miscellaneous adhockery

Reading Charles Jencks Adhocism: The Case for Improvisation.

“But a new mode of direct action is emerging…where everyone can create his personal environment out of impersonal subsystems, whether they are new or old, modern or antique.  By realizing his immediate needs, by combining ad hoc parts, the individual creates, sustains and transcends himself.  Shaping the local environment towards desired ends is a key to mental health; the present environment, blank and unresponsive, is a key to idiocy and brainwashing.” 1973

[Amusing sidebar: The first page of the book has an image of a Women’s Liberation march in 1971, and yet the first sentence says, “A need is common to all living things; only men have higher purposes.” heh.]

While this discussion leads us inexorably to the elimination of the role of the architect, we can instead choose a different route as suggested frequently by Lebbeus Woods over recent years, where we become the creators of the armature, the system, that allows action in, within, on, and around.

For this project then, do we become designers of devices to produce adhocism?  Does it devolve into an industrial object design?  Are we simply left to design operations? Tinkering with gears and system layouts in dark basements lit by tiny fiber-optic stars about our heads?  Silly remnants like Heath Robinson’s machines?  Over elaborate and entirely unnecessary?

Or!  Do we advocate for the creation of Subnatures through the construction of, uh, regular natures?

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