Any time I consider writing a book or paper around the focus of this blog – the present and future of architecture in virtual worlds – I stop short, realizing that the late MIT professor William J. Mitchell has already said these things far more clearly and eloquently than I ever could. Here are 3 of my favorites from his essay “Antitectonics: The Poetics of Virtuality,” published in The Virtual Dimension.
“[Physical] buildings still have supporting structures and enclosing interfaces, but privileging these as the focus of architecture , and insisting that they should carry most of the cultural freight, becomes as quixotic as similarly privileging the chassis and the beige box of the personal computer.”
“Those who are troubled by this dematerialization – Marxists who take their materialism literally, Benjamanists in search of authenticity, real estate developers in search of a buck, Martha Stewartists who just want everything to be nice – might want to deny such places the status of architecture. They might claim that these are things of another kind and that their production and consumption belongs to a different and incompatible discourse. Maybe so, but I doubt that such a sharp distinction can usefully be sustained, for the material now appropriates from the virtual, and the virtual from the material.”
“Electronics now rule. The architectural profession can face this new condition as an increasingly irrelevant, resistant rump – insisting on materiality and practicing a nostalgic, modernist revivalism while potential clients vote with their feet.”