Time, history and architecture : essays on critical historiography 9781138283510, 1138283517


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Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
Introduction: Time and history: an introductory outline
1 On history
2 On time
3 On style
4 On baroque
5 On Mies
6 On autonomy
7 On brutalism: crisis postponed
8 On architecture and capitalism: the tale of three frames
9 It’s time: historicism revisited
Index
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Time, history and architecture : essays on critical historiography
 9781138283510, 1138283517

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“Inspired by the messianic Marxism of Walter Benjamin, this is a critical work of exceptional depth and erudition that reflects on the interrelated predicament of architecture and history as these are compelled to confront a spontaneously escalating deconstruction of our received notions of both modernity and time. It is undeniable that these spontaneously disintegrate before the combined onslaughts of technological maximization, hyper-commodification and an ever increasing maldistribution of wealth.” — Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture, Columbia University, USA “What Hartoonian aims for here is a reading of modern architecture and its history as a conundrum within the post-Enlightenment project. In his view, once Gottfried Semper allowed architecture to transgress the limitations put onto it by theory, architecture found itself in an increasingly expanded field of what Walter Benjamin called ‘exhibition value’. With dexterity and intelligence, Hartoonian maps the in’s and out’s of that ‘value’ in the context of 19th and 20th century architecture and architectural speculation all the way to the contemporary world of Hadid.” — Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA “Few have attempted one of the key tasks for modern architectural history, namely to trace the profound relationships between 19th century theories and 20th century avant-garde practices through the lens of changing concepts of historicity. With provocative readings of Walter Benjamin in particular, Gervork Hartoonian, offers us fresh insights into the work of some of the key figures in architectural culture from Gottfried Semper to Mies van der Rohe.” — Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History, Columbia University, USA “In nine acute essays, Gevork Hartoonian considers from multiple vantage points some of the most provocative questions raised by architecture and its history in the past decades. The erudite reverberations he orchestrates between critical theory, the humanities and the corpus of the architectural discourse itself reshape our understanding of the historical narrative and help to measure its productivity today. A brilliant contribution to the ongoing discussion about the architectural discipline and its struggle for autonomy.” — Jean-Louis Cohen, Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture, Institute of Fine Arts/New York University, USA

Time, History and Architecture

Time, History and Architecture presents a series of essays on critical historiography, each addressing a different topic, to elucidate the importance of two influential figures Walter Benjamin and Gottfried Semper for architectural history. In a work exploring themes such as time, autonomy and periodization, author Gevork Hartoonian unpacks the formation of architectural history; the problem of autonomy in criticism and the historiographic narrative. Considering the scope of criticism informing the contemporaneity of architecture, the book explores the concept of nonsimultaneity, and introduces retrospective criticism the agent of critical historiography. An engaging thematic dialogue for academics and upper-level graduate students interested in architectural history and theory, this book aims to deconstruct the certainties of historicism and to raise new questions and interpretations from established critical canons. Gevork Hartoonian is professor of Architectural History and Theory at the University of Canberra, Australia. He is the author of numerous books, including Global Perspectives on Critical Architecture: Praxis Reloaded (Routledge, 2015). He was the 2013 and 2016 visiting professor of Architectural History at Tongji University, Shanghai, China.

Routledge Research in Architectural History Series Editor: Nick Temple Books in this series look in detail at aspects of architectural history from an academic viewpoint. Written by international experts, the volumes cover a range of topics from the origins of building types, the relationship of architectural designs to their sites, explorations of the works of specific architects, to the development of tools and design processes, and beyond. Written for the researcher and scholar, we are looking for innovative research to join our publications in architectural history. A full list of titles in this series is available at: https://www.routledge.com/ architecture/series/RRAHIST Time, History and Architecture Essays on Critical Historiography Gevork Hartoonian

Time, History and Architecture Essays on Critical Historiography

Gevork Hartoonian

First published 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 Gevork Hartoonian The right of Gevork Hartoonian to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Hartoonian, Gevork, author. Title: Time, history and architecture : essays on critical historiography / Gevork Hartoonian. Description: New York : Routledge, 2018. | Series: Routledge research in architectural history | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017023444| ISBN 9781138283510 (hardback) | ISBN 9781315270210 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Architecture--Historiography. | Benjamin, Walter, 18921940. | Semper, Gottfried, 1803-1879. Classification: LCC NA190 .H38 2018 | DDC 720.9--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017023444 ISBN: 978-1-138-28351-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-27021-0 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by HWA Text and Data Management, London

Contents

List of figures Introduction: Time and history: an introductory outline

viii 1

1 On history

14

2 On time

30

3 On style

45

4 On baroque

66

5 On Mies

91

6 On autonomy

115

7 On brutalism: crisis postponed

130

8 On architecture and capitalism: the tale of three frames

151

9 It’s time: historicism revisited

175

Index

194

Figures

2.1 2.2 3.1 3.2 3.3 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 6.1 6.2 7.1 7.2 7.3 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4

Cesare Ripa, History, 1603, Ripa, Iconologia, Rome, printed by Benj. Motte 33 Anton Raphael Mengs, The Triumph of History over Time, 1772 35 Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Altes Museum, 1823–30, Berlin 55 Caribbean Hut, Gottfried Semper, Der Stil, 1860 58 Mies van der Rohe, Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago 61 Michelangelo, Lorenzo de’ Medici Library, 1534, interior view 74 Leon Battista Alberti, Palazzo Rucellai, 1451, exterior façade 76 Structural system of the Laurentian Library vestibule, reproduced from James Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo, 1986 78 Francesco Borromini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, 1638, interior view 81 Francesco Borromini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, 1638, main entrance 83 The Colosseum, Rome 100 Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1956 105 Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1956 108 Renzo Piano Building Workshop, The Whitney Museum, New York, 2015 110 Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 1444–1460, courtyard view 116 Palazzo Ducale, Urbino, 1466–1472, courtyard view 117 Le Corbusier, Maison Jaoul, Paris, France, 1954 136 Louis I. Kahn, Richards Medical Research Building, Philadelphia, USA, 1957 137 Marcel Breuer, University Heights, New York University, New York, USA, 1961 141 Henry Sullivan, Wainwright Building, St. Louis, MO, USA, 1891 161 Henry Sullivan, Bayard-Condit Co Building, Manhattan, New York, USA 1897 161 Frank Lloyd Wright, St. Mark’s Tower, New York, USA, 1929 162 Zahah Hadid, Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Baku, 2014 166

List of figures 8.5 8.6 9.1 9.2

Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House, interior, Sydney, Australia, 1973 Situla and hydria, Gottfried Semper, Der Stil, 1860 Rem Koolhaas, Seattle Library, interior view Zaha Hadid, Galaxy Soho, Beijing, exterior view

ix 167 169 188 190

Introduction Time and history: an introductory outline

Not all people exist in the same Now. They do so only externally, through the fact that they can be seen today. But they are thereby not yet living at the same time with others. Ernst Bloch, 19321

General historiography most often considers history as an invisible phenomenon, something belonging to the past. The wars fought in the past; major decisions made to change the course of events; and the inherited written documents from various periods of history could all fall into the oblivion of the invisible. And yet, knowing that something has happened at a certain time and place, George Simmel writes, does not contribute to our historical knowledge “until it can be oriented in relation to other events.”2 Accordingly, each particular aspect of the past should be investigated and re-presented as part of a broader understanding of what is called historical time.3 Historical time witnesses not just the destinies collectively shared; it also embodies the time when “anyone and anything at all make history and bear witness to history.”4 One could add a host of other tropes of historiography to the this shortlist. However, what differentiates a book, a building, or an archival material from a historical event is this: in comparison to an event that has taken place in the past, the book written on the same event has a presence that demands a different historiographical consideration. Similarly, monuments and artworks not only disclose their own historical time, but are also seen and discussed in terms of the present temporality. Architecture provides a basis for life and culture, and to “the extent that it defies time, is anachronistic by definition,” writes Kenneth Frampton.5 And Jacques Rancière claims that, a monument is “the thing that talks without words, that instructs us without intending to instruct us, that bears a memory through the very fact of having cared only for the present.” It is the task of the historian to make the monument, a silent witness, speak in words.6 The spoken words, however, must engage with a historical unfolding wherein the event itself is not reducible to an empirical experience, but “grasped in its totalization as a process.”7 In the same text, and drawing from his

2

Introduction

own definitive discourse on postmodernism, Fredric Jameson takes a critical stand against both Paul Ricoeur’s Humanism, and Fernand Braudel’s idea of longue durée. In what follows I will attempt to examine the experience of History in architecture from the dual perspective Jameson establishes between History understood as totality and event. In other words, the significance of an event depends on the rapport it makes with the prevailing totality, and how such a dialogue is reinterpreted in the longue durée. Artistic activity, by contrast, “is distinguished from general historical events in that the work of art is not an event, but the result of acts that lend form to the different materials that offer themselves to this activity.”8 The same is true for architecture, wherein historical necessity most often does not comply with the architect’s intentions. This is important for the historiography of architecture because since the rise of industrial techniques of reproducibility major architectural transformations are mostly overdetermined by the production and consumption systems of capitalism. Taking into account the historicity of this observation, each chapter of this book dwells on both the temporal and nontemporal aspects of architecture. It is by now an accepted truth that a work of art produced in the past is seen and interpreted in terms of the present time. The past cannot be fully grasped as it “really” happened. Obviously, an event like the 1914 Werkbund debate can be reapproached through its traces, the evidence that remains, and the surviving eyewitness accounts. But the event itself, the aura of the room, the personalities that attended, their impressions and expressions, all these details and many more are part of the ongoing dialectics between visibility and absence. Numerous essays and books have been written on this particular historical event, each disclosing aspects of its importance from a particular representational mode, or ideology? No evidence yet has been found to deny the historicity of the Werkbund debate. However, the truth content of this historical meeting remains invisible, and this in itself is enough reason for historians even today to write about this and similar subjects that have attained historical significance, and are considered as historical event. Paul Ricoeur asks, “How can that absent from present time that is the passed past not be touched by the wing of this angel of absence?”9 In raising the difference between an event that has taken place in the past and its present life through various forms of evidence of historical themes, I want to open a discussion that concerns that which is particular to the historiography of architecture. More specifically, I am interested in highlighting the dialectics between ideology and interpretation as it concerns architectural praxis today. In addition to historical time, the collected essays present autonomy as an equally important subject for contemporary historiography. The concept of autonomy has been celebrated by both structuralism and post-structuralism, to mention two discourses influential for contemporary architectural theories. In addition, these postwar discourses have disseminated ideas such as the “death of the author” and/or the “end of history,” each foreclosing

Introduction

3

the historicist notion of time suggested in whatever we understand by the word contemporaneity.10 It seems more coincidental that annunciations such as “what the building wants to be,” and “cardboard architecture” made by architects practising in the near past resonated the tendency for the autonomy of text (historical narrative) and textual readings beyond what the author wanted to say. A third theme concerns the issue of periodization, the discussion of which involves the following: that there has been no time in modernity when a beginning was not established, if only to underline the realization of a particular architectural style with the expectation that it would be replaced by another one in the near future. What most contemporary “-isms” in architecture accomplish is to put a linear succession in order. What periodization does is to distinguish a before and an after, avoiding the risk of repetition and radical transformation, or even permutation. In investigating these tropes, I will keep an eye on Marx’s famous claim that “the tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”11 My intention is not to formulate a new methodological approach to architectural history; rather I want to map the scope of the criticality that informs the very historicity of architecture’s rapport with capitalism today. I discuss time, history and architecture in reference to the work of two influential and diverse figures whose contribution to the formation of my own theorization of architectural history is vivid in every chapter of this book. Readers familiar with my previous work will definitely recognize the centrality of the Left in general, and Walter Benjamin’s oeuvre in particular. The compiled essays contemplate Benjamin’s discourses on the loss of aura and on modernity, and his thesis on the philosophy of history. I read these tropes in conjunction with Gottfried Semper’s architectural theory – aspects of which, interestingly enough, are discussed in Benjamin’s Passagenwerk, Arcades Project (1927–40). The radicalism I have attributed to Semper’s theorization of architecture is perhaps in part due to Benjamin’s speculative allusion to a cloud overshadowing the nineteenth century’s dialogue between past and present.12 What interests me most, however, is the strategy of deconstruction at work in Semper’s theory of architecture: his denunciation of a single origin for architecture, and his unstated use of montage and its anachronic temporality as he argued that the aesthetic and formal motifs of architecture are drawn from the products of the four industries of textiles, carpentry, ceramics, and masonry. Also, similar to Walter Benjamin’s notion of the “exhibition value” of the work of art in modernity, I have benefited from Semper’s differentiation between the tectonic of theatricality and theatricalization, using it to highlight the spectacle of commodity fetishism that permeates contemporary architecture.13 Through critically examining various historical themes, the theoretical strategy working throughout this volume attempts to demonstrate the usefulness of the historicity of architectonic tropes that undo the conventional tendency to make a binary correspondence between architecture and zeitgeist.

4

Introduction

What I on various occasions throughout this volume discuss as “retrospective criticism” is a historiographic strategy that tries to demonstrate how, in its most radical appearances, the contemporaneity of architecture in capitalism hides its ties with the past, assigning the present a place in a linear chain of progress which most often chases the path of technological developments. In detecting the traces of the past architectonics in the digitally reproduced architecture, the former shines out beyond its historicity. These chapters also try to demonstrate the ways that architectural history differs from the traditions of art history. Even though the discourse of art history has radically transformed during the last couple of decades – showing a weakening of the universality suggested in the Kantian notion of aesthetics and in the Hegelian conception of history – its traditional influence on architectural historiography has not yet diminished. I say this in positive terms since most contemporary historiographies shun discussing the objectivity of architecture, a tradition deeply rooted in art history. To this end, the collected essays in this volume investigate the thematic of architectural history, and try to problematize the autonomy of text, the historiographic narrative itself being a byproduct of the over-domination of Theory in the cultural field for at least the last two decades. Starting with the question concerning the discursive formation of architectural history, I posit time as the agent of critical historiography. Historical time does not concern empty time; it speaks for the time that belongs to the possibilities that have not yet actualized. Even though historical time is concerned with both what is actualized and what is not, its energies mostly draw from what is not actualized. Established historical facts and institutionalized events are indeed part of the ideological structure of their time, playing, in the last analysis, an active role in the suppression of those aspects of the past that either resisted the prevailing regime of representation, or else did not offer what the ideological apparatus of the time needed in order to certify itself as part of the natural course of events. One cannot but agree with Reinhart Koselleck that the French and Industrial Revolutions did indeed introduce a crack in the organic unity that Classicism had established between past and present, and thus in the emergence of the concept of History.14 With an orientation towards a promised future, the distinctive form of History, writes Jacques Rancière, “is that none of its scenes or figures is ever equal to it.”15 Historical time, therefore, is less concerned with what is dear to historicism: establishing a one-to-one correspondence between object and subject, and extending this equation to make a totalized picture of time in confirmation of the prevailing regime of visibilities. Unlike most historical subjects, architecture enjoys a presence that most often surpasses the time of its inception, that is, the time when a decision was made to assign an architect to design a project that in due time has attained historical importance. This raises a couple of issues that are central to historiography in general, and to the historiography of architecture in particular. Putting aside tropes that are central to general historiography, I

Introduction

5

must acknowledge the fact that issues such as subject matter and methodology are not exclusive to architectural historiography. I am also reminded of the concept of periodization and the historian’s intention to package the course of history– here we are primarily concerned with Western history– in reference to a discourse of temporality and aesthetics at the time when time as a natural phenomenon was transgressed by the temporality attributed to history, the historical time.16 The rise of the concept of History throughout the Enlightenment and the advent of modernity has indeed had many longlasting consequences.17 In addition to the notion of temporality involved in the famous debate between the ancients and the moderns (the past and the present), we are also reminded of the emergence of an experience of time that evokes the time to come, the future with its two qualifications: that it approaches us speedily, and that its quality is unknown.18 Progress, the force of this unfolding, did indeed couple humanity’s understanding of its own historicity with the consciousness of being the agent of change. In addition to codifying a linear vision of progress, History also meant more than memorizing past events. However, archival studies and historical readings are turned into critical projects when historiography electrifies the frozen past, charging it with the seeds of transforming the present. Following Walter Benjamin, we can claim that, focusing on what is not actualized, historiography attains a critical dimension when it orients itself toward the future – meaning that a sympathy with the unactualized past is the way to tilt historiography towards the criticism of the present, and to open a space for the construction of the future. In this line of consideration, historiography is a political theory when it challenges the actuality of the present. This is possible, Werner Hamcher writes, when the political critique of social conformism and the historical critique of the automatism of progress join with the philosophical critique of the time continuum.19 In doing this, historiography attends to the ongoing “social struggle over meaning and values, as well as the institutionalized results of previous battles.”20 This to me is what should also be expected of critical historiography of architecture. The collected essays here aim to achieve this goal. From my point of view, we are still living with mentalities that are more or less informed by the advent of the Enlightenment.21 The operative trust of this singular historical unfolding, indexed in the sequential triad of past, present and future, is vast and forceful enough to allow historians to periodize the past, not only discussing the artwork’s formal and aesthetic potentialities, but also mapping the grey areas where one style overlaps another. The idea of period style, however, was driven by the idea that the spirit of modernity is singular and total.22 Dialectically, this understanding of modernity set the tone for the totalization of the past under the rubric of style discourse, to follow art history terminologies. The ideological course of this understanding of history attained its ultimate architectural momentum in Sigfried Giedion’s Space, Time, and Architecture (1941). Cultivating the perceptual and aesthetic horizons nurtured by the work of late-nineteenth-

6

Introduction

century engineering, and the sense of materiality inaugurated by steel, glass, and concrete, Giedion underlined the singularity of modern architecture following Le Corbusier’s manifesto, Five Points of Architecture, 1923. Paradoxically, Giedion saw modernity in analogy to the Baroque, an exit-age from the continuous core idea of Humanism at work since Renaissance art and architecture.23 In retrospect, we should pick Giedion up on his abstract generalization of the double and intertwined concepts of space and time, which comes at the expense of disregarding geographic differences, an area of investigation that, according to Gabriel Rockhill, is historical through and through.24 What Giedion did try to establish was a totalized vision of the spirit of the modern zeitgeist attributed to the work of avant-garde painters, and industrial products that were motivated by the Bauhaus’ teaching and the prevailing aesthetic theories. His was a contribution to the historiography of architecture in spite of the reductionism pursued by the International Style Architecture, to recall the famous pre-war MoMA exhibition and the book authored by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock in 1932. Given that the vision that Giedion’s historiography invested in was centred on the bright side of technology, it was not until the postwar years that the idea of the critical entered into the discourse of architectural historiography. The critical here should be understood in reference to the instrumental logic of technology and the class-consciousness implicit in Walter Benjamin’s text, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Benjamin’s text starts with a poem written by Gerhard Scholem, a close friend and confidante of Benjamin.25 Scholem’s poem, called “Gruss vom Angelus,” was written in reference to a 1920 Paul Klee painting, “Angelus Novus,” a print of which Benjamin had purchased in 1921. Both the painting and Benjamin’s interpretation of it evident in the passage Numbered IX have become icons of left-oriented scholars worth summarizing its main points here. Essential to an understanding of the passage is the physiognomy of the angel, seen against a storm that is “blowing from paradise,” as Benjamin reminds us. The force of the storm propels the angel forward, and yet in a gesture of, or attempt at, resistance, the angel’s head is turned back with mouth open and wings widespread. I would like to claim that the angel figured as such is what makes it associable with history, even though we don’t know why the angel’s mouth is left open, for example. It might be that the angel is screaming in reaction to what he witnesses, “the catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet,” as Benjamin writes. If the figure of a forward-moving angel with head turned backward is an analogue to the ontological posture of the historian, another is the angel’s desire “to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed,” an impossible task since the storm has already lifted the angel up, “propelling him into the future to which his back is turned.” Benjamin ends the passage with a reminder that, “this storm is what we call progress.” Thus, eyes turned to the past, and armed with the will to reconstruct the past out of memory and available evidences, factual and textual, Benjamin does indeed

Introduction

7

outline the main task of the historian. Central to this task is the messianic dimension of Benjamin’s project that, interestingly enough, has the least passion for the future. Its main commitment instead is to rescue the past, that which might be essential for the formation of an image of the bygone totality that progress has smashed into pieces. Read next to other passages, Benjamin’s text maps both a vision and strategy of historiography that, in addition to defying the linear progression of history, also plots a discourse of temporality that is not homogeneous; highlights the anachronism involved in most cultural production activities; and puts forward a concept of time, now-time (Jetztzeit), that is pregnant with the revolutionary ethos of the past that is most often supressed by the victors’ version of history. It was indeed through the renewed attention to Walter Benjamin’s oeuvre and the Marxian literature flourishing after the war that the stage was set for a critical examination of architecture, not only in its historicity but also in reference to its visibility and agency within the production and consumption cycles of capitalism. This development does have another dimension to it: the degree to which the building industries depend on the nuances of capital investment, technical innovations, labour, and material availability attests to the fact that architectural production, more than any other cultural product (except maybe film), is integral to the periodic crises of capitalism. If only in “belated hindsight,” art history has recognized the economic and finance capital operation prophesied in the work of Andy Warhol. Benjamin H. D. Buchloh writes that, from the beginning of the twentieth century, architects “have inevitably succumbed (with rare exception) to conflating and eventually integrating into their projects both the ideological and economic structures they were bidden to serve.”26 Gone from any historical account of postwar architecture is the allencompassing spirit of time. Instead, architecture since then has been historicized, most often in a way that is decadal and in reference to remedies sought to cool down the cyclic crises of capitalism. Hence the rise and disappearance of various architectural tendencies since then that are charted and discussed in reference to themes such as monumentality, autonomy, historical eclecticism, and the spectaclarization permeating the digitally reproduced architecture of the last two decades. In hindsight, we can claim that historical criticism should not be centred exclusively on distance,27 but on contemporaneity. At the same time, as Peter Osborne warns us, we are witnessing the emergence of a “new form of historical time,” which entails a shift from “now” to “just now,” or even to “then.”28 Paradoxically, such an experience of temporality underlines the demise of postmodernism, the most recent past, clearing the way for the realization of “a new kind of totalizing but immanently fractured constellation of temporal relations,”29 a temporality that is touched by the global dissemination of capitalism. I have no intention here of reflecting on time beyond what will be said in the chapters compiled in this volume. I must confess, however, that a short version of the chapter entitled On Time was written before my exploration

8

Introduction

of recent literature on the subject, some of which is listed in the notes below. What I want to lay out, instead, is the scope of another development that is also relevant to contemporary architectural historiography. A different understanding of distance that connotes historical closure was unleashed by the publication of Panayotis Tournikiotis’ The Historiography of Modern Architecture (1999). Compiling chapters on major historiographies of modern movement architecture, the book implicitly suggests that modern architecture has travelled its full course. This observation gives rise to the following question: is sheer temporal distance enough of a factor to validate the closure of a historical period? Consider this: whereas historians and critics still investigate the work of Le Corbusier, Mies, and Aalto, among other architects who formulated the language of early modern movement architecture, current historiographic revisions do not show any serious interest in the work of Walter Gropius, who did in fact play a significant role in the formation of modern architecture. What is at issue, from a historiographic perspective, is that current theorizations of architecture do not address issues in the light of which Gropius’ work would be seen as relevant to contemporary praxis. He is out of synch with the constellation of contemporaneity, at least for now. There are indeed many moments in the history of art and architecture when the work and the artist are judged in reference to the momentary sentiment initiated by historical time. Consider this: the work of Albrecht Dürer and Matthias Grünewald, two artists of sixteenth-century Germany, were occasionally pitted against each other during the Weimar Republic. Whereas Dürer had been “appreciated and studied since the sixteenth century, an interest in the art of Grünewald only surfaced in the late nineteenth century.” The reason for this shift in interest was that Dürer’s affiliation with Italian art was seen in the eyes of the German nation-state of the time as un-nationalistic, to paraphrase Heinrich Wölfflin writing in 1905.30 In addition, and among other contributions, Tournikiotis’ book initiated a wave of historiographies, the discourse of which hinges on the hermeneutic shift from architecture as object, to “architecture” as text. Obviously, there is no history without narrative; however, particular to Tournikiotis’s text is the historicity of a narrative that is informed by difference, an idea popularized by post-structuralist theories. What stands out in the current turn to writing over past historiographies is that the textuality of narrative is presented as an autonomous entity, a closure in its own right.31 Only in the concluding chapter of his book does Tournikiotis remind us that “the present, that place of difference between future and the past – what Derrida would call a hymen – has no given position: it is in a state of continuous shift, it is being-inevolution.”32 In other words, the ideological structure of narrative, the text’s claim for autonomy, is codified as timeless, something like an archival site to be visited and revisited by the historian. In addition, and related to what has been said on distance so far, what needs further attention is this: in establishing the text as the subject matter of historiography, Tournikiotis

Introduction

9

implicitly raises the issue of the dialectics between closure and periodization. No wonder, then, that since the publication of his book many critics and historians have attended to the work and the biography of the historians who actively, critically or otherwise, wrote the history of modern architecture.33 Interestingly enough, Reyner Banham was the first historian to close the circle of the initial historiographies of early modern architecture. Even though the major players in his Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960) were the usual suspects, what is unique to his historiography is the emergence of a different discourse of design, the main focus of which is not the theme of objectivity, the various formations of which can still be considered a barometer for differentiating regional modalities of what was otherwise reduced to the vicissitudes of the International Style architecture. Rather, Banham wrote, “We have already entered the Second Machine Age, and can look at the First as a period of the past.”34 Indeed, central to the dialectics between periodization and closure is the dialogue between image and machine contemplated in the work of most members of the Independent Group, including Banham, an active member. No-one can deny the importance of historical distance; nevertheless, did we truly need half a century to cast a fresh look at the role image has been playing since postwar culture, a subject brilliantly explored in Hal Foster’s The First Pop Age (2012)? What Foster’s book tells us is that, in addition to distance, it is the saturation of contemporary culture with image, what Jacques Rancière calls visibility, that has opened a different tunnel into the darkness of the past. In Richard Hamilton’s Homage à Chrysler Corp. (1957), Foster writes, the artist “exposes the break up of each body on display – the new Chrysler in the foreground and the vestigial showgirl behind it – into erotic details (as in sexual fetishism according to Freud) whose production is rendered obscure (as in commodity fetishism according to Marx).”35 The shift to image and textuality, flourishing since the 1960s, in conjunction with the acceleration of the experience of time, has opened a vista for the formation of a subjectivity, the primary focus of which is the desire for endless consumption of commodities.36 The takeover of objectivity by image, and “the intervening layer of language” disseminated by French post-structuralism since the 1980s have denied the physical presence of the work of art a place in the process of historical interpretation.37 However, no matter how distant the past might be, it does not attain currency (visibility) if its age does not trouble the now-time, to recall Walter Benjamin. In exploring history, it is the task of the historian to highlight the crisis induced by the past. For example, what strategies can historical criticism formulate in relation to the contemporaneity of architecture that is informed by the coupling of image with the aesthetic implications of commodity fetishism? If architectural historiography is not to be concerned merely with the construction of a cohesive account of aesthetics and formal features, then it is the task of the historian to assess geographic variables and the unequal development of various building industries, without dismissing architectural

10

Introduction

ideology. Pursuing a Marxist theorization of history, this project tries to provide a critical insight into the presence of the things of the past without dismissing the presence of the potential future things to come. The critical historiography plotted throughout this book deliberately differs from the historicist mode of analysis, and the assumption that a continuing process of historical transformation will automatically produce a particular future. The essays collected here attempt to deconstruct the certainties that historicism wants to establish, while at the same time shunning building another impenetrable wall. Finally, to avoid confining the scope of historiography to formal and textual analysis, historiography should, as I have suggested elsewhere,38 discuss architecture not only in reference to the economic and technical regimes and their related linguistic possibilities, but also with regard to the position of the architect in relation to these regimes and the formal and tectonic traditions of architecture. Architects must reflect their “position dialectically within a given historical reality, both as dependent and determined forms, and as modes of ideological productivity transforming the reality.”39 In this line of consideration, the scope of the future possibilities of architecture’s rapport with capitalism should be indexed according to a constructive interpretation that raises new questions out of the old established languages. There is both thematic and historical order to the sequence of the first four chapters, which culminate in the chapter on Mies. Chapter 6 introduces a shift, exploring concepts of disciplinarity and autonomy, formal and/or tectonic, and arguing that themes discussed in preceding chapters can only attain visibility if examined with consideration to architecture’s contemporary rapport with capitalism, unfolding since the postwar era. The implied anachronism does indeed say something about the book’s historico-theoretical stance on the historiography of architecture. Chapter 7 pronounces New Brutalism a hinge in the suggested periodization, to be followed by architecture’s postmodernist moment, during which time capitalism retooled itself, disseminating digital techniques across the cultural sphere, including architecture, as discussed in the last two chapters. Some topics explored in this volume were presented at CAUP, Tongji University at Shanghai, when the author was the 2016 visiting architectural historian. Early editions of most chapters were published in academic journals, or presented at international conferences as listed below. They are revised and expanded in accordance with the overall project of this volume. I want to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to Aoife MacGrath, Grace Harrison, Sade Lee, Nicholas Temple, and their colleagues at Routledge who each in a different capacity saw a value in publishing this volume. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the editors, conference conveners, and publishing houses that granted permission for publishing the chapters listed below. Chapter 1; “On History” benefits from this author’s pen in The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian, Cambridge Scholarly Publication, 2013. Chapter 2: “On Time,” is revised and expanded version of an essay entitled “Open Histories of Time,” published in the proceedings of the

Introduction

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Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand, 2013. Chapter 3; “On Style,” is a revised and expanded version of a paper entitled, “In What Style Could They Have Built?,” published in Fabrications, 1, 17/2, 2007, pp. 6–25. Chapter 4; “On Baroque” benefits from two papers presented at the 3rd International Conference on Architecture, June 10–13, 2013, Athens, and the Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand, 2012. Chapter 5; “On Mies” – an early version entitled “Mies: The Window Reframed,” was published in Fabrications, 18/2, 2008, pp. 3–27. Chapter 6; “On Autonomy,” is a revised and expanded version of a paper published in the proceedings of the Third Alvar Aalto International Meeting on Modern Architecture, 2008, Helsinki. Chapter 7; “On Brutalism: Crisis Postponed,” is a revised and expanded version of an essay entitled “Theatrical Tectonics: The Mediating Agent for a Contesting Practice,” published in Footprint, Spring 2009, pp. 6–25; 77–96. Chapter 8; “On Architecture and Capitalism: The Tale of Three Frames,” is a revised and expanded version of a short essay, “Architecture and Capitalism: A Gridlock,” published in the proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand, 2016.

Notes 1 Ernst Bloch, Heritage of Our Times (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991), 97. 2 Quoted in Fredric J. Schwartz, Blind Spots: Critical Theory and the History of Art in Twentieth-Century Germany (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 115. 3 On the idea of historical time, see Reinhart Koselleck, Figures of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). Also see Ernst Bloch, Heritage of Our Times (1990), especially Part II, where the author discusses the idea of noncontemporaneity, and Fredric J. Schwartz, Blind Spots, 2005, especially the chapter on “nonsimultaneity.” 4 Jacques Rancière, Figures of History (London: Polity Press, 2014), 69. 5 Kenneth Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1995), 27. 6 Jacques Rancière, Figures of History, 2014, 22. 7 Fredric Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 603. 8 Silvia Ferretti, Cassirer, Panofsky, and Warburg (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), 179. 9 Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2004), 237. 10 See Terry Smith, “Introduction: The Contemporaneity,” The Antinomies of Art and Culture, ed. T. Smith, O. Enwezor and N. Condee (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008).

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11 Quoted in Karl Marx, “Preface to Third German Edition” from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1885, 5, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/ works/1852/18th-brumaire/, website checked during the month of January 2016. 12 For my radical interpretation of Gottfried Semper, see Gevork Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction: On Nihilism of Technology in Theories of Modern Architecture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), the introductory and final chapters in particular. 13 Gevork Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique (London: Ashgate Publishing, 2012). 14 Reinhart Koselleck, Figures of History, 2004, 21. 15 Jacques Rancière, Figures of History, 2014, 67. 16 For a fresh look at this subject see Jean-Louis Cohen, The Future of Architecture Since 1889 (New York: Phaidon Press, 2012), especially “Two Thresholds in Time,” 10. 17 Reinhart Koselleck, Figures of History, 2004, 93. 18 Reinhart Koselleck, Figures of History, 2004, 22. 19 Werner Hamacher, “‘Now’: Walter Benjamin On Historical Time,” The Moment: Time and Rupture in Modern Thought (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2001), 47. 20 Gabriel Rockhill, Radical History and the Politics of Art (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 35. 21 For a view challenging the deterministic interpretation of history, see Gabriel Rockhill, Radical History, 2014, especially the chapter entitled, “Radical History,” 36–43. 22 This suggested singularity should be differentiated from Fredric Jameson’s discourse in A Singular Modernity (London: Verso Books, 2013). 23 See the chapter on S. Giedion in Gevork Hartoonian, The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian (London: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), 103– 142. 24 See Gabriel Rockhill, Radical History, 2014, 39. 25 “My wing is ready for flight, / I would like to turn back. / If I stayed timeless time, / I would have little luck.” See Walter Benjamin, “On the Concept of History,” Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 4. 1938–1940 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 389–400. 26 Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, “Introduction,” Formalism and Historicity: Models and Methods in Twentieth-Century Art (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015), p. xxxiii. 27 On this see Reinhart Koselleck, Figures of History, 2004. 28 Peter Osborne, The Politics of Modernity: Modernity and Avant-Garde (London: Verso, 1995), 12. 29 Peter Osborne, “The Postconceptual Condition: Or, The Cultural Logic of Capitalism Today,” Radical Philosophy, 184 (March/April 2014), 23. 30 See Keith Moxey, Visual Time: The Image in History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015), 143–44. The course of events unfolding in the late 1930s turned the binary opposition in favor of Dürer. Moxey, 151. 31 By textuality I refer to the poststructuralist introduction of an epistomological shift that led to “skepticism about the power of historical writing to do justice to the events of the past, and the replacement of mimetic theories of visual representation by those based on semiotics, …” See Keith Roxey Visual Time, above. 32 Panayotis Tournikiotis, The Historiography of Modern Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999), 250. 33 In order of publication year, see Gevork Hartoonian, The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian, 2013, Anthony Vidler, Histories of the Immediate

Introduction

34 35 36 37 38 39

13

Present: Inventing Architectural Modernism (Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 2008), and Andrew Leach, Manfredo Tafuri: Choosing History (Belgium: A&S Books, 2007). Reyner Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1960), 9. Hal Foster, The First Pop Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), 25. Fredric J. Schwartz claims that the culture of consumption was motivated by the Werkbund. Fredric J. Schwartz, The Werkbund: Design theory & Mass Culture before the First World War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996). Keith Moxey, Visual Time, 2015, 59. See Gevork Hartoonian, “Three Easy Fragments: Towards the Formation of Critical Architecture,” in Gevork Hartoonian, ed. Global Perspectives on Critical Architecture: Praxis Reloaded (London: Ashgate Publishing, 2015), 9–26. Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, “Formalism and Historicity,” in Formalism and Historicity, 2015, 20.

1

On history

The following chapter will critically examine themes particular to the early historiographies of modern architecture, starting with the question of the discursive formation of architectural history. My argument here has two central objectives. The first is to demonstrate the ways that architectural history differs from the traditions of art history; even though the discourse of art history has changed during the last three decades, its traditional influence on architectural historiography has not yet diminished. The second is to explore what is particular to the subject matter of architectural history, charting its capacity to problematize the autonomy of text, i.e., the historiographic narrative. This last point is important because the theme of autonomy was celebrated through structuralism and post-structuralism, to mention two discourses influential for contemporary theoretico-historical work. In addition to architecture, written text plays a crucial role for the mental life of the architectural historian. However, essential to the canon formulated by the historians of the early twentieth century was the work of architects, and the urge to contextualize the work in the purview of events, dates, and objective and subjective transformations without which the particularities of “modern architecture” would have evaporated either in the author’s over-emphasis on a chosen methodology,1 or else the history of modern architecture, i.e., the time when the modernity of architecture was established, would have been presented primarily as a mirror image of a general historiography which is in itself still difficult to establish.2 The following pages draw mostly from “critical theory,” understood through a close reading of Walter Benjamin’s work. This theoretical paradigm is neither an arbitrary choice, nor is it the result of exhaustive research into the nature of various schools of historiography. In the context of historiographies of architecture written since the 1950s, I wish to highlight two major implications of the word critical. At a general level, critical designates the revisionism implied in the work of postwar historians whose premise is based on questioning the canon established by Nikolaus Pevsner, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, and Sigfried Giedion.3 In the second place, the term draws its discursive legitimacy from the work of contemporary historians such as Kenneth Frampton and Manfredo Tafuri whose argument,

On history

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in one way or another, are influenced by the discourse of the Frankfurt School in general,4 and the work of Walter Benjamin in particular.

Historicism I would like to begin with the claim that any discussion concerning the idea of history in modernity is paradoxical by definition. Essential to modernity is “time”: the time of the present and its rapport with past. Starting from the now of the present, one is then able to think of past and/or future, but always in conference with dichotomies of modernity experienced in any particular moment of the “now of the present,” the time-now.5 This process of reproduction, if you wish, does not take place at once and in one moment of history. This reproduction, this act of writing the history’s past, does not take place in a void either; it rather unfolds in its own past. What is involved in this implied doubling (re-production) is, in the first place, that the now of the present is imbued with the past, meaning that the present is neither the continuum of the past nor separated from it. In the second place, the now of the present concerns an understanding of the past that is centred in modernity and the time needed to register modernity’s advancement in the purview of subjects and subject matters that are associable with a particular moment of modernity. The moment, according to Heidrun Friese, demands a “questioning of all too common notions of time, of past, present and future; it demands that we think about uniqueness and repetition, identity and difference, suddenness and duration, rupture and continuity.”6 Such is the paradoxical nature of history in modernity, wherein the past of a phenomenon is recognizable when the subject comes to the very recognition of its own presence as an autonomous entity. Therefore, particular dates and points of departure, those qualifying the modernity of architecture, are important. As we will see in the next chapter, this chain of events, the sum total of which is called progress, can be construed chronologically (natural time) and/or historically (historical time). It suffices to say here that knowing the past chronologically differs from knowing it historically, if only to affirm the differences between historicism and historicity, and the dialectics between totality and event as discussed in the introduction to this volume. The historicity of the present, and of history as such, is thus multidimensional; to follow Ernst Bloch, it is a “polyrhythmic and multi-spatial entity, with enough unmastered and as yet by no means revealed and resolved corners.”7 Even the forward-looking direction implied in the idea of progress is not devoid of the historicity of elements that belonged to the pre-modern era, when anthropomorphism was central for any auratic experience. Implied not only in the cyclical recurrence of nature, but also in any act of making, is a sense of forward looking that might be associated with the frontality of the posture of human body. That the ancients would celebrate the beginning and the end of the process of construction is a good old story. It was to mark the fact that through the realization of building, the time of construction is

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On history

extinguished and architecture enters into a different regime of temporality. What has changed in the course of modernity and by the loss of aura, to recall Walter Benjamin, is the following: the engine of collectivity that necessitated rituals to be performed in the expectation of the completion of a building was delegated to agencies whose logic of formation and transformation had the least to do with the collective. This unfolding, coupled with a deterministic approach to technology, was taken for granted in some circles of modernists to the point that most architects of the time equated the modernity of architecture with the formal and aesthetic implications of technique. This historical development should have taken place as it did. What should not have happened, in retrospect, was the synchronicity between the major historians of modern movement architecture and the architects’ attempt to envision a holistic unity between architecture, technology, and whatever the project of modernity meant to both groups. In addition to establishing a synchronized and homogeneous understanding of temporality, the drive to solidify the process of modernization was problematic on another front. Learning from their colleagues in art history, architectural historians chose to address the past through the rubric of style, a subject taken up in Chapter 3 of this volume. Therefore, the “past” remained a crucial subject in the problematic formulation of the concept of closure, i.e. period style. And yet, that the historical urge to reinvent “style” that should have worked in tandem with a linear vision of history was also unavoidable. As I have discussed extensively elsewhere,8 the idea of past and the ways that the historicity of artistic styles was formulated by art historians were central to the work of architectural historians trained in Europe. In fact, what differentiates Pevsner from Giedion, for example, is how each conceptualized the past. We are reminded of a neutral presentation of the idea of past in Pevsner’s account of modern architecture, where a chain of developments, mostly motivated by technology and abstract painting, culminates in the work of Walter Gropius, circa 1914. Giedion, by contrast, put forward an image of the past projected in the forward-looking gaze of the historian that accidently matched with the vision of Le Corbusier. The notion of the past becomes more interesting when the discussion turns to a country like America that was peripheral to the main causes of modernity, particularly given the fact that since the postwar years the country has deliberately and vehemently transformed modernization into the engine of capitalism. Aspects of the latter transformation are discussed in other chapters of this volume. As far as the historiography of early modern architecture is concerned, suffice it to say a few words about Hitchcock’s project. Of particular interest is his attempt to compromise the Jeffersonian vision of America with the actuality of modernity taking place in Europe. In the absence of the idea of historical styles permeating the architecture of European countries, Hitchcock invented a past that did not exist in the first place. Thus, the significance of Hitchcock’s idea of “New Tradition,” the basic elements of which he detected in the late work of Richardson.

