Disassembling and reassembling “Les Grand Travaux”: forms of visual criticism in Utopie and L’Ivre de Pierres

Disassembling and reassembling “Les Grand Travaux”: forms of visual criticism in Utopie and L’Ivre de Pierres

Submission ID:

50

Due to their mediatic visibility and impact on the city, large-scale urban developments and grand architectural projects were always subject to a high degree of scrutiny and criticism both in the social sphere and the architectural scene. Not surprisingly, throughout the 20th century, they featured in many cartoons — through the satirical pen of Alan Dunn since the late 1930s, Hellmann’s from the late 1960s, Ironimus’ during the 1980s or Focho’s from the 1990s onwards — many of which as still timely. Given their iconic value, some works were even object of other forms of mimicry and parody, like the popular versions of Frank Gehry’ Guggenheim and Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV in “The Simpsons”.

In a time when image-based architectural criticism pervades internet and social media — yet independent criticism struggles with the crisis of printed media —, this paper aims to revisit alternative forms of visual critique, through graphic satire (klaustoon.wordpress.com), architectural memes (www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/gallery/2020/07/09/memes-or-it-didnt-happen.html), digital collages (www.publico.pt/2020/01/02/p3/noticia/nao-medo-alturas-lisboa-quase-assim-1898824) and fake proposals (www.lisbonresorthotel.com).

To conceptualize upon visual criticism, this paper focuses on the reception of some of the early “Grands Travaux” in Paris (during the presidencies of Giscard and Mitterrand). These generated an intense debate in the general press but also different forms of visual criticism in architectural publications, either in big magazines like "L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui" and little as "Utopie". Particularly interesting for the analysis are the alternative realities and theoretical projects for Les Halles, Opéra Bastille or Parc de la Villette, conceived for the magazine "L’Ivre de Pierres" (1977-83), an example of a criticism of the procedures and strategies of large-scale architectural competitions and projects, employing specific architectural tools.

Corresponding Author

Carlos e Machado e Moura

Centro de Estudos de Arquitectura e Urbanismo da Universidade do Porto

Author #1:

Carlos e Machado e Moura

Carlos e Machado e Moura

Centro de Estudos de Arquitectura e Urbanismo da Universidade do Porto

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Author #3:

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Preferred Track

2. Starchitecture

Second Preferred Track

9. The Syndrome of Grand Projects: contamination processes between North-South, West-East, Global-Local

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DINÂMIA'CET-Iscte

Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies

Avenida das Forças Armadas | Edifício ISCTE

Sala D316 1649-026 Lisbon

grandprojects.2021@gmail.com

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