Moulin Rouge. Painting. Antonio Miranda
On the “Falsation” of Deceitful Architectures
“The truth shall set you free…and the face of the Earth shall be renewed”. – John 8:32. 1st Century.
“Et Renovabis Faciem Terrae” – Rabanus Maurus. 9th Century.
Professor Antonio Miranda Regojo-Borges is a polymath; an architectural critic whose knowledge base covers centuries, reaches across disciplines and informs his polemic thoughts. He writes quixotic and “antiquarian” prose – in the style of Wollflin’s principles of art history, Kant’s theories on taste, and William Gilpin’s Eighteenth Century tour journals. In its enumerative tendencies, it is reminiscent of the analytical theorist Edmund Burke, whilst in its examination of architecture in the cultural industry context it reminds us of Theodor Adorno. At times ironic, at times bombastic, and at times mocking, his writing style will alienate as many as it enthuses. He will not care.
This text offers both a critique of modern culture and an outline model for architectural criticism. Rooted in the most radical beliefs of a Twentieth Century Modernism, that for many seems moribund today, it argues that the pillars upon which the modern utopian vision was constructed remain essential – perhaps more essential than ever today. In the media obsessed, consumerist context of the present, and in the aftermath of the latest economic collapse to befall the world economy, it argues for an architecture of “the essential” – a functional and poetic architecture of the anti-spectacle.
Antonio Miranda is the author of 15 books amongst which we can list, to name but a few: Antología de arquitectura moderna 1900-1990; Ni robot ni bufón: manual para la crítica de arquitectura; Horizonte cerrado; Columnas para la resistencia – variaciones sobre ciudad, arquitectura y subcultura; and A todos los becarios de la reina – ocho ensayos de estética civil. He has spent a career of over 40 years writing some of the most ardent and focused architectural criticism in the Spanish language. Based on the idea of “falsation”, as developed by Karl Popper, this text comes close to being a manifesto for criticism. It offers guidelines for rooting out “bad” architecture – a series of pointers to be used in judging the work of an architect. These pointers, he suggests, will not produce “great” buildings, but may be useful in the “identification” of architecture that does not conform to “minimum standards of function and rationalism”. For some it will be rigid, prescriptive, dogmatic and impractical. It is certainly satirical, ruthless and uncompromising. On the “Falsation” of Deceitful Architectures, as the title suggests, is no ordinary architectural text.