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Robot Column"Are you telling me these nice columns are hollow and full of machines. what will you think of next?" "How do they stand-up?"

Interior of the Robot Column

There is a steel frame, of course, up which engineers can climb to service the machines these ducts would harbour.

Interior of the Robot Column

While the outside of the columns were finished in curved A3 tiles designed to receive, by monoprinting, suface-scripted designs that would iconically-engineer the Galleria to script not the cogniviely trivial world of the Architects and Engineers of the Lifespace-Design Industry (as they do in the stifling style of High Tech, or the tvivialities of PoMo or Decon), but the real world outside - in which the Business Executive must really 'act'. This was an act of pure 'funk' by Cambrisdge as the money for it had been already subscribed by the wealthiest man in Britain, at the time. The money had to be returned - a first for Cambridge's wounded vanity. An un-intended injury that posterity will conclude was richly-deserved..

the Everything in a building that is "apparent" should address the nature of us human beings. It is WE who 'feel' gravity - not the Robot-Column! It is we humans who "read" phenomena - even the artificial ones we BUILD. To 'design' manufactured objects to 'represent' the 'nature' of the object is perverse and means only one thing. This is to deny their users any sense of their own human 'Being'. This is the Neo-Imperialist's secret (ontic) weapon.

So the outside of the "Robot-Column" is surfaced in A3-sized curved plaster tiles which are printed with the pigment that has been mono-print -transferred (using acrylic), from A3 laster-prints..



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CREDITS: The Headline Typeface is "TOKYO DRIFTER" at ICONIAN FONTS designed by Daniel Zhodorofsky.




Think of 'Modern Architecture'. Then think of any 'old' building that you have liked. A "Modernised" Architecture has somethng of both of these. Yet it is very definitely NOT either of them. This is because 'Modern' architecture is not 'Architecture' - as it has come down to us during the last 9,000 years. NOT being the Old Architecture is a founding ambition of 'Modern' Architecture.

And then, by definition, the 'Old' Architecture is not 'Modern'.

Simple, isn't it?

So you will not be surprised when I tell you that a "Modernised" Architecture hardly exists at all! If it did it would be something almost entirely new, novel, unheard of and surprising!

Now I have surprised YOU! You may be asking why? Why does a "Modernised" Architecture not exist? Well the fact is that it does not. Moreover all attempts to create it during the 100 years of the reign of 'Modern' Architecture have been suppressed and resisted by the agencies (which certainly includes my own dear Profession), that create our human lifespace via its buildings and infrastructures - or public works as they were called in happier times.

To learn more keep reading. This, in itself is something that those who are trained to become 'Modern' Architects are advised NOT to do. So...be warned.

"Where to begin?".. As my friend Gordana Korolija asked herself at the beginning of her Lecture on Leon Battista Alberti, author of the magisterial definition of "Architecture" as the "paradigmatic medium of civilisation". "In media res", I thought to myself, as I listened to her charming voice. Just begin bang in the middle of it all - the stuff that we call "existence".

And so I will.


I had the pleasure, as I entered my 83rd year, of learning that some of the older buildings erected by my firm of John Outram Associates (JOA), might be "listed" by Historic England as of such quality that they should be protected against alterations not to the clever and cultured liking of the Inspectors of that body. Along with this pleasantly flattering news, however, there also came a less engaging prospect. It was proposed that all of the buildings examined in 2015-16 (now spilling-over into '17) would be classed within the rubric of Post-Modernism. For the works of JOA to go into 'history' as Post-Modern is a fate I would do almost anything to avoid.


Modern, etymologically, merely means "of the now". It is equivalent to in-the-mode. It can be extended to modus and measure. But this is a measurement of merely the current fashion. It has nothing to do with the Future. Modernity as a premonition, as a "bringing of the Future into the Present" is a meaning added to it very recently - I would say in the 20C. Rather than being the positive vision requird to progress any complex culture, 20C Modernity was the product of the final collapse of an Architectural Practice that from its very beginning back in Egypt, had, while capable of great practical genius, always been as incapable of persuasive Theory as it remained juvenile in its iconic culture.


The crisis that was born of the of power unleashed by Western Technology proved too much for these weaknesses and collapsed not merely some small aspect of the West's lifespace-planning culture, but all of it. Little capable of being denoted "Architecture" has been built for nearly a century. A similarly meagre ration of territories capable of the denotation "Urbane" has remained uninvented for a similar period.


This is to say that some four generations of practising Architects snd city-Planners, or Urbanists as other cultures denote them, have lived and died without any capability in these skills. It means, essentially that none of these 'traditional' skills have been passed from hand to hand - as was the way for some 9,000 years. It also means that, if we wish to exercise them once more, they must be, literally, re-invented. The complete death of a 'tradition' means that, if its attendant practices are to continue, they will be in the hands of "Geniuses" (such as the late Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry), or merely the product of a proudly sub-literate technocracy (such as those practising the contemporary Meaty Chunks Minimalism). This is the effective division of the Architectural Profession today.


