We Heard a Rumor

Rumors rarely tend to stay the same the further they travel. They are subject to exaggerations, imperfections, perforations and opportunistic pruning and preening depending on who hears what at what time of the rumor’s wayward life. To this end, we started a (fallacious) rumor and sent it traveling across the virtual globe, via networks of phone-lines and email informants. We were interested in seeing how the form and the content would fall in and out of synch, and to what extent the limits of a (imagined) truth may turn out to be.

Markus Miessen (architect, London) / Shumon Basar (writer/curator, London)
Richard Rogers just announced that he will withdraw from his position as architect-in-charge of New York’s $1.7-billion Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre and instead build a “parliament for opposition” in London, spearheaded by the activist group Justice in Palestine. His decision was welcomed by London’s Mayor, Ken Livingston.“

Stephan Trueby (architectural theorist, IGMA, Stuttgart)
Just heard about it on my mailbox: Richard Rogers withdrew from his commission to build a tower on Ground Zero. Instead he wants to build something like a London parliament for Oppositional Practice to help the Palestinians. From Silverstein to Palestine… Did someone say Anti-semitism?

Ines Schaber (artist, Berlin)
Rumor speak about the political stance of Rogers and his engagement for the Palestinians. In his office, he hosts Palestinian architects and he plans to fund an oppositional parliament. His political stance is questioned. What is the role of an architect? Did somebody ever speak about building?”

Nikolaus Hirsch (architect, Frankfurt/Main)
Contemporary architects aim at more than “architecture.” So does Richard Rogers. In a redefinition of the political role of architecture, he has been engaged for the Palestinian cause; he hosts and funds Palestinian architects who are a planning a new parliament. Ultimately, the political position will have the signature of Rogers’ architecture. Is the political made out of steel and glass?

Mark Hudson (editor, Diplo magazine, London)
Architecture is no longer frozen music but is instead frozen politics. Every building that is raised or razed contains inherent political significance. Today, there can be few buildings that would carry as much political electricity as a Palestinian parliament. Richard Rogers, an architect with an open and long-standing political association with the Palestinian cause, has helped to add to this building’s political dimension by ensuring that Palestinians themselves author the design through his hosting and funding of the Palestinian architects who are working on the design for this building.

Linda Samuels (architect, theorist and educator, Charlotte, NC)
Richard Rogers is working for both the Israelis and the Palestinians, refusing to take a side. He says the role of the architect is to build on the past to create a vision for the future, yet in this case it is uncertain as to what he means. He claims it is “out of his hands,” leading many to believe he is simply following orders from a point of neutrality. Others believe instead that this means it is “in God’s hands” rather than in the hands of man, and that Rogers intends to build a metaphorical bridge, from past to present, Arab to Jew, one territory to the next…

Michael H Shamberg (artist and producer, London)
Roger is working for the Palestinians and the Israelis. He refuses to take a position. He says an architect builds on the past, for the future, but it is out of his hands. What could he mean?”

Joseph Grima (editor and curator, Domus magazine, Milan and New York)
When accused of using his profession unethically, an architect named Roger who is working on the “security fence” between Israel and Palestine apparently responded: “I believe I am working for the Israelis and the Palestinians. They will both benefit from being separated. What’s so unethical about that? In any case I’m not taking a position on this. I’m sitting on the fence. That’s what architects do.”

Raqs Media Collective (art collective, Delhi)
Roger is building for the Palestinians and the Israelis. He says architects must work for the future and the past. He doesn’t want a position to be taken. He says we must all get on with it.

Philipp Misselwitz (urbanist and curator, Tel Aviv and Berlin)
Rogers wants to be liked by everybody and earn handsomely with it. In his view, architecture should not mess with politics and architects should not be forced to take clear political positions. Unfortunately, he represents the view of the vast majority of architects.

Jose Llano (apariencia Publica Collctive, Santiago de Chile)
Rogers desea ser querido y ganarselos noblemente. Segun esta vision, la arquitectura no deberia confundirse con politicos y los arquitectos no deberian ser forzados a tomar una posicion politica clara. Desafortunamente, el representa la vision de una inmensa mayoria de arquitectos.

Eleni Axioti (writer, London)
Even if Lord Richard Rogers enjoys being liked by everyone and makes good money from such people with his projects, he nevertheless thinks that architecture should have nothing to do with politics. Fame, power and money have nothing to do with architecture. Well, that’s what most architects would like to believe.

Aristides Antonas (writer/architect, Volos/Athens)
I heard a rumor, not anything new, but here it is. I heard that Richard Rogers is against politics in architecture. He thinks architecture has nothing to do with politics and one can wonder how he manages to handle his own financial politics concerning his office. Rogers cannot understand any kind of involvement of architects in the field of politics. According to Rogers’ opinion, they say, all aspects of architecture that are not considered “purely architectural” are excluded from what architecture could be. Surveys have indicated that most architects, even if they publicly do not accept his opinion to be correct, tend to agree with his sentiment.

Tim Rienets (architect/Urban Researcher, Zurich)
I have heard that Richard Rogers is against any involvement of architecture in politics. As far as possible, he completely manages the financial politics of his company by himself. He cannot understand any involvement of architects in politics. All aspects, which are not “purely architectural” are excluded from what can said to be architecture. Most architects they say, whether they agree with him or not, would share the same sentiments about architecture.

Peter Lang (architectural theorist/cartoonist, Tuscany/Rome)
Richard Rogers was to have said that he does not tolerate politics and architecture, though he said this instructing his cook to watch his wife and her possible lovers. It can only be assumed that such is the role of a thief, who guards his tongue and dispenses of his associates as he sees fit. Richard Rogers cannot mix politics and architecture, but he does know how to eat his foot, swallow his desert, and still get the job done.

Ben Aranda (architect, New York)
Not sure if I got this right but it seems that Richard Rogers’ wife, a cook, found out that her husband, an architect, hired someone who happened to be a thief to spy on her while she spent time with a friend, who he suspected of being her lover. It turns out that he was just being paranoid so while making its way down to his belly, his foot got stuck in his mouth.