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* Chris Abel *
"Abel writes in a brisk, no-nonsense manner and steers
clear of glib acceptance of received wisdom"
Andrew Ballantyne, Times Literary Supplement
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On Self-Organizing Systems
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On Customized Automation
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On Critical Theory
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On Cultural Identity
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On Rational Design
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On Empathy
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On Innovation and Metaphor
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On Globalization
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On History
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On Henning Larsen
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On Norman Foster
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On Richard England
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On Postmodernism
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On Sustainability
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On Deconstructivism
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On Biotech Architecture
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On Vertical Architecture
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On Harry Seidler
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On Foster and Gehry
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On Cyberspace
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On Writing
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On Australian Architecture
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On Virtual Evolution
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On The Vertical Garden City
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On The Extended Self
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* ON DECONSTRUCTIVISM *
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What are missing in the projects described above are the multiple independent decisions, conflicts and dialogues between different individuals and interest groups which underlie real-life growth and development. The use of techniques like superimposition, also favoured by Rem Koolhaas, Jeffrey Kipnis and many others, does nothing to hide the essentially exclusive nature of their designers' approach, which is as much determined by professional ideology as any logocentric practice's. Hailed by Charles Jencks as 'a kind of ultimate democratic method', superimposition is nothing of the sort, and opens up the design process not one iota to any circle or value outside of the architects' own. Nor do the method or the designs originate in any self-generated pattern of human activity. Rather, they point to a deep malaise in architecture. Unable to give up their elite status or prima donna ways, or to accept the loss of whatever influence their profession once exercised over urban form, these architects disguise their narrowing concerns by contriving sham images of complexity. Instead of genuine human development or dialogue, what we get is a poor substitute, usually dressed up in obscure language to resist detection. Rather than the open design process which has been claimed for the movement, we get increasing mystification and self-obsession.

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* From: 'Visible and invisible complexities'. The Architectural Review, February 1996, p. 82. *
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