Inside

Propaganda architecture

This article is primarily focused on Rem Koolhaas, and consists of a short commentary and an extensive interview addressing the dialectic between top-down planning and bottom-up emergence, a key question not just of architectural and urban theory today, but of a contemporary 'post-capitalism' movement. The same themes appear also in a sole-authored review of Koolhaas (and Obrist's) ‘Project Japan’ in the journal Architecture Today (‘Thinking Big’: June 2012), and in a sole-authored extended review of Eden Medina's book, ‘Cybernetic Revolutionaries’, again in Radical Philosophy 177 (‘Transitional Programme’, Jan/Feb 2013).

Goodbun’s thesis is that at the same time that planning is out of favour with much of the left, focussed as they are systems-theory-based conceptions of 'self-organisation', 'emergence' and 'flat ontologies', multinational corporations such as Tesco and Wallmart are organising planned economies at level of scale and sophistication that the old Soviet Union could barely have dreamed of. These texts reflect upon these questions, and the roles that architecture can play in self-consciously staging a dialectic of emergence and planning.

Out of this research, Goodbun has presented as series of lectures around the theme of 'Re-imagining the Project of Planning', including invited contributions to Architecture Association's Landscape Urbanism series; Keiran Long's ‘Rip it Up’ pechakucha at Gopherhole; Roemer van Toorn's 'Making Architecture Politically' series at Umea in Sweden, and Expanded Design's Theorie Salon 16 in Vienna.