On history

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Interestingly enough, this line of thinking invigorated the debate running between Lewis Mumford and others who were also interested in formulating the idea of modernity in America.9 One implication of these observations is the need to reassess the dialectics between centre and periphery in the light of the globalization of capital and information, indexing the architecture of each region in reference to the point in time when a country or a region steps into the processes of modernization. In this regard, the difference between contemporary Japanese and Chinese architecture speaks for itself. Another one, relates to the ways that architectural history is taught in architecture programmes, which must be transformed according to a non-synchronized understanding of the historical time. What also should be reconsidered is the strategies that enabled the above three historians to select and highlight architects and buildings from the past that conformed to their historiographic project (ideology?). Congenial to most historian’s interpretation of the past is also the tendency for historicism, the belief that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the zeitgeist and the work produced in a given time and place. Alan Colquhoun enumerates three possible connotations for the word historicism, and traces the subject’s history back to the discourses permeating Europe in the eighteenth century.10 In line with Maurice Mandelbaum, Colquhoun suggested that the word historicism could be used for three different purposes: “the first is a theory of history, the second, an attitude, the third, an artistic practice.” Colquhoun recalls Hegel’s formulation of two platforms critical for the development of modern architecture. First, we are reminded of the German philosopher’s advocacy for the opacity of art, and the question concerning architecture’s autonomy by which the building’s rapport with any symbolism external to its own processes of production was minimized if not curtailed. Hegel’s second contribution has to do with the autonomy of a history that is charged with a future-oriented teleological vision that in the last analysis was dead end in the first place. Reflecting on Leo Strauss’s critique of historicism, Paul Norton suggests that for Hegel “History is not merely a record of human events; it is a rational and reasonable process.”11 What makes the early modernists’ vision of history attractive is, in the first place, the fact that architects were able, for the first time, to perceive their work detached from both classical wisdom and the theory of mimesis. This unfolding was significant for the emergence of a historical consciousness, subjectivity, whose vision was analogous to the eye of a backward-looking beholder who had also tasted the discourse of relativism. “Why should the architect tie himself to the past and chain his work thus to entirely alien shackles!” exclaimed Heinrich Hübsch, a nineteenth-century German architect. He continued, “Or how can evidence of the Beautiful ever be sought in Imitation?”12 According to Barry Bergdoll, Hübsch’s ideas rejected “the archaeological doctrine of eighteenth-century neoclassicism, establishing a relativist historical position.”13 Although Colquhoun sees both historical determinism and the idea of autonomy in the context of history, the missing point in his criticism of

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On history

postmodern historicism, for instance, is the nihilism of modernity. To follow Norton again, nihilism means more than the “relativism” and “metaphysical optimism” central to Hegel’s vision of history. In Paul Virilio’s words, on the other hand, the cruelty of modernity suggests considering the “reversal” caused by the acceleration of time unleashed since the inception of modernity.14 Virilio writes: we see that fear of the future has now been outstripped by fear of the past, as though the past, far from disappearing, from being erased by the present, continues to weigh down—worse, to secretly contaminate it.15 His bleak view highlights the moment when history hits the wall of time, what for Gianni Vattimo is the moment of the fulfilment of the project of modernity, but not necessarily the end of the nihilism of modernity. Particular to Vattimo is the attempt to present a paradigm that is neither pessimistic nor nostalgic; rather he seeks to underline the available new potentialities even in the event of time devouring history.16 This is the moment for various proclamation of “ends” and the tendency for absolutization of space. What these philosophical reflections suggest is that history does not take place outside of modernity’s will to re-production. Postmodern historicism, therefore, should be considered nothing but a moment in longue durée vision of modernity. Furthermore, one should speculate, does the negation and devaluation of every value have anything to do with the modernists’ discourse on historicism? In the context of major intellectual work developed during the last couple of decades, it is convincing to say that without its teleological power, modernity lands in the structuralist discourse on history as articulated by Michel Foucault.17 Considering the next heading, it is important to briefly recall that, influenced by the work of G. Canguilhem and Louis Althusser, Foucault’s discursive departure from the nineteenth century’s understanding of history stresses the particular structure of a text and the ways it is organized around certain concepts and themes, as Foucault moves to emphasize the singularity of the text itself. Thus, the traditional approach of totalizing events, and aligning them with a linear progression of events (artistic styles in particular), was suspended. If history, in its traditional form, “undertook to ‘memorize’ the monuments of the past, transform them into documents, and lend speech to those traces, which in themselves, are often not verbal, …” in our time, writes Foucault, “history is that which transforms documents into monuments.”18

Methodologies Two years before the publication of Colquhoun’s article, Architectural Design published a special issue titled “On the Methodology of Architectural History.”19 This issue was edited by Demetri Porphyrios, and many scholars were invited to present critical readings of the available approaches to

On history

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architectural history. The main aim of the collection was to “disclose” the ideological assumptions of well-articulated Hegelian or hermeneutical methodologies of history. Following Foucault’s discourse in The Archaeology of Knowledge (1982), Porphyrios presented a convincing argument disclosing the weaknesses embedded in Hegel’s concept of history, while taking note of Erwin Panofsky’s interest in pushing the boundaries of the meaning of the work beyond formal and historicist causes. Porphyrios also demonstrated how these ideologies of historical interpretation have made their way into architectural history. His own methodology, which he had discussed on another occasion, 20 came closer to Manfredo Tafuri’s position as far as the relation of architecture and ideology is concerned. In addition to unmasking the imaginary that architecture “makes reality appear natural and eternal,” Porphyrios reminds us that one should also map the ideological dimension of architecture within historical events (both minor and major) when contradictions inherent to architectural praxis are resolved. In passing, I should mention that Tafuri’s strategy was to unpack these contradictions in historical terms.21 A structuralist understanding of history accomplishes two tasks, and Porphyrios’ text elaborates this subject in the best possible way given the 1980s epistemological turn to language, and a discursive understanding of event. Again, the reader is reminded of Hegel’s contribution to discussing art and architecture in reference to cultural life rather than contextualizing the work in the tradition of metaphysics. From Hegel’s point of view, the relation of architecture to society is understood through the presence of the spirit of time, the zeitgeist. The social Weltanschauung grasped by artists was expected to map historical contingencies: meaning that the “world view” should be considered as part of a broader process of historical development constructive for the evolution of the “I” of a Western subject. In this paradigm, artworks and events are seen in causal and deterministic relationship to the zeitgeist, and historicism. Architecture, for example, is expected to represent the “Idea,” if the building was “influenced” by the spirit of its time. Against this theoretical background, Porphyrios values Panofsky’s emphasis on the iconographical dimension of “creation” the subject matter of which concerns both the architect/author and architecture/object pairs. Panofsky’s criticism of formalism was well taken even without him underlining the difference of excess he attributed to a Renaissance painting – the meaning of which exceeds the mere distribution of colour and lines, light and shade22 – from the nature of excess in architecture. However, unnoticed in Porphyrios’ affirmation of Panofsky is the neo-Kantian tendency toward shifting the discussion away from the traditions of art history, highlighting instead the autonomy of art as discussed by Alois Riegl and others.23 In order to articulate a methodology of history that would debunk “the ideological foundations of a ‘humanist’ anthropology of creation,”24 Porphyrios seemingly had no choice but to turn to Foucault, for two reasons. First, he needed to discuss the autonomy of architecture, not as

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On history

a unified totality that shares certain commonalties with other artworks, but as a structure whose “visibility” is sustained through “difference” and the “problematic,” as discussed by Jacques Derrida and Louis Althusser respectively.25 Second, the structuralist understanding of architecture projects a perception of objectivity the architectonics of which does not assure the continuity of architectural tradition: indeed, the work’s specificity is seen in its departure from its own conventions. “We study neither hidden messages nor arbitrary encoded ones,” Porphyrios reminds his reader. He continues, “we study the rules which define – within an historical conjuncture – the field of knowledge on the basis of which the various discourses unfold their debates and thematics.”26 A departure from Hegel’s idea of history lands in “an historical conjunction” where history is ossified in “documents” and “events,” if not in types, to use an architectural analogy. In the work of Lévi-Strauss, Derrida wrote, the “respect for structurality, for the internal originality of structure, compels a neutralization of time and history.”27 Because of or in spite of the debates focused on structuralism and poststructuralism, the major architectural practice of the 1970s turned to history either through simulation of historical forms (Robert Venturi), or architectural typologies (Aldo Rossi). As was mentioned earlier and will be further discussed below, historicism was critical for the formation of the concepts of both period style and autonomy. To this end it is necessary to turn to the formation of ideas taking place in Europe though this time with an eye to the formativeness of art history for the historiography of modern architecture. Of particular interest is the importance of aesthetics in art and architecture, as well as the way a spectator comprehends and enjoys form and space, a line of thinking that within Germanic culture demanded exploring the impact of technology on issues such as perception, empathy, and style.28 For a critical understanding of the historicity of the traditions of art history, it is useful to approach the subject through Walter Benjamin’s discourse, whose position on history is central for the objectives of the argument presented here. Written in 1935, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” unpacks the impact of technology on perception, a subject already touched on by Heinrich Wölfflin, Riegl, and a number of other German scholars.29 Presenting the case of montage in film, Benjamin articulated the idea of wishimages in conjunction with the loss of aura; that is, the magical and ritualistic origin of the work of art where space and time are intermingled, and a harmony between the desire of the subject and the skills of the hand were prevailed. On another occasion, Benjamin describes the idea of aura in the following words: a strange weave of space and time: the unique appearance or resemblance of distance, no matter how close the object may be. While resting on a summer’s noon, to trace a range of mountains on the horizon, or a branch that throws its shadow on the observer, until the moment or the hour becomes part of their appearance – that is what it means to breathe the aura of those mountains.30

On history

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Juxtaposing impressions such as “the unique appearance or resemblance of distance,” and “resting on a summer’s noon,” Benjamin presents the idea of wish-images in analogy to the awakening moments when a distinction between dream-world (past?) and reality is difficult to make. The wish-images are indeed analogous to intoxicated objects with no task except radicalizing the moment of awakening, the time-now. This was a project that, according to Benjamin, surrealists came short of its full realization, and thus their work remained in the state of intoxication. One might speculate that the idea of wish-images concerns a state of mind that is purged of historicism. In the dream “in which every epoch sees in images the epoch which is to succeed it,” the latter, according to Benjamin, “appears coupled with elements of prehistory – that is to say of a classless society.”31 Distancing himself from historicism, and discussing architecture in reference to the work’s tactile and optical dimensions, Benjamin’s position benefits and departs from the discursive traditions of art history. Wölfflin had already formulated the autonomous character of art, postulating a formalistic understanding of the notion of period style. Wölfflin marked the years around 1800 as the beginning of a linear mode of vision, which “comes to serve a new objectivity.”32 Interestingly enough, such a perception of the architectural object soon found its language in the “international style,” a steel-frame structure whose white cladded surface is punctuated according to the aesthetics of the horizontal window.33 Discussing architecture towards the end of “The Work of Art” essay, Walter Benjamin, by contrast, neither advocates the universalization of art and architecture, nor subtracts formalism from historical context. His position recalls Riegl’s discourse on a formal-contextual approach.34 And yet, in rejecting formalism, Benjamin had this to say about the theoretical orientation of the collected essays published by Viennese art historians: such study is not concerned with objects of pleasure, with formal problems, … Rather, this sort of studious work considers the formal incorporation of the given world by the artist, not a selection but rather always an advance into a field of knowledge which did not “exist” prior to the moment of this formal conqueror. … We should never be interested in “problems of form” as such, as if a form ever came into existence for the sake of the stimulus it would produce.35 While Wölfflin saw the formal properties of art from the point of view of a non-engaged beholder, Riegl, on the other hand, underlined the viewer’s importance for the internal unity of painting, a “necessity” for him to articulate the evolution of art from haptic (volumetric) to optic (spatial). Analysing Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp,” Riegl argued that “the picture accordingly contains a double unity through subordination: first, between Tulp and the seven surgeons, all of whom subordinate themselves to him as the lecturer, and, second, between the crowning surgeon and the

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On history

beholder, the latter subordinated to the former and indirectly through him to Tulp in turn.” Such a perception of the beholder and painting, according to Riegl, “remains closely dependent upon the works of his direct predecessors … and one becomes convinced that Rembrandt, too, was primarily merely an executor of the artistic volition of his people and his time.”36 Riegl was also interested in the autonomous nature of the work of art. He was less concerned with the subjective process of creation, nor had he a materialistic interest in matter-of-factness. Kunstwollen, artistic volition, was for Riegl a gestalt of continuous flow of thought making a reciprocal dialogue with sociotechnological transformations. According to Margaret Iversen, “For Riegl, different stylistic types, understood as expressions of a varying Kunstwollen, are read as different ideals of perception or as different ways of regarding the mind’s relationship to its objects and of organizing the material of perception.”37 Riegl’s importance for Benjamin, however, has to do with the historian’s argument that stylistic changes are motivated by transformations taking place in the perceptual world. When Benjamin made his famous statement that, “During long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence,” the major historical examples he provides are from the late Roman art industry whose birth, according to Riegl, coincided with a sense of perception that differed from the classical. Obviously, Benjamin had read Riegl’s Late Roman Art Industry (Vienna, 1901). Nevertheless, this did not stop him from critiquing Riegl for excluding the social sources of the alleged new perception.38 The second import of Riegl for Walter Benjamin has to do with what Michael Steinberg calls Riegl’s “principle of externality” – that is, the lived cultural context of a work, and the experience of the viewer.39 Benjamin believed that the mechanical reproduction of art changes one’s perception of the object. In modern times, according to him, one appropriates objects not directly but through technological means. Technology rips the work out of its local context and interrupts the smooth flow of tradition. While lamenting for the authenticity of art, Benjamin turns technology’s attack on tradition (nihilism) into an analytical tool for cultural studies. In the arcades project, Benjamin presents monuments, commodities, and the body as symbolic images. These cultural products speak neither for matter-of-factness, nor for the spirit of time. Benjamin reads the material manifestations of nineteenthcentury culture as dream-images that contain the repressed or the unfulfilled utopias of the past.40 Walter Benjamin’s work on historical material alludes to a shift from the individual to the collective experience of a past that is not necessarily embedded in the high art and period style, but rather resides in anonymous works and in detail. This attention to the marginal was, for Benjamin, the result of a major methodological discovery laid down by Riegl. According to Benjamin, Riegl’s study of Late Roman Art Industry, “broke with the theory of ‘periods of decline,’ and recognized in what had previously been called ‘regression into barbarism’ a new experience of space, a new artistic volition

On history

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[Kunstwollen].”41 Similar to Riegl’s interest in applied arts and ornament, Benjamin underlined the importance of the principle of montage as a means to “build up the large constructions out of the smallest, precisely fashioned structural elements. Indeed to detect the crystal of the total event in the analysis of the small, individual moment.”42 While high art solidifies autonomy the so to speak “insignificant” is apprehended through the recollection and involuntary memory of the collective experience. For Benjamin the point was not to reiterate those moments of the bygone past, but to underline their function for the intelligibility of the work of art, and to comprehend their redemptive power in the light of the “recent.” Riegl too, according to Inversen, believed that “in order for a particular work of art to have meaning, it must be couched in something comparable to a public language.”43 Nevertheless, it was Benjamin’s critical appropriation of “intelligibility” that led him to criticize Riegl, as noted earlier. To see the most archaic in the latest technologies, as Benjamin suggests, unfolds a strategic position that questions the linear idea of progress without dismissing the radical potentialities of the new. However, what makes Benjamin relevant to my discussion here, and to the themes taken up in the remaining chapters of this volume, is his interpretation of the role technique plays in modern art. Equally important is his methodology in delineating a strategy of historical criticism that was unavailable to most critics and historians writing before the postwar era. Of further significant is his criticism of historicism and a vision of history wherein “time” is collapsed into the present, a construction (fabrication) that defies the linear perception of history, monitoring events across the natural progress of history with eyes wide open to the past.

In spite of methodology The structuralist discourse on history paved the way for two important developments. First, it shifted the discussion from the object, architecture, to the discursive formation of the knowledge of the object. Second, in the light of postmodern criticism of the major tropes of modern architecture, even the structuralist tendency for a synchronic understanding of history (time) could not hold strong as capitalism retooled itself with techniques of digital reproducibility. For a better understanding of these transformations we should start with Foucault again, and his conviction that, while those engaged in language analysis seek the rules that generate a particular statement, “the description of the events of discourse poses a quite different question: how is it that one particular statement appeared rather than another.”44 In the context of the proliferation of linguistic theories of the 1970s, interpretation or deconstruction of the text became formative for architectural history and theories too.45 Here is how Porphyrios implements Foucault’s methodology: instead of asking what are the compositional principles (grid, rotation, procession, etc.) which govern a given architectural work, we will

24

On history ask a different question: say, what is the peculiar classificatory mode (for example, homotopic reasoning) which allows for the “grid,” “procession,” “rotation,” etc. to be conceived in the first place?

He continues Such a history of architecture, therefore, is interested not in categories that would describe a building, but in categories that would describe the production (that is, the conception, design, execution, and recognition) of a building.46 What remained unnoticed was the concept of time that in the structuralist and post-structuralist theories denotes timelessness. Accordingly, events and ideas were sought as if floating in the air autonomously; or else, their presence was felt when a different discursive formation was introduced. These unfoldings took place in the context of a desire to open a space for the return of a subject with no sense of history except the desire to perpetuate the continuity of the raison d’être of discourse, past and present. Apropos, the idea of the “end of modernity” was supplemented by the claim for the “end of history,” to mention two pillars of colourful theories disseminated throughout the 1990s. Gradually but surely these tendencies nullified the existing contradictions, facilitating the current turn to the theorization of architecture in the light of digital reproducibility.47 These brief observations do not aim to chart theories and methods of historical work developed in the last couple of decades. Rather my intention is to stress the importance of history for contemporary architectural praxis at a point where architects and historians are seemingly sceptical of the role that Theory – understood as an autonomous entity – can play against the problems caused by architecture’s intensive entanglement with the reproductive techniques of late capitalism. In response to the prevailing commodified culture, and in order to go beyond the claim for “the end of history,” historiography of architecture, I posit, should do two things: in the first place, any criticism of historicism should question the habitual tendency to associate architecture merely with the subjective and objective forces central to the development of modernism and postmodernism. This is not to deny architecture’s necessary rapport with modernization, the index of which is not determined by the technical alone. Unlike the situation of the early modernism, the past of the present situation does not configure a style the departure from which should be the main driving force of contemporary historiographies. What needs to be stressed is that the index of architecture unfolding since the 1960s is totally different from that of modern architecture, and also that, in spite of the prevailing technological determinism, the architecture produced during the first three decades of the last century was heterogeneous. What is problematic with the early historiographies of modern architecture is the use of technology to promote

On history

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a particular aesthetic and spatial regime, an architectural monologue that led to the formation of the International Style architecture. Second, dismissed in most architectural theories that subscribe to the rubric of “the end of modernity,” is the kind of critical thinking that sees modernity as an epochal transformation, something similar to Walter Benjamin’s formulation of the loss of aura, discussed previously. Central to the historicity of modernity is the impossibility of establishing coherent totalities of the kind that were essential for the discourse of period style. The project of modernity is analogous to “open work,” to recall Umberto Eco,48 and perhaps for that very reason was weak in confronting capitalism, and thus turned into “An Incomplete Project,” a term coined by Jürgen Habermas.49 It is this last aspect of contemporary development that allows us to launch a critical assessment of the early historiographies of modern and postmodern architecture. It also entices us to critique those contemporary theories whose criticism of modern architecture says more about their own indulgence of the idea of the spirit of time, though this time construed along the “soft” face of digitally reproduced objects. There is another side to historicism that needs further attention. Central to the discourse of historicism is the dichotomy between periodization and autonomy. It is to the credit of art historians of the last century who would associate formal aspects of art with the general manifestations of a given period. Period style establishes a chain of stylistic evolution, cementing the idea of progress, and presenting form as the language internal to each artistic discipline. When this is established then the binary dependency between autonomy and periodization is unravelled. And yet, the very departure of modernity from its prehistory did indeed necessitate an emphasis on the autonomy of art.50 On the other hand, any discussion of autonomy that does not historicize the formal language of the work within the periodic crisis of capitalism falls into a transcendental discourse. Even the Adornoesque discussion of autonomy should be considered part of an intellectual work that intended to theorize the very modernity of the work of art, in spite or because of Theodor Adorno’s intention to save the work from the hegemonic power of the culture industry.51 In this paradox the case of architecture seems more complex than that of any other art form. The art of building too possesses its own internal language, i.e., the tectonic. However, the thematic of the tectonic, its constructive and aesthetic possibilities, are informed by techniques available in each transformational stage of capitalism. This is one reason why the name of the German architect Gottfried Semper peppers the following chapters. Another reason has to do with the ever continuity of the Promethean vision of technology that gauges the temporality of architecture merely in reference to formal and spatial potentialities of the prevailing techniques. The tectonic as discussed throughout this volume is strategic rather than operative: it underlines the excess involved in the dialogical rapport between re-presentation and construction. The tectonic also highlights the idea that

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On history

architecture is by definition a semi-autonomous product informed not only by the time involved in the processes of design and construction, but also by the “time of lifeworld of the building,” and the fact that each of these two levels of temporal operation has its own agency in the long history of architecture.52 Trachtenberg observes correctly that everything involved in architecture today “is marked by the high velocity of late modernity and capitalism.” Even though some architects would still like to overstate the importance of formal autonomy, it is the task of the historian to problematize the concept of autonomy, demonstrating the stakes involved in architecture’s inevitable participation in an accelerated everyday life that is informed and shaped by the production and consumption cycles of late capitalism. Here, too, a sense of “time-now” prevails, the difference of which from the early modernists’ obsession with the zeitgeist should be secured on two grounds. First, modernity designates an epochal transgression, rather than a chain in the linear progression of the history of humanism. This proposition affirms the contemporaneity of architecture even when architects are not following the idea of zeitgeist as a transcendental force anymore. In fact, each artwork formulates its own regime subsidized by possibilities listed in the available “interdisciplinary menus” offered by late capitalism. Second, what seems to be separating the time-now as such from its own immediate past is not transcendental but transient: fashionlike and modish and contingent to change. In this context the task of the historian is not limited to focusing on the work of any single or particular group of architects. He/she should historicize architecture within dichotomies of capitalism and the technical and aesthetic particularities of the time-now. Speaking theoretically, this is an important project – drawing parallels with Tomas Llorens’ analysis of the situation in post-war Italy, I would like to posit that any historical criticism of historicism should engage with the following questions: should a historian look back at the architecture of the last fifty years and ensure the continuity of modern architecture with some modification due to historical necessity? Or should one make an attempt to acquire a different orientation towards the very tropes, including historicism, that were constructive for the formation of modern movement architecture?53 I intend to expand the scope of these questions throughout the following pages.

Notes 1 Panayotis Tournikiotis, The Historiography of Modern Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999). Also see Demitri Porphyrios, note 19. 2 Allen Colquhoun, “Three Kinds of Historicism,” Architectural Design, 53, 9/10, (1983), pp. 3–20. Here I am using the text reprinted in Colquhoun, Modernity and the Classical Tradition: Architectural Essays, 1980–1987 (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1989). 3 The present chapter is an extensively revised and expanded edition of ideas explored on many occasions, including Gevork Hartoonian, The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars

On history

4

5 6 7 8 9

10 11

12

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

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Publishing, 2013), “What is the Matter With Architectural History,” in Andrew Benjamin (ed.), Walter Benjamin and History (London: Continuum, 2005), 182– 196, and Gevork Hartoonian (ed.), Walter Benjamin and Architecture (London: Routledge, 2010). On the theoretical underpinning of the school see Martin Jay, The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923–1950 (London: Heinemann Educational, 1973). On the notion of the critical in the historiographies of Kenneth Frampton and Manfredo Tafuri see G. Hartoonian, The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian. As the reader will notice, I use this term as discussed by Walter Benjamin. Heidrun Friese, “Introduction,” in Heidrun Friese (ed.), The Moment: Time and Rupture in Modern Thought (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2001), 2. Ernst Bloch, “Non-contemporaneity and Intoxication,” in Heritage of Our Time (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991), 62. See note 3. In February 1948, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized a symposium entitled “What is Happening to Modern Architecture?” The subject is discussed in Chapter 3 here. For a brief overview of the lectures presented on this occasion, see The Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, (Spring 1948): 4–21. Allen Colquhoun, Modernity and the Classical Tradition, 1989, 3. Paul Norton, “Leo Strauss: His Criticism of Historicism,” Modern Age (Spring 1981): 144. In this short essay the author introduces a number of themes related to historicism, including the issue of nihilism, as well as Nietzsche and Heidegger’s differences on the subject. Heinrich Hübsch, “In What Style Should We Build?” will be discussed in Chapter 3. For the full text of Hübsch, see In What Style Should We Build? Harry Francis Mallgrave (trans.) (Santa Monica, CA: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1992), 63–102. See Barry Bergdoll, “Archaeology vs. History: Heinrich Hübsch’s Critique of Neoclassicism and the Beginnings of Historicism in German Architectural Theory,” Oxford Art Journal, 5/2 (1983): 3–12. For a comprehensive review of the literature on “acceleration” see David Cunnigham, “A Marxist Heresy? Accelerationism and its Discontents,” Radical Philosophy, 191 (May/June 2015): 29–38. Paul Virilio, A Landscape of Events (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000), p. xii. See Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity (Baltimore, CT: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988). Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1972), originally published in France in 1969. Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, 1972, 7. Demetri Porphyrios, Architectural Design, 51, 6/7 (1981), 95–104. See Demetri Porphyrios, “On Critical History,” in Joan Ockman (ed.), Architecture Criticism Ideology (New York: Princeton Press, 1985), 16–21. See for example, Marco Biraghi, Project of Crisis: Manfredo Tafuri and Contemporary Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013), and Andrew Leach, Manfredo Tafuri: Choosing History (Ghent: A&S Books, 2007). On Erwin Panofsky’s tendency for “ideality” in artistic work see Silvia Ferretti, Richard Pierce (trans.) (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), 212. On Riegl and Panofsky see Chapter 4, this volume. Demetri Porphyrios, Architectural Design, (1981): 99. The idea is discussed in Jacques Derrida, Writing Difference (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1978), and Louis Althusser, For Marx (London: Allen Lane, 1969). Demetri Porphyrios, Architectural Design (1981): 101.

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27 Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference (1978): 291. 28 See Harry F. Mallgrave’s introduction to Empathy, Form, and Space,(Santa Monica, CA: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1994). 29 Beside Heinrich Wölfflin and Alois Riegl, we are reminded of Adolf Behne’s influence on Walter Benjamin. Arnd Bohm argues for Benjamin’s debt to Behne’s “Das reproduktive Zeitalter” in the Kunstwerk-Essay. Among other affinities between these two authors, Bohm underlines the “lingering romanticism,” attribution of will and purpose to technology and Behne’s impact on artwork and perception. Arnd Bohm, “Artful Reproduction: Benjamin’s Appropriation of Adolf Behne’s ‘Das reproduktive Zeitalter’ ” in the Kunstwerk (the work of art) essay, 146–155. On Wölfflin and Riegl see note 34 below. 30 Walter Benjamin, One-Way Street (London: New Left Books, 1979), 250. 31 Walter Benjamin, “Paris – The Capital of the Nineteenth Century” in Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism (London: Verso, 1983), 159. 32 Heinrich Wölfflin, The Principles of Art History, M. D. Hottinger (trans.) (New York: Dover, 1950). For the implications of this aspect of Wölfflin’s thoughts on Sachlichkeit, see Gevork Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), Chapter 2. 33 For this author’s detailed analysis of the frame structure and its role in drifting architecture into the production and consumption system of capitalism see Chapter 9, this volume. 34 On Heinrich Wölfflin and Alois Riegl’s place in Walter Benjamin’s work see Michael P. Steinberg, “The Collector as Allegorist: Goods, Gods, and the Objects of History,” M. P. Steinberg (ed,), Walter Benjamin and the Demands of History (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 88–118. 35 Walter Benjamin, “Rigorous Study of Art”, October, 47, (Winter 1988): 84– 90. In translating Benjamin’s essay, Thomas Y. Levin reminds us that Benjamin borrowed the title of his essay from Hans Seldmayr’s lead piece in a book of essays by an art historian from Vienna, published in 1931. See also Christopher S. Wood (ed.), The Vienna School Reader: Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s (New York: Zone Books, 2000), especially Parts I and II. 36 Alois Riegl, “The Dutch Group Portrait”, October, 74, (Fall 1995): 3–35. 37 Margaret Iversen, Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993), 8. On the differences between Panofsky’s and Riegl’s takes on Kunswollen, see Silvia Ferretti, Cassirer, Panofsky, and Warburg (1989), 179–185. 38 Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” in Illuminations, Harry Zohn (trans) (New York, Schoken Books, 1973), 222. 39 Michael P. Steinberg, “The Collector as Allegorist: Goods, Gods, and the Objects of History” in M. P. Steinberg (ed.), Walter Benjamin and the Demands of History (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 109. 40 Here I am benefiting from Sigrid Weigel’s association between a Benjaminian understanding of image and Sigmund Freud’s description of the language of the unconscious in terms of dream images. See Sigrid Weigel, Body-and ImageSpace: Re-reading Walter Benjamin (New York: Routledge, 1996). 41 Quoted in Thomas Y. Levin, “Walter Benjamin and the Theory of Art History,” October 47, (Winter 1988): 80. 42 Walter Benjamin, “N [Re the Theory of Knowledge, Theory of Progress],” in Gary Smith (ed.), Benjamin: Philosophy, Aesthetics, History (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1989), 48. 43 Margaret Iversen, Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993), 13. 44 Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, 1972, 27. 45 Mark Wigley for one introduced Jacques Derrida’s discourse on the deconstruction of text to architectural historiography. See Mark Wigley, The

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46 47 48 49 50

51

52 53

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Architecture of Deconstruction (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993). For the importance of archival studies see Beatrice Colomina, Privacy and Publicity (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1994). Porphyrios, Architectural Design, (1981): 100. Also see Demetri Porphyrios, Sources of Modern Eclecticism (London: Academy Edition, 1982). On this latter subject see Gevork Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique (London: Routledge, 2013). Umberto Eco, The Open Work (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989). Jürgen Habermas, “Modernity: An Incomplete Project,” Hal Foster (ed.), The Anti-Aesthetic (Washington, DC: Bay Press, 1983), 3–15. This subject will be discussed on different occasions throughout this volume. For a philosophical discussion of the idea of autonomy see Andrew Bowie, Aesthetic and Subjectivity (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990). For a discussion of autonomy and its place in contemporary architectural theories see the entire issue of Perspecta 33, “Mining Autonomy,” 2002. On this subject see Theodor Adorno’s discourse in Aesthetic Theory (London: Routledge, 1984). Also important is Peter Burger who historicizes the avantgarde and it’s failed attempt to brush aside art’s autonomy and the reconciliation of art with life. See Peter Burger, Theory of the Avant-garde (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 1984). For a dialectical account of building’s temporal structure in Italian pre-modern architecture, see Marvin Trachtenberg, Building-in-Time (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010). Tomas Llorens, “Manfredo Tafuri: Neo-Avant-Garde and History” in Architectural Design, (1981): 84. This is a seminal text in response to Manfredo Tafuri’s approach to the historical avant-garde discussed in Teorie e Storia dell Architectura (1973) translated as Architecture and Utopia, trans. Barbara L. La Penta (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1976).

2

On time

Only the angel can present us with all the past in a single instant. The angel confuses past and present; for him all events are simultaneous. Only an angel can simultaneously see all layers that make up reality, recoding its transparent imprints.1 I would like to start by raising two questions: first, can architecture re-present its time? And, second, is architecture’s association with the politics of a state played out through the particular articulation of its architectonics, modern or otherwise? Obviously, a positive answer to the first question presupposes the fact that architecture changes as time progresses. Architecture re-presents its time by responding to the demands of new building types, available materials and construction techniques. In addition to these objective aspects, architecture also relates to time in terms of aesthetics, in general, and an architect’s design strategies in reference to the choice of material and construction system, in particular. Also noteworthy is the designer’s interpretative take on historical typologies. At another level of consideration, architecture’s bond with time is ontological, meaning that the realization of building takes time. Even putting aside the time involved in design for a moment, the preparation of the foundation and the participation of various trades and skilled labourers during construction of an edifice, even in its most rudimentary state, do not take place outside of time. Both natural time, coordinated by sunrise and sunset and seasonal changes, and what I would like to call industrial time exert considerable influence on the time needed for the completion of the work performed by one set of trades followed by another. More importantly, this “industrial time” has slowly but tediously pushed architecture’s realization into a whirlpool of industries, some with no original bearing on the art of building. Most architects are aware of the major impact that the transformation from the traditional wet construction system to dry one has had on both processes of design and construction. What should be added to the enumerated facets of time discussed is the schism Leon Battista Alberti’s theorization of architecture introduced into what Marvin Trachtenberg calls “Building-in-Time,” when the processes of thinking of and making of an edifice were contemporaneous.2 Giorgio

On time

31

Vasari considered design as a “visual expression and clarification of that concept that one has in intellect, and that which one imagines in the mind and builds up in the idea.”3 The historical consciousness of the time involved in the maturation of design since then, however, has had to struggle against the constant presence of history, and the limits enforced by the available construction techniques: tools, labour skills, and materials. This picture I have depicted of the constraints working against the presumed autonomy of design is not complete without including the client’s ideological regime, the sum total of his/her objective and subjective desires.4 Of particular interest is the patron’s entitlement to power as a stockholder of capital, the temporality of which in modernity is connected to the nuances of a given socio-political and economic system. Consider, for example, the fact that design strategies pursued in Albert Speer and Giuseppe Terragni’s buildings are occasionally associated with the fascist states of their respective countries. Is this association because of the two architects’ close rapport with the Nazi regime?5 The question can be expanded to ask: if particular representation and embellishment of architectonic elements such as scale and detailing exceeds the expected conventions, does this facilitate a supportive rapport between architecture and the institutions of power? If so, how convincing is it to associate Greek democracy with the architectonics of the Parthenon, a building that codified the classical orders as timeless? This analogy is a good one because the classical language of architecture has been used in monuments to celebrate both democratic and totalitarian states. Compared with literature and music, I am convinced that architecture is unable to fully express the moral dimensions of its age. This is even more so the case with modernity and its two determinants: the expected “otherness of the future and, associated with it, the alteration in the rhythm of temporal experience: acceleration, by means of which one’s own time is distinguished from what went before.”6 History is full of examples of authoritarian decisions to demolish or keep buildings with historical significance. The literature exploring theoretical and philosophical issues of temporality, history and time is vast. In this chapter I wish to take on board Walter Benjamin’s discourse on time and history, and attempt to recode the present state of critical historiography. The idea of the critical draws from a historiographic vision that is centred on a semi-autonomous understanding of architecture. What this means is that, in the era of capitalism, architecture is both a creative activity and a commodity. This dual character of architecture in modern times is problematized by technique. Whereas architectural history could – following the conventions of traditional art history – narrate formal and stylistic transformations across history, critical historiography invests in the intersection between history and ontology.7 Writing in the 1930s, the German novelist Hermann Broch observed that the nineteenth century style-time discourse was exclusive enough to popularize the style debate only among specialists, ignoring the broader public. He wrote, the “obvious expression of the age is far more visible in

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On time

machine technology or sports events than in urban architecture or works of art.”8 Much has been written about the subject of art and technology and their complex relationship. And yet, the early modernists’ fascination with technology was such that they went so far as to claim that machine as the genesis of a third architectural type following on from the eighteenthcentury codification of hut and tent as the two major typologies. However, following Broch, we should ask, what should have been the ethics of architecture during the rise of Nazi Germany, or in the present situation when the aesthetic of spectacle permeates contemporary civic architecture? Putting aside the issue of autonomy, we can agree with Broch that whenever architecture tries to represent the culture of its time it ends in kitsch. In what ways, then, could today’s architecture engage with its time and yet resist becoming part of the current culture of spectacle? In The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian (2013), I posited the idea that the early modernist historian’s response to the questions raised above was either focused on “periodization” (Nikolaus Pevsner), or the zeitgeist (Sigfried Giedion). In two different ways, these historians promoted a concept of period style that was not open to change.9 Central to these historiographies were the transformations taking place in architecture’s rapport with technology, and the visuality informing modern abstract painting. Putting aside its aesthetic significance for modernism, machine in the age of digital reproducibility offers neither a typological precedent, nor an image to be emulated by architecture, except those associable with the organic world.10 Technology has today conquered the cultural realm, including those areas closely related to the production of art and architecture. We are witnessing a situation where technology has deconstructed the modernist notion of painting, and has been infused into the design and production processes of architecture. This development demands rethinking architectural historiography. In the first part of this chapter I will discuss the historicity of the concept of time in reference to two images: Anton Raphael Mengs’ The Triumph of History Over Time (1772), and Cesar Ripa’s History (1600). I will then take up Walter Benjamin’s reading of Paul Klee’s painting Angelus Novus. Whereas Ripa’s woodcut foregrounds a concept of historicism centred on geography and chronology,11 Mengs’ painting draws on the Enlightenment’s discourse on history. I discuss these three postcards as independent tableaus to demonstrate, among other things, Walter Benjamin’s particular take on the history of historical criticism. In my concluding remarks, I will attempt to set up the thematic of a critical discourse on time and architecture. One significant implication of my proposed critical inquiry aims to disqualify categories such as period style, and the modernist tendency for capturing the aesthetics attributed to the zeitgeist.

Postcard I In 1593, Ripa published in Rome a manual called Iconologia, listing classical and baroque symbolism alphabetically. The first edition of the book appeared

On time

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without illustrations.12 By the second edition (1603), the book’s seven hundred categories of personification demonstrated the complete array of allegories formative of the art of the seventeenth century. Prescriptive as it was, the book carefully outlined the decorum of image in reference to its use rather than its meaning. In Ripa’s engraving, history and time are presented in allegorical terms. Depicted in the figure of a woman,13 history’s earthliness is suggested in the way that her foot rests on a square-shaped rock. Following ancient practice, time is represented in the figure of Saturn, a man with wings, equipped for flight. The positioning of these two mythological figures is the telling story of the ongoing dialogical rapport between time and history. Facing forward, and shown in seated position, time chews stones, a symbolic reference to his son Jupiter. Although he is motionless and his wings are at rest, the figure of time looks ready to take off at any moment. Full of life and movement, robed in white fabric, the figure of history writes in an open book supported by the winged figure of time. A few scholars have interpreted the gender difference as the desire “to free Historia, history personified as a young woman, from the dread knife of Old Man Time… [This] has become a rescue fantasy.”14 Does Ripa’s composition imply dependency or cooperation between the two mythological figures? Either way, with her head turned down looking at the square stone, the figure of history keeps writing. This allegorical

Figure 2.1 Cesare Ripa, History, 1603, Ripa, Iconologia, Rome, printed by Benj. Motte (digitized by Internet Archive in 2009 with funding from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

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reference to stone as an object (material) suggests that fact, if not truth, is what the historian should be searching for.15 Her gesture also suggests that time is bound to place, at least for the time being and at the dawn of the Enlightenment. Furthermore, the idea of place, symbolically represented by the ruins of a wall and a tree in the background, is used to complement the standstill state of time and history. Referring to Ripa’s use of lexicon, Walter Benjamin wrote that allegorical expression was born out of the combination of history and nature.16 Ripa’s woodcut also suggests that time will eventually depart when history is finished with her story. In this departure, both the time past and place will be left behind. The future, which lies ahead, would belong to space, and will give rise to another round of re-writing of time past. Thus the arrival of modernity, and Giedion’s attempt to tie together the historiography of Time, Space, and Architecture (1941).

Postcard II Mengs was born in 1728 at Ústí nad Labem (German name: Aussig) in Bohemia. An early exponent of Neoclassicism, he produced a few impressive classical and religious scenes. An accomplished portrait painter, he also wrote some theoretical work, mostly influenced by Johann Joachim Winckelmann.17 In addition to a portrait painting of Winckelmann, the historian’s influence can also be detected in Mengs’ painting entitled The Triumph of History over Time (1772). Along with the two main figures depicted in Ripa’s woodcut, the space of Mengs’ painting is occupied by the following figures: the Janus; a Genius carrying manuscripts; and the Fame who hovers above all attendants. Oblivious to the Genius’s position, history keeps writing in an open book, again supported by the wings of time. In addition to the number of figures depicted, what makes Mengs’ painting different from Ripa’s woodcut is the position and direction of history’s head. While writing, she stares at the female figure of Janus, the god of beginning, who can both remember the past and foresee the future. It seems that Janus is inspirational as far as what history should take note of. Unlike Ripa’s illustration, in Mengs’ painting history’s foot is not resting on the square-shaped stone. Here the stone is left aside, pushed to the forefront of the painting and closer to the spectator. Its visibility is further underlined by the Genius, whose gaze is turned on it. However, while the position and orientation of the figure of Fame also direct the spectator’s attention to the stone, the overall organization of Mengs’ painting is taken over by a diagonal axis which points towards an open door; the presence of this door is further emphasized by the right arm of Janus, and the direction in which the Genius’s gesture is moving. Similar to Diego Velazquez’s Las Meninas (1656), the door in Mengs’ painting reveals the subject of history, but instead of the king in Velazquez’s work, Mengs draws the spectator’s attention to the Museo Clementino where the Vatican Ariadne is prominent. Among other things in the museum, the Janus’s hand points at the sculpture

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Figure 2.2 Anton Raphael Mengs, The Triumph of History over Time, 1772. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

of the sleeping Ariadne, long called Cleopatra. This composition reminds the historian of the significance of the classical tradition as the source of an enlightened historiography. Thus, the subject matter of historiography turned away from facts to classical history. Before attending to Walter Benjamin’s reading of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, I wish to make additional observations, and to plot the historiographic implications of the two paintings considered above. Prior to the Enlightenment, and the advent of a historicism that was centred on geography and chronology, we can claim that monuments did not testify to the historicity of time. They were rather seen as the work of an artistic genius. In addition, and because of the values attributed to the Orders, monuments were differentiated from ordinary buildings. From the Enlightenment and the advent of scientific fact-finding emerged the need to differentiate the historiography of both social events and natural catastrophe from the work of art. Even though monuments were seen as the work of the past, their very ruination was taken as a sign of progress, time in motion.18 Winckelmann

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On time

wrote that art history “should establish the facts, as far as possible, through study of the monuments of antiquity that remain to us.” He continued that art historians: not having studied their material sufficiently, have been only able to provide us with common-places. There are few writers who have known how to make us understand the very essence of Art.19 Accordingly, in modern times, monuments were not merely valued for their beauty; rather, they were considered as artworks capable of representing the socio-political and aesthetic values of their time. One way to reactivate historical events and make them visible was through memory and narratives, including travel diaries. By contrast, buildings usually live past their inception time, and bear witness to the past. Stepping out of time proper, monuments are abused to endorse the victors of barbaric wars carried out in the name of progress. Monuments also disclose the aesthetic state of the artistry of the work. Still, the style debate did not concern itself with the relationship between Palladio’s villas, for example, and the historicity of the Italian Renaissance, let alone the political structure of Renaissance patronage. More appealing for art history were questions such as: how does a work re-present the spirit of the time; and, how and why does it attain its status as “art,” surpassing its own historicity. The Humanist belief in the perfection of the past recovered its ethos in two opposing trends. On the one hand, we have David Le Roy’s collected drawings of the Parthenon, published under the telling title Les Ruins de plus beaux monuments de la Grèce (1758), where the ruination of monuments set the stage for much of the Kantian aesthetics of sublime and picturesque. Le Roy’s analysis of ruins conflated historical observations with theory. Time, for example, was seen “as part of a progress towards perfection.”20 Ruins were thus approached as a means of understanding the grandeur, order, and aesthetics of Greek architecture. Nevertheless, it is striking to note that, even though “ruins were immensely popular at the end of the eighteenth century,” Kant never discussed “the aesthetic experience of ruins in his Critique of Judgment, especially since ruins would seem obvious catalysts” for his idea of sublime.21 On the other hand, we have Winckelmann’s historicization of Greek art as the expression of Greek culture in its totality. It was left to Piranesi to make a bricolage of Le Roy’s vision of ruin with Winckelmann’s tendency for totalization. Piranesi’s Il Campo Marzio revealed a project that would be picked up by artists and architects whenever progress had to depart and leave the existing wreckage behind. These observations are of further interest to us in relation to Diderot’s division of human knowledge into the three areas of “reason,” “memory,” and “imagination,” and in looking at how these concepts informed Ripa’s woodcut and Mengs’ painting. I will go further and associate the wreckage of progress with the square-shaped stone noted in the two postcards.

