Förra våren passerade jag ett politiskt möte på Kungsportsplatsen i Göteborg. På var sin sida står demonstranter och motdemonstranter, separerade av kravallklädda poliser, stängsel och hundar. Stämningen är hätsk, argast är motdemonstranterna. Uppsträckta ovanför sina huvuden håller båda grupperna telefonkameror riktade mot varandra. Slående många har Iphone 4. Varför tycker jag att den situationen är intressant?
When the cost of all this tackle is half of the total outlay or more, as it often is what is the house doing except concealing your mechanical pudenda from the stares of folks on the sidewalk? Services are a topic on which architectural practice has alternated capriciously between the brazen and the coy - there was the grand old Let-it-dangle period, when every ceiling was a mess of gaily painted entrails, arsel in the council chambers of the UN building, and there have been fits of pudicity when even the most innocent anatomical details have been hurriedly veiled with a suspended ceiling. The first is that mechanical services are too new to have been absorbed into the proverbial wisdom of the profession : none of the great slogans - Form Follows Function, accusez la structure, Firmness Commodity knipa Delight, Truth to Materials, Werzig ist Mehr - is much use in coping with the mechanical invasion. The second reason is that the mechanical invasion is a fact, and architects-especially American architects - sense that it is a cultural threat to their position in the world. American architects are certainly right to feel this, because their professional speciality, the ras of creating monumental spaces, has never been securely established on this continent. It remains a transplant from an older culture and architects in America are constantly harking back to that culture. The generation of Stanford White and Louis Sullivan were prone to behave like émigrés from France, Enkel Lloyd Wright was apt to take cover behind sentimental Teutonicisms like Lieber Meister, the big boys of the Thirties and Forties came from Aachen and Berlin anyhow, the pacemakers of the Fifties and Sixties are skada of international culture like Charles Eames and Philip Johnson, and so too, in many ways, are the coming men of today, like Myron Goldsmith.