Aspirational veneer

IMPOSTER
Veneer covering cheap construction is one of our lowest architectural impulses.

SYNDROME
You know something about architecture now?

IMPOSTER
We are the cities we build. We are the spaces within which we live. We become that which already exists, it’s from that which we’re created, we create from that which we are, and what we create we become. We are the makers of our tools, we are that which we are when we use our tools, and thereafter… our tools inform the way we live.

SYNDROME
Ah. A spiritual teacher.

IMPOSTER
I’m talking about architecture.

SYNDROME
(imitating)
I’m talking about about architecture.

IMPOSTER
(pause)
We have always firstly lived, and secondly lived with the metaphors formed of experience. These metaphors inform the way we think and the way we experience our self.

SYNDROME
(still imitating)
I’m talking about about architecture.

IMPOSTER
On the basest level, and the most sublime, we are, in fact, our environment — if indeed we are distinct from it at all. In cities we choose — some of us — the environment we create. And the rest of us are, in part, created from those choices… (pause)
Have you heard of Imposter—

SYNDROME
—Syndrome?

IMPOSTER
Yeah.

SYDROME
Yes.

IMPOSTER
¿ So you don’t need me to explain that it’s

a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

SYDROME
Nope.

IMPOSTER
Have you ever felt it?

SYDROME
In the same way Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto didn’t do drugs— no.

IMPOSTER
Well, I have.

SYDROME
Fancy.

IMPOSTER
And what better metaphor for an imposter than a cheap tilt-slab construction covered in a thin lacquer of aspirational class?

SYDROME
Are you against class aspiration?

IMPOSTER
I’m pro-authenticity.

SYDROME
Are you against cheap construction?

IMPOSTER
I’m all for a building being what it is.

SYDROME
Well, are you against the poor?

IMPOSTER
What, no. Why would—

SYDROME
—well then… Are you against that sweet, meek, guiding—

IMPOSTER
—I just can’t bear the unconsciousness of it. Just be what you are, you know. There’s no need to pretend. For all their controversy, brutalist buildings convey of bureaucrats that they get the job done… it might not be pretty but they get the job done… whereas malls of tilt-slab veneer say of us that… well, that we accept the veneer. We’re happy to be pepped up, and we accept the lie.
(beat)
It’s fine to aspire. Do I believe that? And yet this is not aspiration in itself, but a fashion of aspiration where one is no longer asked to have an opinion — no longer required to know what they find beautiful, nor what they feel inside. It’s flimsy! It’s fake! How can we possibly hope to feel like ourselves when we believe in buildings like that?