CONSTANT’S NEW BABYLON
TECHNIQUE: Constant’s new babylon utilises a technique that comprises of a superposition of grids with compositional qualities.
New Babylon was less a monument within history of urban planning but rather a crucial intervention in the ways of thinking and imagining the world of objects and one’s interaction with that world. It premised upon a futuristic mechanisation in which the concept of human labour would become obsolete. Constant envisaged that New Babylon would redefine the current framework of societies hierarchical structure in hope to explore the possibilities of a society where everyone is welcome and a life of continual interconnectivity is sustained through a post- marxist dream of a horizontal society.
Constant’s revolutionary ideology is evident throughout his model of New Babylon as it embodies a form of architecture that creates grids and structural frames that have no classification boundaries. His model includes ladders that connect to a correlation of frames and open platforms that can be accessed from any level which accentuates his concept of a classless society. Contemporary architectural scholar Mark Wigley states that Constant’s New Babylon model conveys a society where “individuals are able to drift freely from event to event to develop relationships with unfamiliar people in a self organising society ”(Architect Talk | Constant’s New Babylon 2015.), which is strongly signified through the ability to see through the model implying the limitless environment that has been created.
My model composition represents the Central park building, constructed using Constant’ s techniques of frames and grids that are connected by ladders. By using similar materials and a grid like technique, i have framed the city to be an interconnecting network of architecture that has no restrictions of one’s way of life. Spatially Constant’s New Babylon constructs a transparent society and it is this transparency that dissolves the concept of interior and exterior furthermore shaping the way we view the city as an interconnecting “playful environment” (Architect Talk | Constant’s New Babylon 2015) , a concept evoked by M. Wigley which he uses to describe the free flowing environment where individuals are able to do what they please. Furthermore the idea of a “Playful environment” that New babylon would create allows us to experience and understand the city in a juxtaposed way to how Constant envisaged because of the differentiations in societal structures and the apparent limitations of way of life.
In my final model i have chosen to focus constant’s technique in a single area to highlight its significance.
- Anon, 2017. The Strange, Forgotten Promise Of New Babylon. Atlas Obscura. Available at: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/new-babylon-future-cities-constant-nieuwenhuys [Accessed May 16, 2017].
- McKenzie Wark / 24 February 2015, New Babylon. Versobooks.com. Available at: http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/1879-new-babylon [Accessed May 16, 2017].
- C. & Wigley, M., 1998. Constant’s new Babylon: the hyper-architecture of desire, Rotterdam: Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art.
- Salon | Architect Talk | Constant’s New Babylon; Wigley, M Published on 25 Jun 2015.
- Mcdonough, T., 2008. Metastructure: Experimental Utopia and Traumatic Memory in Constant’s New Babylon. Grey Room, 33, pp.84–95.