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Postcard III It is beyond the scope of this chapter to present a comprehensive reading of Walter Benjamin’s text entitled “On the Philosophy of History.”22 However, in revisiting his seminal essay I will attempt to map the architectonic implications of the ideas of ruin and ruination in late capitalism. Central to the objectives of my discussion is the notion of time. The temporality implied in history demands distinguishing the ruins of the past from the wreckage left by the storm of progress. Whereas the aestheticization of ruins of the past is part of humanity’s awareness of the concept of history, in late capitalism buildings immediately fall into the ruins of forgetfulness. What this means is that the image-oriented spectacle permeating contemporary everyday life does two dialectically related things. First, it turns architecture into a parergon supplementing the wreckage of capitalism. Second, having lost much of its symbolic and functional purpose, contemporary architecture cuts its umbilical cord with the Humanist totalization of themes such as monument, ruin, and ornament. Written in the late 1930s, Benjamin’s text is a montage of fragments, each addressing issues central to his concept of history. It unpacks strategies that are central to a materialist approach to historiography. Relevant to my argument here are concepts such as image, progress, and time. While these concepts are reiterated in each fragment of Benjamin’s text, their iconological connotation can best be pursued in fragment IX. This fragment starts with Gerhard Scholem’s poem entitled “Greeting from the Angelus,” which was composed for Benjamin’s twenty-ninth birthday. Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, a version of which Scholem had hung in his Munich apartment, inspired the poem. It reads: My wing is ready for flight, I would like to turn back. If I stayed everliving time, I’d still have little luck. This is how Benjamin pictured the angel of history: eyes wide open and wings spread, his face turned to the past where “we [my italic] perceive a chain of events,” and the angel “sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage.” Benjamin continued: “The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise.” The storm propels the angel forward into the future, to which the angel’s back is turned. For Benjamin, “this storm is what we call progress.”23 Benjamin’s reading of the Angelus Novus suggests that once the storm of progress is associated with the myth of “paradise,” the task of the historian is to de-construct the “chain of events” and to uncover the catastrophe.

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On time

It is important here to make a distinction between natural catastrophe – floods and earthquakes – and historical catastrophe. The temporality implied in history demands distinguishing the ruins of the past from the wreckage left by the storm of progress. The ruin is not just the effects of time. It involves the decay of material, and also an appreciation of aesthetics that are bound up with the transitoriness essential to modernity.24 It is nothing new to say that material decays, but in modernity things become outmoded even before their material disintegrates. In modernity, time is experienced in the absence of a unity that would set the subtext for the durability and meaningfulness assigned, or expected, from every action, including the production of architecture. In the first decades of the last century, for example, architecture could still play a crucial role in public housing and communities that were associated with the various institutions of modernity. By contrast, even with the best intentions, architects today cannot escape the commodification of values and techniques that turns every edifice into a spectacular ornament. In late capitalism, one’s relation to the past is subject to the temporality delivered by the storm of progress as it moves from one catastrophe to another. These observations involve two sets of assumptions. First, that progress is registered in an understanding of time that transforms one’s experience of natural time. Progress progresses, but its flow does not suggest that history unfolds according to a preplanned linear path. Second, that the juxtaposition of natural ruins and the ruins of modernity – the piled wreckage of the past – is essential for a cognitive mapping of the landscape of modernity where everything is short-lived and has to be handed to history. Harry Harootunian writes: “All production immediately falls into ruin, thereafter to be set in stone without revealing what it had once signified, since the inscriptions are illegible or written in the dead language.” He concludes: “Beneath the historical present, however, lie the specters, the phantoms, waiting to reappear and upset it.”25 This statement draws from Karl Marx’s claim in Communist Manifesto that “All that is solid melts into air,” and Benjamin’s vision of history wherein the spectre of the past returns in image. But what does it mean for historiography, when the presumed historical unity is thus exploded. The question brings up two considerations: it demands that, first, we differentiate history from historiography; and second, that we distinguish the specificity of architecture’s relation to history from the temporality that orchestrates the present cycles of production and consumption. The difference between history and historiography is obvious; however, it needs to be reiterated here because of Benjamin’s unique intellectual cause. As the title suggests, Werckmeister’s essay “Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History, or the Transfiguration of the Revolutionary into the Historian” is a detailed account of Benjamin’s various rewritings of what would ultimately be formulated as the angel of history. The phrase “the transfiguration of the revolutionary into the historian” also prefigures the tale of Benjamin’s intellectual life, which was closely connected to the broader praxis of the Left of the 1930s.

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In the four available versions of Benjamin’s text, the reader sees a modification at work, which intends to demonstrate, among other things, Benjamin’s disappointment with the fate of “revolution” during the 1930s. These versions also reveal a process of distillation, emptying the angel of all religious connotations except one: like a superman, the angel represents a gifted revolutionary figure reading more into the rubble of progress than anybody else. Dismissing the idea of progress as the ultimate engine of political revolution, Benjamin turned the revolutionary and constructive aspects of Marx’s understanding of history into the act of historiography. He writes that historicism prevails by “establishing a causal connection between various moments in history,” perpetuating “the eternal image of the past.” Materialistic historiography, by contrast, “is based on a constructive principle. Thinking involves not only the flow of thoughts, but their arrest as well.”26 What does this arresting mean for architectural historiography? Having suspended the linear view of history, and made a distinction between history as such and the history of the work of art, Benjamin “established the status of the work of art as that of a remnant, relic, or ruin left in the wake of the demise of transcendent meaning.”27 His work was an arrow to the heart of the classical and neoclassical intention to reconstruct a harmonious past. Thus emerged both a concept of history and a historiography (reconstruction), the principle of which, following Benjamin’s notion of dialectical image, is based on the montage of fragments. To recall Manfredo Tafuri, Piranesi deconstructed the Humanist discourse on concinnitas and finitio.28 Piranesi’s drawing, mentioned earlier, illustrates nothing but “a systematic criticism of the concept of place.”29 It inaugurates a project of silence, aspects of which were picked up by the historical avant-garde, and by postmodernists. Thus, and in consideration of the 1970s architectural praxis, for example, we have on the one hand a body of work that registers fragments of the past without opening a space onto their aura (Peter Eisenman of the New York Five); on the other hand, we have fragments of the past put together harmoniously under the narcotic ether of phenomenology (Louis Isidore Kahn). Nurtured by two different theoretical paradigms, the difference between the work of these two architects involves the historicity of an era that had to face the demise of the project of the historical avant-garde.30 No wonder monumentality emerged in the 1950s as an ideological paradigm to camouflage the wreckage left by the war, if only to remap territories that would soon be destroyed again in different historical circumstances. The narrativization of events imposes fullness on its subject matter, and creates a common ground for otherwise disparate and incommensurable stories. Slavoj Žižek insists that: every version of historicism relies on a minimal “ahistorical” formal framework defining the terrain within which the open and endless game of contingent inclusions/exclusions, substitutions, renegotiations, displacements, and so on, takes place.

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On time

To go beyond historicism and the claim made for “the end of history,” Žižek’s distinction between historicism and historicity is particularly useful. He writes: historicism deals with the endless play of substitutions within the same fundamental field of (im)possibility, while historicity proper makes thematic different structural principles of this very (im)possibility.31 The term “impossibility” refers to what might be called the death knell of a society, calling into question concepts such as “national identity” which still evoke illusions of a unity presumably operating in some time past. In an effort to capture the zeitgeist, historicism dismisses the historical rupture induced by the project of modernity. It is the task of the historian to address and inflect the historiographic narrative with themes central to the developmental processes of capitalism as it moves from one system of spatial organization to another. Central to this scenario is the drive of capitalism to further minimize historical time, which, as Harootunian writes, has the effect of prolonging the scope of the “present as both eternal and natural.”32 Harootunian’s observation recalls Marx’s distinction between historical time and the temporal logic of capitalism. Since its advancement, industrialization has aligned the experience of natural time, and the everyday life experience of both visual and tactile stimuli with the technological apparatus of capitalism that in the postwar time has conquered the cultural realm as well. This awareness of time as “the object of historical knowledge” opened a debate on the nature of what among German thinkers was termed as historical time. Fredric J. Schwartz traces this line of inquiry in the work of philosophers and art historians, including Ernst Bloch, Georg Simmel, Wilhelm Pinder, and Erwin Panofsky, to mention a few regulars referenced in contemporary literature on the subject.33 In 1916 Simmel published an article entitled “The Problem of Historical Time.” He wrote that neither their chronological sequence of events, nor the fact that they are part of the past, qualifies an event as constituting “true historical knowledge until it can be oriented in relation to other events.” For Simmel, historical time differs from the periodstyle discussed in Heinrich Wölfflin’s theorization of the linear progression from classical to baroque as an enclosed repeatable stylistic cycle. Historical time is recognizable – or, to put it differently, events constitute historical knowledge – when a totality can be construed out of their presence in different fields, without necessarily solidifying a chronological line of progress. Launching his voice against the idealism and historicism pursued by art historians, Pinder’s generational approach to the stylistic dimension of art, instead, was motivated by an understanding of historical time as the sum total of eventful moments scattered across history with no particular order, directional or otherwise. Interestingly enough, Pinder sought the now (the time as experienced), which is multilayered and is construed by different

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artists based on their biological and geographic difference. The implied nonsimultaneity of the experience of time, a Marxian notion popularized by Bloch, works like a double-edged knife; against history represented as linear progression of ideals based on coherencies humanism would make, Bloch suggested that “Not all people exist in the same Now. They do so only externally, through the fact that they can be seen today. But they are thereby not yet living at the same time with others.”34 Bloch, who was once a student of Simmel, also pushed Simmel’s line of thinking in a different direction; important to Bloch was the so to speak Archimedean point from where history is viewed “as a totality defined by developments of modes of production.”35 Making a distinction between chronological time and historical time, Panofsky’s investigation, on the other hand, draws from the fact that various artists from different periods were responsible for the completion of the cathedral at Reims. His research led him to conclude that there is no “possibility of drawing parallels between stylistic and historical development.”36 In his persuasive argument for the unity of meaning delivered by a work of art, Panofsky tried to make sensory unity between space and time, suggesting that the historian should refrain from imposing an absolute order on an artistic object, the meaning of which overrides historical relativity and time. And yet, he wrote, one is “able to acknowledge dis-simultaneity in the objectively simultaneous (and vice versa).” Later in his writing, Panofsky reconsidered historical contemporaneity in terms of the ongoing rapport between various stylistic and cultural motifs. However, concludes Schwartz, Panofsky stopped short of recognizing the concept of nonsimultaneity as a “problem of experience,” and the instability of history, particularly in modern times.37 This rather long detour was necessary to show the complexity involved in discussing the subject of time in regard to the historiography of art and architecture. Earlier in this chapter, I noted the need for discussing different layers of temporality involved in the production of architecture. This subject will be taken up again in the following chapters, exploring it from other relevant angles. What I want to highlight here is that the historicity of architecture, more than that of any other artwork, embraces the three major aspects of time: historical time, natural time, and time as experienced. Following a Marxian reading of time, it is not far-fetched to make an analogy between historical time and Benjamin’s concept of aura presented earlier. The loss of aura suggests a historical time, the totality of which introduced unprecedented definitive but also non-simultaneous transformations in both the cultural and technical realms. Nothing looks like it used to anymore! Jacques Derrida’s reading of this historical transformation should be quoted at length: Like everything, from the moment it comes onto the stage of a market, the table resembles a prosthesis of itself. Autonomy and automatism, but automatism of this wooden table that spontaneously puts itself into motion, to be sure, and seems thus to animate, animalize, spiritualize,

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On time spiritize itself, but while remaining an artifactual body, a sort of automaton, a puppet, a stiff and mechanical doll whose dance obeys the technical rigidity of a program.38

Now, in Ripa’s woodcut, time and history are intertwined and represented through symbolism traditionally used to express pre-modern existential life. As Marx claimed, throughout modernity the logic of capitalism is aimed at annihilating history. Reading this implied nihilism in the light of the historical avant-garde’s enthusiastic investment in machine as the source of the accelerating desire to move from one point to another, contemporary theorists of accelerationism “effectively den[y] any distinctiveness of modernity as a temporalization of history in favor of a sense of time simply as the generalized New.”39 Benjamin’s reading of Paul Klee’s painting, then, seems essential for the formation of critical historiography. Benjamin wrote: “The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.”40 He continued that when, in the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “the time is out of joint,” then the present is saturated with the propelling wreckage of the past. In a standstill situation, the present merges with the past, and yet the distinction between the old and the new does not disappear. The redemptive power of the past rather shines out of the surface of the new. It is the task of the historian to capture the gaze of the image as printed on the surface of events. This task of the historian, called it retrospective criticism, I would posit, was dismissed during the formative years of the Enlightenment. Under the yoke of the literary debate between the ancients and the moderns, the past was judged according to the prospects already laid out by science. Critical historiography should balance the positivistic understanding of time with insights that are inspired by the objective and subjective conditions of the historicity of now-time.

Notes 1 Carles Muro, Casabella, 763 (2008): 121. 2 Marvin Trachtenberg, Building-in-Time (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010). The author recognizes three temporalities operating in architectural history: 1. The building-in-time attributed to classical and Gothic architecture, and perhaps vernacular as well; 2. Building-outside-time, a state of production initiated by Brunelleschi and theorized by Leon Battista Alberti; 3. Chronophobia, a major attribute of modern architecture, if we reduce the scope of architectural historiography to the vision established by Humanism. 3 Silvia Feretti, Cassirer, Panofsky, and Warburg, R. Pierce (trans.) (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), 166. 4 Jean-Louis Cohen, “Scholarship or Politics? Architectural History and the Risks of Autonomy,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 67/3 (Sept. 2003): 325. 5 Most recently, David Rifkind has discussed the close rapport between Mussolini’s aspirations for modern architecture and his fascist politics. See David Rifkind,

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6 7 8 9

10 11 12 13

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

24

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The Battle of Modernism: Quadrante and the Politization of Architectural Discourse in Fascist Italy (Venice: Marsilio, 2012). Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, Keith Tribe (trans.) (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 241. Antonio Negri, Art and Multitude (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011). Hermann Broch, Geist and zeitgeist: The Spirit in an Unspiritual Age (New York: Counterpoint, 2002), 4. The problematic of the implied “closure,” as I have discussed in my The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian (2013), is better understood when put next to Michel Foucault’s concept of episteme. As the keystone of Foucault’s take on periodization, episteme suggests a state of temporality that is at the brink of transformation. See Gevork Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique (London: Routledge, 2012), Chapter 9. See Anthony Grafton, What Was History? The Art of History in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). Cesare Ripa, Iconologia (London: 1709). In most allegorical drawings accompanying Renaissance treatises, the figures of theory and history are presented as maids. See Marco Frascari, “Maidens ‘Theory’ and ‘Practice’ at the Sides of Lady Architecture,” Assemblage 7 (Oct. 1988): 16. Ann Curthoys and John Docker, “Time, Eternity, Truth, and Death: History as Allegory,” Humanities Research 1 (1999): 5–26. The question concerning the credibility of history was topical for the groups supporting both “moderns” and “ancients.” See Anthony Grafton, What Was History? (London: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 248–49. Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama (London: Verso, 1997), 169. Josephine L. Allen, “Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Classicist,” The Metropolitian Museum of Art Bulletin, 7/8 (April 1949): 228–238. For a detailed historical investigation of these issues, see Françoise Choay, The Invention of the Historic Monument, Lauren M. O’Connell (trans.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Quoted in Anthony Vidler, Oppositions 25 (Fall 1982): 53. Also see Alex Potts’ introduction to John Winckelmann, History of the Art of Antiquity (Los Angeles, CA: Getty Research Institute, 2006), 1–53. Robin Middleton, “Introduction,” in Julien-David Le Roy, Ruins of the Most Beautiful Monuments of Greece, David Britt (trans.) (Santa Monica, CA: Getty Research Institute, 2004), 83. Karen Lang, Chaos and Cosmos: On the Image in Aesthetics and Art History (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), 7. Michael W. Jennings (ed.), Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, vol. 4, 1938– 1940 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 389–400. I am paraphrasing Walter Benjamin’s remarks mainly because Benjamin refers to the angel as a male. For the history and a comprehensive account of Benjamin’s “thesis on history,” see O. K. Werckmeister, “Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History, or the Transfiguration of the Revolutionary into the Historian,” in Critical Review (Winter 1996): 239–267. For Benjamin’s “Thesis on the Philosophy of History,” see Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, Hannah Arendt (ed.) (New York: 1969), 253–264. For the concept of transitoriness in reference to fashion and “time” in Walter Benjamin’s discourse on history, see Andrew Benjamin, “Being Roman Now: The Time of Fashion, a Commentary on ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ XIV,” unpublished essay, 2003.

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25 Harry Harootunian, History’s Disquiet (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 19. 26 Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” in Illuminations (1969), 262. 27 Beatrice Hanssen, Walter Benjamin’s Other History (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2006), 3. 28 See Manfredo Tafuri’s seminal text, “‘The Wicked Architect’: G. B. Piranesi, Heterotopia, and the Voyage,” in The Sphere and the Labyrinth (Cambridge: MIT Press. 1987), 25–54. 29 Manfredo Tafuri, The Sphere and the Labyrinth (1987), 27. 30 On this epistemic break, see Peter Burger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, M. Shaw (trans.), (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minneapolis, 1984). In Architecture’s Desire (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010), Michael Hays presents a different trajectory for the avant-garde. 31 Slavoj Žižek, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (London: Verso, 2000), 111. 32 Harry Harootunian, “Disposable Time,” in Radical Philosophy 157 (September/ October 2009): 47–50. 33 Fredric J. Schwartz, Blind Spots: Critical Theory and the History of Art in Twentieth Century Germany (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 120–140. 34 Ernst Bloch, Heritage of Our Time (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1991), 97. 35 Schwartz, Blind Spots (2005), 119. 36 Erwin Panofsky, “Reflections on Historical Time,” Critical Inquiry 30 (Summer 2004): 691. Also see Silvia Ferretti, “The Ideality of the Artistic Problem and Historical Time,” in Cassirer, Panofsky, and Warburg, Richard Pierce (trans.) (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), 207–221. 37 Schwartz, Blind Spots (2005), 118. 38 Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx (New York: Routledge, 1994), 153. 39 David Cunningham, “A Marxist Heresy? Accelerationism and Its Discontents,” Radical Philosophy 91 (May/Jun 2015): 32. Cunningham is here benefiting from Peter Osborne, “Modernism and Philosophy,” in Peter Brooker,  Andrzej Gasiorek, Deborah Longworth, and Andrew Thacker (eds), Oxford Handbook of Modernism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 388–409. 40 Benjamin, “Thesis on the Philosophy of History,” in Illuminations (1969), 255.

3

On style

Viollet-le-Duc’s anxiety, expressed upon noting how wisely engineers of his time, compared to architects, were using the technical and scientific methods available to them, exemplified the compulsion to change architectural style.1 Le Corbusier conveys a similar feeling of worry in the opening pages of Vers une architecture (1923). Le Corbusier warned his fellow colleagues of the astonishing achievements cemented by engineers, predicting that if they do not do their best, the light emanating from such diverse works as bridges, exhibition halls, and even structures like silos that were mostly built by engineers might overshadow architecture. In the same pages, Le Corbusier compares the logical precision incorporated in the design of the early automobile with the austere look of Greek temples, the beauty of which remained enigmatic even to the eyes of those who upheld the nineteenth century’s revivalist slogans. The alleged anxiety expressed by the two great French architects would haunt modernists in many ways and for a long time to come. Of interest here is the idea of the zeitgeist, but more importantly – and more central to the objectives of this chapter – is the phrase “the art of engineering,” used to point out the high quality stylistic standards set by the machine and its products. While historians were accustomed to charging every cultural product with a sense of temporality associated with the zeitgeist – mostly, and expectedly of a modern nature, the juxtaposition of art with engineering even today carries, unintentionally, the nineteenth century’s obsession with associating style with the newly born logic of making embedded in mechanization. Industrialization, and the surge to conquer markets for industrially produced consumer goods, as well as a fresh turn to the idea of identity and national pride – these all provided additional ammunition for launching the debate on style. In addition to factors external to architecture, disciplinary issues were also at stake, enticing architects to verify the need to think of style in terms of the emerging sense and appreciation of object.2 To formulate a theory of architecture that could respond to the demand for new building types, and the very loss of classical wisdom experienced since the Enlightenment,3 architects in the nineteenth century felt the need to push architecture’s symbolic values into the shadow. Even the intentions of those who would

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side with the Gothic or Greek revivalist movements remained within the discursive horizon permeating the mid-nineteenth century. Nationalistic sentiments were indeed an often subconscious dimension of the advocacy for Gothic architecture, even when disguised in the Romanticists’ emphasis on the “pleasure of labour.” Interestingly enough, the cooperative image of the medieval guild system, glorified by John Ruskin, William Morris and others, attracted Germans seeking a model for institutionalizing the rising industrial bourgeoisie’s desire for profit, but also for securing international prestige. Visiting William Lethaby’s Central School of Arts and Crafts, founded in 1896, Hermann Muthesius characterized the school as “probably the best organized contemporary art school.”4 The Greek revivalist, on the other hand, aspired to the undeniable beauty of the classical, and subscribed to the belief that, after Vitruvius, any discussion concerning the origin of architecture had no choice but to investigate the classical wisdom implied in the Greek word techné.5 Techné, meaning the art and skills needed to make anything, publicized an idea of aesthetics that was welded into the logos. Thus, we note modernism’s uncanny interest in the classical when the issue concerned the inevitable infusion of technology into architecture, and the will to disseminate a new style of architecture internationally. On the basis of the suggested historical framework, we can argue that the nineteenth-century yearning for style was historical through and through. There were many issues involved, not only in the move to initiate a debate on style, but also in the coupling of style with historicism: meaning, finding ways to see and conceptualize themes such as ornament and construction, and to rationalize change in construction techniques without compromising its traditional ties to ornament. Alina Payne has eloquently demonstrated the centrality of these tropes, including the axis between licence and decorum, to the Renaissance discourse on style. The reader is also reminded of tectonics, especially in Serlio’s theorization of architecture.6 Of further interest is the difference between Renaissance and nineteenth-century architects’ take on tectonics. Whereas both groups were focused on the architectonic elements’ response to the forces of gravity, the tectonic thinking in Renaissance emerged in the shadow of literary culture. Most architects who witnessed the impact of modernization, by contrast, felt obliged to rethink the traditions of tectonics anew. And this in the context of the rise of Realism, Sachlichkeit, and the urge to cut a different “dressing” for architecture, all of which framed the scope of debate on style.7 Whilst aspects of this historical context were coloured by national and economic interest and were addressed from various points of view, the main interest of this chapter is to highlight the particular dimensions of the debate that involved German theories of style. In addition to the architectonic implications of the question concerning technology, one cannot deny the aesthetic factor in the tectonic, as discussed by many German architects and theoreticians in the nineteenth century,8 several of whom were important protagonists for the historicization of style within contemporary architectural

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praxis – as will be discussed in the concluding pages here. Even a short review of the major nineteenth-century architectural theories indicates the extent to which the theme of style was discussed in reference to construction. What is missing (and this is another reason to underline the German theories of the tectonic) is the notion of aesthetics. The subject was seen, more often than not, as a phenomenon organically emanating from the act of making, or else, it was discussed in terms of pleasure, a sentiment loaded with subjectivity of the kind advocated by the main protagonists of the British Arts and Crafts movement, even when addressing concrete issues such as the state of the body and labour. In a chain of historical and intellectual developments – the scope of which exceeds the present discussion – German architects theorized style in a way that, during the second quarter of the nineteenth century, assumed a middle ground between the Greek style, on the one hand, and the neoGothic, on the other.9 This involved the suspension of those aesthetics that were seen in connection with the classical idea of imitation, one consequence of which was to shift architectural theories away from “styles” and “toward something more abstract – the architectural experience itself.” Harry F. Mallgrave concludes: “Historical coding is thereby eroded.”10 If this historical observation is accepted, then it takes little effort to see the aesthetic implications for the tectonic in Arthur Schopenhauer’s position in The World as Will and Representation (1819), for example. In an attempt to replace the Hegelian “spirit” with “will,” this philosopher charged architectural form with dynamics resulting from the architect’s response to natural will, the forces of gravity being the most tangible aspect.11 The articulation of the conflict between support and load soon found its way into style theories formulated by Heinrich Hübsch (1828), Carl Bötticher (1847), and Gottfried Semper (1860), to mention three figures whose ideas pepper the following pages. Before further elaborating on what has been established so far, it is important for the objectives of my argument to turn to the etymology of the word style. The French and English word style, and the German stil, are derived from the Latin stilus, meaning a pointed tool for writing or engraving on tablets.12 By the late fifteenth century, and by the time when the artist was considered as an author, the term was associated with a particular architect or painter’s skills and techniques in handling the work. Another issue that contributed to the visibility and obsolescence of the notion of style was the practice of restoration in the early Renaissance Italian painting. Exploring this subject, Alexander Naget and Christopher Wood suggest that, “The quickening pace of restoration the cycles framed stylistic change, indeed it helped create the idea of style.”13 According to the authors, distinctive to the European Renaissance was “its apprehensiveness about the temporal instability of the artwork, and its re-creation of the artwork as an occasion for reflection on that instability.”14 Not only the implied association between style with skill and technique is important for a comprehensive

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understanding of Semper’s discourse on style, but it also sets the criteria for differentiating the theoretical underpinning of the nineteenth-century understanding of style from the Renaissance’s association of style with the art of rhetoric, mentioned earlier. This means that in architectural theories produced in fifteenth-century Italy, ornament and decorum were presented as additional elements, like colour and taste, charging speech with eloquence. If through rhetoric the idea of style was related to the artist as a genius (if not to a skilful performer who knew the techné of speech), after the eighteenth century, and with regard to the rise of the concept of history, style came to be understood in relation to time. Style was thus historicized. Since then, each style is expected to speak for a particular segment of history. The work of art was therefore seen to possess its own history. This historical unfolding also marks the rise of the discipline of art history. This much is clear from Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s The History of Ancient Man (1768). Prior to Winckelmann, the work of art was directly discussed in terms of an artist’s skill in handling the universal dimension of architecture or painting. Giorgio Vasari’s The Lives (1550) presents a good contrast to Winckelmann’s text in which Greek art is not seen as timeless but takes on the character of an historical phenomenon.15 Winckelmann’s conjecture about the relationship between the artist and the historical, according to Alex Potts, initiated “an aestheticization of history that came into its own in the nineteenth century.”16 Against this background, one might couple the idea of style with technique and aesthetic, two tropes essential for the Germanic discourse on style.

History and style The complexity involved in establishing a coherent relationship between aesthetics, ornament, and technique made the subject of style central to the formation of architectural theories during the nineteenth century. Added to this was the impossibility of maintaining a metaphysical association between the body, nature, and architecture. Throughout the series of historical events and scientific and intellectual unfoldings that won the name Enlightenment, aesthetics were discussed within the discursive paradigm of historicism. This development took place along with two shifts that were central for architecture’s entry onto the stage set by reason and modernity. Since the Enlightenment, and through the work of Immanuel Kant, the seat of aesthetic judgment was transferred from the object to the subject.17 The importance attributed to the symbolism of the object was replaced by an emphasis on how the object was seen and internalized in the sensory system of the beholder’s eye. In addition, and because of this suggested shift, architecture could no longer maintain its symbolic rapport either with the body, or with the divine world. These developments were important for any discussion of aesthetics, in general, and of the implications of aesthetics for the discourse of historicism, in particular.

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Recalling the discussion presented in previous chapters, historicism involves having the knowledge to unpack the many facets of past styles. As a concept, however, historicism is grasped at two levels: first, as the exploration and apprehension of the individuality of each historical phenomenon, including the work of art (at an abstract level) as evident in the traditions of art history. Second, historicism involves the recognition of history as a developmental flow of time, from which each work of art draws its particularity in conjunction with the prevailing aesthetics and techniques. This much is clear from Heinrich Wölfflin’s historicization of the notion of the painterly (malerisch), and the distinction he makes between stylistic changes informed by factors internal to the art of building and those produced “by the surrounding culture.” In architecture, Wölfflin claims, “what is painterly is what goes beyond or contradicts what is really there.”18 Architecture is thus relegated to history, and its so-called meaning is discussed according to the historicity of the time, in general, and the notion of the painterly, in particular. The application of the term painterly to architecture, Alina Payne writes, was “challenged as soon as it was formulated.” However, the main features of Wölfflin’s text, and “perhaps its most lasting bequest to generations of art historians,” she continues, were the “characteristic categories he identified for each period style.”19 Historicism was thus successful in disseminating a vision of the history of art and architecture that was popularized through the concept of period style, the index of which was limited to form and perception. Three other factors strengthened the tie between style and epoch. First, there was the discovery of ancient cultures (including Egypt and Persia), which armed historicism with a historiographic framework, the subject matter of which demanded new interpretative tools. Second, and related to the first, was the tendency within Romanticism to associate Gothic architecture with the ethical values of Christianity.20 Third, many European countries sought to protect their medieval heritage against the tide of classicism unleashed by classical revivalism, and the traditions inherited from Renaissance architecture. This last point, together with the interest of several French and English architects and writers, mostly influenced by Viollet-le-Duc’s and Ruskin’s emphasis on construction as the most important stylistic factor in Gothic architecture, cemented the latter’s enduring revivalism. While Ruskin’s views were characteristically literal, those of Viollet-le-Duc echoed Semper’s so to speak materialist approach to the emerging new building techniques, and his emphasis on the need to think of the idea of dressing (cladding) beyond the garment of Gothic and Greek architecture. Still, a different set of events and discursive formations taking place between 1760 and1800 allowed some disciples of the Romantic Movement to lay claim to having found in Gothic architecture a balance between artistic creativity, and the ethic of “honesty” in handling of material and construction. Their claim was not concerned with form, but with a point of view that would plot architecture within a complex set of forces, aiming to

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connect the material and spiritual culture of Christianity with the emerging industrial culture. Also noteworthy was the concern for the individual and his/her creative capacity. This was perhaps one way of getting around the pressure unleashed by mechanization and the grip of rationalism that, paradoxically, supplied the tools needed to rationalize the importance of Gothic against the classical language of architecture. This much is clear from the texts of a number of nineteenth-century British thinkers and architects, the content of which demonstrates a strong sympathy for the Gothic. This esteem for the Gothic soon diffused among German and French thinkers and architects as well. The umbilical cord running through the rise of Gothic in the mid-nineteenth century, I posit, was the theme of style influenced by the ethics involved in discussing new construction techniques and ornament, but also architecture’s incapacity to convey extra-disciplinary issues symbolically. In addition to the general British sentiment for things Gothic, A. W. N. Pugin and Ruskin’s writings were instrumental in the formation of the Arts and Crafts Movement.21 The Gothic style was important to these thinkers because it stood for a coherent integrity among the essential features of a building, whilst its ornament was seen as enriching the constructed form. Ruskin’s plea for the durability of building and polity, according to Harry F. Mallgrave, was not a plea “for a style rationale, but for obedience, unity, fellowship and order.”22 Ruskin’s advocacy for order was indeed a response to the chaos created by mechanization and its impact on labour, a subject dear to Morris and William Lethaby. Echoing Ruskin, these two designers did indeed introduce the notion of labour into architectural discourse for the first time.23 This, however, did not prevent Lethaby from discussing style in relation to the symbolism nurtured by the universal dimension of cosmos, earth, sea, and sky, or from prophesizing a subjective and organic view of the future. He wrote: “Imagery of any kind, be it ancient or modern, must be avoided and eliminated, until a new coalescence of society imposes it unconsciously from within.”24 The work of these pioneers of the Arts and Craft movement are recalled here for two reasons: first, on reading their major texts, one can convincingly suggest that the seeds of modern architecture were already planted in their theoretical work, though with major emphasis on function, technique, and reason. This much is clear from Lethaby’s account of Philip Webb’s work, where the Victorian style is presented as an alternative to both Gothic and Greek styles.25 According to Godfrey Rubens, Lethaby spoke “of the need for architecture to be Expressionistic, that is to say, builders had to make the interior and exterior forms expressive of the character, nature, construction, function and so on of the building – it had, in other words to symbolize its own reality.”26 This statement shows the closest Lethaby came to a functionalist understanding of architecture. His suggestion that the building should “symbolize its own reality” is also noteworthy; it recalls Semper’s theorization of tectonics, discussed in the following pages. A selfconscious interest in matters of an aesthetic nature is another attribute of this group of British writes. In the “Lamp of Sacrifice,” Ruskin claims that the

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increase of labour in building should be seen as synonymous with its beauty. He shunned deceit in the use of false structure as well as painting a surface to represent another material and even using cast iron or machine-produced ornamentation. In retrospect, we can claim that the general dislike for the fashionable use of traditional styles, and for the surface-related decoration that permeated most early industrial products, should be considered another advancement towards the formation of the major principles of modern movement architecture.27 Nevertheless, the discourse of these architects misconstrued the emerging Realism, itself a by-product of the zeitgeist of modernity. It is true that throughout modernity a concern for labour was a conscious reaction against the devaluation of handcraftsmanship imposed by the mechanization of production processes. It is also true that the British reformers “were more concerned with the working class, and were less interested in the theory of form or cultural aesthetics, or even history, than were their German and Austrian counterparts.” However, mystifications around the issue of labour, praising its role in Gothic architecture, for one, shattered the possibility of a materialistic (and not mechanistic) discussion of style of the kind put forward by Semper. Only Richard Redgrave’s articulation of style in terms of construction and utility showed agreement with the German architect’s ideas. Redgrave wrote, “It is worthy to remark that the true novelty of our own time arose almost fortuitously out of the useful application of iron and glass treated honestly in construction in the Palace of Crystal of 1851.”28 His reflection on materiality and construction is important considering the fact that during his exile in London Semper had the occasion to confer with the main figures of the British Arts and Craft movement. The proliferation of diverse positions on material, technique, and ornament during the long nineteenth century was paradoxical by nature. The prevailing high esteem for history, the discovery and awareness of various historical styles, and the tendency to historicize style periodically had to accommodate two fundamental developments. On the one hand, tying style with temporality, and this in the context of the aesthetics of the sublime and the picturesque, paved the way for art historians to discuss art as an abstract phenomenon without concrete historical consideration. On the other hand, pluralism, which favoured a range of historical style, emerged as an alternative discourse against both Gothic and Greek revivalism. Pluralism’s advocacy for stylistic diversity was also supported by the demand for new building types, and the tendency to see stylistic propriety in the light of a building’s function.29 At the same time, the objective and subjective demands resulting from the coupling of nation and state (most nations had already tested the fruits of industrialization) ushered the artwork into the processes of mechanical reproducibility. Thus, against the “easy availability of styles, the facility of new technologies which can cut granite like cheese, and the separation of designer from craftsmen in industry,”30 the concept of construction was placed at the heart of any discussion concerning the meaning of architecture.

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The development briefly mapped above provides an appropriate prelude to shift the focus of discussion to the particular involved in nineteenthcentury German theories of architecture. Instead of associating the idea of style with a period, the German theorists sympathetic to the concept of tectonics highlighted the materialistic side of historicism. Thus the history of style was reproached according to the developmental processes of various techniques for covering space. In this context, the particulars of a given structural system were gauged according to the choices it offers for the elements of roofing and enclosure. Of particular interest is Heinrich Hübsch’s discourse on style, which, among other things, opened a space for Semper to question the traditional notion of the origin of architecture, a subject central to the enduring interest in Gothic and Greek architecture Centring the argument of style on techniques for covering space and its artistic articulation, Hübsch wrote: If we wish to attain a style that has the same qualities as the buildings of other nations that are accepted by us and are beautiful, then this cannot arise from the past but only from the present state of natural formations – that is first, from our usual building materials; second, from the present level of technostatic; third from, the kind of protection that buildings need in our climate in order to last; and fourth from, the more general nature of our needs based on climate and perhaps in part on culture.31 His proposed round-arched style (Rundbogenstil) worked against the theory of imitation advocated by the revivalists. Of particular interest to Hübsch was the economy involved in the advancement of material, and the technostatic inventions that lead to the emergence of a particular structural system. By “using vaults to support the ceiling,” he claimed, “we require far less than half the mass of material that was used in Greek architecture without having to fear a collapse.”32 Having established the constructivist basis of architecture, he then stressed the need for its artistic embellishment. We will see shortly how the suggested duality allowed Semper, and Bötticher before him, to discuss the tectonic in terms of the dialogical rapport between the core-form and the art-form. Also significant is the second theoretical vector of Hübsch’s theory of style, the element of enclosure. While enclosure is expected to provide a comfortable interior ambience for a given purpose, it also has to be dressed (cladded) from outside to protect against climatic transformations, with ample knowledge of weathering of the chosen material.33 Hence, proclaims Hübsch, “we arrive at the following essential part of a building. The enclosure requires a ceiling and its support, which also serves either as enclosing walls or solely as supports for the ceiling.”34 His emphasis on the element of roof and its support system make his rather simplistic proclamation significant. While the support system of the roof is determined by technostatic experience, the choice of roof is primarily dictated by the particularities of climate.

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Hübsch’s analytical system, itself a by-product of the nineteenth-century tendency toward realism and scientific verification, allowed him to claim that only two styles had been developed throughout architectural history: the Greek vertical support with its horizontal lintel system, and the Gothic pointed vault. He continued that the whole of Roman architecture is nothing but a conflict between these two heterogeneous modes of construction, the arch and Greek column, where the vault intruded on the exterior, causing the colonnade to degenerate into mere sham.35 His analytical approach to historical styles was blended with knowledge produced in disciplines such as anthropology, social sciences and archaeology. As essential each of these disciplines is for a historical interpretation of artefacts, they can also be productively used to lay out the thematic of the style to come. Thus, Hübsch’s motto: that a given enclosed space should be sheltered according to available building materials; the prevailing scientific standpoint on technostatic effects (proportions); and climatic considerations, to the point that the final architectonic form should not be a mere expression of metaphysical suppositions. Beyond its advocacy for the Rundbogenstil, and putting the emphasis primarily on the material and techniques of roofing and covering space, Hübsch’s theory of style was instrumental in the demystification of classical ideals. According to Barry Bergdoll, Hübsch “was not concerned … to postulate an alternative first origin, but rather to challenge the very significance of first occurrences. There could be no symbolic primitive ideal or essence, no unique architectural golden age.”36 It is in the context of this historical/theoretical analysis that Bötticher could claim that the truth of architecture does not rest in the form, but “in the bringing about of a new static principle out of material.” This alone, he wrote, “makes possible the creation of a new spatial roofing system and herewith calls forth at the same time a new formal, artistic vocabulary.”37 For him, the primary focus of any discussion of style should concern the degree to which the inertia of a material is mastered. Bötticher’s theorization of architectural style involves the role that progress in technical skills played in the transformation from a simple arch to a vaulted ceiling system, and thus the emancipation of wall as a load-bearing element. According to him, most architects see style only in the art-form, dismissing construction as the genesis of art-form. In the dialogical rapport between the art-form and core-form, the latter takes care of mechanical function, the effective expression of which should be traceable in the tectonic figuration of the art-form. No one has realized, he proclaimed, that “the origin of all specific styles rests on the effect of a new structural principle derived from material and that this alone makes the formation of a new system of covering space possible and thereby brings forth a new world of art-form.”38 Of interest is Mitchell Schwartzer’s discussion of Bötticher’s departure from the Kantian idea of beauty as the profusion of the inner imagination; for Bötticher, the aesthetics of architecture is the artistic

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explanation of the mechanical forces that hold up the roof and relate it to the space enclosure. Still, for Bötticher, a different system of covering and art-form would necessarily have arisen out of the new material iron, and this because “No longer can stone alone form a new structural system of a higher stage of development. The reactive, as well as relative, strength of stone has been completely exhausted.”39 Bötticher’s emphasis on material, technique, and construction demanded to differentiate the art of building from other visual arts. He writes: Whereas the painter finds fulfillment in a graphic representation on a flat surface and the sculptor in a form that can be enjoyed from the outside only, architecture employs both of these means to create enclosed space. Since the essence of architecture resides in its unique capacity to present the idea and set forth its theme through this structuralspatial combination, it follows that a work of architecture can be fully comprehended only if looked at and enjoyed spatially.40 Bötticher’s emphasis on the “structural-spatial,” and the visual pleasure experienced through the interior volume of a constructed space, was indeed in anticipation of the formation of modern architecture. While eclecticism and pluralism justified their respective tendencies for emulating historical styles, the Germanic discourse on style developed its thematic through an analytical approach to the genesis of architectural styles. Leaving aside the associations made between Christian ethics and Gothic architecture, and the universal qualities attributed to Greek architecture, the Germanic approach to style, instead, highlighted the tectonics involved in the two elements of roofing and enclosure. Under the rubric of Realism, thus, rested the tendency for tectonics pursued by Hübsch and Bötticher, but also by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and others. Their work was to further expand the scope of the processes of architecture’s secularization, a phenomenon already realized in the work of engineering. With this came a sense of aesthetics that had the least to do with the Romantic notion of genius. The aesthetic as suggested in the earlier citation of Bötticher was primarily informed by the subject’s entanglement with architectural space, and through the artistic expression of enclosure in reference to its structural system. Now, while Winckelmann historicized the past forms of architecture, the nineteenth-century German discourse on historicism shored up the divide between past and present. Theorization of architecture beyond the presumed values attributed to Gothic and Greek architecture allowed Hübsch to claim a third system for covering space, and Bötticher to argue that classical architecture had already exhausted the tectonic potentialities of stone. These theoretical advancements shifted the architect’s attention from the past to the now-time. Under the auspices of modernization, construction was seen as the subconscious of modern times.41 However, it can be argued that the theory of style tabled by Hübsch and Bötticher remained limited to

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Figure 3.1 Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Altes Museum, 1823–30, Berlin (photograph by the author)

the historicity of the Enlightenment (exemplified in the historiography of Winckelmann); it was left to Semper to take the advantage of the prevailing analytical framework and deconstruct the idea of the origin of architecture. In spite or because of this, and also because of the intensity of temporality experienced throughout modernity, the notion of style since then has been comprehended as nothing more than an aesthetic issue of mere fashion, transient and surface-oriented as capitalism moved to renew its technological apparatus, and as style moved from realism to the international style, and from postmodernism to digital architecture.

