The Pompidou Centre: or the hidden kernel of dematerialization

Proto, Francesco (2005) The Pompidou Centre: or the hidden kernel of dematerialization. The Journal of Architecture, 10 (5). pp. 573-589. ISSN 1360-2365

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13602360500463156

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Already in the mid-1960s, with the first warnings of juvenile arraignments, an open critique of the naive enthusiasm with which the former generation had absorbed the myth of technology and communication came to the fore. So that Archigram members themselves, in proposing a cardboard megastructure for the ARCHIGRAM VII special issue (‘everybody's got their own mega-structure, do it yourself’ they wrote), kept an ironic distance from the modernistic belief in the linear evolution of society (Fig. 1).

Nevertheless, the dramatic decrease in the utopian mainstream that had characterised the ‘Year of Megastructures’, as Banham called it (1963), succeeded in producing an unrepeatable architectural gesture for the celebration of individual freedom and social equality. As one of the best-known contemporary icons, the Pompidou Centre was also responsible for turning the modernistic interest in functionality into the de-materialised aspects of urban fetishism. The hyper-objectification of its form and the consequent ‘transparency’ of its content led in fact to a new type of architectural fruition: that in which the ideological perception of the building exceeded the real possibilities suggested by its hyper-flexibility. Thus, the Pompidou also inaugurated a new era for the dogmatic myth of self-empowerment by means of self-learning (auto-didacticism) and mass jouissance.

Additional Information:Already in the mid-1960s, with the first warnings of juvenile arraignments, an open critique of the naive enthusiasm with which the former generation had absorbed the myth of technology and communication came to the fore. So that Archigram members themselves, in proposing a cardboard megastructure for the ARCHIGRAM VII special issue (‘everybody's got their own mega-structure, do it yourself’ they wrote), kept an ironic distance from the modernistic belief in the linear evolution of society (Fig. 1). Nevertheless, the dramatic decrease in the utopian mainstream that had characterised the ‘Year of Megastructures’, as Banham called it (1963), succeeded in producing an unrepeatable architectural gesture for the celebration of individual freedom and social equality. As one of the best-known contemporary icons, the Pompidou Centre was also responsible for turning the modernistic interest in functionality into the de-materialised aspects of urban fetishism. The hyper-objectification of its form and the consequent ‘transparency’ of its content led in fact to a new type of architectural fruition: that in which the ideological perception of the building exceeded the real possibilities suggested by its hyper-flexibility. Thus, the Pompidou also inaugurated a new era for the dogmatic myth of self-empowerment by means of self-learning (auto-didacticism) and mass jouissance.
Keywords:Architecture, Aesthetics
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V360 History of Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
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ID Code:7428
Deposited On:06 Feb 2013 13:42

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