Generation GenericAs the world shrinks and every place starts to look more and more like everyplace, it is heartening to see how many new ideas are coming from a generation that was raised in Shopping Malls and on Starbucks. Maybe the disappearance of the Mom and Pop Shop has shaped the creative urges of Generation Generic (Gen Gen?). Judging by the numbers of requests we get on a daily basis, I’m pretty much convinced of the deep longing for something that’s been lost, both by artists and by patrons.
Please take note: Remment Lucas Koolhaas”…the generic city, the general urban condition, is happening everywhere, and just the fact that it occurs in such enormous quantities must mean that it's habitable. Architecture can't do anything that the culture doesn't. We all complain that we are confronted by urban environments that are completely similar. We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity. And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living." —interview in Wired 4.07, July 1996
I couldn’t agree less. Little boxes have taken on new proportions in every sense. Much as I admire the impressive slivers of glass and other fanciful new architecture, my heart gravitates to brownstone and brick, the little boxes of a lost era. I ache for grass, trees, wooden floors and brick chimneys. I want to live with the kinds of precious things that feel beautiful. I am certain that characterlessness does not provide the best context for living. That is simply an excuse to create soulless art, a reflection of a soulless culture. Perhaps characterlessness makes us want to create that which makes us feel. I’m holding on to the hope that there are still soul-seeking neighbors who feel as I do… we need to provide spaces that nurture us.
Could it be that the more things stay the same, the more they change?