Style in fabrication Semper wrote Der Stil at different periods of his life. The last, incomplete, chapter was written while exiled in London. The British modernization and its impact on the style debate, as discussed earlier, had also touched Semper’s worldview. Compiled in two volumes, his book presents the most comprehensive approach to the notion of style that there would be for

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some time to come. Each major section of the text discusses, explores, and examines both “aesthetic-formal” and “technical-historical” aspects of the four industries (textile, carpentry, ceramics, and masonry) whose motives, he claimed, were essential for the formation of architecture. The technicalhistorical section maps a discussion that is centred on form and technique as semi-independent entities. The second volume includes a short section on metallurgy, which, perhaps because of the nature of the subject, is not thorough, although even in this short final section of the book the reader cannot avoid the weight of two themes that run throughout Semper’s theory of style: Bekleidung, or the principle of dressing, and Stoffwechsel, the possibility of transforming style motifs from one realm of production activity to another, from decorative arts to architecture. Semper’s insistence that form, the final product of any production activity, is of a structural-symbolic rather than structural-technical nature is interesting against the background of other architects discussed earlier. The question of style is thus presented neither as centring on technique nor as having anything to do with what Semper calls “schematism,” meaning philosophy applied to art. For Semper, “the philosopher of art is simply concerned with solving his problem, which has nothing in common with that of the artists.”42 And yet, reading the book, one realizes the extent to which Semper’s theory of style is concerned with aesthetics.43 To avoid attributing the aesthetic dimension of the work of art to the artist, or technic proper, Semper underlines the centrality of both internal and external factors involved in the development of any style motif. Starting from urform, and from the possibility of borrowing motifs from various technical arts, he suggested that the history of style comprises both cultural-historical and technical-formal traditions inherited from many cultures, whose further development, or banishment, from the map of modern history can be traced in the high culture of Hellenic art and architecture. It is worth noting here that Semper avoids subscribing to a linear vision of history, even when he has to discuss, for example, why the so-called barbarians (Persians, Egyptians and Assyrians) stopped short of producing work like that of the Hellenic era. His explanation of the structural-symbolic value of the Greek temple is interesting in this respect. Semper discusses the importance of dressing in the dialogue that takes place between internal and external factors and architecture. If the Persian solution for stonework was informed by “a genuinely Zoroastrian spirit of functionality,”44 Doricism, in addition to the principle of dressing also developed by the Persians (external factor), “needed the contrast of Ionicism to bring self-awareness to its formal existence” (internal factor). This is one way to read the significance Semper assigned to the principle of dressing in the developmental processes of the history of style and his discourse on the tectonic. Another way to look at it is in the context of his reservation about Gothic architecture, and this in contrast to his praise for the Renaissance. This involves the centrality of the principle of dressing through which “tectonic structures achieve

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monumentality;” this transformation takes place “only through emancipation from structural-material realism, through a symbolic spiritualization of their functional expression.”45 This forms a historical verdict against Gothic architecture if one subscribes to Semper’s idea of monumentality, a point of view that is centred on the element of the wall and its dissolution in Gothic architecture. The critical role he assigns to the external factor in Hellenism is noteworthy, as if the idea of the “external” was itself in part a by-product of the historical transformation that concerned Semper the most. To put it differently, it seems that the structural-symbolism attributed to the Greek temple was inconceivable without the distance Greek culture was able to maintain from the barbarians. Dialectically, it is the very contribution of the barbarians in textiles, Persian carpet for instance, that lends the principle of dressing to Hellenic work. These observations should be qualified in the light of the following: that Semper’s project, the reconstruction of cultural history in general, and of the history of style proper, was ideological. Central to his project is a point of view that aims to challenge various positions, including Bötticher’s argument that Greek temples were the result of artistic forms motivated by techniques associable with stone-work;46 Winckelmann’s narrative on the origin of architecture, and his belief, common among scholars, that Hellenic architecture was blind to colour; Vitruvius’ formulation of architecture’s origins based on the observation that Greek temples resulted from the translation of the architectonic elements of a wooden hut into a stone structure; the culture of humanism, which puts the body at the centre of any discussion concerned with the realization of architectural form; and the short sightedness of the nineteenth-century debate on historicism, Gothic versus Greek style. More importantly, however, and in anticipation of modern theories of architecture, Semper raised the problem that iron structures had introduced to the question concerning monumentality. Thus, we have Semper’s hidden agenda, hidden because the principle of dressing is introduced in a discussion that concerns textiles, a subject that overshadows Der Stil in its entirety. To understand the importance Semper assigns to textiles it suffices to recall his famous text, The Four Elements of Architecture.47 Here Semper proposes that architecture has evolved out of the experience of four industries. Thus the hearth, the terrace, the roof and the enclosure, noted in the Caribbean hut displayed at the Crystal Palace in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, were associated with the stylistic motifs developed in the four industries of ceramics, masonry, carpentry and textiles respectively. He then bases architectural knowledge on two primordial aspects of any dwelling, namely the earthwork, the transformation of the site to receive the framework, and a detailed procedure (design?) resulting in tectonic presenting of the contradiction between heaviness and lightness, enclosure and exposure. This requires that textiles, the progenitor ur-form of the technical arts, set the basic motifs that the other three industries had to

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Figure 3.2 Caribbean Hut, Gottfried Semper, Der Stil, 1860 (image courtesy of Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 86-B18560)

transform into their forms, although using technic(s) and materials internal to each. Thus the principle of dressing involves not only covering the body, but also enclosing the space through which the body realizes the materiality of its own internality. It is to Semper’s credit that he deconstructed the very initial nucleus of the internal/external division implied in the ur-forms of clothing and covering, theorizing it in terms of Bekleidung. The meaning of this term says something about Semper’s role in breaking down the perception of style that is centred on the exclusive nature of every artistic production, each considered as an enclosed and finite system; by contrast, Semper reduced the style motif to issues informed by purpose, material, and technique. Thus we see the ontology of artistic work: how to make a virtue out of necessity?48 And, how to give life to dead material? On page after page, Semper attempts to demonstrate how everyday objects, utensils and domestic furnishings

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are first elevated to structural-symbolic work, and then their motifs are transformed into the art of building. What was revolutionary in Semper’s drive to connect architecture to craft is the view that “a monumental art such as architecture had evolved its formal vocabulary and meaning from the objects of daily use, or Kunstindustrie.”49 Consider this: the form of a vessel is informed by the climatic, material and cultural history of a given region. In the end, however, it is the surface treatment of the vessel, a process of metamorphosis using motifs borrowed from textiles that makes the vessel a cultural and artistic artefact. To this end, the primacy of the principle of cladding is presented as the lawful articulation of “surface” – not the actual surface of the raw material, but one that has already been prepared to receive motifs, linear or planar. Thus we see the criticality of establishing an organic rapport between purpose, material-technic and the actualization of what is called the structural-symbolic dimension of tectonics. The principle of dressing prevails even when the discussion concerns stereotomy. According to Semper, an ancient monument, which is to say a structure set above a stone foundation, “although no less stereotomic, in a technical sense, does not directly acknowledge its structural origins but is rather dressed in art-forms that belong” either to textiles or ceramics.50 He goes on to write that “the correct relation of the enclosure to the enclosed should, moreover, be apparent in the fact that the former (in all its formal properties and colors) forcefully emphasizes and supports the effect of the latter.”51 This statement not only summarizes the centrality of establishing an organic relationship between the art-form (structural-symbolic) and the core-form (structural-technical), but it also alludes to the atectonic nature of Gothic architecture: in the latter the wall disappears mainly because its principle of dressing is informed by motifs derived from binding and not from a planar origin. Semper’s observation is based on two convictions: that the planar motifs are essential for the formation of the idea of surface; and that the technical origin of the Assyrian column, for example, was based on “the static function and was gradually transformed from the original wooden core to the surrounding sheathing.” The core, he states, “became superfluous as the metal sheathing itself acquired sufficient strength to support and span.” The Hellenic articulation of column is important because the order retains the suggested “hollow-body type after it had metamorphosed into the stone style.” The structure and the dressing, which he terms “the two opposites,” were “reconciled within it.”52 Nothing short of this statement discloses the essentiality of textiles for Semper’s theory of style, and the primacy of the element of wall for the art of building, especially when the latter has to deliver monumental effects. Semper’s theory leads on two issues important to modern architecture. First, as far as the notion of Stoffwechsel is concerned, technique in itself is not accountable for the art-form. His conviction casts doubt on the monumental potentiality of iron structures, a subject addressed in most of nineteenth century architectural discourses. It also puts most of contemporary architecture’s use and abuse of steel-frame structure in a difficult position.

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The same goes for Semper’s criticism of the historicists; and perhaps of that branch of formalism, the “tendentious nature” of which had nothing to do with the two themes central to Semper’s discourse on the tectonic, purpose and construction. Mallgrave reminds us that: the problems that industrialization and speculation (capitalism) have brought to art, Semper feels, are quite serious and deeply rooted; the proliferation of new materials, methods, and machinery have flooded the marketplace with products and means that designers had little time to contemplate, let alone to master. This devaluation of the idea and of labor led, in return, to a devaluation of meaning, so that traditional art produced by hand comes to be seen as eccentric.53 Implied in Mallgrave’s last point concerning the devaluation of idea and value is the notion of secularization, the atomization of the sphere of value and experience. Semper’s personal reservation concerning the architectonic implications of commercial culture’s unfolding during his lifetime becomes a major issue for contemporary architecture. The current surge in the variety of architectural styles – call it “anything goes” – convincingly suggests that the idea of style does not concern contemporary architecture, and will not at least for some time to come. While this claim could be associated with the present cultural situation, which is saturated with image making, there are two moments in the contemporary history of architecture that support the proposition that the absence of the theme of style in the present architectural theories is historical. Should not the institutionalization of the international style architecture taken for a response to the nineteenth century search for a style proper to modernism? Even though the “white washed” aesthetic was part of Le Corbusier’s theorization of architecture,54 the Dom-ino frame,55 I posit, should be considered as the fourth style of covering space after Hübsch’s enumeration of Rundbogenstil succeeding the Greek column and lintel system, and the Gothic pointed arch respectively. Furthermore, Le Corbusier’s formulation of the “five points of architecture” was perhaps the last instance when style and time were woven together. Paradoxically, the French architect’s esteem for freeing various architectonic elements of the building from each other was an untimely development – untimely because it allowed postmodernism to abuse the Dom-ino frame, pasting various historical styles next to each other. It was also one of the factors that have enabled architects to wrap the core-form of the building with surfaces that have the least to do with the purpose of the interior space, or the tectonics of roofing, enclosure, and the support system holding them together. The second moment in contemporary architecture that can be associated with the question of style involves the late work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, produced in his American period. Without discussing this subject in its full breadth here,56 it suffices to say that Mies’s later work represents the style

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proper, if the nineteenth-century cry for style was centred on the emergence of steel and glass. This is convincing not only given the postmodernists’ expressed dislike of Mies, but also because of the prophesy of Bötticher (and other architects of the time) that a new style should be sought in iron. Mies’s work should be considered a response to Semper’s belief that because of its fragile sections, iron cannot provide the kind of monumentality produced by the masonry construction system. The composite nature of the columns designed for the Barcelona Pavilion (1929, rebuilt 1992) and the New National Gallery in Berlin (1968) speaks to the aesthetics of monumentality, Semper’s major concern. Critical in these two projects is the attention Mies gave to the elements of roof and enclosure. Following Semper, particularly in the National Galley is the tectonic rapport between the element of enclosure and the four supporting composite steel columns. The fact that the glass enclosure stands behind the columns recalls Adolf Loos’s claim that the placement of the support system should be the architect’s second task. More interestingly, and still following Semper, is Mies’s use of fabric to charge the interior space with a particular sensuality. In the National Gallery, the enclosure has double layers, curtain on the inside and glass on the outside. Mies’s attention to the interior space, and the fact that the best modern architects advocated designing from inside out, sits in sharp contrast to the general postmodernist tendency for eclecticism; the simulation of historical styles, even in fragmentary fashion and the current shift to surface, by which the “look,” similar to the notion of the cut in fashion, most concerns architects in terms of aesthetics.57

Figure 3.3 Mies van der Rohe, Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (photograph by the author)

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The diachronic historical picture presented here – the hypothetical arching of 1861 (the publication year of Semper’s Der Stil) with 1932 (and the International Style exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York), and the 1960s (implicating the career of Mies in America) respectively – provides a useful strategy for locating the beginning of the end of the idea of style in Semper’s discourse. The theoretical underpinning of this paradoxical periodization can be explained in the following way: the nineteenth century’s conscious yearning for style was indeed in anticipation of the end of style understood in its connection to time. Not only the subsequent attempts to theorize style, but the very discursive structure of Semper’s Der Stil suggest that in modernity the proper style for architecture cannot surpass the transient character of fashion. Since Semper, Otto Wagner was the first modern architect to make an association between style in clothing and architecture, raising a case against historicism. Wagner maintained that, “architecture has hitherto been sensitive to the forms of its own epoch. However, historicism has destroyed this connection, creating a contrast between its rigid historical styles that do not express modernity and the general population’s sense of fashionable.”58 In Moderne Architekture (1896), Wagner criticizes Semper’s emphasis on surface as a symbolic masking. For him, construction was at the core of architecture. There could be, however, a positive reading of Semper’s discourse: that his deconstructivist association of architectural style-motifs with skills and techniques developed in other industries debunks the idea that metaphysics were involved in the formulation of architecture’s origin. Subsequently, Semper’s discussion of the tectonic, his elaboration on thematic dualities such as earthwork/framework and roofing and dressing provides an analytical framework for both comprehending architecture in the present, and for re-writing the history of architecture beyond any stylistic considerations. It is “open work,” to recall Umberto Eco,59 both interpretative and allowing interpretation of contemporary architecture through the disciplinary history of architecture, the fabric of which, following Semper, should be considered a matrix of techniques and knowledge developed through many cultural production activities. The discipline, then, remains as nothing but the thematic of the culture of building, where the velocity of aesthetic transformations experienced today no longer allows style to be seen in relation to time. Thus the need to twist the title of Hübsch’s essay and ask: in what style should we build?

Notes 1 Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, “Style: The Manifestation of an Ideal Based on a Principle,” in The Foundation of Architecture (New York: Braziller, 1990), 231–63. 2 On this subject see Alina Payne, From Ornament to Object: Genealogies of Architectural Modernism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012). 3 On various aspects of this historical transformation of art and philosophy, see Caroline van Eck, J. McAllister & Renee van de Vall (eds), The Question of Style in Philosophy and the Arts (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

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4 Theresa Gronberg, “William Richard Lethaby and the Central School of Arts and Crafts,” in S. Backemeyer and T. Gronberg (eds), W. R. Lethaby, 1857– 1931: Architecture, Design and Education (London: Lund Humphries, 1984), 14. 5 I use the term “classical” as discussed in Peter Eisenman, “The End of the Classical: The End of the Beginning, the End of the End,” Perspecta 21 (Summer 1984): 154–72. On the subject of techné and its implications for the tectonic, see Gevork Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 5–16. 6 Alina Payne, The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance: Architectural Invention, Ornament, and Literary Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 7 For further elaboration of these issues see Harry F. Mallgrave, “Introduction,” in Mallgrave (ed.), Otto Wagner: Reflections on the Raiment of Modernity (Santa Monica, CA: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1993). 8 See Robert Vischer, Empathy, Form, and Space: Problems in German Aesthetics, 1873–1893 Harry F. Mallgrave and Eleftherios Ikonomou (trans.), (Santa Monica, CA: The Getty Center Publication Programs, 1994). 9 On this subject see the brilliant work of Harry F. Mallgrave, Modern Architectural Theory: A Historical Survey, 1673–1968 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), especially Sections 5 (91–113) and 6 (114–39). 10 Mallgrave, Modern Architectural Theory (2009), 198. 11 Mallgrave, Modern Architectural Theory (2009), 100. 12 Harry F. Mallgrave, The Idea of Style: Gottfried Semper in England (Ann Arbor, IL: University Microfilms International, 1983), 3. 13 Alexander Nagel & Christopher S. Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (New York: Zone Books, 2010), 80. 14 Nagel & Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (2010), 3. 15 Alex Potts, “Introduction,” in J. J. Winckelmann, History of the Art of Antiquity (Santa Monica, CA: Getty Research Institute, 2006), 13. 16 Alex Potts, “Introduction,” (2006), 31. 17 See Andrew Bowie, Introduction to German Philosophy: From Kant to Habermas (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), 13–35. 18 Michael Podro, The Critical Historians of Art (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1982), 104. This book presents a critical analysis of the developmental process of the history of art, including Gottfried Semper’s theory of style in the context of the nineteenth-century German philosophical and aesthetic contribution. 19 Alina Payne, “Architecture, Ornament and Pictorialism: notes on the relationship between the arts from Wölfflin to Le Corbusier,” in Karen Koehler (ed.), The Built Surface (London: Ashgate, 2002), 57. 20 See Erwin Panofsky, Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism (New York: New American Library, 1957). 21 See August Welby Northmore Pugin, Contrasts: Or, A Parallel between the Noble Edifices of the Middle Ages, and Corresponding Buildings of the Present Day, Showing the Present Decay of Taste (1836, London: Dolman, 1841); The True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture: Set Forth in Two Lectures Delivered at St. Marie’s, Oscott (1841, London: Bohn, 1853); John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1981). 22 Mallgrave, The Idea of Style (1983), 313. 23 For a contemporary take on this subject see Peggy Deamer (ed.), The Architect as Worker: Immaterial Labor, the Creative Class, and the Politics of Design (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).

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24 See W. R. Lethaby, Architecture, Mysticism and Myth (London: Architectural Press, 1974), originally published in 1891. The English philosopher Herbert Spencer is mentioned twice in the short introduction to this book, cementing the author’s concept of organic evolution and its implications for sociology, psychology, and ethics. Lethaby, Architecture, 1–8. 25 W. R. Lethaby, Philip Webb and His Architecture (London: Raven Oak Press, 1979), 63–85. This book was originally published in 1935. 26 Godfrey Rubens, “The Practice and Theory of Architecture,” in Backemeyer and Gronberg, (eds), W. R. Lethaby (1984), 54. 27 Alina Payne, From Ornament to Object (2012), 71. 28 Quoted in Mallgrave, The Idea of Style (1983), 323. 29 On the subject of pluralism, see Barry Bergdoll, European Architecture, 1750– 1890 (London: Oxford University Press, 2000), 140. 30 Michael Podro, The Manifold in Perception: Theories of Art from Kant to Hildebrand (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), 54. 31 Heinrich Hübsch, “In What Style Should We Build?” in In What Style Should We Build?, Harry F. Mallgrave (ed.) (Santa Monica, CA: Getty Research Institute, 1992) 71. 32 Hübsch, “In What Style Should We Build?,” (1992), 72. 33 On this subject see Mohsen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow, On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993). 34 Hübsch, “In What Style Should We Build?,” (1992), 66. 35 Hübsch, “In What Style Should We Build?,” (1992), 79. 36 Barry Bergdoll, “Archaeology vs. History: Heinrich Hübsch’s Critique of Neoclassicism and the Beginning of Historicism in German Architectural Theory,” Oxford Art Journal 5/2 (1983): 8. 37 Carl Botticher, “Hellenic and Germanic, Ways of Building,” in In What Style Should We Build? (1992), 154. 38 Bötticher, “Hellenic and Germanic Ways of Building” (1992), 153. For a detailed discussion of Bötticher’s discourse on tectonics see Mitchell Schwartzer, “Ontology and Representation in Karl Bötticher’s Theory of Tectonics,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 52/3 (September 1993), 267–80. 39 Bötticher, “Hellenic and Germanic Ways of Building” (1992), 158. 40 Bötticher, “Hellenic and Germanic Ways of Building” (1992), 155. 41 Sigfried Gideion, Building in France, Building in Iron, Building in Ferro-Concrete, J. Duncan Berry (trans.), (1928, Santa Monica: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1995), 87. 42 Gottfried Semper, Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts; or Practical Aesthetics, (Santa Monica, CA: Getty Research Institute, 2004), 80. Hereafter referred to as Der Stil. 43 Mallgrave has vividly underlined this subject whenever possible, both in his introduction to Der Stil and in his previous publications, especially when the subject, in one way or another, relates to Semper’s architectural theory. See note 8 above, for example. 44 Semper, Der Stil (2004), 760–63. 45 Semper, Der Stil (2004), 760. 46 On the differences between Gottfried Semper and Carl Bötticher, see Mitchell Schwartzer, German Architectural Theory and the Search for a Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), especially the chapter titled “Freedom and Tectonics,” 162–210. 47 Gottfried Semper, The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings, Harry F. Mallgrave and Wolfgang Herrmann (trans.), (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 215–63. 48 Semper, Der Stil (2004), 154.

On style 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

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Alina Payne, From Ornament to Object (2012), 36. Semper, Der Stil (2004), 726. Semper, Der Stil (2004), 127. Semper, Der Stil (2004), 362–378. Gottfried Semper, The Four Elements (1989), 28. Mark Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1995). See also Chapter 8 in this volume. See Chapter 5 in this volume. For further elaboration on fabric and architecture see Gevork Hartoonian, “The Fabric of Fabrication,” Textile 4/3, (2006): 270–91. David Frisby, Cityscapes of Modernity (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001), 205. Umberto Eco, The Open Work, Anna Cancogni (trans.) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).

4

On baroque

Erwin Panofsky’s 1934 essay, entitled “What is Baroque?” provides an opening to discuss the tectonics in baroque architecture. His text raises a number of issues including: what was missing in the available literature on the art and architecture of the baroque that Panofsky wanted to bring to the reader’s attention? Should Panofsky’s take on the baroque be considered as part of a general problematic that sees Baroque as a unique state of mind and aesthetics, an understanding that has been revisited whenever the culture of Humanism faces its historical limits? To explore the broader theoretical connotations and implications of the questions raised here, this chapter will investigate the position of two other major art historians on the subject, Heinrich Wölfflin and Alois Riegl.1 These historians will be discussed in connection to their discursive commonality with Gottfried Semper’s theory of tectonics. I will give particular attention to various interpretations of the tectonic of column and wall, if only to index the possibility of a different reading of baroque architecture. These readings will make the following points: that neither rhetoric nor Jesuit propaganda were tooled enough to project an alternative architecture to the prevailing representational system of Humanism, baroque architecture included. I will also discuss the singularity of baroque architecture in its complex rapport with the culture of Humanism; I will then consider its deviations from the Humanist ethos, and the possibility of opening a new chapter where the major concerns and principles of Humanism can continue to be relevant in different historical circumstances. Finally, I will present the historicity of the 1930s, and the emergence of the thematic of critical historiography, as the missing point in most contemporary theorization of the baroque in general, and of Panofsky’s text in particular. Exploring the impact of technology on modern architecture, I have suggested on a different occasion that the early historiography of the modern architecture movement can be rewritten to chart diverse approaches to “objectivity,” a subject primarily motivated by the emerging industrial techniques, materials, and new building types.2 The surge in Neue Sachlichkeit was, on the one hand, a push toward “cleansing” architecture of elements and detailing that were remnants of a masonry construction

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system. It was, on the other hand, part of a general tendency to cultivate a perception of objectivity that, paradoxically, was popularized by the Arts and Crafts movement. Regardless of its ideology of Romanticism, this British movement made significant advances in promoting a different architecture without engaging the style debate. Theirs was a “reaction against the Victorian clutter, the enveloping, slightly frenzied art nouveau total interiors, against the heavy furniture ensembles that weighed down everyday life.”3 It is unnecessary to reiterate here the criticality of the theme of style for the formation of modern architectural discourse as discussed in Chapter 3 in this volume. However, I would like to look at Semper’s contribution to the subject briefly, and highlight themes that are central for various readings of baroque architecture.

What is not baroque? This play on the title of Panofsky’s text provides an opening to discuss the state of tectonics in baroque architecture. I will give special attention to the analysis of two well-known churches in Rome, Francesco Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (1638–41) and Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza (1642–50). These readings will make the following claim: that neither rhetoric,4 nor Jesuit propaganda5 were able to deconstruct the tectonic potentialities of the masonry construction system, essential to the representational system of the architecture of Humanism. However, recent research on the baroque convincingly argues that the absence of religiosity and ornamentation in modernists’ interpretation of the baroque defines the latter “as a modern problem rather than as a problem of the seventeenth or, indeed, the nineteenth century.”6 Another facet of the above claim is of a geographic nature. Whereas the origins of baroque art and architecture are identified with Rome, the tectonic implications of the separation of column from wall, a development central to architecture’s departure from the baroque, are associated with the age of Enlightenment, and the French architect Claude Perrault in particular.7 Panofsky’s essay was written after his migration to the United States. Much of the migration of Western intelligentsia to the new world was a reaction against atrocities committed under fascism in Germany and Stalinism in the Soviet Union. In addition to disseminating their knowledge, most art historians took the new world as an opportunity to see the past afresh. Karen Lang argues that Panofsky consciously avoided considering “the conditions of possibility of style” and that his iconographic method has less to do with his migration to the States than “with the discovery of a method that made his particular theoretical pursuit unnecessary.”8 Needless to say that, through Cassirer’s writing, Panofsky was methodologically well equipped to avoid reading the work of art synchronically across a given culture.9 He was rather interested to study the work of art diachronically, and in relation to elements of what is called series.10 For a critical understanding of Panofsky’s position,

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his text on baroque needs to be historicized in reference to a body of literature that was epoch-making on both sides of the Atlantic. Significantly, works such as André Breton’s “Crisis of the Object’ (1932) and Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936), among other texts,11 address “the question concerning technology,” a subject to be taken up by Martin Heidegger in an essay with the same title written earlier but first presented in 1949. These texts address the key issue of technology, exploring its implications for critical historiography, a subject Panofsky dismissed throughout his oeuvre.12 Instead, what interested Panofsky the most was to close the gap between the historicity of the work and that of the subject, the historian. In doing so, he dismissed the historical conditions that were not available to the artists he chose to investigate.13 This methodological shortcoming was in part due to art history’s habitual reinvention of its tropes, particularly those inherited from Wölfflin. It was also due to the fact that a formalistic interpretation of the work of art gained a new momentum during the 1930s surge toward the notion of autonomy.14 At this point it is useful to ask what motivated Panofsky to take up the subject of the baroque. Provisionally, I would like to suggest that the baroque represents a unique state of mind and aesthetics that many scholars have turned to at times when the culture of Humanism felt exasperated by the project of modernity.15 The significance of this proposition is twofold: first, it implies that, unlike the Renaissance, the baroque did not produce a historical consciousness; indeed none of the mid-seventeenth century artists and architects discussed their own work as a style that has departed from that of the Renaissance. This is not, however, to deny the fact that the seventeenth century marks a sense of epoch that systematically considered baroque as the art of the Counter-Reformation.16 Second, the missing point in most contemporary theorization of the baroque is a historical consciousness of the two concepts of loss and nihilism, both instigated by technology, as discussed by the three authors signalled at the outset of this chapter. Their critique of the nihilism of technology was convincing specially considering the emergence of the modernist idea of image, and its persuasive power as far as the discussion concerns the spectator’s rapport with the work of art. It was a common practice throughout the Renaissance to use painting as a means to propagate the Christian ethos. Most baroque architects, instead showcased a spectacular interior space directing the spectator’s attention to a space energized by column and wall rapport as evident in most of Michelangelo’s realized work. Even though throughout the Renaissance churches were considered to be the agent of “mass formation,” the proliferation of church building during the baroque can retrospectively be considered to be part of a mass consumer culture with a keen interest in “produc[ing] mass effects,”17 a phenomenon similar to the spectacle permeating late capitalism. I will be more specific on contemporary interpretations of the baroque in the coda to this chapter. My own take on the subject of spectacle draws from Semper’s theory of the tectonic of theatricality. In addition to the famous debate between

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Riegl and the Semperians, Semper is relevant to my argument here on another count. Panofsky acknowledged the traces of formalism in Riegl, and recognized his misunderstanding of Semper’s emphasis on textiles as the progenitor of artistic work. However, what does connect Riegl to Panofsky is Hegel’s notion of “spiritual history,” a theme they both used against the allegedly materialist Semper.18 As I have discussed elsewhere, it is important to make a distinction between the tectonic of theatricality and theatricalization.19 An examination of this difference and its implications for a critical historiography of baroque architecture is my main contribution here. To this end, I need to recall Semper’s theorization of architecture at the expense of repeating what I have already said in previous chapters. What stands out in Semper’s Der Stil (1863) is a project of reconstruction of cultural history in general, and the history of style proper. The analytical method implied in Semper’s discussion of the origin of architecture underlines the ways that architecture differs from painting and sculpture. In part, the difference stems from the fact that the art of building has been operating for a long time as a montage of various trades, the sum total of which constitutes what I would like to call the thematic of the culture of building. Architecture’s disciplinarity is nothing but the translation of motifs derived from these constructive trades into forms proper to tectonics: the inside–outside division, roofing, and cladding.20 The first two categories are of a spatial nature: how to enclose and at the same time make openings in the wall, and the urge to cover space both horizontally and vertically. The third element, cladding is of an aesthetic nature. We are reminded of the contribution of carpentry for roofing, and that of masonry for terrace making. Thus the ontology of artistic work: how to make a virtue out of necessity? And how to give life to dead material? Semper demonstrates how everyday objects, utensils and domestic furnishings are elevated into a structuralsymbolic work (tectonic) first, and then their motifs are transformed into the cultural realm, civic architecture for one. Turning his attention from historical masterpieces to the marginal (the Caribbean hut displayed in the Crystal Palace) Semper projected a historiographic vision aspects of which were shared by not only Riegl and Wölfflin, but also by Siegfried Kracauer.21 Central to his project is a measure of objectivity the excess of which can be taken to critique the modernist and/or baroque perception of objectivity. At this point it is important to recall the fact that the transitory nature of time experienced at the dawn of modernization, evident in the constant transformation of the urban fabric and fashion, cast a new light on the transformative nature of clothing and other artefacts across different periods and cultures. Wölfflin, for one, made historicist correspondence between the shape of shoes worn in the twelfth century and the pointed arches used in cathedrals.22 Introducing the concept of the “painterly,” Wölfflin’s 1888 text, Principles of Art History, maps the scope of baroque art and architecture, underlining the differences between baroque and Renaissance.23 Central to Wölfflin’s discourse is the paradox between tectonics and

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painterliness. He claimed that, using techniques of persuasion that originally belonged to visual arts, baroque architecture abandoned the characteristic elements of the art of building. On the other hand, addressing issues such as “massiveness,” material, and “movement,” he saw the role of the wall in baroque architecture as being independent of both the plan and the tectonic articulation of the corner, the line where the main façade of a building meets the adjacent wall.24 The presence of atectonic and undulating walls in baroque architecture inspired him to make the claim that architecture is neither painterly nor sculptural, but essentially the art of shaping space. Wölfflin contended that the interrelationship between different arts was teleological and motivated by techniques particular to each art. Presenting the idea of painterly as a technique shared by baroque artists and architects, he made general conclusions concerning the formal attributes of baroque style. In addition, he conflated the time invested in the production of an artwork with the lived time of the historian. Furthermore, and of particular interest here, is Wölfflin’s characterization of the baroque as an autonomous entity (a mental construct), and a transitory period in comparison to the longevity of the Renaissance, which, according to him, lasted until 1520.25 Nevertheless, in the background of the nineteenth-century style debate, and the prevailing historical revivalism, Wölfflin’s discourse on the baroque provides the clue for a comprehensive understanding of the spirit of modern times, the obsession with temporality and change in particular. Semper’s theory of architecture, instead, tries to bridge the gap between “high” and “low” arts, deconstructing both the notion of temporality implied in the seventeenth-century debate between the ancients and moderns, and Wölfflin’s discourse on period style. In doing so, Semper established a proto-modernist montage of architectural objects which consisted of “the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable,” to recall Charles Baudelaire’s concept of modernity.26 Consider this: the form of a vase is informed by the climate, material, and cultural history of a given region, wrote Semper. At the end, it is the surface treatment that elevates the vase into the cultural and artistic realms, revealing the work’s temporality. Echoing Semper, and learning from Riegl and Wölfflin, Kracauer wrote “the position that an epoch occupies in the historical process can be determined more strikingly from an analysis of its surface-level expressions than from that epoch’s judgments about itself.”27 Whereas both Riegl and Wölfflin tended to discuss surface aesthetics in isolated objects, Kracauer’s famous 1930s call for mass ornament unleashed a critical approach to history that sees non-simultaneous use of repetitive elements and motifs in everything from the surface of ancient vases, the rhythmic movements of mechanical elements in industrial machinery, to the coordinated movements of the Tiller Girls’ legs.28 What should be noted in these diverse examples is the primacy of the lawful articulation of “surface” – not the surface of the raw material, but the surface that has already been prepared to receive linear

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or planar motifs. From this arises the need for establishing a constructive understanding of the relationship between purpose, material/technique and what Semper called the structural-symbolic dimension of tectonics. In the background of the modernist discourse on objectivity, what makes Semper’s case unique is the idea that the traces of temporality on the surface of an artefact facilitate the object’s entry into the cultural realm. It is this aspect of Semper’s theorization of architecture that recalls Riegl’s theories, which I will use in the next two headings to discuss the historicity of baroque.

Baroque for Riegl Semper’s particular take on surface with its potential to expand the scope of aesthetics to include various aspects of the material culture is one reason why he drew the attention of most art historians. Another reason might be his insistence that aesthetics cannot be dissociated from the ur-forms of building. According to Alina Payne, if one half of Riegl is Hegelian, for the other half one should look to Semper’s placement of objects at the centre of the culture.29 Michael Gubser also writes that, if Riegl’s “notion of art as mind overcoming material, and even his emphasis on the role of the viewer in art all have a distinctly Hegelian resonance,”30 Reigl’s attempt to bridge the gap between decorative arts and handicrafts is Semperian.31 Equally revealing to Gubser is Riegl’s claim that “the urge to decorate is one of the most elementary drives, more elementary than the need to protect the body.” Still, Gubser recalls the fact that Riegl linked both the so-called geometric style and the naturalism of Persian rugs to economic considerations, and the growing demand for Persian luxury rugs.32 Therefore, we can argue that Riegl’s attempt to tie artistic development with technical and economic changes had close affinities with Semper’s technical-materialist thesis, even though by the time of finishing the Problems of Style (1893), Riegl had already moved away from Semper’s discourse. To support these readings, and before turning to Reigl’s discourse on baroque architecture, we need to recall that his formulation of tectonics was hinged on architecture’s transformation from the haptic to the optic realm. The point I want make here is that, softening his position on Kunstwollen, Riegl pursued a Portophenomenological tendency first put forward in his early writings on time and history.33 Riegl is important for my argument for two reasons. First, he uses the concept of Kunstwollen as an ideal unifying force to challenge those historians who would associate the meaning of the work of art with an artist and/or a place. This strategy conforms to Panofsky’s position that, before embarking on historical inquiry, the historian must be armed with a philosophical principle.34 We should also take into consideration Riegl’s agreement and disagreement with Semper’s interpretation of the tectonic of column and wall in Gothic cathedrals. Second, the perceptual dialogue Riegl established between the work, the spectator, and the critic aimed to solidify the historian’s

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position as an external observer skilled to study the work and the spectator simultaneously. To further discuss these two points, it is useful to recall Riegl’s manuscript, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome, first published in Vienna in 1908.35 Before taking up this book, I would like to stress the point that, during the first decade of the twentieth century, and because of the emergence of expressionism in German poetry and painting, the phenomenon of artistic feeling was understood in the light of baroque literature and the search for a proper style.36 This is also evident from Semper’s work in Vienna, which, according to Payne, had “crossed into the neo-Baroque.”37 Her observation highlights the difference between opulent material embellishments (cladding), themselves part of the aesthetic of the tectonic of theatricality, and the theatricalization (spectacle) permeating the best of baroque buildings. By theatricality, I mean the aesthetic dimension of an artistic reasoning that Semper considered essential for the tectonic articulation of the duality between the art-form and the core-form of a building. The theatricalization informing baroque architecture, by contrast, connotes neither the “irrational,” nor the tectonic proper. The aesthetics informing the baroque is a difficult one; it tries to combine the search for novelty and outlandishness with techniques of persuasion, and this in consideration of the linguistic limits inherent to the techniques of the masonry construction system. If similar techniques were appropriated in various transitional periods, then, would not the suggested aesthetic of incompleteness,38 and the call for the intervention of the spectator contradict Panofsky’s Hegelist tendency for seeing baroque as the synthesis between Mannerism and the Renaissance. Semper and Riegl agreed on at least one point: that beyond contextual constraints, and in addition to technique and skill, important for the production of high arts were motifs developed in the applied and decorative arts. Their disagreement, however, was centred on Riegl’s concern with surface and image, and Semper’s focus on the tectonic. Payne discusses the ways that these two important figures of the nineteenth century established a complex rapport between fabrication and surface. She writes that, for Riegl, the “carpet was not an example of fabrication, of manipulation by the hand, tied into an anthropological explication of the development of shelter-making as it had been for Semper. Instead, he looked at the carpet as a decorative, painting-like surface, displaying a will-to-form that reached all artistic production and manifested itself in the predilection for a particular range of decorative motifs.”39 Another convergent point between Semper and Riegl is the transition from the material to the cultural. Semper’s theory of tectonics provides a useful strategy to critique the notion of period style, where an abstract idea, painterliness for example, is attributed to artworks produced in a given time. Semper instead underlined the “fabricated” quality of the artefact, whose aesthetic is not predetermined by the beholder, but rather revealed through the embellishment of material and purpose (urform), as it attains meaning in the realm of culture. From this we can conclude that the surface of the carpet has no life of its own; its aesthetics are rather

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woven into the technique of fabrication. And yet, in contrast to Riegl, Semper’s theorization of architecture does not end in a closed system, or structure as such. Once the tectonic is recognized as that which is particular to architecture, the autonomy of architecture is secured in the matrix of the disciplinary history of architecture and techniques developed outside of that history. This proposition offers a different understanding of how perception works in architecture, and how tectonics differs from Riegl’s Kunstwollen, “will to form.” It also nurtures my take on “retrospective criticism,” as discussed in more detail in the last chapter of this volume.

Column–wall go tango Now, was Riegl’s dismissal of the idea of “wonderful” the reason why, in The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome, he confined his assessment of the baroque to Michelangelo’s work? Turning again to the question of “What is Baroque art?” we are reminded of the concept of the “extraordinary,” a quality expected from the best works of art. However, considered alongside what Riegl terms the “unfamiliar,” the extraordinary dimension of baroque art is presented in reference to aesthetic qualities such as troublesome and disturbing work.40 It is important to remember that issues such as racial and regional, the Germanic versus the Italian, for example, were another vector in Riegl’s search into the nature of the baroque. According to Riegl, one reason why German academics did not appreciate the Italian baroque was that the southern artists used motifs that were inspired by the seventeenth century Kunstwollen. A completely unnorthern effect, for example, was the motif used to address “the relation of the individual figures to the spatial setting.”41 To assess the significance of baroque, Riegl had to walk a tightrope. On the one hand, he believed that each of the three so-called sister arts should routinely resolve the internal problems that were posed by the period (Kunstowllen); on the other, he was aware of the sheer significance of the Jesuit mentality (a subjective issue) for the analysis of Michelangelo’s work.42 The implied paradox, I would like to claim, informs Riegl’s short review of the available literature on the subject of the baroque.43 More importantly, Riegl’s reading does not explicate the role Kunstowllen played in the genesis of baroque architecture. Rather, his attention is focused on the notion of the “subjective,” and its presence as indicative of “entirely modern circumstances.”44 Here the word “modern” is used strategically, and in response to the point of view that sees baroque art and architecture as an anomaly to the historical necessity (naturalness?) of the Renaissance compositional norms – symmetry and hierarchy in architecture, for example.45 Making a similar claim, Evonne Levy demonstrates the incipient political intentions in Wölfflin’s early work. We are reminded of the presence of a “modern” ideological operation in the baroque tendency to shake up the part and whole equilibrium of Renaissance architecture, through which the whole (for example the dome of St. Peter’s?) acquires overwhelming presence.46

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However, a comprehensive understanding of Riegl’s reading of baroque is possible when terms such as “modern,” “will,” and “emotion” are considered together. Only in this way will we have access to the art historian’s selfawareness of the limits of the concept of Kunstwollen as a conceptual tool for interpreting a body of work that had disrupted the prevailing will in the Renaissance, specifically the Renaissance tendency for representing a harmonious and balanced composition objectively. To put it differently, and in reference to Riegl’s research concerning time, the work of art ought to reveal nothing but its historicity, in other words its temporality. The wall, for instance, is an inherent architectonic element. The experience of the wall, as we will see shortly, shifted from tactile (touch) to spatial (optical) when the spectator felt like taking distance from the wall. It is this subjective awareness, a phenomenon with minimal connection to the inherent tropes of the art of building that prompted Riegl to equate baroque with the “modern.” On the other hand, and in relation to the dialectics between will and emotion was of interest to Michelangelo because in his post-1520 work the will resists, whereas in Bernini’s art it yields.47

Figure 4.1 Michelangelo, Lorenzo de’ Medici Library, 1534, interior view (photograph courtesy of Hal Guida)

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To consolidate his reading of the baroque, Riegl turns to Michelangelo’s design for the interior wall of the tomb of Lorenzo de’ Medici, and the vestibule of the Laurentian Library (1530). A representational association between architecture and sculpture is supported by a discussion that is focused on the positionality of the sarcophagi and the sculpture of the deceased figure vis-à-vis the wall, the overall composition of which complies with Riegl’s notion of “optical effect.” Most relevant to the tectonics of the column and wall is the figure of the deceased recessed in a niche, its intimate rapport with the surrounding wall which recalls the recessed columns of the vestibule of the Laurentian Library. However, what does shed a different light on Riegl’s reading of these two works of Michelangelo is the centrality of themes such as surface, line, and the dialogue between column and wall, but also of column versus pilaster, and the treatment of the wall.48 Here is what Walter Benjamin had to say about the “conflict between sensibility and will in the human norm,” evident in Riegl demonstration of the “discord between the attitude of head and body in the figure of Giuliano and Night on the Medici tombs.”49 In Riegl’s interpretation of Michelangelo’s design intention, the paired columns of the vestibule of Laurentian Library are presented as “relief ” – both in the literal sense of the word and in reference to Giuliano’s figure as a relief. To create “deep space” in the small interior of the vestibule of Laurentian Library, Michelangelo reveals “his conception of the wall’s function,” writes Riegl. To demonstrate how the paired columns’ will to support is increased, the core of the wall is pushed forward to encase the column.50 In both designs, Michelangelo represses the tactile dimension of the wall’s surface be at the expense of creating optical depth. I will go further and suggest that the columns of the Medici tombs express a relief from the anxiety caused by the Hellenistic juxtaposition of column and wall. Still, if one agrees with Riegl that Michelangelo is the founding architect of the origins of baroque, then the tentative separation of column from wall is baroque’s main contribution to the emancipation of column from wall – a shift which has the effect of “lightening the wall’s load and mass,” as suggested in Harry F. Mallgrave’s reflection on Perrault’s invented colonnade in the Louvre. I won’t dwell on the significance Riegl attributed to the function of lines inscribed on the surface of clothing, a strategy that intensifies the representational effect of the expressed emotions. I will rather continue my discussion focusing on the figure of Giuliano, framed by double pilasters as a substitute for the recessed columns of the vestibule of Laurentian Library. To this end we need to recall Leon Battista Alberti’s discourse on the column and wall. In De re aedificatoria, Alberti suggested that the “whole matter of building is composed of lineaments and structure.” He claimed that the purpose of lineament is to define and articulate the surfaces of the building.51 Alberti’s remarks anticipate how important the wall and surface would become for both Semper and Riegl. Equally noteworthy is Alberti’s association of the column with ornament. In the Palazzo Rucellai the distinction between column and the wall has the least to do with their tectonic effect. These two

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Figure 4.2 Leon Battista Alberti, Palazzo Rucellai, 1451, exterior façade (photograph courtesy of Hal Guida)

architectonic elements are rather presented as by-products of lineaments, surface articulation, issues that Riegl would consider as an early attempt towards “autonomous representations of depth.”52 Alberti’s association of the column with ornament is, however, paradoxical. The lineaments of the surface-face of Rucellai do not stand for the tectonics of column and wall. There is indeed no column in the main façade of the building, but pilasters carved out of the building’s surface cladding. This is not the case with the exterior elevations of Saint Peter’s, where what seems to be an undulating wall in the plan is transformed into a number of pilasters attached to the wall, the overall repetition of which evokes verticality. This tectonic reversal reaches its highest point in the building’s dome, designed by Michelangelo circa 1534. In Riegl’s words, “Buttresses, decorated at the front with paired columns, have been placed in front of the drum: these columns are not meant to please the eye, but rather symbolize through their coupling the effort necessary to carry the dome.”53 Still, each of the exposed buttresses of the dome stands on a pair of columns, the overall composition of which alludes to Gothic architecture if the masonry infill between them is removed. Hence Riegl’s criticism of his contemporaries, but also Vasari because they “completely ignored the intrinsic relation between the Gothic and Baroque styles.” One is also reminded of the historical fact that the term baroque was not popular in the seventeenth century. The word used to describe the licence taken by Borromini was Gothic.54 This is significant in connection to Riegl’s assessment that Michelangelo “resuscitated the essential point of

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the Gothic organic growth instead of harmonic repose based on gravity.”55 This much is also clear from James Ackerman’s reading of the vestibule of Laurentian Library. According to Ackerman, Michelangelo altered the classical role of columns, which seem to be independent from architecture, like statues in the niches, while the projecting wall appears to support the roof. He goes further suggesting that, contrary to the canonical use of column as ornament, Michelangelo’s “invention is as essential to the stability of the structure as a Gothic pier.”56 The opposition between the structural function of column and wall and their visual effect lies at the heart of Riegl’s twist on the Semperian tectonics. The difference between Riegl and Semper is also implied in the distinction Riegl makes between the verticality attributed to the façade of the Church of the Gesù and that of Gothic cathedrals. In the latter, the urge for verticality is presented as part of building’s spiritual purpose. By contrast in the Gesù, Riegl argues, verticality is part of the tectonic expression of a downward compression visible across horizontal disposition of the façade’s lower portion. The wall here “has been conceived as an element with the purpose of mobility.”57 Riegl’s observation recalls Wölfflin’s characterization of baroque in terms of “massiveness and movement,” and Wölfflin’s conviction that Michelangelo laid out the course of baroque architecture to be realized in the Gesù, and in Carlo Maderno’s Santa Susanna. Interestingly enough, absent in these two buildings are the architectonic elements identified with the Jesuit art. Thus Riegl’s proposition that Bernini’s accentuation of the movement of architectural mass went beyond Michelangelo’s work; for Riegl, Bernini inaugurated the second phase of baroque architecture.58 Riegl’s fixation on Michelangelo is perhaps one reason why his text is entitled The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome.