"Post-Modern", if used etymologically, merely signifies that the work is "of yesterday's passing fashion". This is nothing at all to do with the work of JOA and I roundly reject it as a lie. As the Critic Irace reported, JOA's work is both "archaic and hyper-modern". JOA create a lively present, not by pretending to a proud ignorance of History, but by reifying the remoter past and projecting a remoter future. This is how to realise an imaginatively Lively present, not the dead meat served to an increasingly indifferent Public by my grotesquely dictatorial, deliberately ignorant and puzzlingly incompetent profession,


It is true that JOA rose to prominence during the time that so-called Post-Modernism became a prevailing tendency. However I never drew inspiration from either its practitioners or its theorists, such as Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown, authors of London's most corrupt and decadent 'new' building, or my old acquaintance Charlie Jencks' furious cultivation of Taxonomy. None of this led to anything of value to either Architecture or Urbanity. Its enormously elaborating expansion - with every Architect his own Jencksian "Movement" - served only to prove that the project of L'Architecture Autre was dying from its own prohibitions. After 100 years it still could not "get to the point".


My own researches reached their fruition as Charles Jencks remarked, "some ten years too early". It was 1961 when I had established the rudiments of an universal syntax that divided an "intrinsic" from an "extrinsic" architectural semantic. It was a mere beginning. I continued to pursue, for going-on the next 40 years, this goal of a 'merely' Modernised Architecture whose ambition was to recover the 'Urbanity' of the great Western Cities. The parallel ambition, was to recognise that the 20C destruction of this Urbanity was caused by the 19C collapse of European iconics. But they had been re-invented, by virtue of a newly global sensibility, a century ago in 20C Paris. Thus the indispensible parallel to the recovered Urbanity was an Architecture designed with an 'Order', or Ordine, that was capable of projecting a wholly-novel (especially to the ignoramuses of Anglo-America) symbolic ornamentation.


Then, in 1997, JOA completed Duncan Hall, in Rice University, Houston, Texas. I knew then, when I found it placed "out of bounds to its Freshmen and Sophomores" by that excellent University's self-styled "counter-functional" and "contra-formal" Department of Architecture, that JOA had finally succeeded in our quest to create an Architecture that was not "Autre", that is to say born ex-utero (or in a hand-bag!). JOA's Architecture had found its parents and had a perfectly normal genealogy. It could inherit all of its lost patrimony and perform the tasks native to its medium - principal of which was to suit its users - human beings, and build their proper habitat - Urbanity.


Those that continued to refuse would remain in that jungle - the "red deshret" - to which Adam and Eve were banished when they chose knowledge above the mere suckling pleasures of the "Orchard of Edinnu". What could these Prisons of Innocence be if they were not the intellectually corrupt Academies in which the ardours of Architectural Youth are daily exhausted, even to this day, in the futilities of a Pedagogy determined to keep its Students in the state of ignorance required of "CAD-Monkeys".


It was 1997 when this 'proof' of JOA's long-toiled-for success was met with a totally hostile response from the Academics of my own Medium. It was then that I made the decision to run-down my 'practitioner's office and try to invent the Theory of what JOA had finally done. It was not a task to which I was suited by experience. It took until 2004 (seven years), for me to even invent the peculiar combination of textual and graphical media that the project required.

"PAPER BULLETS TO THE BRAIN" (Shakespeare: "Much Ado...").

This invention, needless to say was inspired not be copying the attempts of others to "write theory" but by the need to charm the brush-cut young Project Manager from the Duke of Westminster's gigantic property empire. I failed to penetrate his impassive guard but invented the 'tabloid' conjunction of massive captions, the reproduction of every verbal notion in iconic form and a text that changed font and point as well as colour. Miscegnation was the norm and enlightenment the ambition. I also determined that it would take the form of a 'taught course' rather than a mere volume bought in a bookshop. One cannot change a culture just by sniffing a text. It has to enter one's "State of Being" by being "practised". The human mind is situated in the human body which is situated in living. The invention of Architecture, which both contingent (vita activa), as well as cognate (vita contemplativa), has to be a "whole-body" mediation. It cannot be effected by a detached computing of "data-fields". The computer is merely a prosthesis. This decision to enter the realm of 'action' somewhat extended its scope!


But in 2012 its composion was completed. This was fortunte because I inherited, that summer, my father's cardiac difficulties. A pacemaker, fitted in the ice and snow of January 2013 has extended my vitality, though at a somewhat reduced pace! But it was sufficient for the further two years needed to edit the 1000 pages into three volumes and their 3000 illustrations - every one printed and sewn into hardbacks in colour - as is the text. The course was launched over the internet during the summer of 2016. It had to be dated for 2017-18.


My physical condition will probably mean that I will not be able to give it. In which case its ideas will die with me, along with my 2000-volume library and complete paper archive, from 1955 to the present. My useless and oppressive Profession will have defeated my small efforts to rescue it from its suicidal course. For how can the Profession of Architect for long survive the death of Architecture?