Architecturespeak, novel edition.

So many words. (Photo by v.max1978.)

The finest piece of writing I read in all of 2008 was, without a doubt, Zaha Hadid Architects’ parametricism manifesto, released during the Venice Architecture Biennial in September:

That the parametric paradigm is becoming pervasive in contemporary architecture and design is evident. There has been talk about versioning, iteration and mass customisation for quite a while within the architectural avant-garde discourse, formulated at the beginning of the 1990s with the slogan of ‘continuous differentiation.’ Since then, there has been both a widespread, even hegemonic, dissemination of this tendency, as well as a cumulative build-up of virtuosity, resolution and refinement within it.

I think that basically says it all. But what, I’m not sure. What I do know is that this would make for some super snazzy fiction. So, I’ve taken a crack at the beginning of a novel:

Chapter One.

She iterated on the couch, optomizing her version of reality. Outdoors his car idled, a cumulative dissemination of all that was gravitating towards its natural culmination. She looked up. A question versioned. But there was no differentiating these events. Even a hegemonic dissemination of this tendency could neither resolve nor refine their inevitable swagger towards catastrophe.

Feel free to submit Chapter Two below. There’s no better way to start the year than by taking a dump on architectural pretension.


  1. J.V.

    Hadid is saying that architecture is turning into a consumerist product like software or automobiles, with lots of technical parameters and on-going refinement through mass-marketed product development. She’s saying that architectural evolution has turned into the same type of product path as Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, etc. Apple’s OS and the model numberings of cars all work the same way, of course. She’s also claiming — of course — that we are all being forced to march down this path by some ruthless dictator and the viscious mindless hordes, by which I suppose she means “everyone else in the architectural community except me and my similar-minded buddies.”

    Or else she’s saying she wants a double-stuffing meatball sub. It’s got to be one of the two.

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  3. herrump

    you be rite again. i like it to. it makes me sound smart whenins i reads it really loud out the window the neighborhood drug lords slang under. sweet new neon header… is it a naked lady in a doo rag blowing kisses?

  4. xtos

    i am reading your comments in chapter 1, on and on and I cannot escape from a continuously differentiated nervous laughter that offers me however, a Realization!
    A realization of the fact that there is enough creativity left in ctitical writing and in critique- in the positive sense of the word, throguh which Hope emerges.
    Happy 2010!