Less is Enough: On Architecture and Asceticism, Pier Vittorio Aureli
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Less is Enough: On Architecture and Asceticism

Pier Vittorio Aureli is an architect and writer. He currently teaches at the Architectural Association in London, and is visiting professor at Yale University. He is the author of many essays and several books, including The Project of Autonomy (2008) and The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture (2011).
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the most blatant was a piece written by the then architecture critic for the New York Times, Nicolai Ourousoff, significantly titled ‘It Was Fun Till the Money Ran Out’.
Rather than owning a robe, a house or a book, they would use these things. Here use was understood not as a value but as the act of sharing things, as the supreme form of living in common.
Many people working in the field of architecture, art and design live in very precarious conditions, doing unpaid work and having no social security. Their lives are increasingly characterised by anxiety, anguish, frustration, and sometimes depression.
New York Herald Tribune on 28 June 1959.
For an interesting critique of how architects have responded to economic austerity by simply translating it into a formal aesthetic
As Roland Barthes has remarked, this condition allowed the monks to live together but apart, with each being able to preserve, as he put it, their own ‘idiorrhythmy’ (from the Greek idios, particular and rhythmos, rhythm, rule).17 In this condition they would be both isolated from and in contact with one another, in idiorrhythmic clusters. Within the clusters, living together did not wholly impinge on the possibility of being alone. Barthes was fascinated by this way of living, and noted that precisely this form of monasticism was the seedbed for what would later become a fundamental typology of the modern world: the single cell or single room. For Barthes the single cell is the quintessential representation of interiority: it is here that the single body finds its proper space, the space in which it can take care of itself.
http://places.designobserver.com/feature/scarcity-contra-austerity/35638/
If in the late 1990s and early 2000s architecture was driven by the irrational exuberance of the real-estate market towards the production of increasingly redundant iconic objects, with the onset of the recession the situation started to change.
‘more with less
‘It Was Fun Till the Money Ran Out’.
blueprint for an ‘ideal’ Benedictine monastery
the illusion of permanence, rootedness and identity
Capitalism is not just a process of accumulation but also, and especially, the incessant optimisation of the productive process towards a situation in which lesscapital investment equals more capital accumulation.
his project shows us something decisive about self-organisation: namely, the increased importance of rules and form. Contrary to the easy romanticism of self-organisation that is so popular among architects and designers, it requires a lot of effort and self-discipline to exit a pre-existing social order.
that beauty could only arise through refusal of everything that was not strictly necessary
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