In the wake of 9/11 : rethinking architecture and redevelopment

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The aim, purpose and rationale of this thesis is to pose a philosophical interrogation and subsequent theoretical speculation on the event that came to fore in America on 11 September 2001 and its relation to architecture. This argument is made by recourse to and borrowing from the understanding of the term “libidinal”, as discussed in Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy, and Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus and Capitalism and Schizophrenia – a Thousand Plateaus. The first chapter begins with an excurses on architecture in relation to the “libidinal” as drawn-out from an understanding of Lyotard and Deleuze and Guattari in order to begin to draw in an understanding of architecture into the framework of “libidinal philosophy”. The second chapter turns the discussion of the key concepts of “libidinal philosophy” as discussed in Chapter 1 toward examining architecture’s relation to the libidinal, and more specifically the relation of the Twin Towers to the libidinal event of 9/11, and then begins to address redevelopment from this theoretical perspective. The third chapter attempts a theoretical trace of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s (LMDC) final seven participants’ schemes, and does so by questioning their schemes genesis of subjective construal (desire) in relation to their respective architectural production, and posits that these schemes find themselves in collusion with the politics and representation of the space of the State as Capitalism. In being as such, it is argued that they merely reiterate the semiology and iconomy of the original Twin Towers that were destroyed, and as such are destined to be caught-up in any repetition of the event. The fourth and final chapter begins to offer a resolution to how architecture might be conceived on the site of Ground Zero in response to and following the event of 9/11 as conceived as a libidinal event. Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of “smooth” space and “striated” space are examined, and a parallel examination of them made in relation to a number of architectural and urban tactics of the Situationist International. It is argued that it is through the borrowing of such tactics that architecture might be able to enter into a critique and disruption of the space and representation of the politics of the State (as I argue, the source of desire latent within redevelopment of Ground Zero), thus producing a necessary disruption of striated architecture, or the production of anti-architecture in any redevelopment at Ground Zero – and indeed in architecture elsewhere and in general. It is argued that only through the pursuit of such anti-architecture that architectural production at Ground Zero can offer anything meaningful in addressing and then attempting to resolve the libidinal event of 9/11 by way of redevelopment.
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