What About the Manifesto of the Perfect Shapes?

Pure I 
Kaa'ba, Mecaa, Undefined
Etienne Louis Boullee, Chaux, c.1785
Kefren Tomb, IV Dinasty, Giza, 2694-2563 BC

Pure Hardcorsim

Hard-core: Charecterized by or being the purest or most basic form of something.[1] 

In the kingdom of architecture the shapes reign supreme. Centuries of the continuous search for a transcendental architecture serve as evidence that a pure shape is the ultimate aesthetic utopia. Hardcorism is the theory of architecture as pure geometric shapes. The first endless architectural manifesto, it announces the advent of an architecture of already known looks. Hardcorism is form as ideology. Ideology as form.

Architects have been searching for the pure shapes ever since they started registering icons on a monumental scale. The pure shapes have become an endless obsession. A Platonic fetish. A recurrent topic. The pure shapes represent the ultimate aspiration of mankind. A direct connection to the gods. Form as temple. Religion as geometry.

Hardcorism is pure form unconcealed. It is blunt, straightforward, explicit, up front.  It presents itself as it is, and represents what it presents. No decoration. No crime. No ornament. No structure. No distractions. No program. No excuses. No dialectics. No post-occupancy. No hat-tricks. No diagrams. Archetypes of Jungesque proportions, Hardcorism is pure imagery embedded in the Collective Unconscious. Hardcorism is architecture made for photography, for engraving, for model making. Hardcorism is emphatic; final. Hardcorism is reductionist. It is architecture as architecture.

Kazimir Malevich was the first Hardcorist artist. Through his Black Square, Black Circle, and Black Cross (one last ideological obstacle?) he revealed the ultimate metaphysical paradox: the more abstract the journey of the artist, the more concrete its depictions, the closer to Hardcorism.  Suprematism was the consummation of the immaterial as the sublime. The undescribable as graphic representation.  Its forms of action were the ultimate artistic plateau. Suprematism is Art as Hardcorism.

Previous failures to understand entire generations of architectural formalists have impeded the recognition of Hardcorism as a design theory. A wrongly attached label that reads ‘sporadic coincidences’ have blurred the omnipresence of an ongoing manifesto. In the place of Hardcorism, dishonest sociological explanations of colorful diagrams and pseudo scientific charts distort the silhouettes of timelessness.

Hardcorism is a call for the objectification of the shapes. It asks for the recognition of the oldest architectural “tradition”. The vernacular of nowhere. Criticism without critic.  Hardcorism represents the most basic possibility of architectural existence: architecture as form. It defies utilization and style. It is colorless and egalitarian. It is retrospective, contemporary and projective. It represents the ultimate architectural hardliner: form as essence, essence as form.

Hardcorism is the perfect design strategy. It is an epiphany between initial idea and frictionless achievement.  Hardcorism is the Rigor Mortis of conceptual architecture; stiff, unmovable, rigid, inflexible.  It is both pure concept and the abolishment of concepts. Hardcorism as a concept renders all other concepts obsolete.

The theory of Hardcorism dismantles Koolhaas’ theory of Bigness. Independently of scale, architecture can always be controlled by a singular architectural gesture. If Bigness is ultimate architecture, then Hardcorism is ultimate Bigness. Hardcorism is Bigness on every scale.

Hardcorism is like an architectural black hole: an ever expanding array of programs that are swallowed by the overall body that contains them. Tombs, palaces, cenotaphs, ruins, amusement parks, religious icons, shopping malls, military bases, ecological shelters, political monuments, communal enterprises, houses, cities; Hardcorism gets automatic updates from the programs of modernization. In the form of a sphere, a pyramid, and a cube, Hardcorism is as rigid in its formal appearance as it is flexible in its use.  Hardcorism is Disney meets Egypt, meets Etienne-Louis Boullée, meets Jean Nouvel, meets George Lucas.

Understanding the theory of Hardcorism requires a revision of several sacred architectural assumptions, and the incorporation of a new set of values:

1.       Space is irrelevant- In Hardcorism, architecture is not defined by the space it contains, but by the envelope of this space. Because the shape of the building is the principal idea, space becomes residual. The only immutable space in Hardcorism is the one created between the building and the distance needed for it to be recognized by the observer.

