05 August 2006

more on sam jacob + VSBA

Following up on an earlier post: I just came across another piece by Sam Jacob (of England's FAT), which somehow I missed during previous visits to his fantastic site. As I've written about previously, Jacob again embraces Venturi and Scott Brown, he suggesting an atypical (yet nonetheless insightful) interpretation of their career. Although he confesses a fondness for their built work (including the Acadia Summer Arts Program, pictured above), the true root of his admiration (and mine, for that matter) seems to be on a larger ideological and polemical level. It becomes less about that problematic label of "postmodernism" and more about a deeper modus operandi of "Pop": not the standard definition of Pop that we all learned about in Art History class, but rather (in Jacobs' words) "a kind of socially engaged Pop -- a Pop that isn't only fast, fun and ironic, but political and moral as well."

Why, you ask, does the progressive reactionary keep babbling on about Venturi, Scott Brown, and all their followers? Well, for one, it's all about the attitude. The mentality. For me, there's something inherently political -- both progressive and reactionary -- in the act of embracing what the establishment deems garish. Challenging the status quo of contemporary architecture, regardless of formal or stylistic preference, is always a positive thing. Or maybe my affinity for the work of VSBA and FAT stems from a more personal anxiety surrounding my own architecture and (in comparison) its muted blandness. Whatever the case: what it comes down to, and what Jacobs is so right about, is that we can all learn a lot from the ugly and the ordinary. After all, we're all postmodernists, and it's time we embraced it.

1 comment:

Star said...

What a weird house on the pic, a friend of mine who likes to visit Viagra Canada has a similar house. It looks uncomfortable but it is pretty spacious.