ambitious reading plan


Its Tuesday now, but I snuck in Monday October 26 to see what life at Rutgers as the Tepper Chair feels like.  Its an informal arrangement at the moment, no seminars or lectures scheduled save a class visit this coming Friday with the BFA seminar class.  I think I will share some more thoughts about “Ruffneck Constructivists” and the Blog prompts about architecture.  The class topic is revolution, and that term dovetails nicely with Ruffnecks, insofar as some of the sites I call Ruff, are really revolutionary idealism gone messy or “this time its personal”.  Take for instance the MOVE organization in Philadelphia, whose compound, from the early 70’s until the government bombing in 1985 was under siege.  The architecture of the group fascinates me; a barricaded row house in West Philadelphia, seemed to express a siege mentality, the outgrowth of a collective rejection of anti-black racism and racist systems of control. To wit, the founder of the group, John Africa, embraced nature, [which we can debate about whether “Nature”  is not also an outgrowth of racist systems of control – later] rejected clothing (for the children whose parents joined the organization) and also advocated a fruit only diet for the kids. The group was under constant scrutiny from the police and had a number of violent altercations.   According to testimony, however,  MOVE’s  leader further divided the group from its black working -class neighbors by haranguing the neighborhood over a loudspeaker. A divide that would result in a cruel reinforcement of the blind disregard law enforcement has had for Black communities as a whole.   It is a true parable about architecture, home, safety, class, power, agency and legal/illegal aspects of the occupation of space.


Brought in some reading material too, and I think I will make some drawings, go for a walk and scope out the new digs.  Occupying space….

One thought on “Monday.”

  1. Perhaps the antithesis of the siege aesthetic would be Wheeler’s Ranch, and Morningstar, the Open Land farms in Sonoma County in the late 60s. Wheeler’s in particular pushed the ramshackle to the extreme, resulting in structures that were positively Eeyorian.

    Their challenge to architectural norms resulted in a series of legal and physical attacks, known as the Code Wars. Felicity Scott, an architectural historian at Columbia, “Bulldozers in Utopia: Open Land, Outlaw Territory, and the Code Wars” in West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California.

    These images give the sense of the Wheeler’s anti-architectural thrust.
    This scrapbook gives a sense of Morningstar and the Diggers

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