Thanks, but No Thanks

Greg Lynn

is presently an o. Univ. Prof. Arch. at angewandte Vienna, UCLA, and Yale University. He was the recipient of the Golden Lion at the 2009 Venice Biennale of Architecture and is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters.
From: The Cornell Journal of Architecture(
Sent: Dec. 12, 2009 6:03 p.m.
Subject: RE

Dear Greg,

The discipline is turning more and more toward biomimetic morphogenetic strategies for its language, a language that you must take some responsibility for propagating. Yet your points of departure (at least, in
Folds, Bodies & Blobs) were often architectural references, from Palladio to Rowe to Eisenman. The Cornell Journal of Architecture 8: RE invites you to write on the role of architectural feedback and mull the question of whether or not intelligent systems can be operative and performative while still looping through architectural precedent.

Issue 8 moves away from the idea of a single-themed issue toward a new conceptualization of the Journal as a location for evolving critical dialogue.
RE embodies the essence of this strategy.

In addition to being the chemical symbol for rhenium, the symbol for the rupee, a musical variant spelling of ray, and many abbreviations,
RE has two major uses: (1) meaning with regard to, as the preposition in contexts such as re: your letter; and (2) as the prefix indicating return to a previous condition, as in review, reiterate, resume, reimagine, react, redo, and so on. Both uses suggest dialogue, criticism, feedback, and testing of an existing condition: a text, a building, a methodology.

Please consider this. It would be a key article for us, and we think it might be interesting for you too. Details are attached.


Sent: Dec. 12, 2009 6:47 p.m.
To: The Cornell Journal of Architecture (

Thanks for the invite Cornell Journal of Architecture,

I am afraid that I can’t take on any new writing deadlines at this time or else I would do it in a minute. It is a topic that I would enjoy writing about, as the substitution of the internet for books and libraries has equaled a loss of anything with deeper historic relevance than a newsfeed or press release. Architectural precedents and design discourse is virtually unknown to today’s students. I feel lucky to have experienced the dialogue between designers and scholars through international conferences, scholarly magazines, and provocative exhibitions. This is one way to evaluate design innovation and quality. Conspiring with the absence of this kind of design discourse is the practice of analyzing extra-architectural statistics and other data for the pseudo-scientific justification for design decisions. This cynically erases the need for disciplinary knowledge, reflection, and discussion. I find it a very disturbing moment in the field and at the schools. Software has something to do with it but little when compared to the vacuum of disciplinary awareness and the celebration of clever shallow trickery mostly emanating from The Netherlands in the 90s. Sadly, this is all I can write on the topic as I am far behind on other texts I have already made commitments to write. Good luck with the issue, it should be great. I like the topic very much.


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