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«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»

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Rene Girrard's Mimetic theory wams against the nature of acquisition that breeds envy, because acquisition, on one hand, develops homogeneity and cements society through market oriented nature, but on the other hand, it fuels the violent nature of society, because it breeds greediness and unnecessary competition. "The only way this violence can be checked i8 by the imposition of a form of order which - in being imposed - itse1f subscribes to the same logic of violence. Inevitably the moment comes when violence can only be countered by more violence." (Girard, 2008) Hence, the cyde ofthe current violence will continue and will be nurtured by any encouragement of acquisition. Architecture by its nature dearly shows such human nature. The competition to build higher and higher skyscrapers, or a better house or villa reveals the power of such desire. The same is true for cities wanting to acquire more attractive buildings. What is dangerous about such envy is that it consumes resources for no particular rationale of sustainable culture or suitable environment but is only understandable for sustaining or constructing an identity. However, sustaining an identity should not follow the same measures that are being advocated by global culture that requires global homogeneity due to its very nature. Yet, in such competition the difference will be reduced to form and size.

All such relations are evolving through desires that grow und er the impact of the mediation of others. Mimetic theory explains the impact of fashion wh ich, through the iconicity of architecture is falling under its mechanisms and impact.

We know that Frank Lloyd Wright is one ofthe great modem architects, but how many of us have had the direct experience of living in his architecture or meeting hirn or experiencing his studios and teaching? The answer i8 a very 8mall number of architects. The same is true of all celebrity architects and iconic buildings. So Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 415 we judge not on a direct experience but through the information to which we are introduced, and through the impact of media. This is true in case of the clients who wish to own an iconic piece of architecture, or an architecture designed by celebrity architect.

The danger about some iconic architecture is that it acts as a sovereign who ignores the existing rules of the built environment to establish a new order for a part or the whole of a city. The scapegoat here is the existing codes and regulations, which can include limitations on scale, materials, density, movement, and so on. Competition tends to extend these limits.

In addition, due to the impact of consumerism and fashion, architects have started to compete for individual authenticity and singularity, not for the authenticity of the urban and natural context. They have used the media and the network of information in order to open up the market for their products through the theorizing of architecture to convince the public of the inadequacy of their traditional or present urban built form. As such, almost all the younger generation of architects have been taught that violation of the urban fabric and personal authenticity is the right understanding of how innovative architecture is created.

Such a tendency, as Girard explains, will eventuaUy lead to extremes: each of the competing parties will start borrowing from the other, and will eventually show rivalry. This will lead to vengeance and that will stir up violence either by direct confrontation or through a substitute that will be the scapegoat who is weak enough not to have the ability to retaliate.

Rene Girard established the category of Mimetic Desire (MD).... The analysis of the interactions of characters in selected 19th century novels shows that people imitate each other's desire and that objects are desirable not through need, scarcity, or intrinsic desirability but because someone else desires them.

The other's desire makes them desirable because the desiring self imitates the desire of that other. (Hamerton-Kelly, 2009a, pp. 4-5) In case of architecture's progress into postmodernity the scapegoat has been the international style, in the name of defending local aesthetics and cultural identity, the impact of regionalism, the requirements of local climate and the anthropological importance of settlements. While the scapegoat for the Modem Movement was the older styles. So the moment when a group have agreed to one scapegoat, is the moment when a new thinking in architecture emerges.

(Hamerton-Kelly, 2009a, p. 13) The good things about the Modem movement and the International Style were forgotten, because the scapegoat should be presented as dangerous.

The war of"all against aH" becomes the war of"all against one" and the "all" united by violence against the "one" is the first stable human community. Thus a small act of deflected violence stops an escalation to dis aster of reciprocal violence and forms a community ofkillers (Hamerton-Kelly, 2009b) Faida Noori Salim Currently all previous arguments against international style have been coneluded to favour more areas of difference, fragmentation, abstract aesthetics, technology, and multiculturalism, where everything points towards a global form of culture. At the same time, global culture encourages imitation rather than differences as did the international style. The creation of celebrity figures, ineluding celebrity architects and iconic architecture, is an act of encouraging imitation through the marketing force of the media and the network of information. As an excuse for differentiating the current imitation from the previous one which was used as a scapegoat, the idea of good mimesis has been

introduced as Hamerton-Kelly explains:

There have been recent discussions in Girardian cireles about the possibility of "good mimesis" and the focus of discussion has at times wavered from imitation as violence to imitation as compassion. On this definition mimesis is necessarily violent, and benign mimesis is the result of meliorative factors in culture, but the first of even these meliorative factors remains violence, the good violence that controls the bad via the ritual ofreligion.