2.       Image is everything- Because of the importance of its form, Hardcorism is the first voyeuristic architecture.  In Hardcorism the overall image of the building determines its existence.

3.       Form is absolute- Since all that matters under the reign of Hardcorism is the shape of the building, architecture becomes indifferent to issues like program, scale, typology, and site. Without absolute form there is no Hardcorism.

4.       Architecture is immaterial- When architecture reaches its Hardcorist state, its existence transcends materiality. Hardcorism is architecture as Styrofoam, plastic, resin, stone, concrete, wood, steel, glass, cardboard, paper, charcoal, clay. 

Because of its indifference to any kind of ideology, Hardcorism is the perfect bait for political iconography. Its honesty of form is the ultimate chameleonic property: because it can’t be anything else, it’s always said to be something else.  Hardcorism has been fascist and democratic, tyrannical and populist, capitalist and communist, commercial and spiritual, ecological and destructive. It has been protagonist in history books and antagonist in science fiction films. It has represented all the good mankind has to offer and all the atrocities of man. Hardcorism is a form of endless modernity. A timeless classic. An ongoing tragedy. Hardcorism is where the novel of architecture reached its climax and has hung in suspense ever since.

Invulnerable to social, political, and economic influences, Hardcorism represents architecture as pure autonomy. The presence of Hardcorism obliterates the need of authorship. Hardcorism sequesters architecture from the architect. It announces the removal of the author. The disappearance of the visionary. It is architecture post-architect. Hardcorism is the immaculate conception of architecture. Creation without inspiration. Architecture as artifice. Hardcorism requires the rewriting of the sacred books. On the seventh day, Hardcorism was created.

Because it reduces architecture to its smallest possible form of being, Hardcorism represents the atomization of architecture. Its blatant existence paints the most sacred dogmas obsolete. Hardcorism is both the abolition of ‘isms’ and the ultimate ‘ism’. It strips architecture naked. It represents the purging of styles, the end of detail. Hardcorism is architecture post-Mies. God is in the shapes.

A cross section through the history of architecture would reveal that Hardcorism is like a train in a looping railway: it does not matter how much the surrounding landscape changes, in the end it has inevitably to return where it started.  Hardcorism is what architecture has been always looking for.  It represents both the birth of and the death of architectural history. An epistemological aftermath, the theory of Hardcorism implies architecture as perpetual reincarnation in a body that looks the same.

Hardcorism is architecture’s ultimate orthodoxy. Hardcorism means not needing to think. Hardcorism is architectural unconsciousness.[2]  Hardcorism is a post-human enterprise. No genius-loci. No phenomenology. Hardcorism is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It is the zeitgeist of forever. Hardcorism is architecture in its motionless state. It is an icon in the city, in the dessert, in the sea, in the sky. Like in a Suprematist painting, Hardcorism is all that remains after the world has been scrapped out of excess. Hardcorism is the slogan of the powerful, and the ethos of the subversive:  “Under the pavement, the shapes”.

The Manifesto of Hardcorism. 

Pure II
Palazzo della Civilta Italiana, Giovanni Guerrini, Roma, 1939
Haus des Gaertners, Claude Nicholas Ledoux, Chaux c. 1789
Pyramid of Cestius, Giambattista Piranesi, Roma, c.1747

Pure III
Modena Cemetery, Aldo Rossi, Modena, 1971
Spaceship Earth, Walt Disney Imagineering, Orlando, 1983
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Foster + Partners, Astana, 2006

Pure IV
School of Management and Design, Sanaa, Zollverein, 2006
RAK Convention and Exhibition Centre, OMA, Dubai, 2008
Le Projet Triangle, Herzog & de Meuron, Paris, 2008

[1] “Hard-Core”, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, < http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard-core?show=0&t=1329373442>
[2] Orthodoxy concept from George Orwell, 1984, (Signet Classic: New York,1949).

1 comment:

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