Bigness

  1. Beyond a certain critical mass, a website becomes a BIG Website. Such mass can no longer be controlled by a singular architectural gesture, or even by any combination of architectural gestures. The impossibility triggers the autonomy of its parts, which is different from fragmentation: the parts remain committed to the whole.
  2. Search – with its potential to establish mechanical rather than architectural connections – and its family of related inventions render null and void the classical repertoire of architecture. Issues of composition, scale, proportion, detail are now moot. The ‘art’ of architecture is useless in BIGNESS.
  3. In BIGNESS, the distance between core and envelope increases to the point where the interface can no longer reveal what happens inside. The humanist expectation of ‘honesty’ is doomed; interior and exterior architectures become separate projects, one dealing with the instability of programmatic and iconographic needs, the other – agent of dis-information – offering the user the apparent stability of an object. Where architecture reveals, BIGNESS perplexes; BIGNESS transforms the internet from a summation of certainties into an accumulation of mysteries. What you see is no longer what you get.
  4. Through size alone, such websites enter an amoral domain, beyond good and bad. Their impact is independent of their quality.
  5. Together, all these breaks – with scale, with architectural composition, with tradition, with transparency, with ethics – imply the final, most radical break. BIGNESS is no longer part of any issue. It exists; at most, it coexists. Its subtext is fuck context.

Rem Koolhaas, Bigness and the Problem of Large (adapted to apply to the web)