A “Flanerie” between Two Key Images of Urbanism

By Iris Aravot.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Rem Koolhaas and Zoe Zenghelis’s “The City of the Captive Globe” (1972) is an early visual hypothesis of Manhattanism. Although unacknowledged, its literal counterpart bears heavily on Nietzsche’s metaphors in “On truth and lie in the non-moral sense”. Both texts describe huge (conceptual) constructions which rise, prosper and collapse, while generating and being generated by exceeding heath - itself a metaphor of human imagination and creativity. However, beyond parallels, there are profound differences between the two: Nietzsche’s “cathedrals of concepts” miraculously resist prevailing winds, before inevitably being carried away by the waves beneath their foundations. Conversely, the Manhattanist structures grow vertically from over-protective stone platforms, located in the voids of the orthogonal grid-iron. Such configurations according to Tafuri, are designed to allow accumulation devoid of contextual contestation - urbanism which relegates architecture to the sidelines. This commodification of Nietzsche’s relativism as normative urban theory was finally rejected by Koolhaas himself in “What Ever Happened to Urbanism”. Following Nietzsche again, and in affinity with Gay Science, this manifesto proposes “Lite Urbanism”, which, among others “will not be about the civilized but about underdevelopment” The paper elaborates on the two pairs of metaphors, in relation to the scope and status of urban theory.

Keywords: Urbanism, Metaphor

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.11-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.295MB).

Assoc. Prof. Iris Aravot

Associate Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion, I.I.T., Haifa, Israel


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