“Architecture, in a certain sense, is a war. It’s a tough profession where you always have to fight. You have to have great stamina... I also tell students and repeat at conferences that you need a good dose of recklessness to go down the road of architecture because if you are too aware of the difficulties the profession entails, you might never begin. You have to keep fighting but without really knowing what the fight is. Very often this recklessness is considered folly. That’s wrong; it’s pure recklessness – something that is socially acceptable for men, but not yet for women.”

- Odile Decq

I have heard of a place where the Rhone and Saone meet where a French Goth-Queen reigns sovereign over a radical architectural regime. It is hard to believe that such a place might exist. I put my ear to the ground, consult the rumbling of the tectonic plates and sure enough the continental drift confirms, Odile Decq is a badass. I double-check with the murmuring tides and crossing winds, Odile Decq is a heretic.

Ah, that is interesting.

SCI-Arc is obsessed with heresy and bound to it by its history. The history of West-side cowboys, of young architects who challenged the status quo and set out upon the difficult business of trail-blazing and boundary-pushing and rule-breaking. In 2013 SCI-Arc housed the gallery show, A Confederacy of Heretics, and the Venice gang got the gallery show they deserved.

But like all historians we are the victims of a Terrible and Unfantastic Myopia. There is the idea of the history of heretics and their heretical acts and their consequences. But the very nature of these rebellious things is that they are too great and too blasphemous to ever be truly documented. The gap between revolution and its reconstructed memory is where information becomes distorted and sometimes is entirely lost. The truth is that no revolution is any different than any other revolution beyond mere details. If we ever truly seek to remember these histories of architectural and pedagogical transgression we need to accept that such memories are transgressive already. We should not seek to remember correct- ly but to remember profanely. How powerful to understand that the past not only happened but happened every which way. That all revolutions are in fact the same revolution, that one Heretic may find in the Other herself reflected and multiplied and find strength in numbers.

So you see, a Confederacy of Heretics will always belong to Her because she has always been a heretic.
Confederacy of Her

Debbie Garcia
April 2016

French architect Odile Decq announced the launching of her new architecture school, The Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture, in 2014.

This new school focuses on the rejection of a strict institutional system and instead seeks a new methodology of teaching and learning, unconstrained by the ideologies of current architectural education.