Infrastructure and urban planning  Opinion 

Junkspace

Modernization’s Fall-out

Rem Koolhaas 
31/10/2000


If space-junk is the human debris that litters the universe, junk-space is the residue mankind leaves on the planet. The built (more about that later) product of modernization is not modern architecture but junkspace.Junkspace iswhatremains after modernization has run its course or, more precisely, what coagulates while modernization is taking place, its fall-out. Modernization had a rational program: to share the blessings ofscience, universally.Junkspace is its apotheosis, or meltdown... although itsindividual parts are the outcome of brilliant inventions, hyper technical, lucidly planned by human intelligence, imagination and infinite computation, their sum spells the end of Enlightenment, its resurrection as farce, a low-grade purgatory... Junkspace is the sum total of our current architecture; we have built as much as all previous history together, but we hardly register on the same scales. Junkspace is the product of the encounter between escalator and air-conditioning, conceived in an incubator of sheetrock; (all three missing from the history books). Junkspace is the body-double of space, a territory of impaired ambition, limited expectation, reduced earnestness. Junkspace is a Bermuda Triangle of concepts, a Petri dish abandoned: it lowers immunity, cancels distinctions, undermines resolve, prefers intention to realization. It substitutes accumulation for hierarchy, addition for composition. More and more more is more. Junkspace is overripe and undernourishing at the same time, a colossal security blanketthat coversthe earth,the sum of all decisions not taken, issues not faced, choices not made, prioritiesleft undefined, contradictions perpetuated, compromises embraced, corruption tolerated... Junkspace is like being condemned to a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends...
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