Collapsing the obsolete
Authors: Dušan Vukmirović, Aleksandra Soldat, Igor Vukičević
Once, a modern house was a “machine for living”. It was born out of desire for the new. It swept us away with its monumentality, rationality and simplicity. Architecture that was created for the sake of architecture, for the sake of experimenting and reflecting the worldview of its creator. Architecture that innovated the present, by crushing the past and the future. It erased the context, sometimes even brutally. Over time, it ceased to be self-critical, losing all purpose and meaning.
Today, Modernism is in conflict with mankind. It doesn’t let our lives shape it because, on the contrary, it was designed to shape our lives. Self-expression is not allowed, for there is no room for it. Its beauty is conditioned by its absence of people. It refuses to serve. Instead, it calls us to view it from a distance. Underneath the whiteness, there is no purity – only emptiness. Less is more, but it isn’t much without us, humans, as habitants that give it meaning. An unoccupied built structure is nothing more than an unfinished sentence in a novel. Without the dweller, it becomes only a bleak memory of itself. Spaces that once seemed so absolute and unmistakable are now just a reminder that Modernism tangled itself in its own limitations.
We have chosen buildings that are famous despite being inadequately designed. These six houses are not homes. They are nostalgia, not heritage. Becoming mere tourist attractions for the cultural consumers of today, completely depleted of their radical political undertones, they are already dead inside and have been for decades.
Following the key principles of Modernist architecture and urban planning, which disposed of the old and the obsolete, we decided to take them down in a synchronized controlled demolition. Liquid concrete would be poured over the remaining ruins to create an in situ memorial and people all over the world would come to capture the moment of its “creation”. This space-event would mark the definitive end of an era. We are turning the skeleton into ashes and ashes into a monument. We hope that something more humble and noble would one day rise out of the Modernist ruins. We are making space for fond memories.
This event should take place at 9 p.m. (UTC) on March, 16th 2022 – exactly 50 years after the Pruitt-Igoe demolitions, which marked the symbolic end of Modernism. Let the death of its most iconic houses become the birth of its memorial sites! All that remains is the grave!
Disclaimer: We are not actually calling upon a global detonation movement, but rather we are trying to create a discussion around an important topic on the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus. Where are the new radical visionaries?