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#1 What is to be done?

Alexey Levchuk, Alexander Romanchuk and Andrey Juukin // The New Foundation of St. Petersburg – The Manifesto of the Architects

In this manifesto, three Petersburg architects explore the architectural alternatives to representing an increasingly affluent market economy. This text should be read in the context of the speedy renovations made in Petersburg on occassion of the 300th anniversary celebrations.

In this manifesto, three Petersburg architects explore the architectural alternatives to representing an increasingly affluent market economy. This text should be read in the context of the speedy renovations made in Petersburg on occassion of the 300th anniversary celebrations.

1.
– The alternative to consumer society is the  refusal to take part in its games of the infinite purchase/change of  commodities.
– Every product of postindustrial system has poor quality, and could not have a better one, because in this system the amount of updates has killed the quality.
– Speed of the cycles – a product’s cycles of change – is caused by its poor quality and is in direct ratio to deterioration; the consumer is obliged to replace a trendy product before it falls apart in his/her hands. Each new cycle is a sort of a crime made with an aim to conceal the previous ones.

2.
– How should we name the condition of a person who is not included in the senseless race behind the pseudo-updated product? Proceeding from today’s system of values and hierarchies is  POVERTY.
– The condition, that we name poverty is a social pace.
– It is not necessary to change society, it is necessary to leave it. What kind of exodus is it important to choose? An individual or a group one? We believe, that the group one is more effective. The number of members in a group is directly proportional to its efficiency. Local communities are doomed to gradual degradation and, finally, to defeat. The mass exodus means a destruction of existing society (an exodus as the base of its dismantling). This is the target of our aspiration, because it is unique now: the reasonable and responsible public action.

3.
– For us poverty is a necessary stage in a transition to another economy and socialism.
– Moreover poverty is a self-restriction in material goods and it is an effective vaccine against consumption.
– What is it more burdensome: the absence of a fake choice of a product or the necessity to consider, as primary goal of existence, the purchase of this product? The realized self-restriction grants freedom from this rigid necessity, thus destroying public hierarchical and behaviour illusions.

4.
– What kind of architecture can we now acknowledge as honest and capable of qualitative development: based on a geometrical lexicon of old modernist forms or evolved from virtual modeling?
– Merging of digital modeling and architecture poses the last in a number of the postindustrial products which are based on an infinite fictitious modifying. Digital technologies allow us to project and build curvilinear spaces, all imaginary novelty of this type of a product consists in distinction of the formulas describing the curves.
– Transformation of architecture in a digital variation of bio-morphological , organic forms is doomed to success, especially in a postindustrial society, where the consumer, owing to his/her semi-animal existence feels an irresistible subconscious desire for the physiological, environmental forms.  —- The honest usage of the pure architectural forms of a modernism is impossible without the socialist paradigm of the development of civilization buried after the Second World War. Otherwise, use of this language mutates into primitive technocratism, or into fashion games. The formal vision in a modernism results in a greater degree not from technical innovations, but from the social and ideological break.
– Therefore it is not necessary to connect technological refinement and modernist architecture. The use of the simplest and cheapest materials has proved this well enough. Having filled the language of modernist architecture with truly social contents, we apply for a reanimation of that process – both in architecture, and in society – something that was violently stopped in the middle of the last century.

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