ARCHITECTURAL PRINCIPLES IN THE AGE OF FRAUD
Author: Branko Mitrovic
Manoj Parmar I Director
The book, “Architectural Principles in the Age of Fraud” is an attempt to articulate the pervasive impact of current trends in architecture, which seem to be loaded with self-confidence, a mutually admiring and composting ingredient for social media, assumably and popularly trending as “that is where things are going”. The author argues that architectural trends are loaded with a froth of incomprehensible jargon and misinterpretation of philosophies. It all began in the architectural writing of the twentieth century where obfuscation of philosophy began to play an evasive role in shaping the architecture of contemporary times. The author complements the argument with the modernist era, where architects turned to German Philosophy of History in order to justify the main claim that architecture must be appropriate to its time. This claim dismisses the alternate approach that Modernism brought about the most material condition for the most unfaithful manifestation of time and spiritual substances and social context. The book by Tom Wolfe “From Bauhaus to our House” is an excellent outcome that attempted to address the author’s claim.
The 80’s and 90’s attempted to improve the role of academics by allowing the turning of the academic space into an ideological space as the avant-garde appears to be the most uninviting project that one can imagine especially when one scans the architectural trends around the globe. The arguments in the further chapters continue to build the essential quality of architecture hinging on the aesthetic, visual and formal which is being replaced with the romantic fallacy and assumption that what matters in the work of art and architecture always depends on the meanings, ideas and concepts associated with the work. Such an imposition often compromises the delight and formal aspects of architecture. Ethical fallacy seeks to replace the aesthetic evaluation and genesis of a formal response without the conditional baggage of the ideas of mortality associated with it. Such a naïve assumption that aesthetic formalism is not competent to address the architecture of its time, led to hostile arrogance towards “composition in architecture” into the buzzword “honesty and truthful”.
The author also attempted to use the “Obfuscation” as a critical as well as rhetorical tool to discuss the architectural history and theory and traces back the writing of Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Norberg – Schultz, Juhani Pallasmaa (“Every art needs to be connected with its ontological essence, particularly at periods when the art form trends to turn into an empty aestheticized mannerism”).
The book has a marginally pessimistic tone, however it does not, at any given time, take away the inquisitiveness of the reader to check what unfolds in the following chapter. The book merely presents the facts and the historical turnaround on the architectural discourse and how such a turnaround has enveloped the academic space and set the stage for non-aesthetics.