Albert Kahn as a Paradigm

Construction or Appearance

Mohsen Mostafavi  David Leatherbarrow 

Production and representation are in conflict in contemporary architectural practice. For the architect, the mass production of building elements has led to an ever-increasing source of materials from which to configure an architectural project. The built outcome of such a configuration largely results, however, in representations that oscillate between visual reflections of systems of production and pictorial recollections of earlier styles and motifs. The first practice mimics machine assembly –reproduction – and the second pictures an architecture based on earlier and outdated modes of construction. These practices are problematic in two senses: buildings that relinquish their appearance to the image that results from assembly processes neglect the project of representation, and the picturing of historical profiles in nostalgic recollection ignores the opportunities for new configurations based on the availability of both new and old materials and methods of building construction... [+]

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