Gordon Matta-Clark vs. Rem Koolhaas: from machine for living in to ‘rat’ container

Gordon Matta-Clark vs. Rem Koolhaas: from machine for living in to ‘rat’ container

The critical activity of Gordon Matta-Clark and Rem Koolhaas takes place in the city of Manhattan during the seventies as a common scenario. A severe crisis in social housing programs characterizes the space-time framework shared by both architects, whose point of view about the island is defined by the construction of a singular corpus of critical thinking - Gordon Matta-Clark will create it from Anarchitecture, and Rem Koolhaas will do it as researcher at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. The architectural trend of the moment was governed by a system based on a late International Style that accelerates the irreversible process of gentrification by using subsidized residential projects. Le Corbusier’s famous machine for living is gradually evolving towards the rationalist urban housing: it hosts the obsolete ‘rat’ mentality - which is profitable and lacking identity. But both architects will define their positions toward what Charles Jencks calls ‘rat killers’. The language will be taken to ‘surrationalist’ extreme circumstances in order to reach the same conclusion: the rationalist magma that gives form to ‘rat’ aspirations is bound to be the grave of its architects. It is time to liberate the domestic space from the tyranny of such ideology dominated by formal monotony and alienation of the individual, who is confined to the rationalist box as a product of the system.

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