A Blueprint for London

Hot of the wire from Life Without Buildings’ new London correspondent, Veronica Kavass:

On March 29, GQ Style and The Architecture Foundation hosted a party in honor of a Blueprint for London. And what a party it was! First of all, when I entered this architecture party, I didn’t enter through a door. Secret: doors are quite out. In 2040, I will hear “Gramma, what’s door?” Anyway, that’s beside the point. The point of this exhibition/party was the architectural future of London – a tropical London! The party started out on ice, which inevitably melted into a pool. I played marco polo with Lebbeus Woods. I had the time of my life! And I also don’t remember any of it. Here’s a report from my flatmate extraordinaire, Sarah Snider, who works at The Architecture Foundation:

The GQ party was kind of like a seventies disco, although super Deejay the Lovely Jonjo could have played some more Amanda Lear for the fashion pack hangin’ around. (And, perhaps, Phyllis Hyman’s “You Know How to Love Me”.) All this seasons manhandbags (MHBs) were there. And, there was free Peroni. One guest claims, “I liked the free Peroni; I can definitely say it was a highlight of the party.” Peter York, who did not show up, would have been disappointed at the lack of “50p gold hotpants” that he so fell in love with at the Kylie exhibition.

The exhibition, consisting of five (5) flatplans (designer’s dream?) was expertly installed by Kenji and his Loyal Group of Assistants (LGA), ranging from a Spanish minx to a German designer to an American ex-construction worker and cultural theorist. The flatplans depict possible futures for London. One concept by Tomas Klassnik based on global warming features an island in the Thames that is self-proclaimed so “Last Week!”

Witherford Watson Mann took a different approach, trading in girls in white bathing suits for…watercolors. Their attempt at a Situationist city loses something in the visual translation, although it maintains the most structured theoretical insights. Their concept is a multi-centered series of compact, self-reliant cities lost in a verdant, but never idle, expanse. The “in-betweeness” of the program allows for constant mobility and derive, not to mention many more MHBs, overthrowing the separation between subject and object caused by the capitalist mode of production (CMP). Ironically, the design proudly features the urban jungles of le Corbusier, most hated by the Situationists for his functionalism.

Marks Barfield decided to focus on alternative energy sources. The city appears to be the same, except for THOUSANDS OF CONSTANTLY WHIRRING TURBINES THAT APPROACH YOU IN VELVETY DARK ROBES AND COMMAND YOU TO “SLEEP.” In addition to Dark City-esqueness in Marks Barfield’s concept, the turbines, claim Kenji’s LGA, are ugly.

I think there’s a typo in AOC‘s text, unless of course they want to fill the city with “oilseed rape.” (How do you do that?) Apart from that, it’s a nice 2000s concept digging up the 70s love for 50s relics–all via vintage plastic. Post-Plastic London will be a land of petrol-free, bio-fuelled kitsch. AOC seems to be the only firm that understood Blueprint for London as a GQStyle initiative, and they fittingly demonstrated their future London through an enumeration of possible post-plastic PRODUCTS. Consumer culture: 1000; Tupperware: 0.

Newbetter proposed a slate of sky-“ticklers”: basically, sideways skyscrapers 100 feet from the ground, often containing a park in the middle (a concept widely pioneered by MVRDV as the vertical courtyard). Believed to provide a framed view of London’s skyline, it begs the question: Skyline? what skyline? I just don’t know what they are doing.

Thanks to Veronica and Sarah for helping to fill this blog out (and doing a much better job of it) during my real-job/real-world induced posting hiatus!

2 Replies to “A Blueprint for London”

  1. “rape” or “rapeseed” is the now-deprecated term for what us Canucks like to call “canola”, source of plentiful canola oil.

    It’s a convenient source of vegetable oil, basically.

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