Formulary for a New Urbanism was composed by Ivan Chtcheglov under the pseudonym Gilles Ivain when he was 19 years old. It was an internal document. I intend to find out more of Ivan Chtcheglov — or Gilles Ivain, but these are my favourite bits from ‘Formulary for a New Urbanism’ from the. Formulary for a New Urbanism Guy Debord to Ivan Chtcheglov April Guy Debord to Ivan Chtcheglov, 30 April Guy Debord to Ivan Chtcheglov.
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We are bored in the city, there is no longer any Temple of the Sun.
Formulary for a New Urbanism
Between the legs of the women walking by, the dadaists imagined a monkey wrench and the surrealists a crystal cup. The poetry of the billboards lasted twenty years. We are bored in the city, we chtchfglov have to strain to still discover mysteries on the sidewalk billboards, the latest state of humor and poetry:. And the swimming pool on the Street of Little Girls.
And the police station on Rendezvous Street. The Hotel of the Epoch. And the strange statue of Dr. Philippe Pinel, benefactor of the insane, fading in the last evenings of summer.
And you, forgotten, your memories ravaged by all the consternations of two hemispheres, stranded in the Red Cellars of Pali-Kao, without music and without geography, no longer setting out for the hacienda where the roots think of the child and where the wine is finished off with fables from an old almanac.
All cities are geological. We move within a closed landscape whose landmarks constantly draw us toward the past. Certain shifting angles, certain receding perspectives, allow us to glimpse original conceptions of space, but this vision remains fragmentary.
It must be sought in the magical locales of fairy tales and surrealist writings: These dated images vian a small catalyzing power, but it is almost impossible to use them in a symbolic urbanism without rejuvenating them by giving them a new meaning. Forr was a certain charm in horses born from the sea or magical dwarves dressed in gold, but they are in no way adapted to the demands of modern life.
For we are in the twentieth century, formmulary if few people are aware of it. Our imaginations, haunted by the old archetypes, have remained far behind the sophistication of the machines. The various attempts to integrate modern science into new myths remain inadequate. Meanwhile abstraction has invaded all the arts, contemporary architecture chtchegloov particular.
Pure plasticity, inanimate and storyless, soothes urbanusm eye. Everyone wavers between the emotionally still-alive past and the already dead future.
His cretinizing influence is immense. A Le Corbusier model is the only image that arouses in me the idea of immediate suicide. He is destroying the last remnants of joy. And of love, passion, formluary.
Darkness and obscurity are banished by artificial lighting, and the seasons by air conditioning. Night and summer are losing their charm and dawn is disappearing.
The urban population think they have escaped from cosmic reality, but there is no corresponding expansion of their dream life. The reason is clear: Stars and rain can be seen through glass ceilings. The mobile house turns with the sun. Its sliding walls enable vegetation to invade life.
Mounted on tracks, it can go down to the sea in the morning and return to the forest in the evening. Architecture is the simplest means of articulating time and space, of modulating reality and engendering dreams. It is a matter not only of plastic articulation and modulation expressing an ephemeral beauty, but of a modulation producing influences in accordance with the eternal spectrum of human desires and the progress in fulfilling them.
The architecture of tomorrow will be a means of modifying present conceptions of time and space. It will be both a means of knowledge and a means of action.
Formulary for a New Urbanism (Ivan Chtcheglov)
Architectural complexes will be modifiable. Their appearance will change totally or partially in accordance with the will of their inhabitants. A new architecture can express nothing less than a new civilization it is clear that there has been neither civilization nor architecture for centuries, but only experiments, most of which were failures; we can speak of Gothic architecture, but there is no Marxist or capitalist architecture, though these two systems are revealing similar tendencies and goals.
Anyone thus has the right to ask us on what vision of civilization we are going to found an architecture. I briefly sketch the points of departure for a civilization:. Past collectivities offered the masses an absolute truth and incontrovertible mythical exemplars. For a long time it was believed that the Marxist countries were on this path.
We now know that this endeavor followed the old normal evolution, arriving in record time at a rigidification of its doctrines and at forms that have become ossified in their decadence.
