another pamphlet #06 2014


The default is what we’re left with when no one chooses for anything else to happen, or when there are no viable alternatives. It is what we resign ourselves to. It represents a lack of agency. A failure of vision. It is the least common denominator. Mediocre. Banal. Bland. Blase. Generic. It is what slips through when we look the other way, when we’re distracted, when we’re too busy, or when we’ve given up.

And yet, the default also constructs commonality and cohesion. It can create a shared legibility, a visual language available to a broad and diverse public. It is the field, the mood, the ground that enables the figure.

The assumption is that design inherently denies the default, and that the default is by definition un-designed. Buildings are default, while architecture is its opposite – exceptional and deliberate.

This issue of another pamphlet questions this tidy division, and asks when and why architecture might be default. What are the potentials of thinking of “default” as a strategy instead of a condition, an active generator of ideas and forms rather than a passive description of everything outside of architecture’s concern?

01 the obdurateness of the default
02 a hypothesis of the shared
03 default trademarks
04 a visual mess
05 unregulated circulation of knowledge
06 default diagrams
07 not what they seem
08 architecture without qualities
09 symmetry as default
10 default specificity
>< default conversation

DEFAULT! pamphlet contributors:
CHRISTOPHER ASTLEY is a New York based sculptor.
NEIL DONNELLY is a New York based graphic designer.
KERSTEN GEERS is principal and co-founder of OFFICE KGDVS (Kersten Geers David Van Severen), a studio working internationally and based in Brussels, Belgium.
URTZI GRAU and CRISTINA GOBERNA are principals of Brooklyn and Sydney-based Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, “a conglomerate that explores the potentials of architectural agonism and false constructions.”
ISAIAH KING is an architect in New York City and co-conspirator of another pamphlet.
SYLVIA LAVIN is the director of critical studies in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the director of Hi-C, a design/research group that supports architecture in the public realm.
RYAN NEIHEISER is an architect in New York City and co-conspirator of another pamphlet.
CAROLINE O’DONNELL is an Assistant Professor at Cornell University and founding principal of the design studio CODA.
GIANCARLO VALLE is an architect in New York City and co-conspirator of another pamphlet.
MICHAEL WANG is a New York-based artist and critic with a background in architecture.

another pamphlet
is a document of loose exchange, an excuse to play, a frame through which to look, a shared excitement. It is an open dialogue with our friends, our histories, and our surroundings.

Meaning both “more of the same” and “something different”, “another” contains the seeds of both continuity and change. another pamphlet mines this contradiction – this tension between past and future – opportunistically interrogating, critiquing, and celebrating the discipline of architecture.

It is deliberately short. We’re all busy and we want to keep the conversation quick, easy, relevant, and fresh.

It is perversely anachronistic – it is printed on paper and distributed via, gasp, the post. Against the haze of digital distraction we crave an object to hold our attention – something to touch, to fold, to tuck in our back pocket, to discard.

And above all it is a group effort. Distinct voices are provisionally brought together into a contingent collective. But while the contributors and the ideas they offer are vital, particular authorship is obscured. The authors are given credit for participating, but the ideas stand on their own. The collective dialogue is given primacy over the individual position.