What is baroque? If the debate between Riegl’s and Semper’s followers was anchored in the generic difference between art history and architectural praxis, Panofsky’s aforementioned text demands a different frame of references. In the first place, his essay is primarily focused on baroque painting and sculpture. Interestingly enough, the “conflict between wall and the structural members”59 is the main topic of the few pages of his essay that are dedicated to architecture. Furthermore, to solidify his interpretation of baroque, Panofsky pits Borromini’s Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza against Michelangelo’s entrance hall of the Laurentian Library. He writes: “For baroque architecture breaks up, or even curves, the walls, so as to express a free dynamic interaction between mass and the energies of the structural members, and to display a quasi-theatrical scenery that integrates the conflicting elements into spatial ensemble, enlivened by chiaroscuro values and even indicating a kind of cosmic interrelation between exterior and interior space.”60 Obviously Panofsky was concerned with the conflict between the expressive

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Figure 4.3 Structural system of the Laurentian Library vestibule, reproduced from James Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo, 1986 (copyright courtesy of University of Chicago Press)

potentialities of wall and the structural members of the Sant’Ivo. Confining “structural members” to the column, we are left with the impression that for him the wall was inherent and natural to architecture. To follow Panofsky, it is not far-fetched to claim that what is unique to baroque architecture is a planimetric organization that deviates from the Renaissance orthogonal system. We can go further and associate the implied duality between the column and the wall with Panofsky’s interest in morphological investigation. For him, the meaning of architecture is accessible through analytical investigation of the plan, the wall, and the column. Still, for Panofsky, the undulating wall of baroque architecture was in synchrony with other elements of the culture of the time, and remained free of “meaning and unaffected by symbolic interpretations.”61 The column, on the other hand, with limited connotations beyond its symbolic references to the human body, remained a classical analogue for the ontological aspect of architecture. Much like painting, the plan is a two-dimensional visual composition and susceptible to symbolic interpretation. If Panofsky looked for the meaning of

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a painting in the diachronic dimension of the work, architecture’s meaning arguably should reside in the plan, and in the playful walls, two surface planar elements that define the scope of spatial depth and width. He wrote, “No period has been so obsessed with depth and width, the horror and sublimity of the concept of time as baroque.”62 Baroque’s difference from the classical is thus “pictorial,” the visible implications of which Panofsky traces in the interplay between the plan and the undulating walls. In a closer inspection of the planimetric organization of both Sant’Ivo and San Carlo, one cannot help but agree with Panofsky that the walls curve independent of the structural system. How does this work? Most analytical drawings of these two churches highlight the multiple circles and triangles that inform the geometrical composition of the plan. In addition, the plan of both buildings is carved out of the orthogonal system of the fabric of the adjacent monastery. Beyond the implied formal contrast between the curved interior surfaces (the oval), and the orderly subdivision of the surrounding service spaces, the structural system of these two churches emerged out of an orthogonal grid system, marked by either the position of the columns (San Carlo), or the pilasters (Sant’Ivo). There is no evidence that Borromini started the design of his two most important churches from a sketch-up drawing of the interior space. It is reasonable to assume that his design was figured out in the manner of the Renaissance – that is, that the volume was projected from the plan. The ground floor plan was for Borromini “the footprint of an integral, three-dimensional body,” writes Leo Steinberg.63 It was indeed part of the culture of Humanism to establish a sequential order through which one could relate the conception, representation, and the production of the object to one other.64 As with the planimetric organization of Renaissance architecture, and in order to coordinate the body’s movement through the interior space, the grid system of San Carlo and Sant’Ivo had to align the entrance to the altar. Obviously, what makes the interior of these churches engaging is the domination of a different geometric system over the orthogonal grid that runs parallel and perpendicular to the location of the main load-bearing elements. The dialogue between the loadbearing and the undulating wallsurfaces creates a visual spectacle that, interestingly enough, is enforced by the placement of columns. The hybrid geometric system, the cross-shape, the oval, and the octagonal elements,65 are employed to coordinate what Rudolf Wittkower calls the “two spiritual centers” of the church,66 the oval and the altar. In San Carlo, for example, the positions of the altar and the oval are defined by two sets of four columns that are located at an equal distance from the central axis of the plan. The sixteen columns of the interior space are “grouped and differentiated so as to yield three overlapping rhythms, and ... each of these rhythms corresponds to one modality of the structure.”67 Steinberg’s analysis establishes a logical coherency among various formal elements of San Carlo. Even though there is no major load-bearing function assigned to the columns, he sees their strong presence as a symbolic reference

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to the triformity, which according to him was essential for the realization of Borromini’s design.68 Wittkower, on the other hand, suggests that the columns were intended to accentuate the undulating walls. He also makes the observation that the balance between the altar and the oval, evident in most baroque churches, benefits from architectonic means employed by Palladio (aedicule in the case of Bernini’s Sant’Andrea al Quirinale in Rome). Needless to say, that the plan of Bramante’s St Peter’s had already established a geometric interplay between the diagonal and the orthogonal system, a device radicalized in Sant’Ivo. It was perhaps the invisible presence of the Renaissance compositional system in Borromini’s work that led Bernini to cast the following judgement during his visit to Paris: according to Bernini, Borromini “erected fantastic (‘chimerical’) structures,” where the “classical anthropomorphic conception of architecture” is thrown overboard.69 Interestingly enough, Bernini considered Borromini to be a Gothic artist, who would passionately master the material.70 If a tight rapport with platonic geometry was the only way for Renaissance artists to present a meaningful and totalized unity, in baroque theatricalization, complexity and richness of expression were part of architecture’s response to history and the crisis of meaning signalled earlier in this essay. This Tafurian reading is supported by what is called Borromini’s realism the assumption that he felt himself heir to “the troubled Mannerist issues.”71 Borromini’s bricolage, therefore, should be considered as part of a historical experience in which, among other developments, the tectonics would attain a double function. On the one hand, it exhumes the ontology of construction as the deeper layer of meaning; on the other hand, architecture’s engagement with the nihilism of technology entails loss, a force that in time would haunt tectonics from within.72 More importantly, as far as the tectonic of column and wall is concerned, baroque architecture does follow the classical language wherein the freestanding column is primarily perceived in association with the entablature. Likewise, the pilasters are interpreted in rapport with the wall and/or in congruity with the wall’s profile. These tectonic considerations are dramatized in Borromini’s work. In San Carlo where the columns stand as sculptural and yet they look freestanding and almost as if they were dancing. What holds them in place is their massive cornice, which not only separates the earthly domain from the heavenly (the oval), but also wraps the main interior space like a fabric covering the body. The perception of a wrapped space is perhaps one of the unique characteristics of Borromini and Bernini’s churches. Paradoxically, in San Ivo the overwhelming presence of wrapping undermines the presence of columns. The six piers supporting the structural ribs of the dome look like two perpendicular pilasters rotated forty-five degree. Here, similar to Bernini’s San Andrea, the wall that wraps the interior space is ornamented by pilasters, a strategy used by Alberti in Palazzo Rucellai (1446–51). Far more interesting is the position of two pairs of columns in Bernini’s church; they evoke, metaphorically, the notion of

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entering – the act of entering the building and/or entering into the realm of the spiritual, represented by the altar. In addition “the isolated altar-room answers in reverse to the projecting portico, and this is expressive of their different functions, the latter inviting, the former excluding the faithful.” Thus, concludes Wittkower, the “outside and inside appear like ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ realization of the same theme.”73 In both cases the wall terminates in a pilaster, either as an ornament (in the interior space), or as the profile of the wall (in the exterior façade). In an effort to deconstruct the anthropomorphic principles underpinning Renaissance planimetric organization, Borromini undermined the tectonic rapport between the plan and the cupola. To the same end, Borromini recoded the principles of Gothic cathedrals as far as the tectonic of the dome was concerned. We see in Sant’Ivo the way the ribs are coordinated and aligned with the position of the piers, a strategy paramount in Gothic structures.

Figure 4.4 Francesco Borromini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, 1638, interior view (photograph by the author)

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And yet, to emulate a cloud-like and free-floating surface, the cupola of San Carlo had to reinterpret Gothic tectonics. In most cathedrals, the ribs were built first and the surface between them was filled later. A few architects, according to Robin Evans, used the term stereotomy to refer to forms that were considered “unGothic and also unclassical;” they were not even baroque. In the choir vault of Gloucester Cathedral (1367), for example, the ribs look as if they are attached to a huge cambered sheet covering the entire choir. Absent from this cathedral is the emphatic differentiation between the column and the wall, where decorum hinges on the tectonic rapport between structure and ornament.74 The reverse is at work in San Carlo, where there is an intermediate zone, the pendentives, which according to Wittkower is inspired by the Greek cross-plan. Central to my suggested recoding of classical and Gothic architectonics is the allegoric dimension of baroque churches. The image-laden extravagance of baroque interiors demands that we rethink the Renaissance’s approach to the element of dome. This claim is better understood in the light of Walter Benjamin’s metaphoric observation about “sky” in Renaissance painting; he wrote: “Whereas the painters of the Renaissance knew how to keep their skies high, in the paintings of the baroque the cloud moves, darkly or radiantly, down towards the earth.” He continued, “In contrast to the baroque the Renaissance does not appear as a godless and heathen period, but as an epoch of profane freedom for the life of the faith, while the Counter-Reformation sees the hierarchical strain of the middle ages assume authority in a world which was denied access to the beyond.”75 I would like to use Benjamin’s analogy to further elaborate on the position of the dome in the two churches under consideration here. The compelling and low profile of San Carlo’s dome complements the aforementioned idea of wrapping. The architectonics of the undulating walls and the ceiling (dome) bring the heavenly myth of Christianity “down” and to the face of the faithful. The baroque recoding of the element of dome – of “the anthropomorphic measure of the orders, the platonic geometry of the elevation and plan, the pure representation of an idealized classical past, the perfect depiction of reality in single-point perspective” – heralds nothing short of the crisis of Humanism, writes Andrew Leach.76 In contrast to the dome’s central position in Renaissance architecture, the cupola in San Carlo is reduced to a small lantern overshadowed by the portion of the street façade that supports the undulating main entry to the church. In San Carlo, Guilio Argan observes, the façade is “no longer regarded in terms of the building to which it belongs; it becomes a surface area which can be extended infinitely.77 The freestanding and undulating posture of the entry plane is further emphasized by the building’s massing: it soars up in triple layers, where each architrave is rendered in reference to one of the constituent forms of the building. The main entry façade, by contrast, is composed of two tiers, and is dramatized by the disappearance of the corner where two orthogonal planes meet each other. To this we should add the

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Figure 4.5 Francesco Borromini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome, 1638, main entrance (photograph by the author)

central position of the main entrance, which is overshadowed by a convex portal and an oval medallion placed at the top. Framed and tilted over the main entrance, and originally ornamented with an image of the holy Trinity, the blank medallion is an additional mirror image of the absent present, ruination, a stark reminder to the faithful entering the church!

Coda I would like to posit the possibility of two interpretations of the baroque, each having a particular implication for historiography. The first position concerns Panofsky. Identifying the end of the Renaissance with the rise of modernization, Panofsky makes indirect associations between modernity and the baroque. If the zeitgeist means a coherent and totalizing phenomenon, we could then claim that Panofsky’s position on the baroque did not arise from the 1930s concern with the crisis of technology mentioned at the outset of this chapter; his retrospective remarks on the column and wall rather

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exemplify a historiographic vision that sees each period through the lens of that period’s own aura. Recalling Panofsky’s limited engagement with architecture, I posit that his reflections on painting and sculpture capture the gist of what baroque meant to him. Of his specific considerations, and starting with Bernini’s Cathedra Petri in St. Peter’s, we are reminded of themes such as chiaroscuro visionary spectacle, play with light and shadow, and a subjective feeling of redemption. Here Panofsky tries to demonstrate the so-called baroque rebellion against Mannerism of the 1520s. Taking a semi-Hegelian position, Panofsky interpreted baroque as a period with the capacity to resolve the internal conflicts he attributed to Mannerism. He extends this historical verdict to the Renaissance as well: the best work of the period, he claims, demonstrates the conflict between a command for perspectival regime and “a Gothic spirit that makes the figures cling to the frontal plane and to each other.” Accordingly, “the baroque appears primarily as a liquidation of mannerism,” which itself “was far from the result of a mere whim on the part of oversophisticated artists.” Thus, the primary task of baroque artists, we are told, was to address artistic problems that they inherited from the Renaissance in the first place.78 Furthermore, in identifying baroque primarily with Italian culture, Panofsky could not but associate the style’s manifestation in other European countries with Mannerism. His convictions are partly a reaction against the nineteenth-century Gothico-Greek revivalism that kept both the Italian Renaissance and the baroque at arm’s distance. Of further interest is his belief that baroque art tried to reconcile contradictions; he described it as “A conflict of antagonistic forces merging into a subjective unity, and thus resolved, is also, or rather most particularly, to be observed in the realm of psychology.”79 To him, baroque is nothing short of a state of ecstasy where the subject is not only capable of expressing his or her feelings, he or she is already self-conscious of such a feeling in the first place. This state of mind, for Panofsky, is the very essence of the modern nested in the baroque. It also says something about baroque’s capacity to overcome the crisis precipitated by the Counter-Reformation. Along this line of observation and in reference to Theodor Adorno’s reflections on the “terrific deformation of reason,” Andrew Leach concludes his reading of Panofsky’s essay in the following words: Panofsky’s baroque “models a way forward not because it offers formal or cultural solutions, but because it demonstrates that modern culture is obliged to reconcile itself with its crises.”80 Panofsky’s baroque is also a form of art wherein all artistic conflicts are reconciled. Thus, as with Wölfflin, Panofsky presents baroque as a transitory period within the long history of the Renaissance, which according to him, lasted until the death of Goethe, and when the first railroads and industrial plants were built.81 The second position on the baroque concerns Sigfried Giedion. It took contemporary critics a couple of decades after the publication of Space, Time, and Architecture (1941) to grasp the book’s problematic formulation of the idea of “reconciliation,” read transparency. The totalization underpinning

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Giedion’s narrative does camouflage modernity’s relentless devaluation of all values, old and new. Constrained by the traditions of art history and the Hegelian idea of the spirit of the time, the urge for transparency was seemingly not negotiable for Giedion.82 And yet, the baroque unity he saw in the mirror image of history is blended with a perception shared by those who had no doubt about the attainability of a modernist vision of totality (a project?). Giedion’s narrative does indeed draw from the experience of baroque, a period when architecture enjoyed a sense of internal unity, epitomizing the crisis of Humanism. For Giedion, central to the compositional language of baroque is a sense of space that differs from that of the Renaissance. This is not to suggest that prior to the baroque space was not a tangible issue. What Giedion was trying to say is that excess in baroque is spatial. Here we can argue that the very presence of spatial excess in baroque art and architecture represented a sense of unity that was nurtured by the theological world. Furthermore, starting with baroque’s sublime beauty, Giedion maps the modernity of architecture in the matrix of space and time. What both Giedion and Panofsky saw as unique to baroque is a closure with mystics attached to it. If for Panofsky baroque remains an ideal closure defining the scope of Mannerism’s disengagement with the Renaissance, for Giedion, on the other hand, baroque exemplifies a closure, the spatial experience of which he took for a mirror image of modernity. Thus, as I have discussed elsewhere,83 we have the analogy between the visual effects generated by various aspects of Borromini’s Sant’Ivo, Pablo Picasso’s “Head Sculpture” (1910), and Vladimir Tatlin’s Tower (1920). In doing so Giedion gave a new twist to the tradition of art history: instead of limiting the task of the historian to presenting a formalistic or deterministic view of the artwork of the past, Giedion saw “planning” and the provision of “the appearance of a new and self-confident tradition” as the most important thing history can offer at a chaotic time, something that lives on “an aimless, day-to-day basis.”84 Giedion’s interpretation of baroque is of interest because it sheds light on his “use” of history if only to legitimize ideas and forms developed by modern architects. There is a historical truth to this observation: in stark contrast to the rage launched against early modern abstract painting, what visitors to the two churches discussed in the previous pages experienced was neither concerned with tectonics, nor with the Humanist tendency to reduce the scope of representation to that of space. They rather experienced an architecture that exalted aspects of Humanism not attainable through the tropes of Renaissance architecture anymore. This is the moment to turn the discussion to contemporary takes on the baroque though in reference to two interrelated unfoldings: contemporary theoretical work on the subject of the baroque, and the claim that because of the advent of global capitalism, Giedion’s dialogical rapport between time and space cannot be sustained anymore. As for the first development, the best place to start is where I left the reader above, with the centrality of Humanism for the discourse of both periods of the Renaissance and baroque

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periods. Starting with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s pairing of de-reterritorialization, I would like to posit that the multicentralities of baroque churches, considered earlier, did indeed reterritorialize the Renaissance language of architecture if only to sustain the persistence of Humanist values. This might be one reason why these two thinkers claimed that “no one has ever been able to draw a clear line between baroque and classical. All of baroque lies brewing beneath classicism.”85 Less than a decade later, however, Deleuze published a book entitled The Fold (1988). Aside from the use and abuse of the fold in contemporary architecture, what interest me in this latter publication is a short chapter titled, “What is baroque?”86 Recalling Wölfflin’s discourse on the subject, we are reminded not only of the schism between the interior space of baroque churches and their entry façade, but more importantly, of the association between the two level interiority of most of these edifices and matter and spirit. Thus, plotting the architectonic of this interiority in two vectors, we see “a deepening towards the bottom, and a thrust towards the upper regions.” Whereas the lower level is receptive to the material worldliness of the exterior wall, the so to speak upper region remains independent of what is happening below. Like the cloud, the upper level moves lightly from here to there in a manner similar to the fold depicted in the El Greco’s the Burial of the Count Orgaz (1586). We can reasonably argue that the spatial organization of most Christian churches is plotted in two tiers. Exclusive to baroque churches, however, is the gestural separation of the façade from the interior volume, as noted in the case of San Carlo, and the perception of a second tier that remains aloof from both the façade and the lower level of the interior space. Deleuze goes further and presents the suggested two levels as the baroque organization par excellence. He writes, “This is the organization of the Baroque house with its division into two floors, one in individual weightlessness, the other in a gravity of mass. Between them a tension is manifested when the first rises up or drops down, in spiritual elevation and physical gravity.”87 To recall my earlier observation, we can say that Baroque reterritorialized the metaphysics of Christianity, assigning it a higher position independent of the Real, the emerging worldview of capitalism. In contrast to pre-baroque periods, the experience of time in baroque is also divided into two; an everlasting and untouchable time of divinity, and the time that its duration and acceleration is since then orchestrated by the contradictions internal to the rising capitalism. One conclusion to draw from my long baroque journey could be this: that rethinking of contemporary architecture in reference to the baroque necessitates to interpreting and articulating the dialogue between the implied two-tier baroque space in analogy to the Semperian earthwork and frame-work; the old Marxian base and superstructure: or else, the Deleuzian body and spirit, if not Lacanian theory.88 The fact that most associations made with the fold do not go beyond undulating surfaces, which are “structured and related before” they are formed,89 says something about the atectonic dimension of most parametric

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design that is cashed in as digital baroque. It also denies baroque’s dual temporal experience, suggested earlier. This is a plausible charge not only because of the theatricalization permeating the digitally reproduced architecture, but also due to the very fact that capitalism today is stretched globally, covering territories worldwide. Somehow like a monad, global capitalism offers no exit door; “everything seems to have been reduced to a present of time without a temporal context.” Fredric Jameson claims unabashedly that, “In this new dialectic of omnipresent space and the living or temporal present, history, the sense of history, is the loser: the past is gone, we can no longer imagine the future.”90 Whether we take Jameson’s proclamation for a manifesto or a utopian, the fact remains that in the age of the globalization of capital and information the historicity that made Giedion to project the modernity of architecture along time–space axis is shattered. History has not evaporated, but the sense of history that is usually plotted along the temporal sequence of past, present, and future is not sustainable anymore. Baroque seems closer to home today, and yet not as tangible as it was for Wölfflin, Riegl, and Panofsky!

Notes 1 On these two art historians’ give and take on baroque, specially issues such as depth versus surface, space and movement, and geography, see Evonne Levy, “Riegl and Wölfflin in Dialogue on the Baroque,” in Andrew Leach, John Macarthur and Maarten Delbeke (eds), The Baroque in Architectural Culture, 1880–1980 (London: Ashgate, 2015), 87–96. 2 See Gevork Hartoonian, “Poetics of Technology and the New Objectivity,” Journal of Architectural Education, 40/1 (Fall 1986): 14–19. 3 Alina Payne, “Bauhaus Endgame: Ambiguity, Anxiety, and Discomfort,” in Jeffrey Saletnik and Robin Schuldenfrei (eds), Bauhaus Construct: Fashioning Identity, Discourse and Modernity (London: Routledge, 2009), 256. 4 Guilio Carlo Argan, The Baroque Age (New York: Rizzoli, 1989), where the author draws from his La rettorica e l’arte barocca, published in 1955. 5 Evonne Levy, Propaganda and the Baroque (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 2004). 6 Maarten Delbeke, Andrew Leach and John Macarthur, “Defining a Problem: Modern Architecture and the Baroque,” in Leach, Macarthur and Delbeke (eds) The Baroque in Architectural Culture (2015), 9. 7 I am following Harry F. Mallgrave’s formulation of the transition took place from Borromini to Claude Perrault as discussed in Harry F. Mallgrave, The Architect’s Brain: Neuroscience, Creativity, and Architecture (London: WilleyBlackwell, 2011), 26–34. 8 Karen Lang, Chaos and Cosmos: On the Image in Aesthetics an Art History (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), 36. 9 See Silvia Ferretti, Cassirer, Panofsky, and Warburg (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989). 10 On the influences of various academics and philosophers on Panofsky’s mature work, see Michael Ann Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984). 11 Instead of listing every possible text, one should rather limit the scope of such a list to include only those authors who critiqued the machinistic version of

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12 13 14 15 16

17 18 19 20

21 22

23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

On baroque modernism during the 1930s, the high days of the formation of modernism in architecture. Hal Foster, Compulsive Beauty (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993), the last three chapters in particular. Kurt W. Forster, “Critical History of Art, or Transfiguration of Values?,” New Literary History, 3/3 (Spring 1972): 467. Clement Greenberg, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” Partisan Review: 6/5, (1939): 34–39. For more on this subject see Chapter 7 in this volume. I am reminded of Hermann Broch’s 1934 essay, “The Spirit in an Unspirited Age,” in Broch (ed.), John Hargraves (trans.), Geist and zeitgeist (New York: Counterpoint, 2002), 41–64. José Antonio Maravall, Culture of Baroque: Analysis of a Historical Structure (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 1986), 8. The defining aspects of the suggested epoch were “the counterreformist renewal of the church, the strengthening of papal authority, and the expansion of the Society of Jesus.” For a thematic reading of baroque, see Robert Harbison, Reflections on Baroque (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 2000). Maravall, Culture of Baroque (1986), 102. The author reminds us that Sigmund Freud cited both the church and army as mass formations. Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History (1984), 71–72. Gevork Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique (London: Ashgate, 2012). It is to Kenneth Frampton’s credit to expand the thematic of the culture of building beyond the three mentioned ones. See Kenneth Frampton, A Genealogy of Modern Architecture: Comparative Critical Analysis of Built Form (New York: Lars Muller Publisher, 2015). For this author’s review of Frampton’s book see Domus, 1010 (February 2017): 18–21. See Fredric J. Schwartz, Blind Spots: Critical Theory and the History of Art in Twentieth-Century Germany (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 139. Heinrich Wölfflin, “Prolegomena to a Psychology of Architecture,” Empathy, Form, and Space Harry F. Mallgrave (trans.) (Santa Monica, CA The Getty Center for the History of Arts and Humanities, 1994), 182–83. Also, see Schwartz, Blind Spots (2005), 138. Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, M. D. Hortinger (trans.) (New York: Dover Publications, 1950). Also, see Michael Podro, The Critical Art Historians of Art (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1982), 98–110. As the reader would notice in the coda of this chapter, I recall Gilles Deleuze’s discussion of the implied schism between façade and interior space. Heinrich Wölfflin, Renaissance and Baroque, Lathrin Simon (trans.) (London: Collins, 1964), 17. Charles Baudelaire, “The Painter of Modern Life,” in The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, J. Mayne (trans.) (New York: Phaidon, 1964), 13. Siegried Kraucauer quoted in Schwartz, Blind Spots (2005), 138. Schwartz, Blind Spots (2005), 138. Alina Payne, “Beyond Kunstwollen: Alois Riegl and the Baroque,” in Alois Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome, A. Hopkins and A. Witte (eds and trans.) (Los Angeles, CA: The Getty Research Institute, 2010), 4. Michael Gubser, Time’s Visible Surface (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2006), 19. Gubser, Time’s Visible Surface (2006), 33. Gubser, Time’s Visible Surface (2006), 179–180. On this subject see Gubser, Time’s Visible Surface (2006). On Panofsky’s take on Riegl, see Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History (1984), 75–96.

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35 Alois Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010). 36 Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, John Osborne (trans.) (London: Verso Books, 1985), 54. 37 Payne, “Beyond Kunstwollen” (2010), 5. 38 Maravall, Culture of Baroque (1986), the last two chapters in particular. 39 Alina Payne, “Architecture, Ornament and Pictorialism: Notes on the Relationship between the Arts from Wölfflin to Le Corbusier” in Karen Koehler (ed.), The Built Surface (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002), 54–72. 40 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 94. 41 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 95. 42 On this subject see Levy, Propaganda and the Baroque (2004). 43 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 98–102. 44 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 103. 45 For a different interpretation of the association made between modern and baroque see Andrew Leach, “Francesco Borromini and the Crisis of the Humanist Universe, or Manfredo Tafuri on the Baroque Origins of Modern Architecture,” The Journal of Architecture, 15/3 (2010): 301–335. 46 Evonne Levy, “The Political Project of Wölfflin’s Early Formalism,” October, 139 (Winter 2012): 51. 47 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 118. 48 Alina Payne considers these issues central to Riegl’s shift of interest from the courtyard to the façade of palace “as the Renaissance gradually morphs into the Baroque.” Payne, “Beyond Kunstwollen” (2010), 21. 49 Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1985), 99. 50 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 124. 51 Leon Battista Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Book, Susan E. Bassnett (trans.), (New York: Braziller, 1969), 7. 52 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 138. 53 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 156. 54 Helen Hills, “The Baroque: The Grit in the Oyster of Art History,” in Helen Hills (ed.) Rethinking the Baroque (London: Ashgate, 2011), 12 55 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 156. 56 James S. Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1986), 40. 57 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 181. 58 Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), 192. 59 Erwin Panofsky, “What Is Baroque?”, in Irving Lavin (ed.), Three Essays on Style, (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1997), 17–90, 45. 60 Panofsky, “What Is Baroque?” (1997), 45. 61 Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History (1984), 141. 62 Erwin Panofsky, Studies in Iconography (New York: Harper and Row, 1967), 92. 63 Leo Steinberg, Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane: A Study in Multiple Forms and Architectural Symbolism (New York: Garland Publishing, 1977), 307. 64 Mario Carpo, The Alphabet and the Algorithm (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2011), 91. 65 These constitute the three forms that after studying twelve alternatives Leo Steinberg believes to be the genesis of Borromini’s design. Steinberg, Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (1977), 43. 66 Rudolf Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600 to 1750 (New York: Penguin Books, 1973), 183. 67 Steinberg, Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (1977), 161–178. 68 Steinberg, Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (1977), 171. 69 Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy (1973), 197.

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70 Argan, The Baroque Age (1989), 118. 71 Manfredo Tafuri, Theories and History of Architecture, (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), 19. 72 Gevork Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 73 Wittkower, Art and Architecture in Italy (1973), 184. 74 Robin Evans, The Projective Cast: Architecture and Its Three Geometries (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1995), 220–239. 75 Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1985), 79. 76 Andrew Leach, “Francesco Borromini and the Crisis of the Humanist Universe” (2010): 315. 77 Argan, The Baroque Age (1989), 31. Argan’s assessment here is motivated by Aristotle’s three notions of rhetoric. 78 Panofsky, Three Essays on Style (1997), 25. 79 Panofsky, Three Essays on Style (1997), 51. 80 Andrew Leach, “The Future of the Baroque, c. 1945,” in Leach, Macarthur and Delbeke, (eds) The Baroque in Architectural Culture (2015), 127. 81 Panofsky, Three Essays on Style (1997), 88. 82 For an extended discussion of the place of baroque in the early historiography of modern architecture see Gevork Hartoonian, The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), 130–31. 83 Hartoonian, The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian (2013). 84 Sigfried Giedion, Space, Time, and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1941), 30. 85 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophernia (Minnesota, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 338. 86 Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (Minnesota, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 27–40. 87 Deleuze, The Fold (1993), 102. 88 See Nadir Lahiji, Adventures with the Theory of the Baroque and French Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), especially Part 1. 89 Lars Spuybroek, The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design (Rotterdam: Lars Spuybroek and V2_Publishing, 2011), 62. Spuybroek’s criticism of “digital Baroque” is driven by a close reading of John Ruskin, and the conviction that in baroque architecture movement is added to the structure whereas in Gothic “the bending creates the structure; it is the actual agent of rigidity (p. 43). 90 Fredric Jameson, An American Utopia, Slavoj Žižek (ed.) (London: Verso Books, 2016), 13.

5

On Mies

Opening Many years ago, on visiting a retrospective show of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s drawings and full-size models in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, this author was astonished at how formative was the tectonic of column/ wall for the German architect’s work. One consequence of this encounter was an essay where I made an attempt to associate Mies’s experimentation with the tectonic of column and wall with Leon Battista Alberti’s discourse on the same subject.1 Though well received, the essay stopped short of making a speculative connection between Alberti’s discussion on the column and wall with Greek architecture. Perhaps one reason Alberti considered the column as ornament par excellence had to do with the Renaissance reading of Vitruvius’ theorization of architecture. Obviously, the best Greek temples comprised an enclosed stonewall cellar surrounded by columns on four sides. Besides an aesthetic reasoning, the spacing between columns was associated with the Vitruvian notion of firmitas, meaning that the edifice must look firm and strong. The intercolumniation permeating Greek architecture makes an opening reaching to another space, the agora, whilst the enclosure remains enclosed. Centred on the belief that “the open was all open and the closed all closed,”2 the Vitruvian notion of techné, the art of building, will be transformed after Marc-Antoine Laugier’s reflection on the primitive hut as the origin of architecture, and this in accord with the Enlightenment reasoning for a rationalistic approach to architecture. In the light of the above, we can provisionally suggest that in classical architecture the Orders designated a particular articulation between the column and its entablature, whilst in modern architecture the column was/is utilized as a load-bearing element in its own right. My interest in the subject of column and wall was one more time ignited lately. Reading Hubert Damisch’s Noah’s Ark (2016),3 I was astonished to realize the fact that one can indeed write the history of architecture focusing on the tectonic and atectonic rapport between these two architectonic elements. Frankly, I have been cooking the same idea in my mind for sometime, and still think that in spite, or because, of Damisch’s book,

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the project deserve serious attention. Having established a brief historical background, this chapter aims to demonstrate the singularity of Mies’s work as far as it concerns a modernist return to the tectonic of the column and wall. To this end, I intend to centre Mies in the historical debate between Alois Riegl and Gottfried Semper. Outflanking the polar nature of the debate, the essay will establish Mies’s architecture outside of the historicity of the architect’s American and Berlin periods. Methodologically, only in this way can we avoid a linear and positivistic apprehension of architectural historiography. Furthermore, and following Walter Benjamin’s œuvre, only a disjunctive reading of history might touch, here and there, on the subject of illumination even at the cost of losing “historical fidelity.”4 Now, the following question allows me to formulate an argument, associating the notion of wall and opening (to frame window or otherwise) with the idea of frontality: what if the formal nature of Le Corbusier’s early villas enticed Colin Rowe to see Renaissance architecture through the principles that had been developed by Rudolf Wittkower during the mid-1940s?5 The suggested reversal in the natural order between past and present will be taken up in Chapters 8 and 9 of this volume to discuss the historiographic merit of what I would like to term “retrospective criticism.” To this end for the purpose of the argument presented in this chapter, I would like to draw the reader’s attention to the differences between anachronic and anachronistic. This formulation, according to Alexander Nagel and Christopher S. Wood, allows to establishing a critical chain between past and present. They write, “The new work, the innovation, is legitimated by the chain of works leading back to an authoritative type. But the chain also needs the new work. It is the new work that selects the chain out of the debris of the past.”6 Central to Wittkower’s 1949 text is the nature of representation in Renaissance architecture. We are told that the main contribution of the architects of that period of Italian architecture (the most prominent being Alberti) was to find a solution to the architectonic problems caused by superimposing the façade of a triumphal arch over the remnant classical edifice. The solution, Wittkower wrote, had to address the relationship between the wall and the rounded column, and this in reference to the need to include the entablature within the picture. More recently, Anthony Vidler has associated what he calls Rowe’s “double inheritance” with Wittkower’s teachings and the line of art history discourse outlined by Heinrich Wölfflin. Without discussing the generic and formative issues that propel a different architectonic configuration, Rowe combined Wittkower’s interest in precedent, Palladio’s work in particular,7 with formal analogies inherited from Wölfflin.8 In another context, Vidler observes that the transmission of “the Renaissance would be simply of academic interest if it did not form the basis of Rowe’s own historical view of architecture in general and of the modern movement in particular.”9 Besides the historian’s theorization of architectural history, equally important is an architect’s rapport with

On Mies 93 architecture’s past. Both subjects can be interpreted in various ways. Daniel Sherer, for one, presents a reading of Le Corbusier’s rapport with Palladio based on establishing constructive dialectics between norm and exception. The exception attributed to Le Corbusier’s early residential design is taken by the author to demonstrate the French architect’s connection to Renaissance architecture. Sherer’s position, if one follows Reyner Banham, is in tandem with Rowe who believed that Le Corbusier’s work presents an amalgamation of ancient and modern.10 More convincing is Kurt W. Forster for whom Le Corbusier “was not bound by typological schemes or infatuated with period trim like other architects interested in ancient buildings.” Since Le Corbusier’s 1911 visit to Italy, the architect “must have suspected a profound analogy between his own inclination and the tendencies manifest in Roman architecture.” According to Forster, the origin of the Villa La Roche is half of the plan of the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.11 Of interest to this author, however, is the transformational nature of disciplinary themes such as the tectonic of the column and wall unfolding throughout contemporary architectural praxis. Speaking methodologically, the approach followed in this essay avoids establishing an oppositional position between the classical and the modern. Rather it attempts to historicize architecture in a vision of history that does not privilege technique over themes that are essential for a tectonic reading of architecture’s disciplinary history. In this line of considerations, it is not stretching it too far to suggest that Le Corbusier’s contribution to modern architecture consists, among other things, of the Dom-ino frame – a construction system that allowed architects to reiterate certain aspects of the visual culture of humanism though moulded with the abstract aesthetic of modernism. Of interest is the dialogue Le Corbusier established between the logic of plan and the technique he used in paintings. Following the proposition that “the artist proceeds like an architect at the drawing boards,”12 in “Nature morte à la cruche blanche sur fond bleu” (1920), Eduard Jeanneret’s depiction of an open book confirms a one-to-one correspondence between the horizontal view (plan) of the book with the vertical. The association has its architectural correspondence. In both classical and Renaissance buildings, the masonry construction system necessitated a direct projection between the plan and the building’s frontal façade. This is important because in Purism Le Corbusier depicts objects similar to industrial products. A tool, for instance, is assembled from various parts where more often than not there is no duality between the object’s appearance and its form. Paradoxically, and after the invention of the Domino system, Le Corbusier’s architecture implemented an aesthetic approach where the surface appearance is conceived independent of the plastic nature of the form. Of related interest is the architect’s formulation of the “horizontal window,” the opening of which, if extended, will, paradoxically, undermine the very image of the wall inscribed in the idea of free-façade, itself a formative theme for Wittkower’s analysis of Alberti’s work. Interestingly

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enough, Le Corbusier speculated that the essentiality of platonic geometry for architectural form would be tangible if the language of Orders were scraped from the face of classical buildings. His was a strategy of reversal, providing an “effective normative context for the emergence of Le Corbusier’s vision of a modern residential architecture.”13 The paradox involved in Le Corbusier’s visitation of history is important because his “five points of architecture,” itself a derivative of the Dom-ino frame system, had to deny the wall, an essential element for the very haptic dimension of the pyramids, spheres, and cylinders that he inscribed into a rendering of the site of Roman ruins. From these initial considerations, one can argue that by the 1920s most architects came to the realization of the tectonic implications of the frame-structure system. Le Corbusier’s early residential work suggests that the exterior of walls should be conceived as a screen wrapping the building’s volume with minimal plasticity of the kind permeating the American grain silos.14 The intention of this brief reiteration of the near past history of architecture is to cast some light on the tectonics involved in architecture’s transformation from the haptic to the optic realm – to recall Riegl’s formulation of the formal development of art and architecture. Central to the optic dimension of architecture is what Riegl called the “subjective planarity” impression. He describes the phenomenon in the following words: the freestanding supports, once pulled back and incorporated into the walls, make the overall form of the building more compact and imposing, whereas the pilasters, which present themselves as fully rounded piers that support the ceiling, even though they are really only reliefs, create a subjective planar impression.15 Thus, in order to depart from the language of Gothic cathedrals, Italian Renaissance architecture had to “simulate the movement of inorganic masses.” In church architecture, Riegl observed, “instead of the whole building being set in motion, as would be natural for any unified body, this was attempted only on one part, the façade.” He wrote: Everything else remained hidden. While a great burst of movement sweeps across the façade, no movement is perceptible within the building. Thus there is almost no correspondence between the interior and the movement in the exterior – another factor that manifests this architecture’s contrast with Gothic.16 The complexity involved in architecture’s opening its interior to the exterior (the Metropolis) will be taken up later in this essay. What needs to be addressed here is that what remained hidden behind the notion of façade is the wall, the main constructive and form-giving element of Renaissance architecture.

