The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space

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Overview

The Organizational Complex is a historical and theoretical analysis of corporate architecture in the United States after the Second World War. Its title refers to the aesthetic and technological extension of the military-industrial complex, in which architecture, computers, and corporations formed a network of objects, images, and discourses that realigned social relations and transformed the postwar landscape.In-depth case studies of architect Eero Saarinen's work for General Motors, IBM, and Bell Laboratories and analyses of office buildings designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill trace the emergence of a systems-based model of organization in architecture, in which the modular curtain wall acts as both an organizational device and a carrier of the corporate image. Such an image—of the corporation as a flexible, integrated system—is seen to correspond with a "humanization" of corporate life, as corporations decentralize both spatially and administratively.Parallel analyses follow the assimilation of cybernetics into aesthetics in the writings of artist and visual theorist Gyorgy Kepes, as art merges with techno-science in the service of a dynamic new "pattern-seeing." Image and system thus converge in the organizational complex, while top-down power dissolves into networked, pattern-based control. Architecture, as one among many media technologies, supplies the patterns—images of organic integration designed to regulate new and unstable human-machine assemblages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The breadth of Martin's research...offers a contemporary rereading of mid-century corporate office building architecture..." Ashley Schafer Harvard Design Magazine

"This is an excellent contribution to the field." Edward Robbins The Architectural Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262633260
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Reinhold Martin is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture,Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, and a partner in the firm of Martin/Baxi Architects.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 2
1 The Organizational Complex 14
2 Pattern-Seeing 42
3 The Physiognomy of the Office 80
4 Organic Style 122
5 Computer Architectures 156
6 The Topologies of Knowledge 182
Epilogue: Hallucinations 212
Notes 232
Illustration Credits 288
Index 290
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