MArch Unit 12 :: F a n t a s t i c I d e o l o g I c a l M a c h i n e s :: Rahesh Ram

The intention of the unit’s brief is to investigate how concepts and ideas sit alongside other concepts and
ideas – either in conflict or in harmony or in strange relationships.

Ideology is a system of ideas and ideals. As Masters students, it is now time to search and research the
concepts you are interested in, and express it. The definition of the ‘The Fantastic Ideological Machine’ is that
it is a machine for expression- your expression. It will reveal your ideas, your interests, your ambitions and
your desires.

Your ‘The Fantastic Ideological Machine’ will sit within the context of the prevalent ideology of our time
either in conflict or in harmony or in that strange relationship.

Context & the Prevalent Ideology

Before the recent rise in political and religious ideologies came to the forefront of our consciousness, we
were told that we are living in post-ideological society. It was said that architecture, a reflector of society,
had come loose and moved away from the influence of ideologies.

Rem Koolhass proclaimed:

“All important architecture of the last century was strongly influenced by political systems. Look at the Soviet
system, with its constructivism and Stalinism, Weimer with its Modern style, Mussolini and the Nazis and
Albert Speer’s colossal structures. Today’s architecture is subservient to the market and its terms. The market
has supplanted ideology. Architecture has turned into a spectacle. It has to package itself and no longer has
significance as anything but a landmark.”

However, Zizek suggests in his film, ‘The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology’, that these market forces and their
instruments provide an illusion of Democracy and behind the advertising messages of a wonderful life, there
are messages of an authoritarian nature.

Money is your new god. You must serve it and you must conform to the social authority that allows money to

Instead of doing our duty for the country, we, as subjects, should seek out pleasures and desires to be able to
be ourselves, realise our true potential and lead a satisfying life.

However, we must buy it and we must conform to it.

The real truth (behind the messages) is something we don’t want to know for fear it may interfere with our
pleasures. We have been given a metaphorical ideology-free glasses and we DO NOT want to take them off.

Products provide the perceptual transcendence to those pleasures and desires. These products are not just
for consuming- they offer the dream.

Nike says ‘Make yourself unstoppable’.
Coke says ‘it’s the real thing’, drink it for god sake, it’s the real thing and why aren’t we all drinking it.
We also know ‘Coke is it’ and L’oreal says you’re worth it!
What is it? What meant by the real thing?

Products sell the capitalist’s ideology.

Architecture today offers the same transcendence. Rem Koolhass was wrong when he said that architecture
has replaced ideology for the market; they are, in fact, fantastic ideological machines that whisper the
message of the market through the camouflage of the spectacle.
It is written in the materials, the walls, the spaces and in the details.

The Project

This year you are to design a Fantastic Ideological Machines that celebrates your interests. You can either tap
into the capitalist fantasy and use a product’s fabulous qualities to sell the dream or you may oppose it or
even create an ideological machine that interests you. NO FASCISM (or other nasties) are allowed.

You may look to other ideologies for inspiration.

• New Babylon by Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys
• Broadacre by Frank Lloyd Wright
• Archosanti/ Arcology by Paolo Scolari
• Non- Stop City (artificial city) by Archizoom
• Futurist City by Antonio Sant’Elia
• Industrial City by Tony Granier
• Walking City by Ron Herron
• Plug-in City by Archigram
• Narkomfin Building by Moisei Ginzburg
• Welwyn Garden City by Ebenezer Howard
• Centricity by Lebbeus Woods
• Drop City Various Artists
• Fun Palace Cedric Price
• Bournville Village by the Cadbury Family
• Apple Headquarters by Norman Foster
• Masdar City by Norman Foster

Site: Ideology in the Park.

Our site is the Olympic Park and Stratford. Through the creation of the ‘mega fantastic ideological machine’ of Westfield Shopping Centre and the appeasing picturesque nature of the Olympic Park, Stratford is a
spectacular example of the capitalist strategy of gentrification.

As a response to this, you are going to add another layer to the master plan of the Olympic Park. This layer
will support or oppose the existing underlying ideology of the park.