The Fantastic “Ducks” of Today’s Architecture
by Guillermina Chiu

“Construction should be decorated. Decoration should never be purposely constructed” Proposition 5. The Grammar of Ornament, Owen Jones.

Albeit today’s architecture sturdily advocates for a necessity of ornament by carefully crafting affect and sensational justifications; new architectural proposals are neither transparent nor sincere, instead, they are fetching fantasies of functional themes. 

The fantastic has been described as the creative reaction to a bourgeois dull world, subjugated by capitalism and rationalism. A world deserted by poetry and faith; a world in which neither functional Modernism nor Post modern décor satisfies the aesthetics of today’s architecture.

In the urge to decorate everybody’s dwelling, pretentious fantastic shells have become a compensation for the poverty of the inside of a building. Architects had twisted what Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown called the “decorated shed” into what could be called the “decorated duck”. The idea of integrating the building within the inner-city-scape and giving it a clear connotation to public has been transgressed into the literal iconic building disguised in fancy architectural couture; a fashion statement that will become quickly obsolete.

Greg Lynn FORM, blob wall
Paradoxically, this new architectural proposal is neither making obvious the function of the building as the Modernism movement endeavored nor making Architecture more honest as the Postmodernists (i.e. Archigram) attempted.

We need to advocate the consciousness of today’s architecture discourse by raising the question: What is it in architecture that needs to be aesthetically performative?

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