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Architectural enclosures

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This chapter has explored the pressures that neoliberal economics have placed over the practice of architecture. Many of these pressures are presented in the form of economic incentives that allow some key players to take advantage and display power asymmetries over other members of the discipline. The practice of architecture today reflects a global condition of inequality, where a small number of high-stakes commissions defines the aspiration of the field at large. Out of such pressures, the Commons can be understood as social systems co-producing the common goods that define a commonwealth for the discipline. Today, the Commons are under siege by market enclosures that seek to privatize and regulate access to wealth produced socially. This battle is actively being fought through digital networks, where large players have developed platforms for the extraction and gatekeeping of social wealth.

An Architecture for the Commons will need first to identify and separate itself from its neoliberal counterpart, as the value systems that they utilize are at odds with one another. We live in a time in history where the consolidation of oligopolies at different scales attempts to dictate and make a historic reading of the values and current tendencies. In architecture, the emergence of “Parametricism,” as advocated by Patrik Schumacher, is the most prevalent reading of current market dynamics through the language of form and composition, understanding the discipline as a whole from its education, institutions and practice. In Schumacher’s perspective, Parametricism constitutes an emergent epochal style of architecture, one that is founded on notions of liberal economics projecting a value proposition of freedom and order. Schumacher is a strong proponent of architecture’s autonomy and the idea that the progress of a formal vocabulary should persist as a compass for the discipline.

There is a real danger for such claims to go unchallenged. Within the heuristics of Parametricism lie an attack on the potential of cooperative enterprises and collaborative production. Parametricism, as we will explore throughout the following chapter, has developed a vector of market enclosure, offering strategic advantages to larger industrial players. The emphasis on access, encapsulation of knowledge into design elements and cooperative digital platforms need to be disentangled from modes of production that are either co-opted by capital holders or plainly pursue vectors of progress that are detrimental to the prosperity of the city and its inhabitants. An Architecture for the Commons needs to be understood as an independent strand of architectural development, one that could coexist with its market counterpart. Its autonomy would only be possible through a participatory value system that might deviate from canonical trajectories.

Notes

  • 1 Patrik Schumacher,‘The Progress of Geometry as Design Resource,’ Log, 43 (2018), 1—15 .
  • 2 Schumacher. 'The Progress of Geometry as Design Resource.’
  • 3 Patrik Schumacher, ‘The Historical Pertinence of Parametricism and the Prospect of a Free Market Urban Order' in The Politics of Parametricism: Digital Technologies in Architecture, ed. by Mathew Poole and Manuel Shvartzberg (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).
  • 4 Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants (Penguin Books, 2010).
  • 5 Buckminster Fuller. Nine Chains to the Moon (Southern Illinois Univiversity Press, 1963).
  • 6 Buckminster Fuller and Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Critical Path (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1982).
  • 7 Peter Joseph, The New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression (BenBella Books, 2017).
  • 8 Jeremy Rifkin, The Zero Marginal Cost Society (Palgrave Macmillan. 2014).
  • 9 Thomas Piketty. Capital in theTwenty-First Century (Belknap Press,An Imprint of Harvard University Press, 2014).
  • 10 PierVittorio Aureli, Less Is Enough: On Architecture and Asceticism (Strelka Press. 2013).
  • 11 Aureli, Less Is Enough.
  • 12 Peggy Deamer, Quilian Riano, and Manuel Shvartzberg, ‘Identifying the Designer as Worker’, MAS Context, 27(Fall 2015), 11.
  • 13 Deamer, Riano, and Shvartzberg, ‘Identifying the Designer as Worker’, MAS Context, 27(Fall 2015), 11.
  • 14 The Architecture Lobby Inc,‘The Architecture Lobby’, MAS Context, 27(Fall 2015), 11.
  • 15 Trebor Scholz, ‘Digital Labor: New Opportunities, Old Inequalities,’ Re:Publica 2013, 2013.
  • 16 Scholz,‘Digital Labor.’
  • 17 Shoshana ZubofF, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (PublicAfFairs, 2019).
  • 18 Mariana Mazzucato, The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy (PublicAffairs, 2018).
  • 19 ZubofF, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.
  • 20 Mazzucato, The Value of Everything.
  • 21 Joseph E. Stiglitz, People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent (WW. Norton & Company, 2019).
  • 22 Stiglitz, People, Power, and Profits.
  • 23 Garrett Hardin,'The Tragedy of the Commons,’ Science, 162.3859 (1968).
  • 24 David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons (New Society Publishers, 2014).
  • 25 Elionor Ostrom. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • 26 Ostrom, Governing the Commons.
  • 27 Massimo De Angelis, Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism (In Common) (Zed Books, 2017).
  • 28 Bollier. Think Like a Commoner.
  • 29 De Angelis, Omnia Sunt Communia.
  • 30 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Assembly (Oxford University Press, 2017).
  • 31 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Penguin Books, 2005).
  • 32 De Angelis, Omnia Sunt Communia.
  • 33 Tiziana Terranova. ‘Debt and Autonomy: Lazzarato and the Constituent Powers of the Social,’ 2013 http://thenewreader.org/Issues/1 /DebtAndAutonomy.
  • 34 Hardt and Negri, Assembly.
  • 35 Reinier de Graaf, Four Walls and a Roof (Harvard University Press, 2017).
  • 36 Christine Wall, 'Modular Men Architects, Labour and Standardisation in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain,’ in Industries of Architecture (Critiques: Critical Studies in Architectural Humanities) (Routledge, 2016).
  • 37 Stavros Stavrides, Common Space:The City as Commons (In Common) (Zed Books. 2016).
  • 38 Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Yale University Press, 2006).
  • 39 Tiziana Terranova, ‘Capture All Work,’ Transmediale, 2015.
  • 40 Christian Marazzi, The Violence of Financial Capitalism (Semiotext(e), Los Angeles, 2011).
  • 41 Marazzi, The Violence of Financial Capitalism.
  • 42 Peggy Deamer, ‘Architects, Really,’ in Can Architecture Be an Emancipatory Project? Dialogues on Architecture and the Left, ed. by Nadir Z. Lahiji (Zero Books, 2016).
  • 43 Aureli, Less Is Enough.
  • 44 Ostrom, Governing the Commons.
  • 45 Hardt and Negri, Assembly.
  • 46 Alastair Parvin, David Saxby, Cristina Cerulli, and Tatjana Schneider. A Right To Build (Self-Published, London, 2011).

