Ni espacio ni contención

The Politics of Andrés Jaque

Marina Otero 

“Architecture is not about space, nor about containment,” writes Andrés Jaque. “It is not possible for architecture to spatially contain the transscalar societal compositions where life, politics, knowledge, and interactions happen.”

Many have looked to spatial policies to consider how architecture works beyond the building. The building as an autonomous space went into crisis, as did the spatial and programmatic understanding of cities by the postulates of modern architecture.

Here architecture is a mediator, not a container. But while its capacity to contain was called into question – as per fluidity notions that have shattered categories of traditional institutional identity – space remained a foundation of architecture. Jaque says it no longer is; a natural conclusion of the work of Office for Political Innovation.

In his architecture, space hands the stage over to scale, or to multiple and transmedia scales where bodies and events interact. The transscalar yields assemblages where categories of subject and object, human and non-human, are articulated, giving rise to new identities, subjectivities, policies. Notions of otherness, regulatory space-time spheres, and systems of representation that still center on gender and race, environmental crises, and inequality are not enough to bring about new ways of living.

Jaque’s idea of architecture not being about space gives me a certain discomfort, but does open up spaces of freedom and criticality from which to imagine and build differently. 

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