On Mies 95 Capitalizing on the difference between Riegl and Semper, My intention in the following is to underline the role that frame-structure plays for a contemporary understanding of the tectonic of column and wall, and the subject’s criticality for Mies’s architecture produced during his residency in America. This is historiographically significant. Mies’s later architecture was essential for dismantling the aura of the “architecture of humanism.” According to K. Michael Hays, “a different epistemological shift separates” Mies from Ludwig Hilberseimer: the latter’s approach “amounts to nothing less than the abolition of architecture as a communicative action or representational practice;” whereas Mies’s glass skyscraper, he continues, “is a sign still committed to the real – projective, referential, intrusive, in a negative dialogue with the context of its production, sustained at formal and cognitive levels.”17 The development he suggests is internal to Mies’s response to what was a major theoretical concern for German historicism: that throughout previous centuries, architects had exhausted the tectonic potentialities of the wall construction system; and that a different “style” was seen immanent in the emerging steel structural system. In addition, and related to the debate between Semper and Riegl, Mies’s work in America gave a new twist to the importance of fabric for architecture. Whilst textile played a significant role in Semper’s interest in formulating the cosmogonic dimension of architecture – i.e., wrapping the body with fabric as the beginning of the realization of the need to wrap the interior space18 – the tectonic of steel and glass architecture played an integral role in Mies’s use of curtain as a space-defining element. It might be that Lily Reich was responsible for Mies’s interest in using fabric in architecture. One is reminded of their joint design of what is called “Velvet and Silk Café” for the Women’s Fashion Exhibition (Berlin 1927) where the space of the café is clothed in high movable curtains. Also noteworthy is a charcoal drawing by Mies, depicting the elevation of his famous Glass Skyscraper project of 1922, an undulating curtain.19 Having in mind the import Semper’s theory of architecture gave to textile, Mies’s inclination to use fabric in architecture can be presented as a critical strategy for restoring architecture’s haptic dimension within the aesthetic culture of modernism.

Semper contra Riegl Riegl’s formalization of art’s transformation from haptic to visual is important when read in conjunction with Semper’s discourse on the tectonic. The well-documented debate between Riegl and Semper centres on the question of technique and its implication for artistic creativity. The subject was a prominent one during the mid-nineteenth century when architects were preoccupied with two issues: on the one hand was the role that technique and material were expected to play in the development of a particular style; on the other were the limitations or potentialities that a particular technology could impose on the artist’s or architect’s

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creative capacity. Semper’s discourse on style was important for Riegl not only because of his own interest in the motifs permeating textile products, but also because of the importance Riegl attached to the notion of Kunstwollen.20 Call it artistic volition if you wish, Kunstwollen was for Riegl a gestalt of continuous flow of thought making a reciprocal dialogue with sociotechnological transformations. Margaret Iversen suggests that, “for Riegl, different stylistic types, understood as expression of a varying Kunstwollen, are read as different ideals of perception or as different ways of regarding the mind’s relationship to its objects and of organizing the material of perception.”21 However, between 1893 and 1901 (the crucial eight years in which Riegl formalized some of his positions vis-à-vis Semper) Riegl’s understanding of Kunstwollen changed. Instead of contemplating it in terms of artistic-will, from now on Kunstwollen was used to address the processes of creating form beyond any constraints of the kind implied in Hegel’s notion of zeitgeist. The latter’s spirit was sought as having the capacity to cast shadow on every artistic development taking place within an epoch.22 Important to Semper, instead, were the anthropological dimensions of artefacts and their transformability from one industry into another, and the dissemination of these motifs beyond national boundaries. Also noteworthy is Riegl’s and Semper’s diachronic reading of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Of interest is the specific nature of the tectonic dialogue between column and wall at work since Hellenic time. According to Riegl, in order to avoid the dissonance caused by the addition of rounded columns to a flat wall, mature Hellenistic architects employed pilasters to support the ceiling. This was a tectonic strategy to endorse the role the freestanding rounded columns play in a Greek temple.23 Accordingly, in Hellenistic architecture the tectonic configuration between pilasters and the roof follows, to recall Riegl, the constructive logic implied in the primitive hut. Paradoxically, the pilasters were considered essential for initiating a “surface” perceived independent of the actual attached wall. Again, one is reminded of Le Corbusier’s idea of free-façade, of the importance Semper gave to the element of wrapping the space, and of these in relation to the choice of structure supporting the enclosure and its tectonic articulation with the element of roof. That Riegl’s analysis invests in the formal property of architecture is obvious. What needs to be underlined is this: besides an interest in the tectonic of wall and the roof, Riegl’s and Semper’s analyses of Gothic versus Renaissance architecture navigate in opposite directions. As will be demonstrated shortly, Riegl was primarily concerned with the diminishment of the corporeal continuity between wall and the roof when the wall was pierced by window openings. What made Semper sceptical of the tectonic potentialities of Gothic cathedral, instead, was the limited improvement available in the dialogue between column and wall.24 Equally important is Riegl’s criticism of Gothic architecture as far as it concerns the loss of haptic

On Mies 97 experience of architecture. In his words: “the relation of form and surface in the Gothic period was determined by the elimination of wall. In place of the once-continuous wall surface there now appeared single, discrete forms, the buttresses.” His criticism was also centred on the appearance of small arches and windows placed above the row of tracery. These architectonic elements, according to Riegl, expedited the dissolution of the element of wall, even though, in the late Gothic, the upward movement of columns was curved to join them to the structural web of the ceiling.25 Therefore, what might have concerned both Riegl and Semper was not the tectonic as such. In Gothic cathedrals, Hubert Damisch writes, “the visible framework, the tracery of ribbing, and salient features” are thrown over the masonry structure like a net.26 The image of a perforated structural system filled with masonry elements suggests a constructive form in which the wall’s enclosing function is undermined (Riegl’s concern); whilst its cohesiveness with the visible framework had put considerable limitations on the artistic embellishment of the art-form of the building (Semper’s concern). Needless to say, in the Germany of the early decades of the nineteenth century the Gothic revival initiated an interest in the constructive nature of the pointed arch, and the ways in which this covering system differed from the Romanesque vault system. Also of interest is the lightness implied in Gothic structures due partly to the replacement of planar elements with linear. Also needless to say is the fact that Gothic revival enticed architects to make analogies between iron structure and the structure of Gothic buildings. These issues are discussed in William Whewell’s “Architectural Notes on German Churches” (1830) and Eduard Metzger’s “Contribution to the Contemporary Question: In What Style Should We Build?” (1845), respectively.27 Riegl’s criticism was obviously focused on the perceptual experience of form and surface. The subject rather attained a complex dimension in the aftermath of the Renaissance. This much is clear from Alberti’s discourse in De re aedificatoria where, discussing the column/wall relation, the architect characterized the column as ornament par excellence. The subject of ornament was clearly of great importance to Alberti. He devoted four of his ten books to a subject that would be at the mercy of a dualistic approach after John Ruskin’s definition of ornament. According to Joseph Rykwert, for Alberti ornament was simply not necessary in the sense in which something did not need an addition to its nakedness. It was “quite literally essential to the making or the experience of any building, since without the ornament he [Alberti] speaks of, no building may be used, inhabited or even seen.”28 What should be added here is that the column had first to be dissociated from the tectonic of the Greek system, and then adapted to “wall architecture.”29 Most recently, Peter Eisenman has noted that Alberti “articulated the wall both as a constructional system and as a conceptual entity.”30 Nevertheless, Wittkower was the one who recognized the doubling involved in Alberti’s discourse on the column and wall, and the architect’s overcoming of that problem in

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his design for Sant’Andrea, Mantua (1470).31 Still, from the design of San Francesco, Wittkower suggests that Alberti was aware of the architectonic problem when using a rounded column attached to the wall. The Italian architect had “to decide between the authority of classical architecture and the contemporary demands of a logical wall architecture.” While the column remains the main ornamental element of Alberti’s architecture, in his later work he had to modify the column into pilasters. In doing so, he achieved two things. First, he completed the column with the entablature similar to that of classical temples. Second, by placing the rounded arch of the entrance above two shorter pilasters, he was able to produce a simulated image of the triumphal arch. Considering that masonry construction system was fundamental to the realization of both Gothic and Renaissance buildings, Alberti’s complex image of architecture left him with no choice but to juxtapose the element of column with the Romanesque approach to wall architecture. It is this development since Alberti that has made Renaissance architecture of interest to modern architects and theoreticians, among whom Semper should be next discussed. Any speculative answer to the nature of Semper’s business with Renaissance architecture necessitates the reiteration of his theory of the tectonic. Central to the tectonic is not the work’s truthfulness to construction or the surface expression visible in the final form of a building. Architecture is primarily a constructed space (Semper called it cor-form), the physics of which should be inspirational for an architect’s imaginative articulation of the building’s art-form.32 This much is clear from Semper’s disenchantment with Gothic architecture, and his dislike of Joseph Paxton’s literal translation of the latter’s constructive principles into iron and glass construction, exemplified in the Crystal Palace. While it is true that the tectonic concerns artistic articulation of construction, the proposition, nevertheless, should be understood primarily in reference to Semper’s theory of dressing and the essentiality of the element of wall. This can be seen also in Semper’s Der Stil, and his emphasis on the centrality of the principle of dressing through which “tectonic structures achieve monumentality.” This transformation, according to Semper, takes place “only through emancipation from structural-material realism, through a symbolic spiritualization of their functional expression”33 – an historical verdict against Gothic architecture, if one subscribes to Semper’s idea of monumentality. Semper’s theory also discloses a point of view that is centred on the element of wall and the latter’s dissolution in Gothic architecture.34 Noteworthy – and this is where Semper’s theory moves beyond formalism – is the critical role the external factor(s) played in the architecture of Hellenism: as if the idea of “external” itself was, in part, a by-product of the historical transformation within which Semper was concerned. In other words, it seems that the structural-symbolism attributed to the Greek temple was not conceivable without the distance Greek culture was able to maintain from the barbarians – Persians in particular, who

On Mies 99 were the progenitors of weaving techniques. Dialectically, it was the very contribution of the so-called barbarians in the textile industry that lends the principle of dressing to Hellenic work. For Semper, therefore, central to monumental effect is the perceptual depth implied in the masonry wall construction system. The latter does indeed offer a backdrop for formal embellishment through cladding of its constructed form. In retrospect, one can agree with Eisenman that, unlike columns, the wall “had no agreed-upon conventions, and geometry replaced classical ordination as a guiding principle in wall building.”35 While the alleged “thickness” of the wall (Damisch calls it cyclopean masonry36) was instrumental to Riegl’s conceptualization of what he called “subjective planarity,” his criticism of Gothic should be differentiated from that of Semper. The difference reveals its historical complexity when Guarino Guarini’s reflection on the Gothic is recalled. In contrast to the desire of Roman architects to show the strength and solidity of the wall, “Gothic builders wanted their churches to appear structurally weak so it should seem miraculous that they could stand up at all.” In Guarini’s words, the arches erected by Gothic builders “seem to hang in the air; completely perforated towers crowned by pointed pyramids; enormously high windows and vaults without support of walls.”37 Seemingly what both Semper and Riegl dismissed was the tectonic of the “wonderful.” To further clarify this point, attention should be given to Riegl’s remarks on the Pantheon. In his view, from the time of Egyptian art the wall was conceived as a flat surface but in tectonic rapport with the ceiling. In the Pantheon, the wall “appears as a compact form bounded by curves both in height and in depth.” In addition, he observed that the Pantheon differs from other round theatres (i.e. Greek theatres) at two points. First, the wall of the Pantheon supports the ceiling. Second, the wall creates “a lateral closure for the interior space that is unfenestrated.” To cement his observation, Riegl compared the Pantheon with the Colosseum, concluding that in the latter case “the cylindrical wall punctured by numerous openings” was decorated by attached columns mainly because the wall does not have to support any ceiling.38 Riegl went further, suggesting that, “monumental buildings of classical antiquity, however, did not include windows because these would have compromised the closed unity and clarity of the overall form.”39 Riegl’s focus on the formal potentialities of “form and surface” – to recall the chapter where he is at his best – overshadows the tectonic. He was correct in pointing out that in the Colosseum the rounded arches are not window openings but structural devices supporting the floor above. Paradoxically, any opening in the wall decreases its dead load to the point that the extrusion might reduce the double function of the wall (that is to enclose and support) to simply a structural function.40 Furthermore, Riegl wrote that since the arches are not directly resting on the top of the support, such a configuration in the period that he coined “nature improving art,” entails “the aesthetic rehabilitation of the wall surface.”41

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Figure 5.1 The Colosseum, Rome (photograph by the author)

Reading Riegl through the eyes of an era informed by Wittkower’s approach to Renaissance, and Alberti’s suggested distinction between the different ways in which the column and the pier work, prompts two observations. First, in the Colosseum, but also in the Palazzo Rucellai, the wall is already overshadowed by a skeletal grid, which is implied in the verticality of attached columns and the horizontality of its entablature. Thus, if conceived and placed as part of the skeleton of the wall, an opening might neither necessarily undermine the stability nor the haptic dimension of the wall. Still, we owe to Wittkower knowledge that in Francesco Borromini’s Collegio di Propaganda Fide (1662), one is faced with “what might be termed a skeleton structure in mature sense; for piers and ribs, one imagines, could form a coherent, stable skeleton even if the small pieces of wall between them were removed.” He continues, “this is indeed a Gothic structural system” where there was neither a place for a traditional type of dome, nor the wall.42 Second, unlike formalist approaches to architecture, Semper’s theory of the tectonic was not concerned with the rhetorical dimension of openings, and the placement of windows. What most concerned him was the

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essentiality of the element of enclosure and its tectonic articulation. Semper was neither interested in any preconceived abstract theoretical agenda nor in mapping the scope of formal developments taking place in the history of art and architecture. It is this dimension of his thought, discussed here in the next section, that spells out the singularity of Mies’s rapprochement to the column as the principal element of architecture, exemplified in his work carried out in America, most of which is charged with monumentality.43 There is yet another side to Semper’s notion of enclosure, the discussion of which will help to explain the relevance to what has been discussed so far of Mies’s work. As noted previously, for Semper the enclosure was the cosmogonic dimension of architecture. It not only housed the hearth, the fireplace, but also provided a sense of closure that will be central for understanding the negativity implied in Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s reflections on architecture when the latter was faced with “modernity-ashistory-of-Spirit.”44 Hegel’s argument was based on a history, the dialectics of which had no room for materiality and making, tropes essential for Semper’s theory of the tectonic. Contrary to the German philosopher, Semper was also less interested in the metaphysical implications when the interior space of architecture had to open itself to the outside world. Mark Jarzombek reminds us that “moving from the Symbolic Age to the Classical and then, finally, to the Romantic Age,” whose high days Hegel attributed to medieval cathedrals, architecture lost the enclosure once experienced in the cave as the progenitor of closure. Even though the cathedral’s soaring walls provided the space for a “conceptual alignment with the building’s interior,” the need to relate the latter to the exterior (the res publica) initiated a downward move, during the process of which architecture had to give up that which became, when it was not yet completely separated from sculpture, a symbolic work for Hegel. After the Greeks – Jarzombek reminds his readers – and “starting with the Roman basilica, the root relationship between enclosure, interiority, and purification defines the principle narrative of architecture’s development until it ends, finally, in the complex forms of the medieval cathedrals.”45 These remarks are important because they underline the nihilism of modernity, though expressed from Hegel’s viewpoint. They are also important because they challenge any easy, smooth discussion of the autonomy of architecture understood in terms of true “free-standing existence.”46 By opening its interiority to the modern conditions, architecture escapes the philosophically mandated notion of enclosure, and moves for a state of crisis that relates architecture to the project of modernity. In other words, beyond pragmatic considerations the idea of opening allows architecture to enter into the ongoing processes of modernity’s will to devalue all values including those produced to overcome its own internal contradictions. These observations are made here to say the obvious; that for Semper the beginning of architecture had little to do with the cave or the wooden hut. In Semper’s theory, architecture is discussed in its simultaneous rapport

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with the development and transformation of motifs produced in four industries, textile, ceramic, carpentry and masonry. Equally important is the fact that, in the theory of the tectonic, architecture is squarely positioned with its disciplinary history and the latter’s reformulation according to the developments taking place in the realm of technique. Without further elaborating on these issues, attention should be given to the notion of enclosure and to the need for the emergence of the element of opening as architecture’s interior makes an effort to reach the exterior, the urban, and this in relation to the notion of window opening, and the idea of façade implemented in Le Corbusier’s five points. To understand the relevance of these remarks to Mies, the discussion should once more turn to the Pantheon. As noted earlier in this essay, that building’s enclosure was exemplary of the kind of haptic experience that concerned Riegl. In the absence of any window opening inside the building – except for that of the oculus – the spectator can only look at the walls without being able to look through them and thus make a connection between interior and exterior spaces. And yet, otherwise a perfect enclosure, the Pantheon’s cylindrical volume opens itself to the exterior through a classical temple façade attached to its mass. Regardless of its representational connotation, the attached and privileged entry façade will be problematized by Le Corbusier’s idea of free-façade. It will then be radically transformed in Mies’s steel and glass architecture to the point that in his American period the work does not allow any rapport, symbolic or social, to take place between tropes such as the façade, the window opening, and the inside/ outside dialogue.

Mies contra Semper It is obvious that Mies’s early experimental work and its culmination in the Barcelona Pavilion (1929) were centred on the tectonic of the column and wall and their relation to the roof. What has not been adequately addressed in the available literature on his work is the criticality of Semper’s idea of dressing and its essentiality for the tectonic of steel and glass architecture. Of interest here is Mies’s different approach to the relationship between plan and elevation. Consider the Brick Country House (1923) where a unique interplay between the roof and the placement of both window and door openings seemingly freeze the spatial horizon of the design’s openplan configuration. His is different not only from Le Corbusier’s idea of plan libre, but also from Frank Lloyd Wright’s interest in creating dynamic interior spaces of the kind one can experience in the Robie House (1909). The internal space of the Brick Country House is seemingly saturated, the force of which can be seen in the extension of its walls beyond any functional and structural constraints. Mies’s design also suspends a oneto-one correspondence between the plan and elevation. Furthermore, the building’s window openings literally disrupt the continuity of the enclosure.

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Robin Evans suggested: “the drawn elevations give no idea of what it [the Pavilion] is like.”47 The caesura also at work in the Brick Country House does indeed over-determine the planimetric organization of the design. Using supporting walls, according to Wolf Tegethoff, Mies achieved “a greater openness even than Le Corbusier with his ferroconcrete skeleton constructions.”48 Accordingly we can propose that even in his early work Mies’s architecture is imbued with a sense of monumentality if seen in the purview of the tectonic implications of Semper’s discourse on dressing and its analogy to fabric. Semper saw monumental architecture extending beyond mere ornamentation of a building, or a language rooted in iconographic representation. He wrote that: We should not forget the metal ornaments, gilding, tapestry-like draperies, baldachins, curtains, and movable implements. From the beginning the monuments were designed with all these things in mind, even for the surroundings – the crowds of people, priests, and the processions. The monuments were the scaffolding intended to bring together these elements on a common stage. The brilliance that fills the imagination when trying to visualize those times makes the imitations that people have since fancied and imposed on us seem pale and stiff.49 In classical architecture, monumental effect was achieved in part by the translation of motifs from transitory scaffoldings, and structures used in public ceremonies into a masonry stone construction system. Obviously the Brick Country House was not conceived strictly in the Semperian terms suggested in the quotation above. Mies’s use of the brick wall, however, makes the project of particular interest. Its configuration is theatrical, the excess of which can be associated with Semper’s notion of monumentality. Using the wall as such allowed Mies to experiment with the idea of room beyond the functional and linguistic conventions permeating the domestic space, and the masonry construction system respectively. It is indeed the design’s negation of its assigned function that is interesting here, the house as such, and the tectonic of theatricality evident in the freeextension of walls and their virtual infusion with the landscape. Mies’s tectonic configuration promulgates the idea of “weak” monument as architecture confronts the project of modernity. Following Gianni Vattimo, I have written elsewhere that if submitted to the process of secularization the symbolic attribute of monumentality would be emptied, thus negating the possibility of turning a monument into an ornament.50 In this light, one might speculate on a reversal in the excess at work in the walls of Brick Country House to Alberti’s consideration of the column as ornament. What makes Mies different from his contemporaries, though, is his capacity to “translate” the nihilism of modernity into an architectonic language. One is reminded of the debate between Auguste Perret and Le Corbusier on the nature of the vertical and horizontal window. Each side of the debate sought

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to address the ways in which the body is positioned against the opening, and the particularity of one’s perception of the landscape beyond. For Auguste Perret, the vertical window provides a frame through which the eye secures a privileged position as it is assumed in prospective projection. The horizontal window, instead, undermines the perspectival depth in favour of a middle-ground plane placed in distance.51 Of interest here is the paradox that the window introduced into modern architecture. Once open and accessible from outside, the window acts as a barrier. However, in the light of earlier discussion concerning Le Corbusier’s shift from a matter-of-fact to a painterly approach, it is possible to see the debate between Le Corbusier and Perret differently. Instead of solidifying the horizontal window in terms of a modern solution, Stanislaus von Moos’s examination of the subject seems more convincing. In his opinion, the panoramic view permeating Le Corbusier’s unpublished sketchbook (1916–22) was later transformed into a technique of display. As noted above, Le Corbusier famously claimed that “the architect is always also a view painter and the city planner is always a set designer.”52 If so, the urban work Mies produced in collaboration with Ludwig Hilberseimer, but also his design for the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, suggests that the main design motivation was always tested in the bedrock of a radical interpretation of the nihilism of modernity. The same is true for his domestic architecture. Instead of maintaining a painterly or phenomenological position, Mies’s approach to such tropes as the window opening aimed rather to radicalize the tectonic potentialities offered by modern techniques. This much is clear from his domestic glass architecture where an awareness of the fact that any opening pierced into the wall necessarily demands protection against the otherness of the outdoor. In the Farnsworth House (1950), the interior curtain is suggestive of a domestic surrogate for the vanished wall. The ontologically derived fabric enclosure and the historically informed discourse of column and wall also predominate in the design of the Barcelona Pavilion. To paraphrase this author’s observation made elsewhere,53 the exhaustion of the interplay between column and wall eventually led Mies to think of a kind of architecture, exemplified by the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, where the total dissolution of the element of wall is crystallized in a spatial void. Wrapped in various layers of sheer glass and curtain, the body rambling in the Neue Nationalgalerie experiences the silence whispering the absence of any representational intention endemic to modernity. The above detour is intended to clarify the significance of the Barcelona Pavilion for the theoretical objectives of this chapter. Of particular interest is the placement of “opening,” and the role that “curtain” plays in charging the space with a sense of interiority whose haptic dimension, ironically, is undermined by the very absence of door and window openings in the first place. In a closer inspection of the Pavilion’s plan, one might speculate that the arrangement of a series of curtain-like partitions informs the spatial organization of the design. Of these organizational elements the south wall

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Figure 5.2 Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1956 (photograph by the author)

(which supports its own weight alone), the framed-glass (to be later termed “curtain wall” by the American building industry), and the stone partitions constitute the two most important. To these two sets of elements, a third should be added. When extended, the above-mentioned curtain-fabric covers the glass partition on the west side. The fact that the curtain can be extended only to the tip of the adjacent stone partition is central to the phenomenal sense of an interior space otherwise wide open in all directions. Visiting the Pavilion for the first time, “naive” visitors had this to say of their experience: that “a person standing in front of one of these glass walls sees himself reflected as if in a mirror, but if he moves behind them, he then sees the exterior perfectly.”54 As we will see shortly, the same visual interplay between inside/outside can be attributed to the Neue Nationalgalerie

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in Berlin. Central to the characteristics of the suggested interiority is the building’s monumental effect sustained by the polished marble screens, the chrome clad columns, and the curtain itself. The latter evokes the essentiality of textile for the origin of architecture, discussed by Semper. In Mies’s hand, however, the curtain does more. Juxtaposing fabric with the culture of stone and polychromy, Mies achieved what Semper meant by monumental effect. The latter does not connote grandiose volumes, nor an aesthetic sensibility directly linked to the masonry construction system. The reason Semper did not see iron as a suitable material for monumental effect resulted from the belief that in the past “technology played its formative role at a more advanced stage of artistic development.”55 Considering the gap separating the work of engineering and that of the architects of the late-nineteenth century, Semper’s remarks on technology and architecture are ingenious. Among other things, they say something about modernism’s obsession with technology. Whilst the appropriation of technology by the advocates of the International Style architecture of the 1930s was motivated by the aesthetics of the machine, the significance of Mies’s later work has to do with the fact that it was sought in tandem with his early experimentation with new materials and techniques. While Semper did not deny that one day the frame-construction system might achieve monumental effects of its own materiality, during the years in which he wrote Der Stil the German architect had no choice but to rely on the traditional techniques of material embellishment with their specific aesthetic connotation. The main goal of monumental effect was to “animate” the dead material – a tradition well-established from the Renaissance onwards, but also at work in Mies’s demands to paint and repaint the exposed columns of the Neue Nationalgalerie to achieve a sense of monumentality suitable to the materiality of the building’s composed steel columns.

Coda In the light of what has been said so far, two points should be established. First, Semper’s fascination with Renaissance architecture was not centred exclusively on the element of wall. He was rather interested in the extraction of artistic form out of masonry construction, an aspect of the Renaissance architects’ achievement that can be associated with what Riegl called “subjective planarity,” as noted at the beginning of this essay. Secondly, the monumental effect permeating Mies’s later work should not be appropriated in terms of what Semper said in the mid-nineteenth century. Rather it should be emulated in the purview of a series of aesthetic theories without which the very notion of modern architecture would not be critically comprehensible. One is reminded of the architectonic implications of the notion of space, and the newly founded perceptual and psychological aesthetics advanced by many artists and thinkers. Though their discourses remained partially indebted to Semper – at least in the context of Germanic theories56 – they

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were, nevertheless, brewed in a situation that was less affected by the archaeological and mechanistic interpretation of the phenomenal world that would become available during the early decades of modernism. These aesthetic theories had further connotations for architecture. For example, they suggested shifting the idea of “style” away from the surface appearance of a building. Against the historicist obsession with surface, the focus turned to the spatial experience of the building, though wrapped by abstract surfaces. Second, the same discursive formations necessitated a degree of spatial and formal articulation that was sought in reference to the available industrial techniques and materials. While the International architecture of the 1932 aimed to present a universal response to the call for the formation of the modern language of architecture, it is not far-fetched to suggest that Mies’s work in America was a response to Heinrich Hübsch’s 1828 inquiry, “In What Style Should We Build?”57 The two moments in the style-history of contemporary architecture suggested here are significant because they mark, among other things, two different methods for the appropriation of the steel-frame construction system, each with different techno-aesthetic resolutions. Much has been said about the Dom-ino and its difference from the Chicago frame system.58 Without further discussion of this subject here, it is useful to notice that the tectonic invested in the American period of Mies’s architecture was sought in a situation where mechanistic and functionalist theories did not exert a strong enough hold. Recent theorization of post-war American architecture suggests that by the late 1950s, cybernetic theories developed in America had already suspended hierarchical relations in favour of an open system – even though it was programmed for particular and expected endgames.59 There is another dimension to Mies’s tectonic of steel frame construction system. Fundamental to Mies’s perception of the openplan is the architect’s “insistence on positioning the furniture, and thus fixing bodies in conversation or contemplation with each other.” Barry Bergdoll writes: “fabric, nature, and reflections also provide changing boundaries in a space that is alive to the rhythms of the body and of nature.”60 Furthermore, one can argue that Mies’s idea of “almost nothing” aimed to recode the notion of “skeleton,” central to Alberti’s idea of phenomenon-building, thus perpetuating the end of rhetoric in modern architecture noted by Joseph Rykwert.61 To underline the merit of this claim, the discussion should turn to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. What makes this building unique is Mies’s radical re-interpretation of those ideas central to Riegl and Semper discussed in the first part of this chapter. Of interest is the placement of the skin enclosure and the column, a configuration that recalls both Adolf Loos’s and Semper’s conviction that the placement of support element(s) is but the architect’s second task. The first task of the architect, Semper said, is to design a proper enclosure for the hearth, the artistically imagined space of construction. Accordingly, one might suggest that, in the Neue Nationalgalerie, the tectonic of frame and

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membrane aims to achieve two things. First, it recoded the idea of the wall, the column, and the entablature – constructive elements that Riegl considered central to the realization of the Greek temple. And yet, projecting the roof as the fundamental element of the tectonic of monumentality, Mies choose to remove the column from the corner, and this in analogy to the position of corner column of a Greek temple to its cellar. To stress the corner fully, Mies had to take the next step and separate enclosure from columnation.62 The tectonic articulation (the frame-work) of the Neue Nationalgalerie and its relation to the administration area for the most part placed below the main exhibition area (the earthwork) recodes the nineteenth-century discourse on ornament. It is not so much the ornament’s relation to the structure, added or evolved during the processes of construction, but rather the way that matters of a programmatic nature attain tectonic language. Still, the tectonics involved in the way the plinth organizes the building’s relation to its site, writes Pier Vittorio Aureli, “affects not only one’s experience of what is placed on the plinth, but also and specially one’s experience of the city that is outside the plinth.”63 Second, thickened by the fabric of curtain hung from the inside, the windowless curtain-wall of the Neue Nationalgalerie attains a unique sense of a haptic dimension. Related to this experience is the exposed egg-crate structure of the ceiling (roof?) that is divided into sixteen square

Figure 5.3 Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1956 (photograph by the author)

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modules in both directions. “With this interpretation of the suprematist space filed as a space frame structure carried on cruciform supports,” Kenneth Frampton observes, Mies not only “returns to neoclassical resonance,”64 but also the image of a woven structure permeating the interior spaces of both Gothic and baroque architecture. The aforementioned curtain-wall also assists one’s rapport with the work on display without unifying the medium of the art with that of architecture. Admitting the difficulties some curators had in displaying art work in the Neue Nationalgalerie, Detlef Mertins has observed that “the palpable discomfort of many of the installations in the NNG suggests that its architecture is not, after all, the same as Price’s more accommodating Erector Set or, for that matter, the neutral white box that has become paradigmatic of galleries for contemporary art.” He continues: while “open to change and new ways of doing things, it is not neutral after all.”65 In Mies’s building the phenomenal experience of art is inflated by images of Berlin’s urban landscape reflected on the gallery’s glass membrane. This involves the use of technique, establishing a spatial ambience where “man asserts himself in objective nature and relates it to himself.”66 Here the word nature should be contextualized in opposition to both the work of art and the second nature, the metropolis of Berlin. It follows that, in modernity, the appropriation of the work of art necessitates an ambience, similar to the cimaba of the Greek temple, which is simultaneously enclosed and yet conceived as part of the larger experience of the phenomenal world, the agora. This much is clear from the Neue Nationalgalerie where the building’s double enclosure, glass from outside and curtain from inside, undermines the traditional boundary separating the inside from outside spaces. It also suggests rethinking “opening” in the reflective quality of glass by which architecture is armed with the potentiality to offer “a continual oscillation between walls dissolved and walls enriched by framed views of nature and landscape,” to again recall Begdoll.67 Now what should one make of the importance of Semper for Mies? In the first place, the 1980s reductive discharge of “less is more” and some critics’ interpretation of Mies’s later work as a symptom of a return to classicism or minimalism did indeed miss Mies’s fundamental contribution to contemporary architecture. In his collected essays The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays, Rowe discusses Mies’s latest work in terms of “neo-classicism.” As mentioned above, Vidler has aptly demonstrated the formalistic implications of Wittkower’s discourse on Rowe’s mature writings. On the other hand, a straitjacketed phenomenological approach to architecture does not go far enough. It stops short of associating the body and architecture beyond absolute terms, dismissing the need to assess the phenomenon in the multiplicity of horizons induced by the very advent of the nihilism of modernity. Second, if the concept of construction should be considered integral to the fabric of the conditions of life, the nihilism implied in Mies’s work aims to open the tectonic frame into the landscape

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Figure 5.4 Renzo Piano Building Workshop, The Whitney Museum, New York, 2015 (photograph by the author)

of modernity. What inflates such a radical concept of construction is Mies’s inclination for a corporeal architecture where the building’s shell is not informed by conventional distinction between the elements of wall and window opening. To achieve monumental effect, Mies had to abandon, in the first place, the metaphysics implied in the duality between window opening and the wall. In his work the window is the wall itself, and the filling does not reinforce the frame.68 The latter, as Semper suggested, seems to be completely rigid in itself, whereas the filling is recessed both actually and apparently.69 Mies’s tectonics initiated an idea of dressing that weakens the essentiality of the concept of frontality, the seat of the metaphysics of the masonry wall construction system. His work has opened up a fresh prospect for contemporary architects to consider the element of enclosure in a tectonic rapport with the roof, evidenced in the work of architects as diverse as Rem Koolhass, Kazuyo Sejima and Renzo Piano.70 Yet the work of these architects differs from that of Mies in large measure. Framing architecture’s opening, Mies’s inclination for “almost nothing” lends the space for event. The work of most contemporary radical architects, instead, is eventful for its internalization of the spectacle that permeates event. After Mies, the opening should be re-opened and framed again.71

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Notes 1 See Gevork Hartoonian, “Mies van der Rohe: The Genealogy of Column and Wall,” Journal of Architectural Education 42/2 (Winter 1989): 43–50. For an expanded version of the essay see my Ontology of Construction: On Nihilism of Technology in Theories of Modern Architecture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 2 This is Mark Jarzombek reflecting on Hegel’s notion of enclosure as manifested in the architecture of medieval cathedrals: Mark Jarzombek, “The Cunning of Architecture’s Reason,” Footprint (Autumn 2007): 31–46, esp. 33. 3 Hubert Damisch, Noah’s Ark: Essays on Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2016). 4 The polemical nature of this paragraph is in response to two compelling reviews this author received along with a letter from the editors of Fabrications dated April 2, 2008. 5 For Colin Rowe, see The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1976). His essay was originally published in Architectural Review in 1947. See also Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, Studies of the Warburg Institute 19 (London: Warburg Institute, 1949). 6 Alexander Nagel and Christopher S. Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (New York: Zone Books, 2010), 11. 7 For most recent returns to Palladio, see Peter Eisenman, Palladio Virtuel (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016). Recalling Walter Benjamin, Eisenman claims that his book “attempts to do awaken a historical period that shares certain conditions with the present.” Eisenman, 2016, 9. 8 Anthony Vidler, Histories of the Immediate Present (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008), 66–67. 9 Anthony Vidler, “Colin Rowe,” in Cynthia Davidson (ed.) Eisenman/Krier: Two Ideologies, (New York: Monacelli Press, 2004), 53–64. 10 Vidler, Histories of the Immediate Present (2008), 71. 11 Kurt W. Forster, “Antiquity and Modernity in the La Roche-Jeanneret Houses of 1923,” Oppositions 15–16 (1979): 132. Also Daniel Sherer, “Le Corbusier’s Discovery of Palladio in 1922 and the Modernist Tradition of the Classical Code,” Perspecta 35 (2004): 20–39. For a detailed account of Le Corbusier’s trip to Venice, see Stanislaus von Moos, Album La Roche (New York: Monacelli Press, 1997). 12 von Moos, Album La Roche (1997), 55. 13 Sherer, “Le Cordusier’s Discovery of Palladio” (2004): 32. 14 For Kurt W. Forster, the curvilinear surfaces and plastic volumes of the La Roche house demonstrate a dialectical relationship between volume and space. Forster, “Antiquity and Modernity” (1979): 137. 15 Alois Riegl, Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts, Jacqueline E. Jung (trans). (New York: Zone Books, 2004), 232. 16 Riegl, Historical Grammar (2004), 170. 17 K. Michael Hays, Modernism and the Posthumanist Subject: The Architecture of Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Hilberseimer (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1992), 194. 18 On this subject see Gevork Hartoonian, “The Fabric of Fabrication,” Textile: Journal of Cloth & Culture 4/3 (Fall 2006): 270–91. 19 Most recently George Dodds has made a controversial observation concerning the authenticity of the “red curtain” of the Barcelona Pavilion, reconstructed in 1986. See Dodds, Building Desire (London: Routledge, 2005), 110–25. For a

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37 38 39 40

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On Mies review of his book see Gevork Hartoonian, Architectural Theory Review 10/2 (2005): 109–11. On Gottfried Semper’s contribution to the nineteenth-century debate on style, see Chapter 3, this volume. Margaret Iversen, Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993), 8. Harry F. Mallgrave, “Epilogue,” in Gottfried Semper: Architect of the Nineteenth Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), 380. Riegl, Historical Grammar (2004), 232. For Gottfried Semper’s remarks on Gothic, see Wolfgang Hermann, Gottfried Semper in Search of Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1989), 124– 38. Riegl, Historical Grammar (2004), 275. Hubert Damisch, “The Space Between: A Structuralist Approach to the Dictionary,” Architectural Design Profile 3–4 (1980): 84–90. Excerpts of both texts are available in Harry F. Mallgrave, ed., Architectural Theory, vol. 1, “An Anthology from Vitruvius to 1870” (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 378–80, 419–21. Joseph Rykwert, “Inheritance or Tradition,” in Joseph Rykwert (ed). Architectural Design special issue “Leon Battista Alberti,” 49/5–6 (1979): 4. Hubert Damisch, “The Column and the Wall,” in Joseph Rykwert (ed). Architectural Design special issue “Leon Battista Alberti,” 49/5–6 (1979): 18. Peter Eisenman, “Digital Scrambler, From Index to Codex,” Perspecta 35 (2004): 43. Wittkower, Architectural Principles (1949), 41. For this author’s interpretation of the tectonic see Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (1994). Gottfried Semper, Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts; or, Practical Aesthetics, Harry F. Mallgrave & Michael Robinson (trans.) (Santa Monica, CA: Getty Publications, 2005), 760. Semper, Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts (2005), 151. Eisenman, “Digital Scrambler,” (2004), 43. According to Hubert Damisch, the wall in Alberti’s architecture was designated by/as many “layers”: the vertical three-part composition, the base (podium), the middle zone (procinctus), and the copin (corona). In addition to the surface appearance, the wall included a masonry body that would support the load of the roof. See Damisch, “The Column and the Wall,” (1979): 21. Rudolf Wittkower, Gothic Versus Classic: Architectural Projects in SeventeenthCentury Italy (New York: George Braziller, 1974), 93. Riegl, Historical Grammar (2004), 233–4. Riegl, Historical Grammar (2004), 236. Related, but also more interesting, are the structural experimentations conducted by Robert Le Ricolas at the University of Pennsylvania. In most cases, the steel structures were strengthened by extrusion of material out of the structure. Both having taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Le Ricolas and Louis I. Kahn were familiar with each other’s works, and it might be the case that both shared and entertained the structural/spatial implication of what Kahn called “hollow columns”. Riegl, Historical Grammar (2004), 237. Wittkower, Gothic Versus Classic (1974), 91. On this subject, see Gevork Hartoonian, “Louis I. Kahn @ 40s, Architecture in the 1950s,” Architectural Theory Review 13/1 (2008): 3–28. Here I am benefiting from Jarzombek, “The Cunning of Architecture’s Reason” (2007), 36.

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45 Jarzombek, “The Cunning of Architecture’s Reason” (2007), 33. 46 Quoted in Jarzombek, “The Cunning of Architecture’s Reason” (2007), 33. 47 Robin Evans, “Mies van der Rohe’s Paradoxical Symmetries,” AA Files 19 (Spring 1990): 62. 48 Wolf Tegethoff, Mies van der Rohe: The Villas and Country Houses (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1985), 16. 49 Gottfried Semper, quoted in Mallgrave, Gottfried Semper (2005), 59. 50 On this subject see Gevork Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (1994), 88. 51 Bruno Riechlin, “The Pros and Cons of the Horizontal Window: The Perret–Le Corbusier Controversy,” Daidalos 13 (1984), 65–78. 52 von Moos, Album La Roche (1979), 76. 53 See the chapter on Mies van der Rohe in Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (1994), 68–80. And the following brilliant essay which I came across lately: Fritz Neumeyer, “Column, Sculpture, Wall,” Domus 1009 (Jan 2017), 16–21. 54 From the review of an unnamed local journalist from Barcelona. For the original source of the quotation see Beatriz Colomina, “Media as Modern Architecture,” in Anthony Vidler (ed.), Architecture Between Spectacle and Use, (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2008), 63. 55 Mallgrave, Gottfried Semper (1996), 377. Here Mallgrave is paraphrasing Riegl’s observation in History of Textile Art, written in 1888. 56 I am benefiting from Mallgrave’s assessment of the state of architectural theory in mid-nineteenth century Europe. See Harry F. Mallgrave, Modern Architectural Theory: A Historical Survey, 1673–1968 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), especially the chapter entitled “The Rise of German Theory.” 57 See Heinrich Hübsch, Rudolf Wiegmann, Carl Albert Rosenthal, et al., In What Style Should We Build? The German Debate on Architectural Style, Wolfgang Hermann (trans.) (Santa Monica, CA: The Getty Center for the History of Art and Humanities, 1992). 58 See Rowe, “Chicago Frame,” in The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa (1976), 89–118. Also important is Peter Eisenman’s observation in “Aspects of Modernism: Maison Domino and the Self-Referential Sign,” Oppositions 15–16 (Winter-Spring 1979), 119–29. Also, see my “Architecture and the Question of Technology: Two Positions and the Other,” in Ontology of Construction, 1994, 29–42, and Chapter 8 in this volume. 59 For a fresh reading of the American architecture of the late 1960s see Felicity D. Scott, Architecture or Techno-utopia (Cambridge, CA: The MIT Press, 2007). For the implications of the suggested transformation at an international level, see Stanley Matheus, From Agit-Prop to Free Space: The Architecture of Cedric Price (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007). 60 Barry Bergdoll, “The Nature of Mies’s Space,” in Terence Riley and Barry Bergdoll, (eds), Mies in Berlin, (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2001), 96. 61 JRykwert, Architectural Design 49. 62 Livio Vacchini interviewed in Casabella 724 (2004): 103–5. 63 Pier Vittorio Aureli, The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2011), 37. 64 Kenneth Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 197. 65 Detlef Mertins, “Mies’s Event Space,” Grey Room, 20 (Summer 2005): 72. 66 Mies van der Rohe, “The Precondition of Architectural Work” (1928), in Fritz Neumeyer, Artless Word (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991), 298–303. 67 Barry Bergdoll, Mies in Berlin (2001), 96. 68 Arthur Korn cited in Werner Oechslin, “Not from an aestheticizing ...,” in Phyllis Lambert (ed.),Mies in America, (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2001), 31.

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69 I am paraphrasing Semper from Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts (2005), 628. 70 On this subject see the last chapter of Gevork Hartoonian, Crisis of the Object: The Architecture of Theatricality (London: Routledge, 2006). 71 These lines were inspired by Mark Wigley’s essay “Toward a History of Quantity,” in A. Vidler (ed.), Architecture Between Spectacle and Use, 2008. 155–63.

