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Fr. 563

September 5, 2014

To what does the principal difference between Metz and Nancy owe? It is not simply a matter of Nancy’s buildings having seemingly been drained of color over time nor the more pronounced presence of the Baroque in the streets and squares. Rather, the question is one of axis or axes, with which Nancy abounds. In this way, the element of chance has been systematically sought out and stifled from street to street and neighborhood to neighborhood. Where Nancy has a defined center, Metz writhes, for no such center can be fixed. The axes nancéiens open up new avenues of sight and bind one end to another, all of which lends the whole a thoroughly rigid, well-defined cast. In the lines of sight hide unseen lines of mastery or, worse, domination. Metz’s uneven, staggered growth precludes such lines to the point of obscuring them. In obscuring, it frees.

To borrow from Deleuze’s rich terminology, we might conclude that, wedded as Nancy is to arboresence and the model of the tree, so is Metz to the rhizomatic or the free network. Architecture contains within itself a proto-philosophy of sorts.

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