Introduction from Volume 1+2
Talk is cheap, which is why we like it. It's cheap because it's easy, and easy isn't bad.
Architects live in a strange economy of ideas that's got a serious intellectual trade deficit. Right now we're addicted to cheap imports produced by popular science, management consultants and software engineers. Maybe we should start with something easy if we want to even things out. It's time to put an end to those moments when some of us actually consider secondlife.com or '80s style business strategy a new model for our work.
Don't think of aX as talk therapy; it will not cure you. Instead consider it talk reality - semi-scripted, voyeuristic, hoochified, and cheap. No special equipment necessary. We don't need a cure, we just want happy, hard, and fast engagement with the discipline and its practices.
Maybe Mies was joking when he said "Build, don't talk." Or maybe he just needed an excuse to keep his ideas to himself. We're in a different time and have a different ethic. We're betting that the conversations published here will give something away, and help build new audiences for contemporary architecture.
There's a pair of strangers [Alsop/Felsen], a pair of colleagues [Schuler/Rubio], and two former teacher/student pairs [Easterling/Lyster, Somol/Grimes]. Each hook-up brought together a local and an out-of-towner. We sent the pairs on a date (food and drinks on us), taped the conversations, edited them into something intelligible, and made them public. Voyeuristic? We hope so.
It's mostly shoptalk, some gossip, a few jokes, and a lot of outdated insider information. You'll also find the speculation that fuels good talk - speculation about global architectural culture, about genre practices, about the social context of new technologies, and the range and limits of the discipline. Just in case your eyes get sore from all the small type, we've included some easy-to-read and scary-to-think-about broadsides from Christine Tarkowski.
Obviously, we talk in Chicago. No apologies, Ludwig. Welcome to the first issue of aX.
Volume 1+2 contents
The rules are no rules
A conversation between Will Alsop and Martin Felsen
Without claims to purity
A conversation between Keller Easterling and Clare Lyster
Solve it within the design
A conversation between Matthias Schuler and Elva Rubio
A conversation between R.E. Somol and Ellen Grimes
Fuel and Faith - a monologue
Christine Tarkowski in collaboration with Jon Langford
Volume 3+4 (forthcoming Winter 2010)
Includes conversations between:
Bjarke Ingels and McLain Clutter
Sam Jacob, Deborah Fausch, Penelope Dean, and others
Albert Pope and Judith DeJong