In his contribution, Belgian architect Paul Vermeulen compares Colquhoun’s critical discussion of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the text ‘Plateau Beaubourg’ (1977), with the text ‘Beaubourg or The Planes of Immanence’ by Harvard professor of architecture theory and criticism Sanford Kwinter. By comparing the two texts Vermeulen is able to shed light on Colquhoun’s methodology and argumentation. Whereas Kwinter bases his text on philosophy and is primarily interested in the building as a representation of the Zeitgeist, Colquhoun zeroes in on the object itself. He extricates it from the usual functionalist interpretation and places it in the context of alternative currents. This enables him to introduce critical themes that play a major role in the contemporary debate on urban architecture, such as ‘scale expansion’ and ‘deterioration of meaning’.
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