or Martin's apathy, this being "Not necessarily depression. A lot of apathetic people are as happy as pigs, watching reality TV shows and getting drunk of a Friday night." (13)
Be it apathy, inertia, laxity, taking refuge in fantasy or indifference, if people refuse, deny or ignore their rich potential to live a quality-life in stead of running from-here-to-there-and-visa-versa, they are a will-less prey for and available to contempt of their opportunistic decision-makers, addicted to their first-order-boxes; as-simple-as-that!
Last month I wrote an essay about the paradigm FICTION, being the irresponsible pandemic virus, which evil caused and causes uncountable victims, leading to severe suffering all around the planet and being an economical waste beyond explanation. 15) Followers and their decision-makers -'leaders' being a too ironic title- are marinated in FICTION, the primate under human's activities and decisions. May be 'followers' are most to blame, given the fact, that without 'followers': no 'leaders'.

"Quickly,
bring me a beaker of wine,
so that I may wet my mind
and say something clever"

Aristophanes (16)

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It's getting time to bring my never ending litany and mantras to an end, basically already repeating myself. Passion and a strong wish for improvements are limited excuses for my tirade.
What I am debating is, that a roof-garden is no nature, even not the faintest [ironical] replacement of it: I argue, that a metropolis and it's successor, the hyper-city, is a form of laziness, first-order-thinking [more-of-the-same], perverting working and living. I plead for a human scale. (17) No responsible architect can state anymore, that s/he makes a building and the urban-specialist does the planning. This limiting framework is a severe self-disqualification.
Using "Tokyo" as an equivalent to address the responsible persons of all metropolis', I want to say: 'Tokyo', you just postpone crucial decisions until nature breaks your city down [by a disaster]; you have to respect nature and return to her. Natura mater et magistra. (18)
I feel rather skeptical hearing titles like 'eco-architecture', 'participation architecture' or 'community projects', not because of their possible value of origin, but because of the vain and opportunistic architect's easiness to fashionalize attractive-sounding words, using them solely as 'honey'. To the same range belong also those dead, devaluated terms as 'creative', 'modern', 'avant-garde', 'futuristic', 'renewal' and many more. The choice -conscious or not- is between^ sensibility or barbarism / disdain or intimacy / concrete [steel & glass] jungle or oasis / rich or poor.

Sultan (19) remembers his mother teaching him his first 'pillar' [in life], that nothing is impossible. This vitamin is the only relevant defense against the many 'buts' society produces constantly, 'buts' being an alibi for and expression of a lack of courage, vision and responsibility. "Manny", calling himself a 'space-planner', has a second pillar: aiming at excellence. This is what we need. He describes his activities as providing "(....)working and living environments to help people be more imaginative, creative and productive."

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Though we should be most alert for lip -service, I continue with a short anthology, touching what deserves anybody's passion. About Ando [who has been called the poet with concrete] (20) p.31 : "Vast areas of the Awaji Yumebutai complex serve no specific purpose, but lead visitors to a heightened awareness of space, light, sound and architecture." What I like here is the going back to our senses. Lebbeus Woods (8) p. 225 put it in his way: "I am being in war with my time, with history, with all authority, which seats in fixed and fearsome forms." Forms as an expression of fear [or cowardice; both closely related] should be banned. As is common knowledge: fear is a bad adviser and a disgusting guest. Zumthor (8) p. 229 speaks of "(....) doing that which is a matter of course, however difficult..)", an inspiring and true task-description. Not less attractive and putting the architect back on his feet: "Designing a building, 'cost ten minutes -may be only five' " [Massimiliano Fuksas, (8) p. 87] He guided the Biennale of Venice to "Less aesthetics, more ethic's." p.86 The planet needs the poetic intuitions of Frank Lloyd Wright. Gregotti underlines my pledge: p.28...) the landscape is the primary given in architecture and all buildings should emanate from this." p.95 The interaction with the landscape is also main theme of Guenter Behnisch p.27. These are some of the signposts, which could lead us somewhere in stead of nowhere.

High alert!

Declaring war to 'sad architecture', to dullness, to which most 'spectacular' designs also belong, to ego-mania of all burlesque decision-makers, to indifference, apathy and
disdain, should be high on the agendas.
The ongoing planning in favor of hyper-cities is a multifarious disaster.
A tragedy!
We should weep or otherwise ...............
............do we want to make God laugh ?
Tell him, what your intentions are.

2 02 2007.



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In brief.................

As a matter of fact this dispute started as an open letter to Toyoo Ito-san.

The epicenter is the 'hyper-city' (3), > inevitable, necessary or cancer ?<, thus addressing reflections to Ito-san in person as well as too his colleagues and the interested public.

The planet's population grows exponentially.

Mega urbanization seems unstoppable.
Questions should be gathered, well formulated questions.

Basically this discussion concentrates on themes as fate, human mind's addiction to the
first-order and a responsible [read: human] environment.
Architects are strongly challenged to take and show their position with proper motives.

