A contemporary architectural drawing analysis requires a personal historiographical reading of recent events.
Since the 1980s, totalizing cultural narrative schemes which order and explain knowledge and experience take a downturn to promote multiplicity over unity. It happens for a specific reason: great historical ideas, striving to direct the present towards a different condition, have done more harm than good. Because of this utopia can be considered a very dangerous tool which leads to absolutism and disposable regimes.
Thus dominant cultural institutions lose their power to encourage a reproduction process of forms and ideas of architecture. Even architecture adapts to changes, with no claim to planning for the future. Architecture no longer runs any risk of taking an all-embracing position. It already committed too many mistakes.
Therefore any renunciation of utopia allows a more democratic society but, at the same time, it denies the freedom to dream of a different future, thus condemning society to an eternal presentism condition.
We think we are free but we are not, and it is like we are living trapped in a new form of social captivity: the Inside-out Panopticon Utopia (2017).In the following image, utopia takes watchtower’s place. Now it takes control. It holds a great fascination with us but it is no longer achievable. All cells bring outside through a balcony while the center of the prison is not accessible. There is no chance to handle utopia, no chance for a different future.
These considerations are essential to start with an analysis of the contemporary architectural drawing. Renunciation of new utopias is a great sacrifice for designers who are very attracted to it. Thus artistis look for it in the past iconography, to capture its subversive appearance. The main goal is to increase the emotionality of the image and its communication skill. Thus drawings look more analogical, more personal, flatter and more spontaneous. Precisely for this reason, 2D representation techniques are spreading more than 3D representation ones. These drawings do not claim to appear realistic, but they aim at a more suggestive, more artistic, at a deliberately more imaginary reality.
Both collages Architectural ideas and forms in ruins (2018)and Dystopian Megastructure (2017)have the aim described above:they use past architectural ideas and forms to catch their charm offering an anachronistic spatial and temporal dimension. On the other hand both structures are in ruins showing the mutual relationship between utopia and dystopia, between good intentions and results.
Star system architecture can also be considered an example of good intentions claiming to regenerate degraded neighborhoods through the construction of iconic buildings.From deconstructivism to historicism, from blob to minimalism, this system spreads an ever bigger and ever more miserable architectural literary. Architectual Caries, 2017shows some architectural forms legitimized by complicated theories in an advanced state of dental caries highlighting the crisis of the old linguistic utopian codes.
This crisis opens up great questions for the architectural discipline. Waiting for the stabilization of new linguistic balances, we have two options: proposing new utopias destined to fail or taking inspiration from the fascinating past iconography. Today many designers choose the second option, even Superdutch (2018) chooses it. It tries to capture the charming concepts of congestion and bigness by intersecting in a complex structure famous Dutch architecture such as Kubuswoningen by Piet Blom, CCTV Headquarters by OMA, MAS by Neutelings Riedijk Architects and WOZOCO by MVRDV.
Even past industrial and fashion design references can be recycled and mixed like in the images Vitra Tower (2018)and Cassina Tower (2018). The first drawing, playing with the dimensional scale, overlaps a series of well-known pieces from industrial design to build a tower-building, the second one decorates the industrial-architectural object with fashion designer Arthur Arbersser’s patterns.
Drawings can also assemble seemingly conflicting ideas to increase their emotionality. This is the case of the two images, Jugendstil Chicago Tribune(2018) e Adolf Loos’ pastiche(2018), dedicated to Adolf Loos modern architecture but decorated with Koloman Moser’s art nouvea patterns.
This brief dissertation, in which images accompany criticism and vice versa, does not offer any new perspective for architecture future, but it tries to break new ground.
Assuming that each image is an expression of my positions and doubts, two issues remain outstanding:
If we were to agree on the establishment of a new utopia, hence should we not consider the risk of dystopia?
If a great new idea for the future were not to develop, would it not also be another utopia, perhaps even more harmful?