how do you make utopia anymore?

Here’s a brief email exchange with my former student Derek Lindner.

Kazys:

this semester’s studio is going to be about network culture. i’m proposing that every great modern era has had its utopian/dystopian architectural investigations (the ideal city of the renaissance, ledoux, the russians, corbusier, hilberseimer, archigram, archizoom, rossi and scolari’s drawings, delirious new york, d&s in the 1980s, and etc.) but ours is lacking in that. This, I think, is because of the realism that architecture recently developed—partly a reaction to the building boom and partly a reaction to the realism of network culture. Nevertheless, this kind of research not only advances architecture, it moves society forward. That said, everyone will take an aspect of network culture and develop an extreme, utopian/ dystopian response. Less research, more utopia. Any thoughts?

Derek:

architecture developed realism when it became real. the last round of serious ‘investigations’ developed into a body of built work when the 80’s ‘paper architects’ (the term doesn’t have currency any longer, and curiously, no digital version has taken its place) started building in the 90s. did architecture’s leap during this building boom (perhaps more of an achievement than a reaction) continue to test recent utopian visions through their realization or abandon them? when utopianism went from being marginal to being state-sponsored (WTC masterplan, CCTV, Zaha masterplans), did it fail interestingly?

How do you even make a utopian proposition when it can be neither a self-sufficient community in the hills (because network culture precludes the possibility) nor a vision for urban metamorphosis (because that’s the new mode of practice)?

so, yeah, I like it.
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