What is a 'hyper-metropolis' "doing" to it's inhabitants ?
Do we have the proper vocabulary and points-of-view to cope with this theme ?
What is a city ?
What is nowaday's realistic, advantageous function ?


Keep going on -like addicts- in the same treadmill, [custom becoming one's "nature",]
will be, [already is,] the problem. Ito offers a catch at a straw with "NAMA". Architects
[too] have become suspicious.
Tokyo exemplary on the dissecting-table.
Indifference and apathy until the next catastrophe. Delusion and being happy as pigs.

Returning to our senses.

Selecting architects and decision-makers.
Should we stop to make God laugh ?


[This pamphlet's first draught against 'urbanism unlimited' was released in February 2007]


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N O T E S

  1. The Japan Times 30 Nov 2006 Return to 'real'  - Julian Worrall
  2. 10. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura; la Biennale di Venezia www. labiennale.org
  3. The Japan Times 13 Dec 2006 'Time bomb' slums set to soar in mew world of cities! there will be more urban-than rural-dwellers for the first time in history - Alister Doyle
  1. Anna Tibaijuka is head of the U. N. Human Settlements Program. See 3)
  2. Change, principles of problem formation and problem resolution! Paul Watzlawick, John Weakland & Richard Fisch. Norton 1974.
  3. 'House' is also such a word about which everybody silently assumes, that it's meaning is well known, but here follows a short inventory of meanings, which function it is to question this matter of course.
    A roof ? A glass box ? A testimony of bad taste ? A showcase of power ? The place were your father died ? A hole ? A barrier against the world ? A love-nest ? A sleeping place ? An investment ? The heritage of your parents ? An arbitrary address ? The place were your children were born ? A place of silence ? A guarantee for quarrel ? A womb ? An impossibility to relax ? The spot were your underpants are washed and your shirts are ironed ? Warmth ? The bank's security for your life-long mortgage ? A center of commotion ? There where you want to die in the arms of your wife ?
  1. A history of world in 6 glasses! Tom Standage. Walker & Comp. 2006.
  2. Architecten van nu! Kester Rattenbury, Robet Bevan & Kieran Long. Atrium 2004.
    In this paragraph I borrow quite some, but surely not all, vocabulary of this Dutch edition! the English translations are my responsibility. The final text also being my sole responsibility.

  3. See- the architect's website under 'Landhuis'! pictures and bilingual text [ J. & E.] www.uchnet.net and my bilingual 'report' [Dutch & English] on www.nippon.com.es

  4. The Japan Times 16 Dec 2006 Climate models underestimate rising seas: study

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  5. The Japan Times 21 01 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
    Change [ I P C C ] states that the world temperatures will rise by 2.0 to 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, given the status quo. Such a temperature rise could cause huge disruption to agriculture, trigger more floods, heat waves and desertification and melt glaciers.
  6. Cited from 7), page 270: By around 2007, demographers estimate, more than half of world's population will for the first time be living in cities; humankind will have completed the six-thousand-year transition from being a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban species. According to figures from the International Water Management Institute, it would cost an extra $ 1.7 billion a year beyond what is already being spent to achieve the United Nations' desired improvement in access to water, while improving sanitation would cost a further $ 9 billion or so a year -a small fraction of the amount spent on bottled water in rich nations."
  7. NewScientist 9 Sep 2006 Agent for change - Liz Else 
  8. NRC 3 Nov 2006 God is pas echt gevaarlijk; de wereldberoemde evolutiebioloog Richard Dawkins rekent hard af met religie Rob van den Berg
  9. 18 pages A4, including a summary and notes. The articles I used are also available.
  10. cited in (7) page 43. Aristophanes was a Greek comic poet (450 - 385 BCE)
  11. My own contributions to small scale, self-efficient communities of 'silbers' [in Japan] in the country-side, i wrote, reacting on a small notice in the Kochi Shimbun, October 26th, 2005.1 gave the project-idea the name GENKI MURA; 10 pages. Articles I used are also available.
    Another idea I formulated in November 2006: modules, easily to enlarge and to be placed anywhere in the [Japanese] country-side. Easily to replace elsewhere. Reasonable price, well isolated, eventualy also floating.
  12. Nature is mother as well as tutor [sensei].
  13. The Japan Times 20 012007 Personality profile - Vivienne Kenrick
  14. Architecture NOW ! ; Philip Jodidio. Taschen 2005.
PAGE 17
C O N T E N T S

INTRODUCTION
Page
Dedication1
Data1
Q's2
DEBATE
Mega urbanization unavoidable ? An inventory of disadvantages.
Enough is enough !
2
Architect's responsibility and / but staying in the box3-4
Scrutinizing the core and effects of the ongoing urbanization-process;
definitions needed and [more] questions
5
City's origin 6
Nama 6-7
Unprecedented counter-production & architect's cocky solo-trip 7-8
Example Tokyo, an anachronism 8-10
Spreading functions 10-11
Inertia and fiction 11
EPILOGUE
Natura mater et magistra12
Selecting architects13
BRIEFLY14
NOTES15-16
CONTENTS17