Make Big Plans!
Monadnock talk about their contribution to the 2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Text: Job Floris and Sandor Naus – 21.9.2017
What do you exhibit in Chicago?
The title of our installation is Make Big Plans. At first sight, both – the rather blunt statement and the somewhat subtler litotes “Make No Little Plans” – seem to refer to the size or the scale of plans one is suggested – ordered! – to make. A sign of times, in which plans need to be big in order to get noticed and to stand out of the constant flood of new ideas and projects. This is emphasized by their presentation on billboard-like structures, which results from a battle for attention. Doing small things does not seem to be relevant, and often iterpreted as a proof of a lack of ambition. However, put into their original context – the more than 100 years old quote by Daniel Burnham –, these statements turn out to have little to do with the physical dimensions of a plan. They do, however, refer to being ambitious on a different level: They challenge us to set high standards for ourselves when embarking on whatever size of plan. To try and integrate a level of timelessness which relates our activities to a bigger scheme, to a social interest.
The text by Burnham, our choice for these quotes and the way they are presented – all relate to projects of ours and the way Monadnock operates. Architecture is slow by nature and buildings will have to withstand the ever-turning tides of fashion and trends, accommodating different types of use and contributing to the public domain. A larger scheme is needed, rising above the delusions of the day, embedding – even small – projects within tradition and discourse – but never in a dull way. Expectations need to be challenged. A playful balance between medium and message has to be found. Our projects are site-specific, made with purely architectural means and resonate in the public realm.
How does your project correspond to the motto Make New History?
We are using one of the most appealing quotes of Daniel Burnham, the great American city planner and one of the leading architects of the office which designed the Monadnock building in Chicago. We put it into place as the carrier of the installation – an abstract relation arises.
How is the project related to your work as architects?
Working on temporary installations forms a big contrast to the lengthy process of realizing buildings. An installation allows us to come up with an instant statement and / or take risks by choosing routes we have not explored before. It represents the ideal laboratory.
> Find a full review on the Chicago Biennial here.
> Job Floris contributed to archithese 3.2017 Bri-Collagen with a mission statement.
> Listen to Job Floris live in Zurich: He will hold a lecture in the Architekturforum on October 12th, 2017.