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On autonomy

Licence to discipline To work towards a historical understanding of the rapport between disciplinarity and autonomy, the first part of this chapter will address the developmental process of courtyard typology, the genesis of which can be traced in vernacular built-form. Even though it was used in the early Roman houses, the transplantation of the courtyard building type into the urban context of Renaissance cities called for modifications that had both tectonic and aesthetic implications. Also noteworthy is the time needed for rethinking and remaking, as one architect’s work became a model for the next one, as the departure point from which to continue and ultimately complete the processes involved in a particular typological modification. It is important to note that the focus of these historical transformations was not the plan but the façade, where tectonic configuration attains aesthetic dimension. Consider, for example, the meeting line between the two adjacent façades of the courtyards of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence (1444–1460) and Palazzo della Cancelleria, Rome (1486–1896). Using Brunelleschi’s façade composition in Innocenti, Michelozzo’s handling of the courtyard of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi left a major design problem unnoticed. Noteworthy is the way that the two adjacent façades of the courtyard sit over the portico’s column. Also important is the narrow spacing between the two corner windows of the second tier. In addition, the design discloses an awkward connection between the two adjacent arches of the courtyard, particularly the way they rest on the capital of the lower column. Two interventions improved the courtyard composition as evident in the Palazzo della Cancelleria. First, in this building the corner line of the courtyard is not perceived as a transformational edge where architectonic elements are moved from one surface to another; it is rather designed as a seam connecting two identical façades. Second, the two corner arches of the courtyard are held by two “L”-shaped piers, the width of which is equal to the width of each arch. A move from columnar support to that which combines piers and buttresses recalls tectonic configuration that, interestingly enough, is rooted in Gothic architecture.

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Figure 6.1 Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 1444–1460, courtyard view (image downloaded from Wiki Commons, public domain)

Further improvements were introduced in the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino, designed by Luciano Laurana (1466–1472). Here the meeting line of the two adjacent façades of the courtyard demonstrates a number of design resolutions. First, similar to the Palazzo della Cancelleria, the corner support element is composed of two “L”-shaped piers with a half-column attached to the narrow side of each. This configuration, according to Peter Murray, “is visually more satisfactory than Michelozzo’s single column, and it also looks back to the entablature carried on pilasters which Brunelleschi introduced over the arcade of Innocenti.”1 The composed columns of the portico also confirm that, the advanced design of the courtyard’s façades was conceived of as four separate but identical compositions. This is not a farfetched observation. It was a common practice during the Renaissance to simulate the classical temple front for the design of the main façade of a pre-Renaissance church building. The possibility of perceiving the façade

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independent of what is behind it was a huge achievement in architectural history, aspects of which can be traced in the modern architecture’s tendency toward the free-façade. Second, attaching a pilaster to the front face of each “L”-shaped pier, the space between the two adjacent arches of the portico is expanded. Here, the overall composition attains rhetorical tone, a topical theme for the humanist discourse on architecture. This much is clear from the pilasters applied to the vertical columns in the upper level elevation of the Palazzo Ducale, where their powerful presence cannot be dismissed. The composition recalls Leon Battista Alberti’s Palazzo Rucellai, and the architect’s claim in De re aedificatoria that the column is one element, along with “the proper arrangement of structure, the choice of materials, its surface treatment,” that deserves the name ornament.2 The analysis of courtyard typology presented here alludes to the process involved in the consolidation of the humanist discourse on the architectural discipline implied in the word disegno, coined by Vasari. In the Renaissance, the idea of design designated drawings that would present nothing short of a “visible expression and declaration of the concept one has in the mind and which others have formed in their mind and built in the idea.” Aside from its obvious Platonic tone, Vasari’s statement defines the scope of artistic progress judged in terms of the work’s quality in imitating nature, and its “capacity to form beautiful elements for the work of art in the mind, and then to execute them.”3 Two indexes can be extrapolated from Vasari’s reflections on style, and move the presented discussion to contemporary practice of disciplinarity. The first concerns the objective and subjective

Figure 6.2 Palazzo Ducale, Urbino, 1466–1472, courtyard view (image downloaded from Wiki Commons, public domain)

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aspects of the culture of building. The latter encompasses the body of work, in the form of both written treatises, and built and unbuilt projects, the totality of which designated the knowledge required for an architect to have licence to design. The second index introduces a different set of limitations. But before discussing this issue, I want to reflect briefly on the historicity of the notion of licence. Licentia refers to the architect’s anxieties in handling architectural conventions correctly. How should a particular design progress within the given conventions, while leaving room for individual expression? The question is a valid one to ask even today, after the historical avantgarde’s attempt to undermine the institutions of art. The dialectics between disciplinary limits and freedom of expression, however, played a critical role during the Renaissance when ornamentation was considered to be the most topical theme. Whilst concealing construction defects, ornament was also seen “essential to the making or experience of any building, since without the ornament he [Alberti] speaks of, no building might be used, inhabited, or even seen.”4 The operational scope of licentia, however, concerned both the visual and textual elements discussed in architectural theories. According to Alina Payne: Reflection on formal experimentation and the perplexity caused by the process of appropriation merged and called for a linguistic space where forms contrived by man as the principal artifice of architecture could be discussed, thought about, brought into a consistent and hence comprehensible set of relationships discursively, in and through language.5 Thus, both the textual and visual aspects of design were considered central to any building for securing a place in the disciplinary history of architecture. Licentia was indeed a strategy to cement the institutional power of the classical theory of imitation. One is also reminded of the modifications imposed on architecture through technical innovations, and/or typological transformations. At one level, attention should be given to the role representational techniques played in the formation of Renaissance theories of architecture. The choice of technique was not a neutral decision. There was a level of abstraction involved in the architects’ inclination toward linear perspective. Its use, according to Caroline van Eck: affected what could be included in architectural theory and the way in which it was treated, and in its turn the decision to use it reflects views – that often remained otherwise unstated – on the nature of architecture, its design and the task of the architect.6 At another level, each of the palazzi discussed earlier was designed with an eye to various typological interpretations. Most Renaissance architects were

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indeed of the opinion that “the palace of business gets to be separated from the palace of residence, or at least, if business quarters are removed from street access and located inside the palace or its courtyard.”7 Renaissance architects were also interested in searching for different languages that were associable with the locality of different palaces. Palazzo della Cancelleria represents the finest of early Renaissance palaces in Rome, whereas the Palazzo Medici Riccardi is typically considered as a Florentine Renaissance. The subject of the historicity of architecture, however, was so important for Vasari that his system of judgement became the prison hood for what licence meant to him. In retrospect, it seems more useful to examine “the way in which the ‘production of meaning’ was conceptualized” within the limits set by “notions of transgression and licence.”8 Developed within the disciplinary history of architecture, licentia had no choice but to be modified according to techniques and ideas developed in other production activities as architecture entered modern times.

Licence for autonomy The concept of autonomy will be discussed to demonstrate that the very internality of text, drawing and program paradoxically foreshadows the many facets of architecture’s relation to its context. Second, contemporary theorization of architectural practice demands readdressing the historian’s definition of the scope of the architectural discipline. This last point is important when attention is given to the contemporary neo-avant-garde architects’ advocacy for autonomous and self-referential architecture. Bernard Tschumi, for one, has argued that the 1970s drive for autonomy was launched in opposition to those who would propagate architecture as a means of representing cultural and regional identities. Both formalism and regionalism, according to him, dismiss “the multiplicity of heterogeneous discourses, the constant interaction between movement, sensual experience, and conceptual acrobatics that refute the parallel with the visual arts.”9 Tschumi’s statement speaks for architecture’s tendency to internalize ideas and concepts that are extraneous to the discipline. Contemporary architectural practice also demands asking the following two questions: first, should a distinction be made between an architect’s rapport with theory and the historian’s theorization of history? Second, could architects share the theoretical distance, necessary for the advancement of critical historiography as evident in the work of Kenneth Frampton and Manfredo Tafuri, to mention the two most quoted? There is no room in this chapter to respond to these questions in full. However, and with regard to the objectives of the argument presented thus far, it is important to highlight the usefulness of the notion of disciplinarity for a semi-autonomous architectural discourse that is centred on the theory of tectonics. Concerning the historicity of the concept of autonomy, mention should be made of Immanuel Kant’s formalization of the project of Enlightenment,

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and his reflection on aesthetic theory. The fact that at around the end of the eighteenth century it was possible, for the first time, to gain autonomy from the objective world (overshadowed by metaphysics) was consequential for any reiteration of values pertaining to morality, ethics and aesthetics. According to Andrew Bowie, “aesthetic theory from Kant onwards faces the problem of finding a whole into which the particular can fit in a meaningful way, once theoretical certainties have been abandoned.”10 The architectonic implications of Kant’s discourse on autonomy can be reformulated in the following: that eighteenth-century architecture enjoyed a momentary independence from the classical wisdom, an independence which soon it had to give way to the imperatives imposed by the production and consumption cycles of the emerging capitalism.11 This departure nevertheless embodied the great many contradictions that modern architecture had to face in the course of its historical development. The negativity implied in the above representation of a historical unfolding will be taken by later thinkers to demonstrate the fact that in modernity architecture has a limited space to manoeuvre. Here is what Mark Jarzombek has to say on this subject: for Hegel, modernity-as-history-of-Spirit becomes ever more metaphysically apparent, leaving architecture to become ever more entangled in the web of philosophy’s cunning. For Heidegger, modernity-as-history is nothing more than background noise with architecture just another element in the inevitable downward slide.12 Architecture’s rupture from its own history, and its consequent entanglement with modernity, however, were instrumental for the profusion of architectural operations and formulations of utopian theories, the anguish of which is better understood when seen in the light of the culture of building – that is, the artisanal dimensions of building, and tropes which are “internal” to the historicity of architecture. This unfolding was definitely a different take, and perhaps the most “reasonable” one compared with Hegel’s dismissal of the craft aspect of architecture, or Heidegger’s hope of tying making with being. The suggested rupture also allowed the introduction of criticism into historiography, a project which, according to Tarfuri, tells “something new about architecture’s ‘tragic destiny’ – its ill-fated, at times heroic, attempt to acquire autonomy in the complex (often irrational) web of social reality.”13 In addition, the aesthetic inclination toward the picturesque and sublime had something to do with the eighteenth century’s departure from the classical wisdom, and therefore, the possibility of contemplating nature as an entity with values internal to its own cycle of birth and decay. Kant, for one, sought “a basis for artistic understanding within a mental realm which imparts unified artistic understanding to the perception of appearances and change in nature.”14 Furthermore, the sublime, formulated by Edmund Burke was sought in the first place,15 to theorize the aesthetic expression of anxieties

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generated by the same historical rupture that, in the second instant, had to be domesticated in the design of gardens,16 and/or to be associated with the aesthetic qualities of the work of “revolutionary architects,” discussed by Emil Kaufmann.17 Even though in Newton’s Cenotaph, Étienne-Louis Boullée neither used classical vocabulary, and nor could the building’s delight appreciated through decorum (to mention topics central to the Renaissance theories of architecture), the design’s bold geometry and its sublime beauty still do not permit to discuss this building in terms of the contemporary understanding of autonomy. It is rather a rationalist point of view to believe that architecture has a “task to accomplish, a work to realize, a world to construct.”18 In retrospect we can say that the rupture attributed to eighteenth-century French architecture is a theoretical conjunction between Foucauldian historicism and contemporary interpretation of autonomy. To understand the critical significance of the implied rift between historicism and autonomy, one should recall Clement Greenberg and his formulation of a critique of art that is centred on the two themes of autonomy and abstraction. Even though these concepts were overshadowed by the 1950s tendency toward civic architecture and monumentality, it did not take too long for their return to the mainstream of 1970s architectural theories. Without infusing the concept of autonomy into architectural theory and history it would have made no sense for contemporary theorists to claim the end of history, for example. Any further discussion of these issues demands, in the first place, that we address the significance of the concept of autonomy for modernism. Writing in the late 1930s, Greenberg suggested that, in order to isolate itself from the imperatives of the market economy and the revolutionary fever rising high in the Soviets of the time, the avant-garde had to navigate in a realm devoid of any contradiction. In a search for art’s purity, Greenberg speculated that the avant-garde “arrived at abstract or non-objective art.”19 What should be underlined here is the aesthetic implication of the concept of abstract art, which, as Greenberg reminds us, alludes to the tendency toward autonomy, and the turn toward the “disciplines and crafts, absolutely autonomous, entitled to respect for their own sakes, and not merely as vessels of communication.”20 In making the point that in a given situation diverse artistic tendencies operate simultaneously, Greenberg benefited from the aesthetics implied in the Kantian concept of autonomy, one important consequence of which was the claim that each art has its own specific medium, the opacity of which should be emphasized. He continues that, the “history of avant-garde painting is that of a progressive surrender to the resistance of its medium, which resistance consists chiefly in the flat picture plane’s denial of efforts to ‘hole through’ it for realistic perspectival space.” This is a provocative statement, even though his understanding of “functionalism” as the medium of architecture is short-sighted.21 Now, after T. J. Clark’s reading of Greenberg,22 we should ask: is it possible to emulate the opacity of art independent of its historical context?

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Clark’s criticism is important considering the fact that the very recognition of “flatness,” a major internal theme for painting, was in part caused by the tension rising between art and capitalism in the years between 1860 and 1918. Clark’s reading attempts to solidify the dialectics of autonomy and negation advanced by dada and surrealism, a body of work which for Greenberg presented nothing but mere “noise.”23 In his essay titled “Modernist Painting,” however, Greenberg states that the essence of modernism demands using “the characteristic methods of a discipline to criticize the discipline itself, not in order to subvert it, but in order to entrench it more firmly in its area of competence.”24 What should be underlined here is the historicity of the argument formulated by these two critics. While Greenberg was writing at a time when there was still the hope for the work of art to take care of what it had achieved throughout history, Clark, by contrast, writing after the demise of the project of modernity, argues that it is the task of art to internalize the devaluation of all values central to the nihilism of technology, albeit using disciplinary medium. Furthermore, we should also argue that, while Greenberg’s theory of art was primarily concerned with the state of modern painting, the only way to sustain architecture’s “opacity” is to highlight its rapport with very techniques that were used to break into architecture’s opacity in the first place. This implied paradox is central to the dialectics involved in architecture’s relation with its own conditions of production. It also says something about critical praxis:25 the way architecture should/might stand against prevailing formal and aesthetic regimes. After Greenberg, and in the context of linguistic theories of the 1970s, it is possible to suggest that contemporary neo-avant-garde theories disclose a renewed moment in architecture’s move toward autonomy. Consider this: if it is correct to say that throughout modernity architecture had to adjust its disciplinary history to the forces of modernization, then the historicity of that awareness and its relevance to the situation of post-war architecture can be detected in Peter Eisenman’s statement that: If in the interiority of architecture there is a potentially autonomous condition that is not already socialized or that is not already historicized, one which could be distilled from a historicized and socialized interiority, then all diagrams do not necessarily take up new disciplinary and social issues. Rather diagrams can be used to open up such an autonomy to understand its nature. He continues: If this autonomy can be defined as singular because of the relationship between sign and signified, and if singularity is also a repetition of difference, then there must be some existing condition of architecture in order for it to be repeated differently. This existing condition can be called architecture’s interiority.26

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This rather long quotation, written in a retrospective view of his own work, reveals issues pertinent to any discussion that concerns the return of autonomy to architectural theory. There might have been something in the intellectual air of the 1970s and 1980s encouraging architects to see autonomy as a conceptual tool for re-energizing the situation of architecture, pushing the discipline beyond its historical convention, a daunting subject for historians and architects alike. Thus, in order to reinvent itself during the 1970s, architecture was left with three main options. Some architects were inclined to theorize architecture by borrowing concepts and ideas developed in other disciplines. One is reminded of Tschumi’s notion of event which he derived from film; Rem Koolhaas’s strategic re-rapprochement to surrealism; and Steven Holl’s aspiration for a phenomenological interpretation of the architectural object. Others such as Eisenman and Aldo Rossi chose an inward-looking position, centred on the interiority of architecture in formalistic and rationalistic interpretations of grid, plane and type, respectively. A third tendency was to take a semi-autonomous approach to architecture. One is reminded of Robert Venturi’s concept of “both/and,” and Frampton’s theorization of architecture in terms of critical regionalism.27 What needs to be added here is the difference between Eisenman and Rossi’s appropriations of autonomy. Eisenman’s inclination toward autonomy is centred on a post-modernist reading of Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino frame. Having established Le Corbusier’s conceptual contribution to modernism, Eisenman revisited the formalism permeating certain circles of early modern architecture to formulate what is called “cardboard architecture.” By contrast, rejecting the 1960s interest in the notion of “problem-solving,” and this in reference to Eisenman’s effort to reinterpret Le Corbusier’s Five Points, Stanford Anderson has convincingly argued for what is called “quasi-autonomy.” Reflecting on Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino frame, the significance of which should not be narrowed merely into technological availability of concrete, Anderson highlights the French architect’s contribution to an understanding of the Five Points that is open also to “general propositions about space, light, and environmental organization.”28 A different reading of the suggested “inbetween” state of architecture will be discussed shortly. To this end, and for a critical understanding of the notion of autonomy permeating the most radical architecture of the America of the 1960s, attention should be given to Rossi. This is important not only because of Eisenman’s criticism of the Italian architect,29 but also for the fact that it allows us to shed light on the political dimension of architecture. Pier Vittorio Aureli has recently offered a picture of Rossi’s work, the historical significance of which has to do with the discourse of autonomy developed by the Italian left movement of the 1960s. Criticizing the American interpretation of autonomy championed by Eisenman and Colin Rowe, Aureli discusses the architectonic implications of an autonomy that tended to reverse the interests of the working-class people mostly defined and

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implemented by capitalism. According to Aureli, the central debates among the Italian Marxists of the time (1950–1960) concerned a number of issues, including the notion of autonomy, the agency of the working class, and the need for new strategies to confront the situation of post-war capitalism, under re-construction in Italy. Still, the 1950s reformist movement abandoned the class struggle in favour of a cultural project endorsed by scientific and technological innovations that had already shown fruitful results in America.30 For Rossi, by contrast, “the possibility of autonomy occurred as a possibility of theory; of the reconstruction of the political, social, and cultural significances of urban phenomena divorced from any technocratic determinism.”31 While during the late 1960s the ideological dimension of capitalism found a temporary home in the renewed interest in humanism, Rossi sought the poiesis of architecture in typological reinvention. If one accepts that Rossi formulated one aspect of the critical practice available at the time, another aspect is a “critique of the ideology of the capitalist city as this ideology manifested itself in the post-war recuperation of the Modern Movement and a new wave of technological avant-gardism in the 1960s,” as discussed by Manfredo Tafuri and Andrea Branzi.32 Two conclusions can be drawn from Aureli’s re-visitation of the praxis of Italian Marxism of the 1960s. First, the Italian New-Left made an attempt to unlock the notion of historicism implied in Jürgen Habermas’s idea of “modernity [as] an incomplete project.” In particular, the Italian movement of Operaism drew critical conclusions from the ways that the early bourgeoisie had to modify its utopic plans according to the developmental processes of capitalism. Instead of continuity, Operaism underlined a discontinuous structural renewal as the key to capitalism’s success at continually mystifying its ideological operation. Second, and related to the first point, the prominent members of Operaism, including Tafuri, Rossi, and Massimo Cacciari, won the moment by promoting an understanding of autonomy that disbanded various theories, even those tailored to resist capitalism in the most radical way. These Italian academics and activists saw it as their task to formulate a point of view, theory, which was autonomous from the regime of capitalism, and yet had the capacity to re-appropriate and strategically internalize the oppositional tactics used by the working class. This brief summary of Aureli’s timely reopening of the debate on autonomy will lay the groundwork for the discussion presented in the section below. My claim here is that the historical pairing of licentia with disciplinarity, discussed in the first section of this chapter, lost its agency, as architecture tasted the charm of modernization. Central to this historical encounter was the replacement of the notion of model with autonomy, later to be interpreted in terms of form and/or tectonics. In retrospect, and with an eye to the import of a critical stand against the digital reproducibility of architecture, the last segment of this chapter presents the idea of semi-autonomy as a case to solidify an in-between state overarching the ongoing rapport between disciplinarity, autonomy, and the spectacle permeating contemporary culture at large.

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Semi-autonomy The following question allows an opening to discuss the importance of tectonics for a critical practice that is centred on the notion of semiautonomy: what would be the nature of disciplinary limits in a situation where “construction” evaporated into the textual horizon endemic to the 1970s’ formalist interpretation of autonomy? To underline the ontological significance of construction it suffices to recall another Kantian theme, this time the notion of parallax. Discussing the work of Kant and Marx, Kojin Karatani suggests that parallax is something “like one’s own face in the sense that it undoubtedly exists but cannot be seen except as an image.”33 Against the positivist’s view of the object/subject relationship, the dynamics of the parallax object has as much to do with the changing position of the observer as to an “ontological” shift in the object itself. According to Slavoj Žižek, “Materialism means that the reality I see is never ‘whole’ – not because a larger part of it eludes me, but because it contains a stain, a blind spot, which indicates my inclusion in it.”34 With this, and in the expense of simplifying the operative nature of ideology in the cultural realm, I would argue that modernization was consequential for architecture departure from the classical notion of techné, and the debasing the agency of licentia. What this means is that the very constructive logic central to tectonics might, paradoxically, deconstruct the positivistic interpretation of the impact of technology on architecture. In modernity and through its various modes of reproducibility there will be always a “blind spot” in architecture’s rapport with technology, which should be recognized as the locus of a semi-autonomous understanding of tectonics. Only in this way might we do justice to Gottfried Semper’s theory of architecture, discuss the import of material and technique, and critique the aesthetics registered in the work of neo-avant-garde architects.35 When this is established, then it is possible to identify the formative nature of technique in the formation of the culture of building, and rewrite the history of architecture in consideration of the economic and technological transformations that were endemic to the transgressive move from techné to technique, and from tectonics to montage.36 There are many ways to demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed historical paradigm. It allows for a comprehensive understanding of the dialectics involved in the visibility and/or invisibility of construction at different stages in architectural history. That the theme of construction was invisible in Renaissance architecture, as I discussed in the first section, is suggestive of a situation where metaphysics takes command, and the objects are placed “in the illusory space, and not according to their relative value within the culture,” to recall Frampton’s reflections on perspective.37 The aforementioned proposition is also useful for differentiating the ways in which historians and architects appropriate technique, both synchronically and diachronically. By now there should be no doubt that the historians

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who formulated the genesis of modern movement architecture had the same understanding of the import of technique as did the architects whose work were central to the historians’ advocacy for modernism in architecture. Equally well known is the schism separating the scope of critical historiography from architectural theories formulated by the neo-avant-garde architects. To understand the full connotations of the theoretical premises presented here, the discussion should turn to the landscape of modernity, and Semper’s discourse on tectonics.38 Briefly, central to Semper’s theorization of architecture is the transgression of the limits of architecture framed in the classical theory of imitation. Semper’s theory maps the subject matter of construction in fields that, up until the middle of the nineteenth century, were considered peripheral to architecture. Furthermore, Semper’s remapping of the disciplinary limits has two significant consequences for contemporary architecture. First, in discussing tectonics in reference to the four industries of textiles, carpentry, masonry and ceramics, Semper sets up a constructive paradigm that has the potential for transforming into architecture skills and techniques first developed in other industries in the first place. Semper’s theory is useful for investigating the transformational nature of the element of wall, for example, when a particular technique demands changing the structural modalities of a given construction system. Second, in discussing architecture in terms of the tectonics of the core-form and the art-form, Semper’s theory retains that which is architectural through and through. What this means is that architecture is not a direct product of construction, and yet the coreform (the physical body of the building) inevitably puts architecture in the track record of technological transformations and scientific innovations. Herein lies the ethical dimension of tectonics, which can be traced back to architecture’s early confrontation with technique. Discussing the notion of techné in Alberti’s discourse, Tafuri writes; “surely it is tragic that the same thing that creates security and gives shelter and comfort is also what rends and violates the earth.” He continues, “technology, which alleviates human suffering, is at the same time an implacable instrument of violence.”39 The same paradox can be applied to the art-form: in suspending the Kantian notion of beauty, which is centred on the subjective inner imagination, the art-form remains the only venue in which architecture is charged with aesthetic sensibilities that are, interestingly enough, informed by perceptual horizons offered by the world of technology. The art-form also reveals tactile sensibilities accumulated through the disciplinary history of architecture. Therefore, while the core-form assures architecture’s rapport with the many changes taking place in the structure of construction, the art-form remains the only domain where the architect might choose to impinge on the coreform with those aspects of the culture of building that might sidetrack the formal and aesthetic consequences of commodification (essential to the cultural production of late capitalism), and yet avoid dismissing the latest technological developments.

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In retrospect, I would like to argue that the 1970s turn to interdisciplinary theories was fruitful. It enticed architects to redefine disciplinarity in terms of form and type, if not in reference to material and technique. Moreover, the theoretical space opened by the contemporary turn to autonomy was consequential in terms of enabling architectural historians to discuss the critical nature of the tectonic for semi-autonomous architecture. Somewhat similar to the Italian architects’ quest for autonomy, the tectonic presented here posits the idea that architecture can’t ignore the cultural logic of capitalism. The architect’s task should rather focus on promoting an understanding of disciplinarity, the thematic of which helps one to figure out the historicity of architecture’s autonomy. A Semperian precept that concerns “bringing to light the lines with which we can reconnect our present with a past that is continually being reinvented in function of the viewpoints from which we examine it.”40 The dialectics between autonomy and semi-autonomy are indeed crucial for understanding the complexity of the horizon(s) that separate architects and historians and bring them together. Finally, in criticism of the present culture of the visual, Hal Foster has recently underlined the usefulness of what he calls “strategic autonomy.”41 His argument is based on the historicity of the modernism of the 1920s, when the situation was foggy enough for the artwork to claim autonomy from fetishism of the past, and thus register for the Enlightenment’s idea of progress. Today the situation has changed dramatically: commodification of the life-world is total and the subjective world of artists and architects is constantly defined and redefined by an everydayness that is saturated with visual images. In the present commodified world, the predicament of the discipline centres on the fact that architecture is by definition a collective and constructive work, and might never touch the ground of autonomy as other visual arts do. One might go further and argue that even modernism’s claim for autonomy was nothing but a foil, an ideological delusion, and that modernism needed only a couple of decades to unveil its affiliated relation with capitalism. Furthermore, there is a degree of anonymity in tectonics that is not opaque and inaccessible, and yet stops short of communication as a familiar sign of a historical origin, or of the kind of organic expressionism permeating the neo-avant-garde architecture. In the dialectics between autonomy and semi-autonomy, tectonics operates like an antinomy. In an attempt to reach that which is architectural, the tectonic facilitates architecture’s entanglement with the constructive structures of capitalism.

Notes 1 Peter Murray, Architecture of the Renaissance (New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., Publishers, 1971), 90. 2 Joseph Rykwert, “Inheritance or Tradition?,” Architectural Design Profile (1979), 3. According to Peter Murray, Leon Battista Alberti took the initiative idea/ concept of using pilasters applied to the surface of walls from the Colosseum.

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3 James S. Ackerman, Origins, Imitations, Conventions (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2002), 16–17. 4 Joseph Rykwert, Architectural Design Profile (1979), 4. 5 Alina Payne, The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 7. 6 Caroline van Eck, “Verbal and Visual Abstraction: The Role of Pictorial Techniques of Representation in Renaissance Architecture,” in Christy Anderson (ed.), The Built Surface Volume I (Burlington, MA: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2002), 175. 7 Kurt W. Forster, “The Palazzo Rucellai and Questions of Typology in the Development of Renaissance Buildings,” Art Bulletin 58 (1976):109–113. 8 Manfredo Tafuri, Interpreting the Renaissance, Daniel Sherer (trans.), (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 3. 9 Bernard Tschumi, “Architecture and Limits III,” Art Forum, (September 1981): 40. 10 Andrew Bowie, Aesthetics and Subjectivity: From Kant to Nietzsche (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990), 5. 11 For the complete list of recurrent themes that, according to Tafuri, the project of the enlightenment enforced on architecture, see Tafuri, Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1976), 3. 12 Mark Jarzombek, “The Cunning of Architecture’s Reason,” Footprint 36 (Autumn 2007): 31–46. 13 Daniel Sherer, “Progetto and Ricerca: Manfredo Tafuri as Critic and Historian,” Zodiac, 15 (March 1996): 47. 14 Mitchell Schwartzer, “Ontology and Representation in Karl Botticher’s Theory of Tectonics, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 3 (Sept. 1993): 271. 15 On the arguments motivated by Edmund Burke’s discussion of the sublime and beauty see Eileen Harris, “Burke and Chambers on the Sublime and Beautiful,” in D. Fraser, H. Hibbard, M. J. Lewine (eds), Essays in the History of Architecture Presented to Rudolf Wittkower, (London: Phaidon 1969), 207–213. 16 On this subject, and different interpretations of nature as an “autonomous” entity with its own laws, though interpreted differently during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see Nikolaus Pevsner, “The Genesis of the Picturesque,” first published in Architectural Review, XCVI (1944), reprinted in Studies in Art, Architecture & Design, vol. 1 (London: Thames & Hudson, 1968), 78– 101. In order to understand the historical context of Pevsner’s essay, see Reyner Banham, “Revenge of Picturesque: English Architectural Polemics, 1945–1965,” in John Summerson (ed.), Concerning Architecture (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1968), 265–273. 17 Emil Kauffmann, “Three Revolutionary Architects, Boullée, Ledoux, and Lequeu,” in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 42/3, (October 1952). 18 Emil Kaufman, “De Ledoux à Le Corbusier,” Perspecta 33 “Mining Autonomy”, (2003): 13. 19 Clement Greenberg, “Avant-garde and Kitsch” in Art and Culture: Critical Essays (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1961), 5. 20 Clement Greenberg, “Towards a Newer Laocoon,” Collected Essays (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1986), 28. The essay was originally written in 1940. 21 Greenberg, Collected Essays (1986), 32–34. 22 T. J. Clark, “Clement Greenberg’s Theory of Art,” Critical Inquiry, 9/1 (Sept. 1982): 152. 23 Clark, “Greenberg’s Theory of Art” (1982): 153. 24 Clement Greenberg, The Collected Essays and Criticism: Modernism with a Vengeance, 1957–1969, John O’Brian (ed). (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1993).

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25 On this subject see Gevork Hartoonian, Global Perspectives on Critical Practice: Praxis Reloaded (London: Routledge, 2015). 26 Peter Eisenman, “Diagram: An Original Scene of Writing,” Diagram Diaries (New York: Universe Publishing, 1999), 31. 27 For Robert Venturi see Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1966). For Kenneth Frampton, see “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance,” in Hal Foster (ed.), The Anti-Aesthetics: Essays on Postmodern Culture (Seattle, WA: Bay Press, 1983), 16–31. 28 Stanford Anderson, “Quasi-Autonomy in Architecture: The Search for an ‘Inbetween’,” Perspecta 33 (2003): 36. The entire issue of Perspecta 33 presents a constructive reading of the concept of autonomy in architectural theories. 29 Peter Eisenman, “Introduction,” in Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1982), 3–11. 30 Pier Vittorio Aureli, “Intellectual Work and Capitalist Development: Origins and Context of Manfredo Tafuri’s Critique of Architectural Ideology,” SITE, 26–27 (2009), 18–21. 31 Pier Vittorio Aureli, The Project of Autonomy (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), 12–13. For a different view of the notion of autonomy and the state of post-war Italian art, see Jaleh Mansoor, Marshall Plan Modernism: Italian Postwar Abstraction and the Beginning of Autonomia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016). 32 See Aureli, The Project of Autonomy (2008), 55. 33 See Kojin Karatani, Transcritique: On Kant and Marx (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003). 34 Slavoj Žižek, The Parallax View (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006), 17. 35 See Gevork Hartoonian, “Gottfried Semper: The Structure of Theatricality,” Art Criticism, 18/2 (2003): 6–21. 36 Gevork Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). 37 Kenneth Frampton, “Excerpts from a Fragmentary Polemic,” Art Forum (September 1981): 52. 38 The following discussion profits from this author’s work on the tectonic, Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (1993). 39 Manfredo Tafuri, Interpreting the Renaissance, 2006, 51. 40 Bernard Cache, “The Tower of Winds of Andronikos of Kyrros,” Architectural Theory Review, 14/1 (2009): 5 41 Hal Foster, Design and Crime (London: Verso, 2003), 100–103.

7

On brutalism Crisis postponed

Prelude The word “crisis” connotes, among other things, a state of mental life, or a situation where expectations, desires and utopias fall apart, or take an unanticipated path. With its three etymological origins, the concept of crisis has been used since the mid-eighteenth century in various spheres, to the point where it has been “transformed to fit the uncertainties of whatever might be favoured at a given moment.”1 Exploring the impact of rationalization in modernity, Max Weber associated crisis with the loss of meaning and freedom as the harmonious hierarchy of values falls apart.2 In his 2013 book on Manfredo Tafuri, Marco Biraghi writes that if crisis is “the uncomfortable legacy left by the modern movement to the architectural culture of the 1950s and 1960s,” then, “critique itself becomes an absolutely open, as opposed to secret, agent of crisis.”3 I will avoid using the idea of crisis for contextualizing historical rupture and/or continuity. Following a Marxian idea that there ought to be a theoretical hole internal to any totalization, including that of architectural history, this chapter entertains crisis as a useful critical tool to assess the particular in “the New Brutalism” as discussed by Reyner Banham.4 This post-war movement, I will argue, should be critiqued in the light of the crisis that has been endemic to architecture since its early entanglement with the ongoing processes of modernization, and is even more so today when issues such as surface, tectonics, and labour have become topical for a critical assessment of the contemporaneity of architecture.5 To this end, I will attend to Koselleck’s account of the medical and theological origins of the Greek use of crisis later in this text, in reference to the temporality implied in the notion of “postponement” as used in the title of this chapter. In his famous essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin maps issues pertinent to a critical understanding of modernity, and offers a historical understanding of the crisis overshadowing both the work of art and architecture in modern times.6 For Benjamin, it is the impact of modern technology and the mechanization of the production process that has triggered “aura”– the symbolic and ritualistic experience of art – opening the space for an unprecedented expression

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and communication of the work of art, exemplified in cinematography. Similar to filmic production, architecture too has always retained close ties with technique, labour, and capital. What makes the structure of this web of interrelationship different in modernity is the intensification of the commodification of labour through various stages of capitalist production processes. The commodification of “land, money and capital itself are all important factors,” writes Kojin Karatani. However, “the commodification of labour power is primary,” and is “the fundamental source for the crisis of capitalism.”7 Exploring this historical course, Benjamin was not interested in modern architecture’s relative autonomy from the classical language, let alone the literal reproducibility of architecture. Unlike the process of technical reproduction, which most often ends with the work losing its unique bond with place, architecture’s realization has always been grounded through the earthwork and terrace making. For Benjamin, architecture, more than any other work of art, has the potentiality to reveal, in a complex way, the ways that cultural tendencies relate to the realm of economy. The association Benjamin makes between the superstructure and the “base” aims to do two things: first, to formulate a theory of art that sheds critical light on the fascism emerging in Germany in the 1930s; and, second, to consider how such a theory of art could be useful for “the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art [Kunstpolitik].”8 His observations did indeed benefit from the experience of film: its appropriation by the masses; the fragmentation achieved through montage; and the exhibition value of the work of art in general, subjects that I will take up later in this chapter. Elsewhere, I have discussed the implications of Walter Benjamin’s notion of “exhibition value” for contemporary architecture.9 What I would like to discuss in the following pages is the usefulness of Benjamin’s position for the critique of the near-past history of architecture. My take on this subject involves critically affirming the pairing of technique-crisis, rather than considering architectural project as part of the given zeitgeist. What this means can be summarized in the following words: contemporary history is indeed full of instances of architects’ attempts to rethink architecture in reference to the socio-cultural and technical imperatives of modernity. From the 1914 Werkbund debate concerning objectivity, to its transformation into neue Sachlichkeit, not to mention the present turn to digitally cut objects, particular to each periodic formation of architectural discourse is the crisis, which is most often instigated by contradictions internal to the developmental process of capitalism. I will argue that, in addition to being influenced by post-war conditions, New Brutalism promoted a design philosophy that was simultaneously informed by the two notions of regression and progression – regression caused by the desire to re-formulate architecture in reference to disciplinarity; and progression caused by the desire to transform raw material into materiality, an aesthetic unfolding that can be associated with the preface “New,” as used in the title of Banham’s take on the subject. The dialectics between regression

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and progression will also be examined in a discussion that focuses on architecture’s move from the painterly to the sculptural; from the perception of lightness to that of heaviness; and from private to public building, civic architecture being a definitive moment in the short-lived history of postwar architecture. I will discuss these transformations in association with the rise of monumentality, the materiality of concrete, and the aesthetic of the sculptural. The visibility of these themes is important because, in addition to exemplifying New Brutalism’s turn to the thematic internal to architectural history, they pushed the crisis of International Style architecture to a standstill situation. In discussing the architecture of Brutalism, I intend to make two theoretical contributions. First, I will explore the ways that design can provide running-room to perpetuate the temporality of a historical crisis, and therefore postpone architecture’s inevitable internalization of contradictions central to the given stage of capitalism; Brutalism’s capacity to postpone architecture’s smooth internalization of the forces of capitalism is another attribute to be added to its progressive portfolio. Dialectically, I will underline the critical usefulness of the strategy of “regression” for contemporary architecture, particularly for the crisis induced by parametric design. The aesthetic and formal consequences of this latter development will be addressed in the concluding section of this chapter.

Brute aesthetics The turn to New Brutalism highlights a moment in the recent history of architecture that provided the architects of the 1950s, initially in Britain, with the theoretical means to distance their work from the modern architecture of the early 1920s. I will argue in this section that their central achievement was to transform the architectural image popularized through Mies van der Rohe’s experimentation with various materials and structural systems. Even before moving to America, Mies had already begun to dismantle the modernist architectural image, which was centred on a painterly perception of volume, shifting it towards tectonics and materiality. These observations are suggested in Banham’s theorization of British architecture of the post-war era.10 Of particular relevance to my argument is Banham’s demonstration that the crisis arising from the scarcity of skill and labour in post-war Britain played an important role in architects’ choice of material: brick and béton brut, to name the two most favoured dressing materials used in Brutalist architecture.11 In contextualizing the idea of New Brutalism, it is important to underline two interrelated theoretical developments, both formulated by Banham, and both hingeing on the architecture associated with Brutalism. In the first place, Banham criticizes an understanding of tradition that forgets all that has been achieved at the expense of certain traditions. The “new” view of tradition, Banham writes, demands “total recall – everything that wasn’t positively oldfashioned at the time it was done was to be regarded as of equal value.”12

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Modernists’ earlier dislike for British building townscape theories and the picturesque was balanced by a turn towards some aspects of classicism. This move was in part motivated by the publication of Rudolf Wittkower’s Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism (1949) and Le Corbusier’s Modulor, and in particular by the tradition of British Palladianism circa 1940.13 Kenneth Frampton reminds us of additional influential tendencies such as the so-called Swedish style, the Townscape movement, and more importantly, the left-wing students at the Architecture Association, who were against any “liberal, petit bourgeois stylistic compromise.”14 Along with these emerged the singularity of Brutalist architecture: its attention to tactile sensibilities associated with the vernacular; its idea that the building should be virtuous; and, most importantly, that the building’s meaning should be in and of itself. Thus, central to Brutalism, according to Banham, is the desire “to construct moving relationships out of brute materials.”15 These qualities were sought as the attributes of an architecture that, in addition to structural clarity, enjoys a feeling for both materiality and spatial simplicity. For Banham, these heterogeneous qualities were communicated through the “memorability” of the “images” implicit in the work.16 As the Smithsons declared in 1953, it is a deep respect for the affinity that the material provides “between building and man – which is at the root of the so-called Brutalism.”17 It is this concern for the communicative side of architecture that makes image central to Brutalist architecture, albeit that “image-making” was not yet, in the post-war mass-media culture, taken over by commercial interests.18 Another related development is the strong emergence of surface in contemporary architecture, and the need to differentiate the tactile aspects of Brutalism from the material fluidity permeating most digitally reproduced architecture. The ahistorical collage I am making out of themes (such as image, surface, labour, and materiality) associable with both today’s architecture and that of Brutalism is indeed part of the “anachronism” informing my take on the historiography of architecture, a subject taken up in the next two chapters. My claim here is that the suggested disjunction forms a constellation that casts critical light on Brutalism, which in return provides a strategy for critiquing architecture’s contemporaneity. This historiographic strategy, “retrospective criticism,” informs my reading of Brutalism presented in these pages and will be further discussed in the next chapters. The question of what it is that provides architecture with internal meaning is discussed in one of Banham’s essays, entitled “Stocktaking.” The text is printed in two parallel columns subtitled “tradition” and “technology” respectively. Of particular interest is the fact that the notion of tradition carries equal weight in Banham’s article, even though, as seen in retrospect, it was the issue of technology that ultimately enabled the author to evoke an image of architecture that centred on a particular perception of machine. The dialogue between image and machine contemplated in the work of most members of the Independent Group, including Banham, was part of the

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process of constructing a subjectivity that was focused on the desire stimulated by commodities. Hal Foster writes that in Richard Hamilton’s “Hommage à Chrysler Corp.” (1957), the artist “exposes the break-up of each body on display – the new Chrysler in the foreground and the vestigial showgirl behind it – into erotic details (as in sexual fetishism according to Freud) whose production is rendered obscure (as in commodity fetishism according to Marx).”19 The singularity of Banham’s approach to technology is implied in the epigraph of his essay. It reads, “the world of what is is suddenly torn by the discovery that what could be, is no longer dependent on what was.”20 Thus, his emphasis on “what could be” draws the reader’s attention to the potentialities of the technologies available at that time, including the techniques of mass communication that fostered the post-war consumer culture. Considering the experience of early modernism in architecture, one can claim that there was nothing new in Banham’s rhetorical approach to technology. What was new in Banham’s account of New Brutalism, however, was his attempt to contextualize the crisis immanent in architecture’s rapport with the emerging consumption and production cycles of capitalism. It is also clear, again in retrospect, that New Brutalism should be credited with making the dialectical pair of regression and progression visible – a phenomenon that was also integral to modernity, but was overshadowed by the modernist monologue on progress: Le Corbusier’s fascination with the Modulor; Mies’ concern for the materiality of brick, concrete, and glass, and Alvar Aalto’s attempt to reconcile the topological experience of materiality, which according to him belonged to the realm of culture, with the world of technology. And yet, the missing point in most accounts of the history of modern architecture is the dialectics between progression and regression. How did this dialectics then work in Banham’s discourse on the architecture of Brutalism? In his previously mentioned essay, Banham ends the column on tradition with an emphasis on the positive role science and technology play for architecture, and directs the reader’s attention to the Hunstanton School (1949–54), and the Ham Common housing designed by Stirling and Gowan (1958). Underlining the differences between the Smithsons’ and Mies’s architecture, Banham wrote: “the nature of its [Hunstanton’s] ultimate performance under stress is acknowledged in the use of plastic theory by the engineer responsible for the structural calculations.” There is a sense of realism in his statement that alludes to the British interest in matter-offactness, aspects of which can be followed in the traditions of the Arts and Craft movement. Realism as such can be traced in the clarity involved in Brutalist architecture, for example, the emphasis on making a distinction between what is structural and what is infill, brick or metal; the highly articulated fenestrations, sometimes just for aesthetic purpose; the strong interest in where and how to show the demarcation line between various floors. More importantly, by taking the advantage of the stair-volume, for example, the building’s general massing is charged with a plastic quality.