To be sure, neutral imitation is the starting point of the definition, as RG [Rene Girard] says when he calls it "Mimetic or Imitative Theory," but in the context of the theory imitation is never neutral, but rather necessarily competitive and inevitably violent. There is no "good imitation" or "good mimesis" within the purview ofthe theory. (Hamerton-Kelly, 2009a, p. 2) The establishment of a new order within postmodernity has meant aseries of changes in the context that cannot be justifiable in the required rationality of sustainable thinking. The only justification is the creativity of the architect and the brief of the elient. As such, this approach has to die first so that a new order can emerge. At this point since all are arguing for sustainability, then our scapegoat will be all architecture that has ignored the importance of natural adaptation to elimate (and has resorted to technology to insure controlIed c1imatic conditions of the inside) empowered by the impact of its aesthetical appeal. At this time, this kind of architecture has been lead by an iconic form of architecture and celebrity architect.

The scapegoats that I am suggesting -iconic architecture and celebrity architects- is a rational sacrifice to stabilize our practice in architecture and urban design and to stabilize the present cultuml identity, and all should be in favour of the sustainability that is becoming general enough to accept individual innovation. To this effect, the global culture is flexible and can accept change.

Such was the stand of Philip Johnson. He joined and applauded the new order.

He understood that a new stage had to be set for the new era. As such, he c1eansed himself of all accusation laid on the victim: modern architecture and the international style. Thus, he is not anymore to bJame for what went wrong there.

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 417

6 Conclusion

Currently the younger generation is happily celebrating the virtual world. So, architecture should act as a field of assemblage that can bring the difficult aspects of reality to a peaceful resolution to maintain stable horizons, and if networks are adequate enough for information, science and people, why cannot they be good enough for architecture. Architecture should act within the complex network of information, communities, politics and economy as a network of places linked to the outlook of society but, even so, architecture can be different within a network of urban fabric.

The iconicity of the building should evolve through the social system and its culture. It should emerge from spiritual and natural needs rather than from aesthetical objective and its sensational impact that will assert only consumption, wh ich is an important element of the current global culture. If we remember one important ethical principle of almost all religions in addition to the outcome of the French Revolution and that is, equality, we should not let the gaze ofthe poor on such luxurious buildings reflect a different reality. Urban design practice should also be regulated to emerge through sustainability and to the effect of harmonizing the existing urban images.

References Bataille, Georges. 1988. The accursed share: an essay on general economy New York: Zone Books.

BRECHT, B. «1937-1939),2008) Leben des Galilei, London, New York Penguin Books.

DEBORD, G. (1975) Refutation. France, Simar Film.

Girard, Rene. 2008. Mimetic Theory. In Imitatio, Integrating the Human Sciences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.

Hamerton-Kelly, Robert. 2009a. Commentary on Rene Girard's Account of Mimetic Theory. Stanford University 2009. Accessed, 17 Nov. 2009.

Available from http://www.imitatio.org/ uploads/tx_ rtgfileslA_Commentary_on_ Mimetic_ Theory. pdf.

Hamerton-Kelly, Robert. 2009b. Reason and Violence in Girard's Mimetic Theory: The Anthropology ofthe Cross. Stanford University 2009.

Acessed, 17 Nov. 2009. Available from:

http://www.imitatio.org/uploads/tx_rtgfileslReason_and_ Violence_in_ Girards_ Mimetic_Theory-The_ AnthropologLoethe_Cross.pdf.

Hubert, Henri, and Marce1 Mauss. 1964. Sacrifice : its nature and function Chicago: University ofChicago Press, p. 65 Jencks, Charles. 2005. The iconic building: the power of the enigma London,Frances,Lincoln.

Leach, Neil. 2006. Camouflage. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

418 Faida Noori Salim QUOTATIONSPAGE (2009). The Quotations Page. Quotationspage.eom and

Michael Moneur. Aeeessed 25/5/2010. See:

http://www.quotationspage.eomJseareh.php3? Author=Bertolt+Breeht&f i1e=other REPORTINGTHEWORLDOVER (2010) "Smarter cities" are reducing their carbon emissions, and improving their quality oflife.


Venturi, Robert. 1996. Iconography and electronics upon a generic architecture:

a view from the drafting room Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development The Cartographer's Dilemma Paut Guzzardo 1, Lorens Holrn2 lIndependent media activist, St. Louis, USA & Buenos Aires. Argentina 2Director. Geddes Institutefor Urban Research, University ofDundee Abstract The city is quickening. We hover between built space and media p1aces. Place making that takes no heed of the knowledge environment is no longer sustainable. In the era of pervasive computing we need better maps to manage the built environment. The Cartographer's Dilemma proposes a new place making action plan for a withering public sphere. We need to develop new epistemic assemblages - street probes - for navigating alandscape of space and information. The city as site and form ofknowledge begins with Patrick Geddes, the evolutionistJplanner who celebrated the Greek polis, who was a pivotal link in an intellectual lineage that extends from Darwin to contemporary media theorists. With projects like the Outlook Tower and the Cities Exhibition, Geddes left behind a tool kit on synthesis, gear to map sites and record knowledge, and assemble pIaces where mapping persists. He saw the city as an evolving search engine, a tableau you drifted through, synthesizing as you move.

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