Architecture and the Market
\”Between these two worlds – that of production, where everything is made, and that of consumption, where everything is used up – the market economy is the link, the driving force, the restricted but vital area from which flow encouragement, energy, innovation, entreprise, new awareness, growth, and even progress.\”Fernand BraudelIndustry, it was once believed, reduced architecture to its lowest common denominator. It made it repetitive, cold and uninviting. Decades were necessary to overcome this prejudice. Modernism helping, specific qualities were recognized in a world that seemed to have none, and a new tradition was born. Today, the Nemesis of architecture is no longer industry: it is the market economy. Commerce, it is assumed, undermines the foundation of architecture. Its legacy is one of compromise and vulgarity. Even John Summerson, who took a benign view of the activities of developers, wrote that \”the patronage of art by commerce is an excellent thing, but incalculable in its results.\” But need markets necessarily transform buildings into junkspace?Not sudden like the industrial revolution, markets have long been an essential part of civilizations. They have had significant effects upon the architecture of major economic centres, from Venice in the 15th century to New York in the 20th century. In recent years, however, they have been a subject of curiosity for architects perhaps only equalled by the fascination exercized by industry upon Modernists. Can another architecture be founded upon concepts and habits associated with commerce? Have specific characteristics emerged in the architecture of the 20th century at the interface between market value and architectural value? Are the effects of commerce upon architecture in any way predictable? Can one conceive of a market aesthetic?Classes will be held every two weeks, on 12, 13, 26, 27 February, 12, 13 March, 2, 3, 16, 17, 30 April and 1 May.