Joshua Prince-Ramus / Rex: Manifesto #31

We design collaborations rather than dictate solutions.

The media sells simple, catchy ideas; it reduces teams to individuals and their collaborative work to genius sketches. The proliferation of this false notion of “starchitecture” diminishes the real teamwork that drives celebrated architecture.

We embrace responsibility in order to implement vision.

The implementation of good ideas demands as much, if not more, creativity than their conceptualisation. Increasingly reluctant to assume liability, architects have retreated from the accountability (and productivity) of Master Builders to the safety (and impotence) of stylists.

We don’t rush to architectural conclusions.

The largest obstacle facing clients and architects is their failure to speak a common language.

We side with neither form nor function.

REX believes that the struggle between form and function is superficial and unproductive. We proffer the term “performance” instead: a hybrid that doesn’t discriminate between use, organisation and form. We free ourselves from the tired debate over whether architecture is an art or a tool. Art performs; tools perform.

We reach for the unexpected by exposing root problems.

We don’t innovate for innovation’s sake. Nor do we accept predigested solutions. We return to root problems and doggedly explore them with a critical naivety.

We advance new strategies for flexibility.

Despite an increased need to accommodate change, contemporary design still relies on an antiquated version of flexibility: one size fits all. The promise of a blank slate upon which any activity can occur has produced sterile, unresponsive architecture.

We love the banal.

REX dares to be dumb (like a fox).

Originally published in ICON magazine
Issue 404 | 2007

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