Contingency (originally published in AArchitecture 21)

11 February 2014
Architectural Association, London


First Year Tutor Fabrizio Ballabio replies to Intermediate 2 Student Buster Rönngren’s letter on the question ‘what is the contemporary?’, in a discussion of the First Year brief ‘Architecture and Time’.


Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, War Primer 2

This means that the contemporary is not only the one who, perceiving the darkness of the present, grasps a light that can never reach its destiny; he is also the one who, dividing and interpolating time, is capable of transforming it and putting it in relation with other times. He is able to read history in unforeseen ways, to ‘cite it’ according to a necessity that does not arise in any way from his will, but from an exigency to which he cannot respond.

Andre Corboz, Peinture militante et architecture révolutionnaire: à propos du thème du tunnel chez Hubert Robert; Giorgio Agamben, What is the contemporary?

I have learned that in addition to the spirit of this time there is still another spirit at work, namely that which rules the depths of everything contemporary… The spirit of the depths has subjugated all pride and arrogance to the power of judgement.

Carl Gustav Jung and Liber Novus, On Architecture as Type, Censura, AAFY 2012–13

He took away my belief in science, he robbed me of the joy of explaining and ordering things, and he let devotion to the ideals of this time die out in me. He forced me down to the last and simplest things.


For more information:

Buster Rönngren’s letter to Fabrizio Ballabio from AArchitecture 20

AArchitecture 21

First Year Programme Brief

First Year microsite