Notes from Delerious New York

From the 1850's Manhattan became a mythical laboratory for the invention and testing of a Culture of Congestion. The revolutionary lifestyle was brought about by the simultaneous explosion of human density and an invasion of new technologies. In his book Delirious New York Rem Koolhaas explores the mutant metropolitan culture of Manhattan and the seemingly unrelated episodes of urbanism. Koolhaas declared that the program of "Manhattanism" was so outrageous that in order for it to be realised it could never be openly declared. The untangling of theories, tactics and dissimulations were collectively established on the unconscious realities of the city grid. "On each plot stands an identical base, built from heavy polished stone. To facilitate and provoke speculative activity, these bases - ideological laboratories - are equipped to suspend unwelcome laws, undeniable truths, to create non-existent, physical conditions. From theses solid blocks of granite, each philosophy has the right to expand indefinitely towards the heaven. Some of these blocks present limbs of complete certainty and serenity, others display soft structures of tentative conjectures and hypnotic suggestions."
The grid can further be understood as the subdivision of metropolitan territory into maximum increments of control - an archipelago of "cities within cities". The more each "island" celebrates its own values the more the unity of the city is enforced. It is within this realm that the skyscraper is able to create its own instantaneous "folklore" by separating interior and exterior architecture - such structures can devote their exterior only to formalism and their interiors only to functionalism.
Each parcel of land represented an irreconcilable shameless bombast of forms and each building striving to outdo the other. The metropolis strives to fabricate the world in his image so it wholly and absolutely coincides with his desires. 



Map of Carrington, New York become the hegemony of urban planning in cities around the world.


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