Wednesday, February 11, 2004

D.I.Y. Architecture

Brian Scott's thesis for the McGill School of Architecture (2003)

ARCHITECTURE VS. PUNK ROCK. A distillation of the DIY ethic across different media.

Text | Illustrations | Flash Movie | Comics

Punk culture as we know it originated as a counterpoint to the prevailing culture of corporatism- corporatism, in the sense of relying on consensual standards and artificial entities for human organization. The punk ethic is essentially creative, because it offers a model to those who wish to have opportunities for expression independent of questionable support networks such as corporate sponsorships and contracts. This expression has typically taken place within media like ‘zines, fashion, graffiti writing, more recently the web, and, most visibly, music, always typified by a strong DIY (do-it-yourself) work ethic and a defiant refusal of the corporate mainstream. While punk ethics have permeated virtually every artistic medium, the nature of contemporary real estate is generally hostile towards local variation. Finance, building codes, the development industry, and so on create a restrictive atmosphere not easily out-maneuvered by grassroots networks. Therefore, the challenge is just that: to use the punk ethic to subvert the standard building process and try to find a model that places some of the creative power in the hands of the individual, to re-assert the importance of personal growth for the builder, to develop more sustainable lifestyles, and to challenge prevailing attitudes about what a building really is: commodity, habitat, political statement, or work of art.


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