A renewal is perhaps possible, but I will not examine this question here. On the bases of this mobile civilization, architecture will, at least initially, be a means of experimenting with a thousand ways of modifying life, with a view to an ultimate mythic synthesis. A mental disease has swept the planet: Presented with the alternative of love or a garbage disposal unit, young people of all countries have chosen the garbage disposal unit. It has become essential to provoke a complete spiritual transformation by bringing to light forgotten desires and by creating entirely new ones.
And by carrying out an intensive propaganda in favor of these desires. Guy Debord has already pointed out the construction of situations as being one of the fundamental desires on which the next civilization will be founded. This need for total creation has always been intimately associated with the need to play with architecture, time and space. The Court of Miracles: The Tower of Nesle: The sinister Tower profiles its imposing mass against the somber, dark-clouded sky.
The Seine laps softly. Two assassins await their victim. Other examples of this desire to construct situations can be found in the past. Or the paintings of Claude Lorrain. They talk about his portrayal of light.
This ambience is provoked by an unaccustomed architectural space. De Chirico remains one of the most remarkable architectural precursors. He was grappling with the problems of absences and presences in time and space. We know that an object that is not consciously noticed at the time of a first visit can, by its absence during subsequent visits, provoke an indefinable impression: It is of no particular significance that in this specific case memory is the vehicle of these feelings; I only selected this example for its convenience.
It is easy to imagine the fantastic future possibilities of such architecture and its influence on the masses. We can have nothing but contempt for a century that urbwnism such blueprints to its so-called museums.
A rational extension of the old religious systems, of old tales, and above all of psychoanalysis, into architectural expression becomes more neww more urgent as all the reasons for becoming impassioned disappear. Others will be irresistibly alluring to travelers. This project could be compared with the Chinese and Japanese gardens that create optical illusions — with the difference that those gardens are ovan designed to be lived hctcheglov all the time — or with the ridiculous labyrinth in the Jardin des Plantes, at the entry to which height of absurdity, Ariadne 3 unemployed is the sign: No playing in the labyrinth.
This city could be envisaged in the form of an arbitrary assemblage of castles, grottos, lakes, etc. It would be the baroque stage of urbanism considered as a means of knowledge. Chtchegloov this theoretical phase is already outdated.
The districts of this city could correspond to the whole spectrum of diverse iivan that one encounters by chance in everyday life. And an Astrolarium which would group plant species in accordance with the relations they manifest with the stellar rhythm, a Planetary Garden along the lines the astronomer Thomas wants chtchglov establish at Laaer Berg in Vienna. Indispensable for giving the inhabitants a consciousness of the cosmic.
The Sinister Quarter, for example, would be a good replacement for those ill-reputed neighborhoods full of sordid dives and unsavory characters that many peoples once possessed in their capitals: The Sinister Quarter would have no need to harbor real dangers, such as fofmulary, dungeons or mines. It would be difficult to get into, with a hideous decor piercing whistles, alarm bells, sirens wailing intermittently, grotesque sculptures, power-driven mobiles, called Auto-Mobilesand as poorly lit at night as it was blindingly lit during the day by an intensive use of reflection.
Couples will no longer pass their nights formu,ary the home where they live and receive guests, which is nothing but a banal social custom. The chamber of love will be more distant from the center of the city: The opposite tendency, seeking a center of thought, will proceed through the same technique.
Later, as the activities inevitably grow stale, this drifting will partially leave the realm of direct experience for that of representation. Finally, ian those who object that a people cannot live by drifting, it is useful to recall that in every group certain characters priests or heroes are charged with representing various tendencies as specialists, in accordance with the dual mechanism of projection and identification.
The economic obstacles are only apparent. Our first experimental city would live largely off tolerated and controlled tourism. Future avant-garde activities and productions would naturally tend to gravitate there. In a few years it would become the intellectual capital of the world and would be universally recognized as such.
Some of the other oddities stem from the Parisian habit of naming stores after their street names, which are often rather picturesque, in many cases dating back to the Middle Ages. Parisian neighborhood frequented by the lettrists in the early s.
It was famous as the scene of postwar bohemianism and existentialism Camus, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, etc. Parisian red light district. Neither of these books were written.
Having passed the last five years in a psychiatric clinic, where he still is, he reestablished contact with us only long after the formation of formukary SI. He is currently working on a revised edition of his writing on architecture and urbanism. A passage from one of those letters can be found here.