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"The Maximum Architecture Can Do" : architecture versus urbanism from Le Corbusier to Rem Koolhaas

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2004
Tağmat, Tuğçe Selin
As from the beginning of the 20th century, there has been a shift in the scale of architectural production as an outcome of advanced construction technologies, new range of building materials, automation of building services and progressive infrastructural networks. The increased physical capacity -the deeper and taller buildings- not only increased the scale of the architectural practice in relation with urban planning, but also presented architecture the possibility to offer a wider social programmation for the reorganization of the urban territory. The increase in the scale of architectural production, this study would argue, has given rise to a critical tension between the fields of architecture and urbanism. The aim of this study is to understand alternative positions towards the relationship between architecture and urbanism in the production of the city through a cross-reading of the architectural-urban theories of Le Corbusier and Rem Koolhaas. At a very preliminary investigation, the urban thinking of Le Corbusier represents the modernist ideal in architecture that is after the rational and linear architectural production of the city with all its social, cultural and economic components. The theory generated by Rem Koolhaas, on the other hand, represents the end of the modernist ideal on the city, since it refuses the possibility of imposing a rigid, definitive and stable program on the city through the mediation of architecture. What separates these two positions is the turning point in the social and cultural structure that was experienced in 1960̕s, but what makes possible a continuous reading is the both architect̕s attempt to radicalize the scale of the architectural production, with diverse approaches towards its programmation. The study is an attempt to make this comparative analysis in order to understand what has changed from one to another in terms