They begin with the role of high-brow architectural theory, ironically with Kipnis labeling it “a practice for a very small audience”, and questioning whether there is any benefit in increasing that audience through education. The conversation meanders its way to a discussion of structure, where Holl accuses Kipnis of having no interest in structure – to which Kipnis swiftly responds that current architecture is constrained in its approach to structure. “We keep building youth and rectitude in the name of structure” he says, an example being “the last of the great macho tricks” – the cantilevers on Holl’s Tianjin Ecocity Ecology and Planning Museums.
However, in a way Holl gets the last laugh at the end of the video when he displays the changes he made to his Ecocity building as the result of Kipnis’s criticism. Holl takes us back to the starting point of the discussion and, in opposition to Kipnis’s argument, demonstrates the virtues of critical discourse in informing his own design.