Peter Trummer begins the discussion with two photographs. The first shows a window he encountered in Innsbruck that blocked the view and wouldn’t open. When he complained, he was told “The window is not for people, but for the building.” The second shows single-family homes built not in a suburban development, but in the middle of Hengyang, on the roof of a shopping mall. Trummer argues that both of these are evidence that the city is now the author of architecture, not architects. He also shows some work from the recently-completed Design of Cities program, in which students explored contemporary cities for already-existing new models of urbanism, which they developed further.
Jeffrey Kipnis dismisses the window as something that has existed for years in U.S. prisons. The houses on the roof, however, link with a significant architectural issue hinging on the distinction between personal, real, and intellectual kinds of property: i.e. the conflict between the psychologies of personal property and the legal realities of real estate. Their discussion covers a range of issues, including the real and the ir-real, the city reproduced in the building, inheritance taxes, freehold, free speech, and Rem Koolhaas’ “City of the captive globe” and Alexis de Tocqueville.