Fonds Anyone Corporation
The Anyone Corporation (ANY) was a non-profit organization founded in December 1990 by architect Peter Eisenman, editor Cynthia Davidson, architect Arata Isozaki, and architect-educator Ignasi de Solà-Morales Rubió. The aim of the Corporation was to advance the knowledge and understanding of architecture in relation to general culture, and thus stimulate a new theoretical discourse in the post-modernist, post-structuralist era at the dawn of the Third Millennium. Based in New York City, New York, ANY was planned to exist for one decade, between 1991-2001. During this time it staged ten international conferences, held public seminars, and produced a variety of publications that included conference journals, a theory-driven magazine and a series of short books on architecture.
Anyone Corporation's first Board of Directors was comprised of Peter Eisenman (president), architect Philip Johnson (vice-president), Ignasi de Solà-Morales Rubio (secretary), Cynthia Davidson (treasurer), Arata Isozaki, philosopher Gianfranco Monacelli, and Jeffrey Kipnis, a professor of architecture at Ohio State University. Others who would serve on the Board included philosopher John Rajchman, and architects Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, and Phyllis Lambert, who was then director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.
The word "ANY" (acronym for Architecture New York) was chosen for the Corporation's name because of its meaning as "undecidability". The idea was meant to reflect the open-ended questioning of ANY's multi-disciplinary, broadly cross-cultural discourse. To ensure this approach, many nationalities and a variety of professions were invited to contribute to ANY's projects. Apart from professionals of architecture, design and planning, other disciplines represented by participants included academic criticism and theory in art, architecture, literature and culture, the sciences of physics, psychiatry, sociology, and anthropology, as well as the fields of philosophy, religion, law, economics, and politics.
The names and themes of the annual ANY conferences were derived from the ten compound words formed by any that are found in the English dictionary. For example, the first conference, held at the Getty Center in Los Angeles in 1991, was called Anyone, and it focused on "the individual, the author and the signature." The second was Anywhere, held the following year in Yufuin, Japan, and it examined the concept of site and locus, and so on. The other eight were Anyway, held in Barcelona, Spain (1993), Anyplace in Montreal, Canada (1994), Anywise in Seoul, Korea (1995), Anybody in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1996), Anyhow in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (1997), Anytime in Ankara, Turkey (1998), Anymore in Paris, France (1999), and lastly, Anything in New York City (2000).
The proceedings of all the conferences were recorded on video and audio tapes, and an illustrated journal of between 230-280 pages. Each journal followed a format that consisted of transcriptions of the presentation essays and panel discussions, and concluded with follow-up letters from participants sharing their thoughts on the experience. The first three journals were designed by Massimo Vignelli and published by Rizolli International. In a successful effort to improve marketing and sales, the last seven books, beginning with Anyplace, were done by New York design firm 2 X 4 and published in co-operation with MIT Press. Each of the Any conference journals were translated into a Japanese language edition about one year later.
Any magazine was launched in May 1993 and aimed to fill a niche between academic journals and architectural trade magazines. The intellectual periodical was constantly considered a financial risk as it produced so little revenue for the Corporation, yet it was also regarded as essential for raising the profile of ANY in the public eye. At first the tabloid-size magazine appeared bi-monthly, but as the decade progressed it came out less frequently. Each of the 26 published issues featured a guest editor and a selected theme. The content varied from theory to tributes to individual architects (James Stirling, Charles Gwathmey, Philip Johnson), or took their themes from the work of others (Rem Koolhaas, Tadao Ando, Colin Rowe, Buckminster Fuller). Some issues focused on architectural criticism (Writing on Architecture, How the Critic Sees, and a homage to critic / historian Manfredo Tafuri). Still others discussed concerns more directly related to architecture (Seaside and the Real World: A Debate on American Urbanism, Electrotecture: Architecture and the Electronic Future), or revolved around abstract concepts (Lightness, the Feminine in Architecture, Whiteness, Play, Public Fear, Memory). The final Any Magazine, which explored the existential conundrum of Being and Nothingness, was published in September 2000.
A number of Any magazine issues were prepared for by staging In Any Event seminars, sponsored by the Guggenheim Museum and held at the Dia Center for the Arts in New York City. The only exception was the Virtual House symposium presented in Berlin in March 1997, which was sponsored by the German design company FSB and included virtual house projects commissioned from six architectural firms. These seminar events were intended to draw general attention to Anyone's activities and to increase the readership of Any magazine.
In the fall of 1995, MIT Press published the first of ANY's "Writing Architecture" series of small paperback books. These volumes of less than 200 pages were basically extended essays on architecture by new and established authors, and varied from highly theoretical (Architecture as Metaphor: Language, Numer, Money by Kojin Karatani) to poetic (Such Places as Memory: Poems 1953-1996 by John Hedjuk). Thirty books were projected at the outset, but only nine were published by the spring of 2001, with six other titles in preparation. The editorial board consisted of Cynthia Davidson, Sylvie Lavin, Robert Somol, Michael Speaks, and Sarah Whiting.
Over the course of the decade several hundred participants and contributors took part in ANY's activities and publications. To name a few (aside from those mentioned above) they included architects Jacques Herzog, Charles Jencks, Rafael Moneo, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Bernard Tschumi, Robert Stern, Ben van Berkel, Henry Cobb, and Alejandro Zaera-Polo; critics Rosalind Krauss, Francesco Dal Co, Anthony Vidler, Herbert Muschamp and Alberto Pérez-Gómez; philosophers Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vattimo; economist Akira Asada; artist David Salle, graphic artist Bruce Mau, artist-architect Melvin Charney; and fiction writer William Gibson.
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