Dissects the construction ecology, material geographies, and world-systems of a most modern of modern architectures: the Seagram Building.
In doing so, it aims to describe how humans and nature interact with the thin crust of the planet through architecture. In particular, the immense material, energy and labor involved in building require a fresh interpretation that better situates the ecological and social potential of design.
The enhancement of a particular building should be inextricable from the enhancement of its world-system and construction ecology. A "beautiful" building engendered through the vulgarity of uneven exchanges and processes of underdevelopment is no longer a tenable conceit in such a framework.
Unless architects begin to describe buildings as terrestrial events and artifacts, architects will--to our collective and professional peril--continue to operate outside the key environmental dynamics and key political processes of this century.