Arkitektur och konsumtion : Reyner Banham och utbytbarhetens estetik
Abstract: The dissertation analyses the relation between architecture, design and consumption according to Peter Reyner Banham’s notion of an “aesthetics of expendability”. This issue is studied through such source materials as texts, buildings, competition entries and exhibitions produced from the early fifties to the early sixties. Banham’s perspective on consumption and architecture is subjective, which makes the notion of a “free consumer” central to his ideas. From his viewpoint, commercial popular culture, in contrast to the ideal of “good taste”, opens up for a “democratic design”.Through relating the “aesthetics of expendability” to the shift in commodity production in the postwar period, the thesis demonstrates how Banham’s notions can be seen as a consequence of the logic of consumption. Jean Baudrillard’s notion of a system of objects forms the theoretical framework for the dissertation. Baudrillard perceives of consumption as an ideology, as the overarching structure, which serves as a complement to Banham’s point of view.The re-organization of mass production signifies a shift from mass consumption to a differentiation of objects, which means that the individual consumer becomes the object of focus. Banham observes these changes early on, and his ideas can be said to have four themes: the shift in focus from the object to the subject, the notion of a non-hierarchic aesthetic field, a change in the professional role of the architect and a shift in the organization of architecture. The dissertation shows how these themes construct a complex web in relation to architecture, and how aesthetics works as a link between personal desires and the objective system of production.
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