The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory documents and builds upon some of the most innovative developments in architectural theory over the last two decades. Bringing into dialogue a range of geographically, institutionally and historically competing positions, the book examines and explores parallel debates in related fields. The book is divided into eight sections. Creating openings for future lines of inquiry and establishing the basis for new directions for education, research and practice, the book organizes itself around specific case studies to provide a critical, interpretive and speculative enquiry into the relevant debates in architectural theory. A methodical, authoritative and comprehensive addition to the literature, the Handbook is suitable for academics, researchers and practitioners in architecture, urban geography, cultural studies, sociology and geography.
Chapter 2: Architecture, Capitalism and Criticality
Architecture, Capitalism and Criticality
On the Impossibility of Being ‘Critical’
In 1994, at the ANY conference in Montréal, Rem Koolhaas raised fundamental doubts about the critical potential of architecture as a discipline: ‘The problem with the prevailing discourse of architectural criticism is this inability to recognize that there is in the deepest motivations of architecture something that cannot be critical’ (cited in Kapusta 1994). This statement, a short objection against the concept of autonomous architecture and against theory as a form of intellectual resistance could be seen as a prelude of the realist cynicism of S, M, L, XL (Koolhaas and Mau 1995) and the subsequent publications of OMA – if it would not have triggered an ongoing debate on the disciplinarity ...