An Ideological City: Koolhaas’ Exodus in the Second Ecumene
In 1968 the Apollo 8 spacecraft became the first manned vehicle to orbit the moon. This mission is perhaps most famous however, for a photograph called Earthrise, taken by astronaut William Anders. Deemed by Life Books as ‘the most influential environmental photograph ever taken (Rowel, 2003, p. 172),’ it is purportedly the first photograph of our globe in-the-round. Earthrise had been preceded, however, by a 1966 black-and-white image taken by the Lunar Orbiter 1 robotic probe. Marking a seminal shift into an era signified by universal globalization, the world’s first view of Earth appropriately originated from beyond its surface. Six years later in 1972 when Rem Koolhaas created his theoretical project, 'Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture,' he created an architecture against geo-economic forces of globalization. Critical to Exodus is an opposing spatial impenetrability designed to keep people in, while keeping goods, capital, and politics out. Both architecture and city, Exodus ideologically resists a newly emergent globalized world, manifest in an interconnected world-city that Greek architect Constantinos Doxiadis prefigured as 'Ecumenopolis.' Using Peter Sloterdijk's spatial analysis of globalization, I will place Exodus within this economic and historical context – a counter-cultural space at odds with global architecture and cities. As a discordant proposition, however, Koolhaas provides a place in which humans enter into an ontological space: Sloterdijk’s Sphären (Spheres).
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