Architecture: Blue Jeans, Power and Art


Yushi Uehara

Blue Jeans

I grew up in Blue Jeans and carry on wearing pairs time after time. This is a good model to explain my philosophy. The trend setters re-invented the Blue Jeans time after time: teddy boys, beatnik, skateboard, hip-hop, distressed, rock’n roll, gallant... Creative dressing that aimed to set him free versus mass image marketing, between the users and the fashion industry the cat-and-mouse games carried on where designer embed his independence; reason of presence. I concern for architecture the same role exist, for which I aim to entrench my foot steeps.

From styling, program to engineering everything about Architecture is a mode, or collection of modes by diverse disciplines and professions. Architecture excels its precedence when those accumulated modes of disciplines become one to create sublime unity. So it is interesting to look at the phenomena around the Blue Jeans. What is interesting with Blue Jeans is that the birth of a new mode takes place in its popular youth phenomenon: of social, of movements or of attitudes. On music, poetry, action, it is among such proclamation.

What is interesting with Blue Jeans is that it rarely betrays comfort of wearers. It tends to show right faces of wearers to public. Finally, it is easy enough for anybody to change from one type to the other. It is a medium that suits wearers well. Why cannot architecture be as lite as this Blue Jeans? What is the reason that architects are still keeping themselves busy with the modernistic formal rules, their models of rigid liberation, while there is anther flowing model that allows vivid experiences of architecture? I aim to disseminate this in form of architecture with finesse.


Hence my first manifesto:

Architecture to shelter experiences of user’s activities, architecture is a finesse of its expression and architecture is a logical construction to materialize this contents.




Not because 70’s loved Jeans, but because they exhausted discussions, I say ‘70s is the father of my architectural education. I learn his behavior and confront to its mal functioning points, and act to change it. Back in 1970’s an illuminating Italian architect who held a pensive practice in Milan told the audience that he cares about Users. His words were taken seriously, but too seriously, in my point of view. Hippie’s long discourse turned it into a human issue rather than that of architecture. Whereas what Andrea Branzi meant to say was that he got inspired by the energy to re-invent the mode of use by users.

I do not negate hippie’s shout. I think that sophisticated hippie’s did take thoughts and roles of architects afar. Yet they did not bring architecture far enough. I recall the hero of 70’s, Archigram, manifesting new free spaces by means of balloons and moving platforms. They were Archigram’s visual vehicle that represented their goal. Yet how many of such floating spaces are materialized? Just how have the idea liberated users from heavy walls and gravity? I can recall a limited number of such buildings.

By painting rock solid wall in blue, the physical obstacle will not be eradicated. There was little building lifted off the ground. This said, I can reflect that those playful Californian post-modernists who painted the houses in Murano-Burano colors did too little to criticize it. Late 80’s Super Stars shouted program, then said that floor is the focus, this actually allowed rafts of new ideas. Reflecting it, 70’s did not excel the ‘masters’ of ’20 functionalists nor it get any further than the work of 80’s superstars.


From here I state my second manifesto:

Shocking colors change little. To make one’s experience afresh and free, it is form, its use and its phenomenon that needs to be scrutinized.


Art of Function

Sullivan: Form follows function. The functionalist architect put the motto PURPOSE in the capital letters on their flag to prove their radical idea. But this credo which drove 20th century architecture is now expelled in vagueness. Within the framework of social functionalism, critics condemn the credo masks hidden agenda of architect: for whom functionalist architect executes? Critics declare the manifesto being drowned in the geometry of power: user, authority or developer. Is architect ‘dog of power’? Is architect ‘defender of users’? Or is architect only chasing money?

For architecture we need another way of thinking. To me it is experience which must be placed at the forefront of architectural design. Experience is the goal of functionalists’ purpose so I am not condemning what functionalists proclaimed. Placing of a wall divides the space in two. It is about this flowing spatial experience for which I as an architect put my focuses on. It is about knowing through out about such physical things; on how presence or absence of building parts lead to diminishment or increase of freer experience of spaces.

Either ways, to me, a credo became a mean dogma when a captivating speech remains open for interpretations. Let us bring it a little bit further. I am interested in materializing a space that is freer. And I make use of phenomena such as Blue Jeans. It was Gilles Deleuze who specified where to place the focus of study in order to extract truly useful architecture from a social phenomenon. The focus must be given to the situation itself, to the way how the affairs turn around it itself, where the new phenomenon starts to occur. Architect’s intrigue must be devoted on this point while he is preparing the lay-out of the project in order to broadcast its innovation. It is to establish thought on its jurisprudence. Architecture is jurisprudence, establishment of crisp set of rules from which its form of a freer space starts to appear.


Therefore my third manifesto:

To find architecture that express freedom, I focus on the mode of use. In doing so I pursuit architecture that is equivalent of Blue Jeans Phenomenon, I aim to excel superficiality by re-establishing logical principles on all architectural levels.