In a now classic post on bldgblog, Geoff Manaugh coined the term "Nakatomi Space," a reference to the action film Die Hard, in which supercop John McLain navigates a fictional L.A. skyscraper (the Nakatomi Building) through its infrastructure, suggesting an alternate and largely invisible urban environment that we rarely think about. (This is a corollary to what I have described as the Foundry Principle, the action-picture imperative, reaching back to the 1960s but de rigeur since The Terminator, to set final altercations in industrial spaces.) But I digress.
With a nod to Manaugh, in a review this weekend of Dallas's notoriously reflective Museum Tower I suggest my own term, High Net Space, or HNS, to describe the new International Style of the moneyed elite:
The lobby is cool and limpid and pristine, a professional execution of an aesthetic — call it High Net Space — characterized by expensive materials and blandly minimalist good taste. Here, HNS is translated here into a quarry’s worth of white marble, its veins oriented toward elevators that travel at 1,200 feet per minute — reportedly the fastest in the city — and open directly into the residences, a handy convenience.I don't know if it will catch on, but it is an improvement on the flawed nomenclature we now resort to. Citing the same trend in his recent Cronocaos exhibition, Rem Koolhaas — who knows a thing or two about the subject — gave us this aphorism: "Minimalism remains the preferred mode of conspicuous consumption."
We all know what he means, basically, but at this point the term "minimalism" has been used so broadly as to become almost meaningless. There was a time when the architectural aesthetic was tied, at least tangentially, to the conceptual art movement. Now "minimalism" can be used to describe a 10,000 square-foot beach house. There's nothing minimal about that.