Myth and collage, continuity and zeitgeist : strategies for the reoccupation of ruins
Master of Architecture
The task of finding a meaningful architecture for urban America is difficult. The American city constantly reinvents itself, destroying that which preceded it. Populist architecture has turned to preservation and reconstruction as a means to provide an architecture linked to place and past, but this effort distances us from our history, perhaps more so than the architecture to which it IS a reaction. An architecture of collage, which incorporates fragments of memory, would be true to both the nature of the American city and the need to locate oneself in place and history. Our obsession with erasing our past derives from an inability to perceive the positivistic bias in architectural theory. This bias results not only in excessive ground-clearing but denies the possibility of a meaningful architecture which speaks through dream and myth. An architecture of collage, incorporating fragments of memory, has great potential for the creation of mythic images. Such an architecture links not only to the past, but also the present; it can be read much like the grafting in works by contemporary authors and artists. Architecture as a practice between bricolage and science allows the creation of works which: require the clearing of the ground yet reveal history; deconstruct and existing order while creating another, operate in both the worlds of science and myth; and provide for cultural continuity and the expression of the zeitgeist.