Redesigning buildings from the inside out
Ian Martin organises a content management pop-up workshop
MONDAY As content manager for several high-profile architectural schemes, I’m looking at a pretty epic week of nipping and tucking, I can tell you. Content management is a relatively new and lucrative concept in the world of epic space development. As the country’s leading expert on the subject I’m delighted to be hosting a pop-up workshop at the Institute of Plasmic Arts with guest speakers, high-production lighting and a nuanced buffet lunch suitable for vegetarians.
Those who can, do. Those who do, popshop.
TUESDAY I’ve always hated the phrase ‘social engineering’, with its sneery disdain for the science of compatibility.
Now we’ve finished with all that posturing social justice business, we can surely start an honest conversation about who should be in what. No longer can the Crouch End section of Twitter pretend an urban underclass would be comfortable living in Unesco-approved Georgian crescents. It’s as preposterous as saying that the super-rich - who, by the way, could turn this country round with the proper incentives - would be happy living on capped benefits in Levenshulme.
As a content manager, it’s my job to make sure a building is ‘happy’ with what’s inside it. The Shard for instance is balanced and fulfilled, because it contains the right people. Strivers. Havers. Goers. In a building’s guts, right people are like good bacteria.
And the wrong people in the wrong place are bad bacteria. All this fauxrage about ‘cleansing’ unaffordable people from our city centres just makes the splutterer seem ridiculous. In urbanism as in yoghurt adverts, a clean gut is a healthy gut.
WEDNESDAY To the Institute of Plasmic Arts. Quite a good turnout for my content management popshop. Obviously I’ve made sure they’re the right people, otherwise it would look like I don’t know what I’m talking about.
My keynote presentation is entitled ‘Putting People In Their Place’. For maximum effect I’m presenting it in a smoking jacket and military trousers. Summary: quality content management must be at the heart of any building remodelling process. I glide haughtily through my slideshow, showing how crucial it is to match inhabited sculpture with what I wryly call ‘sculpted inhabitants’. This draws a knowing chuckle from the audience. I show them one of my current jobs: rethought and upgraded content for the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, where a new architectural masterplan requires premium human fillage. The sketches of the improved crowd for Wimbledon Fortnight illustrate how content will be pushed further upmarket, with a new blazer plaza and retractable tax status. Of course spectators will remain brand-locked (slow handclapping, flag-wearing, petit-bourgeois hairdos) but more demonstrably ‘All England’. It’s a look I’m calling ‘luxury Ukip’.
During the informal afternoon discussion, a relaxed-looking man in a safari suit suggests that perhaps in due course units of content might be subject to some kind of validation system, like that blue tick thing they have onTwitter. A young woman in a sort of business onesie, clearly at ease with herself, makes an excellent point about ‘green’ building. ‘Why is there so much focus on static, passive building elements such as insulation material and glazing, and those lights that only come on in the dark?’ she clangs, to appreciative nods all round. ‘The most efficient environmental improvement you can make to a building is to tear out old content and install new, ecologically sound inhabitants. Green subsidies should go straight to where they have the greatest impact: hardworking property-owning taxpayers, via their accredited content manager’.
We all applaud Onesie Woman, the exciting future of our craft and mystery, and ourselves.
THURSDAY Content-manage the remodelling of BBC Television Centre. Out go the raggedy-arsed creative types with their ‘rehearsals’ and their serendipity and their Daleks and their nervous energy. Into the swish new apartments and hotel rooms come emotionally continent grown-ups with a shrewd appreciation of iconic location and the buy-to-let market. The famous TVC ‘inner circle’ will be open to members of the public, and I am already planning auditions.
Nevertheless we all need to be reading from the same weather chart when the cumulo-nimbies coalesce into their own inevitable clouds of poisonous gas.
FRIDAY Remodel St Paul’s cathedral, giving it a more inclusive facade. Content rethinking ideas: retain communal froideur, increase appearance of concern and civility.
NB: No jumpers.
SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Cascading Monetarism 3 Capillary Microfunding 0, after overnight bank recount.
SUNDAY Manage contents of recliner, decreasing self-awareness to the point where I’m self-content managing in my sleep.