Tuesday, March 25, 2014

98. Master the art of the back handed complament

Patrik Schumacher ( Partner at Zaha Hadid Architects) posted the following statements on his facebook page this morning in responce to the Pritzker Prize's announcement that Shigeru Ban has been awarded the prize.

While everybody these days seem to be outraged by the flurry of bizzare statements Schumacher has been posting on his page I thought I would just stay clear of it. It just seems to feed him the attention that he is desperately trying to get in any way shape or form.

On the other hand, when someone of incredibe public influence makes confunding statements (that brands humanitarin work or charity as someting lowley or scornful) it is important to rebut them publicly. There are young impressionable minds out there that believes this crap. So I thought what the hell.

Here is what he said and see my reply below:

Patrik Schumacher :

"it is Ban's humanitarian work that the Pritzker jury emphasized in announcing the prize"

 I congratulate Shigeru Ban ... love his work, especially the Metz project ... however, I worry if the criteria of the Pritzker Prize ... architecture's... most prestigious prize ... are now also being diverted in the direction of political correctness .... I would wish that architectural innovations that upgrade the discipline's capacity to cope with and facilitate the great urban develpment and restructuring tasks we are facing would dominate choice here ... I am afraid that if criteria shift towards political correctness great iconoclast-innovators like Wolf Prix or Peter Eisenman wont ever stand a chance to be recognized here ...

does this mean that those who aspire to win the Pritzker - or the nobel prize in physics - have to add humanitarian charity work into the mix?

Conrad Newel:

The purpose of the Pritzker prize is as follows:

To honor a living architect/s whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.


This has always been a part of the Pritzker mandate.

The Pritzker committee has normally overlooked this aspect when awarding the prize as evidenced by its selection of laurites.

Giving the prize to Sheru on these grounds is perhaps a baby step in honoring that clause.

You should note that the Nobel Prize in Physics according to Alfred Nobel's will is to be awarded as follows:

"To the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics ...” So there is no need to worry that the Physics prize will suddenly require its lauriets to do humanatarian work.

In logic and critical thinking, your argument above Patrick, is a classic fallacy called a slippery slope - a form of pseudo-argumentation in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any rational argument or demonstrable mechanism for the inevitability of the event in question.

By the very same logic you made, I could argue (the day after Zaha Hadid won the Pritzker)
I congratulate Zaha Hadid ... love her work, especially her design for Muammar Quadafi's conference center in Tripoli. ... however, I worry if the criteria of the Pritzker Prize ... architecture's most prestigious prize ... are now also being diverted in the direction of empty curvy shapes .... I would wish that architectural innovations that upgrade the discipline's capacity to cope with and facilitate the great urban development and restructuring tasks we are facing would dominate choice here ... I am afraid that if criteria shift towards flashy pseudo rational from manipulation then great Humanitarian-innovators like Cameron Sinclair or Architects without borders won’t ever stand a chance to be recognized here ...

Does this now mean that those who aspire to win the Pritzker - or the Nobel Prize in physics - have to add superficial curvy shapes in to the mix?

Patrick, you have nothing to fear than fear itself - the old world order will prevail. So chill out man! Sounds like you need a hug :)

Conrad Newel

Liberating Minds Since August 2007


Anonymous said...

Standing ovation!
We have a saying in spanish, not sure if it translates well.. but it goes something like:
You could have said it louder... but not more clear.

Conrad Newel said...

Thanks Nmas,

It's incredible that this guy has the audacity to attack humanitarianism. For me the very essence of architecture is to support and facilitate humanity. I always look at these architectures that seem to support and facilitate itself or the ego of their creators as a poorly veiled catastrophe. Their makers always seem to argue publicly that it really is in the service of humanity or function or whatever. However, in this case Patrick just went over all that and came right out and said it. Fuck humanity and charity, that’s all politically correct crap. I guess that’s in line with the famous adage “fuck context”. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is absolutely what PS is doing.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a very simplistic answer to what Patrik is trying to argue for in his recent facebook "provocations". As an architect your power is limited. Koolhaas also worked in china, dubai, libya and many other places, engaging with dictatorships which do not respect human rights etc. I can add many other famous architects to the list. Probably many migrant workers died while constructing his buildings. I dont think its a problem architects can solve, its not in our power to change a regime. As Foucault said, its not the parlaiment building that makes the democracy - the political agency of architecture is limited.

Casa del fascio in Como was also constructed under a fascist regime - you can like it or not, but it is widely recognized as a contribution to humanity, visited and studied by hundreds of scholars and students every year.

At the very least, this dictatorships will leave a masterpiece of architecture behind in history, instead of the generic crap we see all around us. One contribution to humanity from an inhumane regime.

I respect Patrick for having the courage to explain the reality of the world we live in to a seemingly innocent and naive audience who believe in "charity" - read some Zizek to discover what is wrong with the concept.

Architects without borders should indeed never win a pritzker price - because it's not about how "good" you are, but how good your architecture is.

If you are really so politically engaged, then be consequent and also dismiss Frank Gehry, Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel, Reiser Umemoto, SOM, KPF, etc... And maybe dismiss Zumthor as well because he is not a vegetarian or doesnt donate to a charity.

Unknown said...

What and who defines a good architecture?

Gilly Youner said...

Shigeru has always had integrity of both mission and vision. even back in architecture school, would not take a self-aggrandizing stance, but subtly, continuously, plug away at a solution.

Gilly Youner

Unknown said...

Totally agree too. Keep it up.

Rogelio Salmona of Colombia was much more worthy of the Pritzker than many previous winners.



Anonymous said...

Yet no one is taking about peter eisenman and wolf prix, which if you think about it, is Patrols point. Too easily some would prefer to defend humanitarianism to feel good about themselves, rather than discussing innovation. Shigeru's work is ok, but innovative? No.

Anonymous said...

Shigeru learned how to build buildings out of cardboard. What is not innovative about that?! He's taken on harder challenges than Zaha ever did with her billion dollar commissions. Shigeru has made beautiful buildings with little money. Its really retarded to say that Shigeru is not innovative.