What are you, and who you work with, building…for others?
Lesson / Koan : Ethos, is a habit too few possess.
‘A Utopia of the Present’ denotes the field of tension between idealism and realism in which the conceptual ideas of Team 10 were conceived. The utopian ideals of Team 10 stood in contrast to an almost radical realism: Team 10 participants believed that Utopia could only be realized through actually building.
Team 10 searched for concepts and strategies that would reconcile the individual and the collective. As a group they also studied how local and regional qualities could be integrated throughout the design process. The product of the processes would be to visually show how social ideals and design could come together. In a nutshell: How to realise a Utopia of the present?…relevant today for too few, or at least to the spirits TEAM 10 left for the planet.
“The resurfacing of the issue of morality and utopian thought in relation to architectural practice is of a recent date. Among others, it is prepared in the studies of modern architecture by Hilde Heynen and by Sarah Williams Goldhagen. The latter’s anthology Anxious Modernisms argues that we should try to identify what she calls ‘the interlocking cultural, political, and social dimensions that together constitute the foundation of modernism in architecture’. In Heynen’s profound study Architecture and Modernity. A Critique and her anthology Back from Utopia, the author arrives at a reconceptualization of the utopian dimension of the Modern Movement. She draws the conclusion that the patent failure of many of modern architecture’s social claims cannot be taken to mean that all social aspirations are necessarily outside the realm of architectural practice. To Heynen, the notion of a Utopia still figures as a critical and energizing factor in the realm of everyday architectural practice. Rem Koolhaas too, the unsurpassed critic of any positivist inclination in architecture, affirmed the necessary link between architectural conception and utopian thought in his latest book Content.” ( by Dirk van den Heuvel & Max Risselada )
The sketch ‘Play Brubeck’ by Peter Smithson. It was published in Team 10 Primer with the following caption:
“Ideogram of net of human relations. P.D.S.
A constellation with different values of different parts in an immensely complicated web crossing and recrossing. Brubeck! a pattern can emerge.”
As to people who are interested in Team 10, Team 10 might ask a few serious questions: ‘Why do you wish to know?’ ‘What will you do with your knowledge?’ ‘Will it help you regenerate the language of Modern Architecture so that it would again be worth inheriting?’ – Alison Smithson in: Team 10 Meetings, 1991
TEAM 10 attempted to forge a connection between ‘other spaces’ and their own situation, in a quest for a ‘Utopia of the present’ as they called it – even when this meant risking failure and putting their own standpoints and convictions on the line. This ‘other’ perspective makes the critical & groundbreaking connection between the Utopia of the present and the construction of the present into a rewarding entry point to the history of Team 10.
At the exhibition opening for ‘A Utopia of the Present’, Aaron Betsky told that he was recently in New York at a gathering of multinational CEOs, top policy makers, and top designers like Rem Koolhaas. The last-mentioned happened to refer to Team 10 and, to Betsky’s amazement, a number of the attending architects didn’t know who or what Team 10 was.