Ian Martin: Yes we can value engineering, but engineering values is much more profitable...
Ian Martin’s ‘rational/aspirational’ idea has found some traction
Monday. The homes in my latest ‘utilitarian chic’ village project will be horrendously expensive, but I think I’ve found a way through the moral conundrum.
I’m combining the spirit of personal ambition with the rigours of modernism, and plan to tell journalists I’m putting the ‘rational’ back into ‘aspirational’. That should guarantee a fawning feature in a Sunday supplement.
Tuesday. Talking of which… Darcy Farquear’say, epic space correspondent for the Creative on Sunday, is now a TV architect-celebrity. This is partly due to his screamtastic appearances on MasterSpace, the design cookery show that has amateur architects competing for the ultimate prize: starting their own boutique practice in lower case letters. This week Darcy told one contestant that her pop-up ballet kiosk was ‘a blizzard of fresh air – movingly poignant, joyous, heartbreaking. I could swoon in that for hours’.
But his celebrity depends rather more heavily on his constant companion, a neurotic and volatile dachshund called Bauhau. Part of Darcy’s act on MasterSpace is to turn to Bauhau at the end of his assessment and ask the dog what HE thought of some maniac’s quirky Satanist luncheon club with perforated diaphragm and unnatural lighting. ‘Bauhau? What’s your ARCH CRIT?’ says Darcy. Then Bauhau barks ‘Arch! Crit!’ and runs round in circles wagging his stupid tail.
Quite why viewers think it’s ‘adorable’ every time he gets tangled up in his preposterously baroque outfits is beyond me. The latest mishap had him tripping over his leather micro-loon pants and running round the studio, yelping in panic. Luckily, the camera stayed focused on Bauhau.
Wednesday. My ‘rational/aspirational’ idea has found some traction, in this restaurant at least. I’m having lunch with the distinguished value engineer, Isambard Golightly.
He’s worked with many prominent architects, helping them to achieve the design adjustments necessary these days for sustainable margins. He approves of my smuggling rationality – architecture’s eternal trump card – into a methodology for yuppie flats, but feels I could go even further.
‘People misunderstand what value engineering is all about,’ he says, grabbing my breadstick, snapping it in two and giving me half back. ‘The real engineering of values must take place HERE’. He indicates his head. ‘Cultural values, ethical values, they must all be brutally pruned if you wish to create meaningful architecture uncluttered by issues of conscience…’
He’s a genius. After just five minutes’ practice, I have reduced my sense of moral obligation to architecture by 15 per cent.
Thursday. After years of agonising over how to fit Classical architecture into the contemporary world, the perfect commission.
Neo-Georgian stuff is just too conspicuous, often a Prince of Wales-endorsed gated community with Nash garages and fitted Huguenot kitchens. At the nuttier end of the spectrum some New Georgians actually live an 18th-century existence in Spitalfields, all coal dust and tea leaves.
In order to be authentic, historicist architecture must be ignored. It’s not like everyone was power-walking through Bath at the time thinking, ‘I am Georgian. Look at that cracking Georgian architecture’. No, they were drifting through life NOT admiring the built environment and getting stressed out about potatoes and rickets. As so often in the world of epic space, the challenge is not architectural hardware – architects are blameless professionals – but good software, i.e. an acceptable user group. That’s why my 50ha cat sanctuary styled on the ancient city of Thebes is perfect.
There is no such thing as a New Georgian cat. In less civilised times feline strays would have been put down as pointless bird-murdering selfish incontinent bastard little fleabags. Today, we have a more enlightened approach, converting the estates of deranged widows into settlements for unwanted pets.
The mewling inhabitants will be free to roam my architecturally accurate micro-city, haughtily indifferent to the exquisite detailing. Perhaps choosing to shit in the community space I’ve designated between the miniature Colossi of Memnon.As uncomprehending residents of an architectural gem, it is their prerogative.
Friday. Bring Doha ‘back to life’with a redesign, including a heritage quarter and a unique luxury cruising maglev hotel.
Saturday. Abandon redesign, allowing Doha to die with dignity.
Sunday. Value-engineering and self-medication in the recliner. By mid-afternoon I’ve fewer convictions than the Metropolitan Police. twitter.com