References

Aureli, Pier Vittorio, Less Is Enough: On Architecture and Asceticism (Strelka Press, Moscow. 2013)

Benkler. Yochai, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Yale University Press, New Haven and New York, 2006)

Bollier. David, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons (New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, 2014)

Deamer, Peggy,‘Architects, Really,’ in Can Architecture Be an Emancipatory Project? Dialogues on Architecture and the Left, ed. by Nadir Z. Lahiji (Zero Books. Alresford, 2016)

De Angelis, Massimo, Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism (In Common) (Zed Books, London, 2017)

de Graaf. Reinier, Four Walls and a Roof (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. and London, 2017)

Fuller, Buckminster, and Kuromiya, Kiyoshi, Critical Path (St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 1982)

Hardt, Michael, and Negri. Antonio, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Penguin Books, New York, 2005)

-------, Assembly (Oxford University Press, New York, 2017)

Joseph, Peter, The New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression (BenBella Books, Dallas, 2017)

Lanier, Jaron, Who Own the Future (Simon & Schuster. New York, 2013)

Marazzi, Christian, The Violence of Financial Capitalism (Semiotext(e), Los Angeles, 2011)

Ostrom, Elinor, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2015)

Parvin, Alastair. David Saxby, Cristina Cerulli, and Tatjana Schneider, A Right to Build (Self-Published, London, 2011)

Rifkin, Jeremy,The Zero Marginal Cost Society (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2014)

Scholz, Trebor, Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (Routledge, New York, 2013)

Schumacher, Patrick,'The Historical Pertinence of Parametricism and the Prospect of a Free Market Urban Order,’ in The Politics of Parametricism: Digital Technologies in Architecture, ed. by Mathew Poole and Manuel Shvartzberg (Bloomsbury Academic, London and New York, 2015)

Srnicek, Nick, Platform Capitalism (Polity Press. Cambridge, 2017)

Stavrides, Stavros, Common Space: The City as Commons (In Common) (Zed Books, London, 2016)

Terranova, Tiziana, ‘Debt and Autonomy: Lazzarato and the Constituent Powers of the Social,’ 2013 [accessed 23 November 2017]

Wall, Christine, ‘Modular Men Architects, Labour and Standardisation in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain,’ in Industries of Architecture (Critiques: Critical Studies in Architectural Humanities) (Routledge, New York, 2016)

 
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