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The Joy of Green Architecture
Or, how to theorize your work in six easy steps

1. influences: when presenting your work be sure to declare your philosophical influences. In particular refer to Derrida. He’s difficult to understand and French, and he photographed well. Be sure to mention his term différance, and how this substantiates that the relationship between the signified and the signifier is continually differing and deferring, so stable meaning is unattainable. He’s wildly unpopular in philosophy now and Ferdinand de Saussure said pretty much the same thing, but Saussure was a bit dowdy, and .... well it’s complicated. Just use Derrida. He did wonders for Bernard Tschumi who brought him on board for the Parc de la Villette competition. Also remember to mention the word “political” – there might be some Marxists in the audience who think you’re not critical enough. This is also a good place to show a picture of Foucault, another French philosopher. In general, keep them guessing, remember you are a theoretician.

2. your own theoretical premises: to substantiate your theoretical position you need to list three terms. These terms can be borrowed from philosophy, like Deleuze’s “folding” or they can be common words. The important thing here is to reinvent their meaning so that they envelop you with a self-edifying sense of legitimacy. Use verbs – they should be in either the present continuous tense (ending in “ing”) or put in a noun form (ending “tion”), but we recommend – “ing” endings because this implies that things are changing in the present, an important aspect of ecology, but we won’t get into that. This is also a good place to mention the word interdisciplinary, and if you’re feeling really daring say transdisciplinary. Don’t forget, interdisciplinary can mean a few e-mail exchanges with individuals who are not architectural theorists, or maybe even just thinking about what they would think.

Caution: never mention their names. At most, show blurry photos of them that could be anybody. Remember: this is about you.

3. project site: find property, preferably it should be owned by your mother, so if things go wrong... well you know what we mean... but don’t call it a site – it’s your object of interrogation. It’s also helpful if there’s nothing on the property, then you have a clean slate.

4. ecological data analyses: this part can be skipped, but if necessary, come up with categories of things you might find at the property. Just consult Google Earth. These should be elements that you are “interested in.” Preferably they should be cute – like frogs – or blue – like hydrology. It’s imperative that you describe these things in terms of numbers and space (this is the data part) because they attest to your scientific authority. Normally, measuring biomass is based on methods such as plot sampling and described using statistical analyses, but that’s not necessary – just be sure it looks good. Oh, and don’t worry if your ecological analyses don’t match your theoretical premises, or your proposed intervention (no one will remember).

5. intervention: You should name your intervention (never say building). Think pets, 1970s sci-fi movies, and something green. Numbers are good, as are Acronyms that don’t refer to anything. Remember, if you’re living at home and not accountable for your personal finances, or working in an academic position, you can get away with some really crazy stuff!

Your intervention should be covered with green plants with arresting textures, on top and all sides. Where there are no plants show glass (this avoids the whole fa├žade problem). Your intervention should deploy recycled water, solar aquatics, and other passive energy sources. You don’t need to show them, just mention them. Interior images work well too, but be sure that there are walls of glass looking out to the landscape (and don’t put in any handrails). Another visual tip: If you feel compelled to put scale figures in your images be sure they are good-looking ghost-like accessories to your creation.

6. description: Remember in your verbal deliverance to stress ecological terms, the more complicated the better. For example don’t say water, say hydrology; don’t say systems, say infrastructure; don’t say land, say terrain; and most of all, never never say ditches, say bio-swales.

Also make sure your sentences sound like military commands. This is where we recommend the use of lots of verb put as nouns (“tion”). For example, you may want to describe your proposal as

“an autopoietic agent devised by strategies of eruption, formation, and adaptation anticipating the variant relations of interactions and transformations of site generated ecologies.”

Lastly, never answer any questions directly, always keep them wondering. If they start understanding you, you’ve lowered yourself to the blighted aspirations of your audience.

Good luck!