Kenneth Frampton

By December 11, 2014 Essays No Comments
Kenneth Frampton’s meandering and gratuitously over-intellectualized The Work of Architecture in the Age of Commodification makes a point of not making its point until every last relationship between Architecture and: 

the Republican agenda; 
socio-economic vectors; 
socio-cultural identities; 
sheeple-ism disguised as “the sublimating eroticism of consumption”; 
“hipster Swede service-bundling”; and, 
good old fashioned questionable judgement in celebrity endorsement
has been established, danced around, and then extrapolated to the brink of exhaustion.  

It didn’t take long for this lay-person to begin to realize that the vehemence with which I rail against needlessly elevated text and self-aggrandizing tangents is, in this case, in direct proportion to my support for the author’s position upon architectural practices, surprisingly.
Unfortunately however, as much as Frampton’s doctoral preeminence and his British ancestry might ostensibly necessitate a multi-syllabic dressing down of “signature” nemeses, (such as: Remment Koolhaas, Frank Gehry and Michael Graves, (and their fans by extension)), his plea for architectural structures to meet critical needs (as opposed to superficial desires) in order to succeed in their art without “ruining the world for generations yet unborn”, delivers nothing more than a hifalutin treatise reminiscent of the Eminem tactic which, in true Framptonesque form, I am leaving to the reader to research and then interpret.
Not withstanding the army of Professors of Architecture; Directors of Environment Planning; and, Directors of City planning that populate the Rego side of my family, as well as 1 degree of separation between Frank Gehry, his Koi, and me, I haven’t the vaguest understanding of Architectural elements. Not a clue. So in that sense, The Work of Architecture in the Age of Commodification does succeed in its passion for pedagogy because never before have I been forced to google so many terms, names, and structures, as I have done throughout this exercise.
Learning is good, I am enlightened, and Frampton’s bid for responsible tectonics is admirable – perhaps even imperative – but did it really have to be this painful?

* Hipster-Swede bundling:  maximization of profit by creating wealth generating “bundles” such as: infotainment, corporate university, and the like.