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Further exploration of these architectonic elements induced a departure from the abstract and painterly qualities of the early modern architecture, in particular the concept of free-façade and its relationship to structure. Still, Banham’s interest in materiality and its expression in the building was strong enough for him to admire the Hunstanton School building, even though the building does not enjoy the perception of heaviness attributed to the best of Brutalist architecture. Both the Hunstanton and Ham Common housings utilize the notion of embellishment. Deeply rooted in the craft traditions of architecture, the term connotes refinement, and handling and detailing to suit the chosen material. In the Ham Common housing, “load-bearing, fair-faced brickwork aspires to a common telluric sensibility: a testament to the existential authenticity of brick,”21 with tectonics of walling and enclosure, roofing (vaulting) and covering. These articulations are occasionally discussed in reference to precedents developed in nineteenth-century industrial structures.22 Kenneth Frampton observes that in Ham Common “the vernacular of the industrial north is returned to its roots.”23 The presence of exposed brick, cast concrete and architectural details such as gutter elements illustrates the Brutalist attempt not only to seek meaning in the poetics of construction, but also to signal a resolute critique of the priorities of interwar modernism, which professed a radical departure from such detailing. In addition to tectonic similarities connecting the Hunstanton with Mies’s buildings at the campus of IIT (circa 1942), it is the ethical dimension involved in the Smithsons’ handling of material(s) which makes their work different from the aesthetic of abstraction implicit in Mies’s American period.24 Banham follows a similar line of consideration when he differentiates the Ham Common housing from Le Corbusier’s Maison Jaoul (1954): the difference is based on the particular use of brick and concrete. Central to Banham’s definition of New Brutalism is the visibility of every structural and functional element of architecture. This, according to Anthony Vidler, would be what Banham “identified as the ethical side of New Brutalism.”25 For example, Banham reminds his reader that the cuts in the brickwork cladding of the Ham Common housing are “calculated to the limits of the load-bearing capacity – a decision that is more responsible than any Twenties-revivalism for the use of dropped windows for their inverted-L shape.”26 This suggested difference is also evident in Le Corbusier’s use of surface gauche in the Marseille project, where he pursues architectonic elements (the entry canopy and the rooftop volumes), the geometry of which deviates from the orthogonal system of the building. For Le Corbusier, “the construction process of concrete makes it possible to see the handiwork of the craftsmen who take part in the making of the formwork and mould, as theorized by Ruskin or Tessenow.”27 Whereas labour is central to the articulation of any material, what is exceptional about concrete is its absence in nature and in industrially produced objects.28 Concrete has no inherent physicality like stone or wood, either. Jean-Louis Cohen observes that Martin

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Figure 7.1 Le Corbusier, Maison Jaoul, Paris, France, 1954 (photograph by the author)

Heidegger’s suggestion that the work of architecture is the result of “bringing forth” the inherent natural qualities of stone and metal can hardly be applicable to concrete.29 In Le Corbusier’s surface gauche an attempt is made to turn a functional element, the canopy for example, into a supplement, in spite of the orthogonal system of construction. This aspiration toward labour and materiality is subdued in most of the buildings produced since the crisis of modernism and the rise of postmodernism, in which the image permeating post-war consumer culture is literally internalized into architecture. Still, the “L”-shape cut frame windows of the Ham Common housing are remarkably similar to those used in Louis I. Kahn’s Richards Medical Research Building (1957–61), where brick cladding at the corners gives way to a tectonic figuration of beams. This association is important because Banham ends the technology section of his essay with Kahn and what is called

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Figure 7.2 Louis I. Kahn, Richards Medical Research Building, Philadelphia, USA, 1957 (photograph by the author)

the “topological” science of the Richards Medical Building. Recalling Mies again, Banham concludes that Kahn’s solution “brings us to the point of fusion of the technological and traditional aspects in architecture today. Kahn is sympathetic to, and has been classed with, the Brutalists.” Banham continues, “on both sides, enterprising and intensive scrutiny of tradition and science appears to suggest a way out of a dilemma, if not a solution to a problem.”30 What is involved here has historico-theoretical importance: it suggests that any rethinking of architecture within the traditions of modernism and after Brutalist architecture should pay attention to the dialectics informing the two opposing poles of tradition and technology, regression and progression. Even though Banham, in his famous volume Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960), embraces the ethos of Futurism, his formulation of the

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opposition between tradition and technology got a foot in the door of the nineteenth-century architectural discourse. Noteworthy is the fact that the idea of topology, although overshadowed by the early modernist tendency toward elementary Platonic geometries, had long been a current in British architectural theory, going back to the second half of the nineteenth century, and resurrecting in the townscape and picturesque movements.31 What was new in Banham’s view of topology, however, was an architectural image wherein the structural concept achieves both organizational and aesthetic expression. There is enough substance in Banham’s discussion of issues such as tradition, technology and topology to support the weight given to the architecture of Brutalism in any essay focused on the architectural implications of crisis. The issue that still needs further attention is the implications for the notion of monumentality when the topological association between technology and tradition is considered in conjunction with the exploitation of the plastic qualities of concrete. In addition to its rough look, apparent heaviness and variety of textures, the way concrete is used in most Brutalist architecture served, perhaps unconsciously, to elude the political economy of the postwar era. I would like to go further and highlight the historical necessity of the Brutalists’ use of concrete: the coincidence between the post-war scarcity of labour and skill and the project of national “reconstruction.” Beyond its literal meaning – the need to repair damages caused by a savage war – reconstruction also aimed at the reinstitutionalization of the old nation/state regime – although this time in the shadow of a capitalism soon to be recoded as “late capitalism” by Fredric Jameson. Banham is clear about the British architects’ contribution to the formation of New Brutalism, especially when it comes to making a distinction between “ethical or aesthetic,” to recall the subtitle of his book on the subject. Associating Le Corbusier’s béton brut work with what he calls “the high style of Brutalism,” Banham designates the ethic behind the aesthetic as part of the Britishness of Brutalism, before labelling it a stylistic movement. Highlighting the Smithsons’ handling of material in Hunstanton, Banham claims that what is new in the New Brutalism is that “it finds its closest affinities not in the past architectural style, but in peasant dwelling forms. It has nothing to do with craft” of the kind Frank L. Wright advocated.32 Including himself in the historicity of British Brutalism, Banham continues, “We see architecture as the direct way of life.”33 Thus, Brutalism in England was formulated as an operative theory to renew the Tafurian notion of the “ideology of plan.” By contrast, in America, writes Banham, Kahn’s particular use of historical typologies; his attention to tactile sensibilities invested in the tradition of brick architecture; and Kahn’s advocacy for a dialogical rapport between monumentality and authenticity, as discussed by Sarah Williams Goldhagen, were channelled into the process of reconciling old institutions with the demands of the rising consumer massculture. According to her, in the design of Philadelphia City Tower, Louis Khan and Ann Tyng “integrated the theme of authenticity and community in

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a techno-organic monumentality.”34 In fact one of the major contributions of her book is to discuss Kahn’s work in terms of the dialogical relation of the two thematic pairs of “monumentality and authenticity” and “representation and abstraction.” Still, as Banham notes, the highly articulated brick wall of the Yale Gallery, in contrast to the glazing of the courtyard face, charges the building with a powerful “image,” one that “the mind assembles from memory after one has left the building, because its actual presence is both mysterious and muddled.”35 However, in his 1955 essay, Banham is more critical of Kahn’s building, suggesting that his detailing is “arty.” He goes even further, replacing what he had formerly considered “formal legibility of plan,” with “memorability as an image,” while keeping intact “clear exhibition of structure” and “valuation of materials as found,” the last two parts of the triad of New brutalism attributed to the Hunstanton School building. Banham’s verdict serves not only to sustain the distinction he makes between the ethical and the aesthetic, but also to confirm the following: that the mysticism surrounding Kahn’s position in contemporary architecture can be associated with “the ways in which not just objects, but rather a more encompassing sense of materiality has been meticulously arranged to convey a detailed, familiar environment in which a fantasy narrative can play out.”36 I would go further and posit that the brick used in Kahn’s work, and the virtual dialogue he had with it, were part of the aesthetic cladding of a renewed sense of objectivity whose “served/service” organization was emblematic of post-Fordist rationalism. Furthermore, Kahn’s interest in the brut sensibilities of materiality, either in the form of exposed concrete or brick blocks, aimed at two things: on the one hand, to articulate the aesthetic of what he had already coined as monumentality; and, on the other, to use concrete not for cladding or for achieving sculptural forms, but for the pursuit of a particular idea of construction – “hollow columns,” for example, and the expression of the process of fabrication.37 These attributes of materiality, construction, and expression obviously set his alleged Brutalism apart from Banham’s definition of the movement. Whatever happened to British Brutalism, one cannot but agree with Owen Hatherley: in his radical reconstruction of the historicity of British modernism, Hatherley suggests that New Brutalism is neither a rough alternative to Scandinavian “soft” modernism, nor an ally of Italian Futurism; rather, he sees New Brutalism as an untimely comrade to Vorticism, a 1915 British art movement, “eulogizing a kind of technologized primitivism.”38 Without pursuing an in-depth consideration of the subject of monumentality here, I want to make the claim that Brutalism positioned architecture in a standstill situation framed by two crises – the international style architecture, and postmodernism.

Crisis, crisis! In retrospect, but also in consideration of the contemporary state of architecture, we can suggest that Banham’s formulation of Brutalism forced

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architecture to take an inward turn, recoding its disciplinary themes in the light of technical developments, and at times through discourses, unfolding outside of architecture. Under these circumstances – call it postmodernism if you wish – the notion of image emerged as the main communicative element of architecture, if not the aspect that architects valued the most. This is evident in Banham’s advocacy for Brutalism and its intention to depart from the principles of the International Style architecture. According to Hatherley, Brutalism “thrived on a dialectic of the purist and the fragmented, montage and the memorable single image.”39 Vidler also reminds us of the significance of the notion of “image” for art history, first highlighted by Ernst Gombrich’s remarks on the role the beholder plays in projecting an image onto the thing looked at.40 For Vidler, the idea of image as discussed by Banham “was not only a passive symbol of everyday life or technological lenses, but an active participant in the viewer’s sensory perception.”41 Reading these lines in the context of the 1960s turn to semiotic theories and structuralism, it is not far-fetched to say that a concern for communication was already at work in the architecture of Brutalism. This concern was suggested in the sub-title of Banham’s book on Brutalism, “Ethic or Aesthetic?” For Banham, the notion of ethics in Brutalism was image-laden, at least in reference to its fascination with naked materials,42 a commitment to “truth to material;” in reference to vernacular architecture and its effectiveness in communication; and in reference to the affective qualities of a building.43 How, then, is it possible to revisit the singular achievements of the New Brutalism today? Of particular interest to this inquiry is the movement’s sensibility to material, construction, and the tectonic of heaviness. The latter should not only be seen in contrast to the “painterliness” implied in the architecture of the 1920s, but also in relation to Heinrich Wölfflin’s theorization of style in art history.44 The fading away of the hegemonic position of painterliness since and through the architecture of Brutalism offers a chance to rethink the tectonic in association with sculpted forms and landscape, as evident in a number of Marcel Breuer and other architects’ projects. Furthermore, aside from issues such as whether there should be a gap between an architect’s rapport with theory (Smithsons), and/or the historian’s theorization of history (Banham), what I wanted to highlight in the preceding discussion was the strategic distance Brutalism maintains from the tropes of the International Style architecture, while at the same time trying not to reduce the communicative dimension of architecture to postmodern historicism, the simulacra of historical languages. Brutalism, Vidler writes, was “ambiguously torn between the craft ideology of Ruskin and the abstract form-making of Heroic Modernism.”45 Central to this dialogical rapport between progression and regression is Brutalism’s redefinition of the scope of the architectural discipline, and its aspiration for monolithic massing, and for an architectonic image where the aesthetic and the structural coincide. This last point, in my opinion, is both the most significant contribution and the least explored aspect of Brutalist architecture.

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Figure 7.3 Marcel Breuer, University Heights, New York University, New York, USA, 1961 (photograph by the author)

Having established the dialectics between aesthetics and construction, I would like to return to Walter Benjamin’s pairing of technique and crisis mentioned in the prelude to my long journey into the architecture of New Brutalism. The fact that technique can play a mediating role in architecture is important, especially since the aftermath of World War II, when not only did technology operate at the technical level, but the entire cultural realm had become a technical apparatus in its own right. By the 1950s, however, architects had to rethink the state of an architecture that was “engulfed in commodity fetishism – without recourse to something that might represent its transcendence. Nature and humanity have been transformed by capital.”46 Under these conditions, and having lost the window of opportunity to reach outside of the commodity world produced by capital, a particular state of subjectivity emerged that had considerable bearing on contemporary architecture. Instead of allowing this subjectivity to be domesticated in postmodernism, or to be dissolved in the flat circulation of commodities and significations,47 its mode of operation, I argue, must be critiqued in the light of the historicity of crisis that Benjamin mapped. In “The Work of Art” essay, Benjamin is very specific about the crises in theatre and painting induced by techniques used in film and by the invention of photography respectively.48 Central to the concept of crisis attributed to these two art forms were changes taking place in the state of acting (theatre), and viewing (painting). Corresponding to acting and viewing is the state of reception of the work that aftermath of filmic techniques of reproducibility had to be consumed by the masses. Not only were these two art forms in

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crisis because of the massification of reception, they were in a critical state because of the emergence of the phenomenon of image (Bild). Whereas theatre still continues its peripheral life while holding on to its traditional mode of reception –the audience watching live stage acting – Benjamin was already convinced that painting had “become enmeshed by the technological reproducibility of the image.” To him, the nineteenth century’s habit of holding viewings of paintings for a large audience was “an early symptom of the crisis in painting.”49 The implied “end of art” here has profound historical implications beyond various contemporary theorizations of all kinds of “ends.” Discussing architecture in reference to the work’s tactile and optical dimensions, Benjamin’s position benefited and departed from both the discursive horizon of art history, and the Bauhaus’ interest in the New Objectivity. Benjamin’s suggestion that buildings are appropriated by habit and tactile experience points to the complexities involved in mapping the crisis of architecture. For Benjamin, architecture provides a model of reception comparable to film, where “the distracted mass absorbs the work of art.” This aspect of film, he continues, “is most obvious with regard to buildings. Architecture has always represented the prototype of a work of art the reception of which is consummated by a collective in a state of distraction.”50 Two conclusions can be drawn from Benjamin’s observation. First, the most enduring elements of architecture are those that involve both constructive and aesthetic aspects of form. What this means is that these formal structures should be recoded by the “handing over” of architectural traditions to the process of modernization. Second, the optical side of architecture is not limited to what a building represents symbolically or otherwise. For Benjamin, “habit determines to a large extent even optical reception.” The priority given to habit over optics suggests that architecture is experienced in a state of unconsciousness; various spaces of a house, for example, are contemplated in a state of distraction internal to the purpose of each particular space. Did not Adolf Loos say that each room should arouse a particular sentiment? And yet, if we agree with Benjamin that in certain stages of technical development the state of a particular work of art changes, is it not convincing to say that in the present age of digital reproducibility the balance Benjamin established between tactile and optical is shifted in favour of the optical, or “image building,” to recall Foster’s famous dictum?51 Furthermore, Benjamin’s argument that after the loss of aura the work of art seized every opportunity to release its exhibitionist value illustrates the possibility of yet another kind of dialogue between machine and image. I am reminded of one of the recent works of Zahah Hadid, where abstraction attains a level of sublimation similar to the double-edged commodity fetishism mentioned earlier in Hamilton’s work, and more strikingly illustrated in Hamilton’s painting “Hers is a Lush Situation” (1958).52 This analogy, which draws on Benjamin’s coupling of technique with crisis, is useful. It sheds critical light on the spectacle permeating Hadid’s most recent projects, the

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aesthetic of which comes from “lush visual pleasure”53 supported by the available digital techniques of reproducibility. The back-and-forth historicization I have pursued here raises the following questions: first, has not architecture today reached the point wherein exhibitionist aesthetic sensibilities are also embraced by digital techniques? And second, should not this transformation be taken as the crisis of architecture today? Either way, we ought to consider architecture as a historical precedent to film in terms of their shared collective reception, and the fact that, as with film, architecture is never comprehended in its formal and spatial totality. Similar to a film, architecture is experienced through circulation (movement) that keeps the elements of internal spatial composition apart from each other. This is convincing if read in conjunction with Hans Meyer’s primary assumption that “architecture was part of a system of production, reproduction, and societal consumption.”54 There are of course differences between filmic and architectural experience: reflecting on the genealogy of text and image, Walter Benjamin wrote, “The newspaper is read more in the vertical than in the horizontal plane, while film and advertisement force the printed word entirely into the dictatorial perpendicular.”55 One is reminded of Le Corbusier’s “Poem of the Right Angle”, with this difference: as part of the “dictatorial perpendicular” of film, the spectator remains passive watching the screen’s flat and blank surface. By contrast, as Le Corbusier wrote, in architecture the viewer is “standing on the ground,” with eyes monitoring both the visual and tactile horizons of architectural space; “there you are on your feet” and “fit for action.”56 What is missing in contemporary criticism, which subjects architecture to all sorts of textual or formal theories, is this expanded scope of architectural operation. What should be further highlighted is that architecture today is totally merged with the production and consumption cycles of capitalism, in terms of both construction and aesthetics. The proliferation of parametric design has shifted architects’ attention from the tectonic of the final product to the surface and sculptural forms, two tropes central to the formation of Brutalism. Dwelling on the crisis of tectonics and scale, Antoine Picon, for one, maps the vicissitudes of design panorama (architecture and the city) as it unfolds in the age of digital reproducibility.57 He sees an opportunity in the current technological shift to subvert the system from within. However, although his discussion of the historical connectivity between tectonics, memory, and history is convincing, Picon fails to demonstrate the political economy of the present interest in surface and the aesthetic of the spectacular beyond explanatory notes, most of which are focused on the operative scope of digital techniques. What ought to be discussed, instead, is the specificity of surface in contemporary architecture, and how it differs from the tactile sensibilities of Brutalism and modernism. For a better understanding of this situation, after rather a long detour, we need to restate the dialectics between expression and construction from

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a different angle. If we agree with Marx that human “anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape,”58 then it is not far-fetched to claim that a critical assessment of surface in parametric design allows us to understand the historicity of the architecture of Brutalism. The spectacle permeating cotemporary architecture is a late manifestation of the impact of technology on the general organization of production, and technology’s upward move from the domain of the technical to the cultural. Commodification of the life-world also means that technology overdetermines all factors involved in the production of surface. What is called 3-D printed building is a step towards the full optimization of material, technique and labour. The affinity between surface curvilinearity and digital techniques seems arbitrary, but this is not the case. According to Mario Carpo, unlike boxes, “objects with very complex geometrical shapes and free-form objects (such as potatoes, the continuous surfaces of which cannot be written down as a mathematical function) can only be produced at affordable costs using digital technologies.” He concludes that, therefore, “curves can express and even symbolize the formal possibilities of digital tectonics better than any other shape.”59 The logos of affordability is in fact archaic: mapping the etymology of the word organon and its renewal in some circles of modernists under the aphorism, “form follows function,” Joseph Rykwert writes that, “all forms of organic life require an envelope of protection greater than they can in fact support – and therefore the envelope is always stretched to the limits of its economic possibility – as is the sail billowing in the wind.”60 By extension, affordability is also an essential variable in the pair of technique-crisis. What these implicit economic considerations suggest is that Brutalism was the last straw for a capitalism that had to overcome a state of architecture that utilizes labour-intensive techniques, ushering in a sense of materiality and form, commodity form, that was timely – timely because the temporality implied in “postponement” alludes to the medical and theological origins of the concept of crisis explored by Koselleck. As a historical opening, Brutalism neither tried to cure the crisis caused by the demise of the International Style architecture, nor offered a unique and final architectural solution for the post-war retooling of capitalism. What Brutalism did introduce was a pause in the ongoing crisis central to modernization, which according to Koselleck has become “a permanent concept of ‘history.’”61

Brutalism in the expanded field There is another dimension to the delay implied in the title of this chapter. If we agree that parametricism charges surface with sculptural images, then the perception of heaviness permeating most of the architecture of Brutalism, I will posit, recodes architecture’s complex rapport with sculpture.62 Rosalind Krauss’ much discussed reflections on the “expanded field” introduce a crack in the disciplinary wall, the idea of autonomy formulated by Clement Greenberg.63 Her ideas were in recognition of the 1970s radical tendency to

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recode the particular in each artwork (sculpture more specifically) that was coded not only by classical but also by modern artistry. The fact that some artists like Robert Smithson and Richard Serra chose to transfer the site of their work from museum to landscape, referencing architecture’s deep rapport with landscape, was enough for Krauss to highlight the possibility of both “not-architecture” and “not-sculpture” diagrammatically. I am also reminded of Hegel’s seminal text on Aesthetics where he presents architecture as the symbolic stage in the artistic representation of the duality between Idea and Form. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to do justice to Hegel’s account of architecture’s rapport with sculpture. What should be noted, however, is his periodization of the architectural into symbolic, classical, and romantic. Of interest here is the association he makes between the Greek temple’s symbolism and its capacity to house the god in sculptural form. Only when the sculpture was removed from its enclosed space (interior), was architecture able to depart from its symbolic dimension and become building to serve a particular purpose. Hegel wrote that the medium of architecture is “purely external,” and that, depending on “whether this external object has its meaning within itself,” or outside of itself, we have symbolic form or classical respectively. Romantic art, on the other hand, “does use the external as a means of expression, but it withdraws into itself out of this external reality and therefore can leave the objective existent free to be shaped independently,” as is the case with Gothic forms.64 Through these categorical transformations, sculpture emerged as an accessory to architecture (ornament), charging the art of building with meaning that can be discussed and interpreted in terms of the form versus tectonics opposition. This rather simplistic and reductive account of the complex rapport between architecture, painting, and sculpture demands further attention. To this end, it is useful to remember that for Banham the index of Brutalism was not complete without listing Le Corbusier’s later work: the Chapel of Ronchamp, the Maison Jaoul, and the Unité d’habitation, all completed roughly around the mid-1950s. These works reconcile the tactile qualities of material with what is called “architectured landscape,” a compressed composition of objects (bodies) such as drinking glass, books, carafes, bottles, and other everyday still-life objects flourishing in Le Corbusier’s Purist paintings, 1918–25.65 Le Corbusier believed in the 1950s that “sculpture is about to join architecture,” a perception already informing his sculptural products. He wrote that the pilotis of the Marseilles apartment building “are sculptural works,” and the roofing “together with the landscape, is prodigious.”66 The implied perception of massing versus painterliness in Le Corbusier’s Purist work is evidenced in a watercolour prepared for Le Port de la Rochelle, 1920. Contrary to the classical notion of sculpture wherein an object sits on a pedestal, the objects depicted in Le Corbusier’s Purist painting are amplified by landscape, an indication of spatial three-dimensionality. Drawing from his Algiers sketches, the female bodies “attained the looked for degree of sculptural purity and constraint.”67

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In this sense, and recalling the rooftop of the Unité d’habitation, we can say that Le Corbusier depicted an “expanded field,” wherein a clear distinction between the clustered organic objects, landscape, and the sculptural perception implied in the whole work is almost impossible. In many ways, Le Corbusier’s contestation of Cubism opened a field of praxis to be pursued by artists and sculptors working during the 1970s. Examining the work exhibited in P. S. I (a former public school building in Long Island City), Krauss wrote, “In each of these works it is the building itself that is taken to be a message which can be presented but not coded. The ambition of the works is to capture the presence of the building, to find strategies to force it to surface into the field of the work.”68 Thus, to collapse the existing building (P.S.I.) into the field of sculpture or painting, artists used strategies such as “cutting” (Gordon Matta Clark), and “effacement” (Pozzi). In both cases, an attempt was made to deconstruct the academic differences between architecture, painting, and sculpture, inaugurating a different perceptual field for painting and sculpture. Architecture was relegated to the realm of building, serving a purpose beyond architecture. Dialectically, what the P. S. I. building did to an unprecedented degree was to return to architecture its “simultaneously materialist and cultural effect.”69 Interestingly enough, the idea expressed in Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art” essay, that architectural experience takes place in a state of distraction and in opposition to its touristic appropriation, is also suggested in Adolf Loos’ essay on architecture written in 1910. Loos confounded the relationship between architecture and sculpture, defining architecture through the following analogy: “If we were to come across a mound in the woods, six foot long by three foot wide, with the soil piled up in a pyramid, a sombre mood would come over us and a voice inside us would say, ‘There is someone buried here.’ That is architecture.”70 Having briefly established this rapport between architecture and sculpture, I would like to put forward my criticism of parametric architecture, looking back to brutalism one more time, and contrasting design with the perception of the sculptural in the architecture of Brutalism. The image of heaviness permeating most Brutalist architecture relates to the raw quality of materiality, concrete in particular. It also relates, as mentioned earlier, to the configuration of architectonic elements such as staircases, openings, and brise-soleil, all detailed to convey the overall sculptural quality of the building. The aesthetic of spectacle permeating parametric architecture, by contrast, presents an image that is detached from the materiality of its surface articulations and from its canonic massing. Accordingly, the Hegelian distinction between architecture and sculpture evaporates and architecture turns into ornament par excellence. The dialogical rapport between image and materiality pursued throughout this chapter recalls Banham’s juxtaposition of aesthetics with ethics and their allusion to the idea of work. Today most fundamentals of construction – land, labour, and technique – are commodified before arriving at the construction site. This unfolding is

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part of the process of the abstraction of labour-time wherein time is divided into “discrete, comparable temporal units [so] that commodities become commensurable.” This abstraction, Razmig Keucheyan writes, “creates a power structure specific to capitalism. Whose effects have hitherto been underestimated.”71 Still, within the present dialogical rapport between the global and the local, materiality has attained image qualities that have no rapport with place. Having lost the definite touch of skilled craftspeople at work during the dawn of mechanical processes of reproduction, materials today are re-produced to fit the global culture of spectacle. In most of sculpted-looking parametric design, the digitally reproduced and cut concrete panels has changed the balance between ethic/aesthetic that Brutalism thrived on. There is another dimension to this image driven architecture: as a result of globalization, places have become more alike. Like commodities, architecture as such too is circulated around the globe. And yet, in search of new domains of exploitation, capital seeks localities to highlight difference. Adrian Forty writes; “what better way of evoking difference could there be than to be able to point to distinctive ‘national’ characters in this otherwise global medium.”72 However, it is important to remember that the aspiration for national identity and subjectivity, a recurring theme since the 1920s, and more so during the post-war years, is indeed part of the bourgeoisie’s nostalgia for historical identity, and Romanticism’s critique of technology whenever the confrontation with global capital is sharpened. Still, a humanitarian approach to history was expected to “provide spiritual salvation from the daily experience of alienation resulting from the dynamic reconstruction of post-war capitalism.”73 In the present age of digital reproducibility, we can posit that the overpowering stature of image has turned out to be detrimental for the visibility of labour and material, to the point that architecture has internalized the very “look” permeating the fetishism of commodities.74 It is in the context of this development that we should conclude that the architecture of New Brutalism, as discussed throughout this chapter, was able to suspend the linear progression of time, providing architecture with “running-room,” a unique experience considering the historicity of contemporary architecture. It also attests to Banham’s failed project in wanting to reinvent post-war architecture in the image of technology, while disregarding the historicity of modern architecture’s alliance with technology.

Notes 1 Reinhart Koselleck reaches the implied vagueness in his conclusive account of the etymological and historical examination of the term as the symptom of an ongoing historical crisis that, according to him, “cannot as yet be fully gauged.” Reinhart Koselleck, “Crisis,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 67/2 (April 2006): 357–400. 2 For various philosophical discussion of the concept of crisis, including Max Weber, see John E. Grumley, History and Totality: Radical Historicism from Hegel to Foucault (London: Routledge, 1989), 83–96.

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3 Marco Biraghi, Project of Crisis: Manfredo Tafuri and Contemporary Architecture (Cambridge. MA: The MIT Press, 2013), 21. 4 Reyner Banham, The New Brutalism: Ethics or Aesthetics (London: The Architectural Press, 1966), 12–15. The main theoretical content of the book was first published in the December issue of Architectural Review, 1955. 5 For the third theme, consider Peggy Deamer, Architecture and Capitalism 1845 to the Present (London: Routledge, 2013); for the first two themes consider this author’s Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique (London: Ashgate, 2012). Also see Gevork Hartoonian (ed.), Global Perspectives on Critical Architecture: Praxis Reloaded (London: Ashgate, 2015). 6 Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in Hannah Arendt (ed.), Illuminations (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 217– 252. 7 Kojin Karatani, The Structure of World History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 201. 8 Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings Volume 3, 1935–1938 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), 101–133. Here, I am following the second version of “The Work of Art” essay. Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Technological Reproducibility,” Illuminations, trans. H. Zohn (New York: Schocken, 1969), 102. 9 Gevork Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique (London: Ashgate, 2012). 10 For a comprehensive analysis of these issues, see Stanley Mathews, From Agit-Prop to Free Space: The Architecture of Cedric Price (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007). 11 I draw the reader’s attention to the series of the journal of Architectural Review published in the 1960s and edited by Reyner Banham, starting with “Architecture After 1960,” Architectural Review, 427–755 (January 1960). 12 Reyner Banham, “Stocktaking,” Architectural Review, 127/759 (February 1960): 98. 13 Reyner Banham, The New Brutalism, 1966, 12–15. 14 Kenneth Frampton, “The English Crucible,” in CIAM Team 10, The English Context, ed. D’ Laine Camp, Dirk van den Heuvel and Gijs de Waal (Delft: TU Delft, 2002), 116. 15 Banham, The New Brutalism (1966), 16. 16 Reyner Banham, “This is Tomorrow,” Architectural Review 120 (September 1956). 17 From the Smithsons’ manifesto, first published in January 1955, here taken from Banham, The New Brutalism (1966), 46. 18 See Lauren Stalder, “New Brutalism, Topology, and Image: Some Remarks on the Architectural Debates in England Around 1950,” The Journal of Architecture 13/3 (June 2008): 263–281. I am using the notion of “image-making” as discussed in Hal Foster. See footnote 51 below. 19 Hal Foster, The First Pop Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), 25. 20 Banham, “Stocktaking” (February 1960): 93. 21 Kenneth Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1996), 360. 22 Amanda Reeser Lawrence, James Stirling: Revisionary Modernist (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 41. 23 Kenneth Frampton, “Transformations in Style: The Work of James Stirling,” A+U 50 (1975): 135. 24 On this subject see Stalder, “New Brutalism” (June 2008). 25 Anthony Vidler, “Another Brick in the Wall,” October 135 (Spring 2011): 117.

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26 Reyner Banham, “Stocktaking” (February 1960): 99. 27 Quoted in Roberto Gargiani and Anna Rosellini, Le Corbusier, Béton Brut and Ineffable Space, 1940–1965 (Lausanne: EPFL Press, 2012), 43. 28 For my take on materiality, see Gevork Hartoonian, “Materiality Matters – If Only for the Look of It!,” in Sandra Karina Loschke (ed.), Materiality and Architecture (London: Routledge, 2016), 59–78. 29 Jean-Louis Cohen and G. Martin Moeller, ed. Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006), 37. 30 Banham, “Stocktaking” (February 1960): 100. 31 Stalder, “New Brutalism” (June 2008), 268. 32 Banham, The New Brutalism (1966), 134. 33 Banham, The New Brutalism (1966), 47. 34 Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Louis Kahn’s Situated Modernism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), 77. 35 Banham, The New Brutalism (1966), 44. 36 This is Dan Smith reflecting on H. G. Wells’ 1985 novel The Time Machine. See Dan Smith, Traces of Modernity (London: Zero Books, 2012), 83. 37 See Roberto Gariani’s brilliant observations in Louis I. Kahn: Exposed Concrete and Hollow Stones 1949–1959 (London: Routledge, 2014). 38 Owen Hatherley, Militant Modernism (London: Zero Books, 2008), 26. 39 Hatherley, Militant Modernism (2008), 30. 40 E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1960), Part III in particular. 41 Anthony Vidler, Histories of the Immediate Past (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008), 137. 42 Banham, The New Brutalism (1966). 43 Richard Llewelyn-Davies, “Human Science”, Architectural Review, 127/757 (March 1960): 189. 44 Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, M.D. Hottinger (trans). (New York: Dover, 1950). 45 Anthony Vidler, “Smooth and Rough: Tactile Brutalism,” in Lain Borden, Murray Fraser and Barbara Penner (eds), Forty Ways to Think About Architecture: Architectural History and Theory Today (London: John Wiley, 2014), 47. 46 Antonio Negri, The Porcelain Workshop (London: Semiotext(e), 2008), 25. 47 Negri, The Porcelain Workshop (2008), 94. 48 Walter Benjamin, “Small History of Photography,” in Esther Leslie (ed.), On Photography (London: Reaktion Books, 2015), 53–106. 49 Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings Volume 3 (2002), 117. 50 Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art,” (1969), 239. Rosemarie Haag Bletter reminds us that Adolf Behne’s discussion in “Das reproduktive Zeitalter” (The Reproductive Era) prefigures Benjamin’s thesis “about the effect of mass-produced images on art.” The association was first noted by Arn Bohm in an essay published in The Germanic Review 68/4 (1993): 146–55. See Bletter’s “Introduction” to Adolf Behne’s The Modern Functional Building (Santa Monica, CA: The Getty Research Institute for History of Art and the Humanities, 1996), 5. 51 Hal Foster, “Image Building,” Artforum International, 43/2 (October 2004): 270–273, 310–311. 52 Hal Foster associates the suggested double fetishism in Hamilton’s “Hers Is a Lush Situation” with Marcel Duchamp’s “The Large Glass”, where the bride and the bachelor are separated. These two figures, according to Foster, are intermingled in Hamilton’s painting. Foster, The First Pop Age (2012), 30. 53 I am paraphrasing Richard Hamilton’s description of his painting, “AAH!,” replacing photographic effects with digital ones. Here is his statement: “When I began working on the panel, the subject became plainly erotic. Much of

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On brutalism hedonism comes from the lush visual pleasure that only photographic lenses can provide.” Quoted in Foster, The First Pop Age (2012), 44. This system, Bernardina Borra continues, “had an influence on individuals, just as the collective subject influenced the diagram that generated the project.” Bernardina Borra, “On Hannes Meyer,” in Pier Vittorio Aureli (ed.), The City as a Project (Berlin: Ruby Press, 2013), 276. Walter Benjamin, “One Way Street” (1928), in Selected Writing vol. 1, 456. Quoted in Le Corbusier, “Le Poème de l’Angle Droit”, Kenneth Hilton, trans. June 1989. http://designspeculum.com/POD/Le%20Poeme%20de%20 ’Angle%20Droit,%20redu.pdf Antoine Picon, Digital Culture in Architecture: An Introduction for the Design Professions (Basel: Birkhauser, 2010). Karl Marx, Outline of the Critique of Political Economy (Grundrisse), https:// www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm, viewed February 2, 2015. Mario Carpo, “Digital Style,” Log, 23 (Fall 2011): 48. Joseph Rykwert, “Organic and Mechanical,” Res 22 (Autumn 1992): 16. Koselleck,”Crisis” (April 2006): 371. For various reflections on this subject see Spyros Papapetros and Julian Rose (eds), Retracing the Expanded Field: Encounters Between Art and Architecture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2014). Also, Anthony Vidler, “Architecture’s Expanded Field,” Artforum International 42/8 (April 2004): 142–147. Rosalind Krauss, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” October 8 (spring 1979): 31–44. G. W. Friedrich Hegel, Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Arts vol II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975), 634. Danièle Pauly, “Rue Jacob: Landscape Drawn and Painted ‘In the Evening, by Lamplight’,” in Jean-Louis Cohen (ed.), Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscape (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2013), 228. Gargiani and Rosellini, Le Corbusier (2012), 45. Stanislaus van Moos, “Le Corbusier as Painter,” Oppositions, 19/20 (Winter/ Spring 1980): 91. van Moos also reminds us that Le Corbusier desired to “design a city as a sculpture” seen from outer space. Rosalind Krauss, “Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America Part 2,” October, 4 (Autumn, 1977): 58–67. Sylvia Lavin, “Responses,” in Papapetros and Rose (eds), Retracing the Expanded Field (2014), 216–218. Adolf Loos, “Architecture,” in The Architecture of Adolf Loos, Wilfried Wang (trans.) (London: Art Council of Great Britain, 1985), 104–109. Razmig Keucheyan, The Left Hemisphere: Mapping Critical Theory Today (London: Verso Books, 2013), 65. Adrian Forty, Concrete and Culture, (London: Reaktion Books, 2012), 142. Central to Forty’s observation is David Harvey’s The Condition of Postmodernity (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1990), 295–6. On this subject see Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Formalism and Historicity: Models and Methods in Twentieth-Century Art (Cambridge. MA: The MIT Press, 2015), 151–156. Hartoonian, Materiality and Architecture (2016), 59–78.

8

On architecture and capitalism The tale of three frames

Prelude Architecture, among other cultural products, has always been associated with the given “order of things,” to recall Michel Foucault. Architecture’s rapport with various institutions and industries runs through a complex web of networks, which in the contemporary discourse of Marxism is discussed in terms of architectural ideology. What this means is that most theorization of architecture fails to demonstrate or critically attend to that which looks like the natural in architecture. The overwhelming presence of the aesthetic of commodity fetishism in contemporary architecture, for example, is often taken for expressionism and is critically unpacked in reference to the permeation of image in digital architecture.1 The tendency toward “expressionism,” however, has a long history in Western artistic discourses. Expressionism has been regularly hailed for its untold allusions to the bourgeois notion of individualism and humanism’s praise for the genius artist. Presenting a critical reading of Italian post-war painting, Jaleh Mansoor demonstrates the role American abstract expressionism played in sustaining American political, economic, and cultural influences during the Marshall Plan years.2 But there is more to digital expressionism: since 1927 expressionism in art and architecture has been seen as an alternative to a perception of objectivity, the formal and aesthetic of which was nurtured by the look and performance of the machine. If there was an iconic dimension to the neue Sachlichkeit, digitally reproduced architecture has seemingly closed the gap between object and subject, leaving no room for any kind of mediation. That said, related to digital expressionism is a desire for a subjectivity that is informed by the experience of time foreshadowed by the dissemination of information and capital on a global scale, a subject discussed in the next chapter. Related to the subject of expressionism is also the long history of periodization and its codification under the rubric of style, as discussed in Chapter 3. Before the formation of style discourse – itself a by-product of a linear vision of history – that which looked natural in architecture was investigated in reference to the two themes of origin and type.

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The relationship between origin and type in modern times is indeed an interesting subject. In hindsight, we can posit that the eighteenth century was pivotal for the critical dissemination of the idea of architectural ideology. Through the discourse of Cuvier and others, typological studies coincided with a scientific and analytical understanding of nature and the raison d’être of nature’s products, in particular as far as their form and structure were concerned. A definitive discourse of type and origin, however, emerged through volumes written by Quatremère de Quincy (1755–1849), MarcAntoine Laugier (1713–1769), and J. N. L Durand (1760–1834).3 It is not my intention here to discuss these authors’ theoretical contributions in any depth. Suffice it to say that Quincy’s theorization of the differences between type and model was an arrow to the heart of classical theories of imitation. Laugier’s An Essay on Architecture (1753), on the other hand, supported the idea of the hut as the origin of architecture. His was a weak view of the eighteenth century’s turn to the rationalistic interpretation of type trumpeted by Durand. It was weak because, unlike the Vitruvian discourse on the origin of architecture, Laugier’s hut was imbued with the Kantian notion of autonomy. The image depicted on the cover page of his book disseminated the rationalist’s perception of edifice, narrowed to its basic elements: four tree-trunks (columns) supporting a roof with no detailing that would in any way re-present aspects of the life-world. At the expense of brushing aside the excess, Laugier grafted the idea of origin onto the discursive formation of type. Interestingly enough, a diachronic juxtaposition of the wooden hut (frame), seen as functional necessity, with stone architecture seen as representational appeared in the fifteenth-century depictions of Adoration of the Magi. In these drawings, the hut is “reproposed in order to stabilize the idea of an origin point and to reaffirm that the new constructions, despite their apparent novelty, retained ancient identities.”4 In the implied collapse of type into the hut, something happens that has historiographical significance. In the rest of the chapter, I want take this idea of two nontemporal juxtaposed images, which can be associated with Aldo Rossi’s discourse on “analogical architecture,” and posit a Semperian reading of the essentiality of the frame even today as architecture tries to accommodate the move from mechanical to digital reproducibility. To make the ideological operation of architecture in capitalism clearer, it is useful to recall Rossi’s suggestion that the three monuments depicted in Canaletto’s view of Venice “constitute an analogue of the real Venice.”5 Here, the idea of type is presented as a simple form composed of basic elements, whose structure, though diffused throughout historical transformation, still has the potential to be associated with the collective dimension of Venice. The collective emerges, Rossi continues, not through image, but through the silent “repetition of objects themselves.” The compulsion to repeat, he wrote on another occasion, “may manifest a lack of hope, but it seems to me that to continue to make the same thing over and over in order to arrive at different

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results is more than an exercise; it is the unique freedom to discover.”6 The search for the “new” is thus suspended and presented “as a catastrophic moment in which time takes things back.”7 We are also reminded of Adolf Loos, who discouraged architects from designing a new chair while seating habits had not changed, and Mies’ American period, when he repeatedly used a single frame structure for various purposes, from a house to a national gallery. For these two architects, and for Rossi as well, history becomes analogous to a “skeleton,” which, according to Peter Eisenman, “serves as a measure of time, and in return, is measured by time.”8 My claim is that in modernity the frame structures various components of building and regulates architecture’s complex rapport with capitalism. The frame is indeed the collective in architecture, alluding to the ways that capitalism sustains its hold on architecture aesthetically, meaning that construction is not merely a technical issue, but the skeleton for producing a cultural artefact. Such is the role that frame has repeatedly played since the inception of modernity. Having established the above analogical association between history and skeleton, we can now introduce Gottfried Semper’s anthropological examination of the Caribbean hut as an analogue for the critical exposition of architecture’s complex rapport with capitalism (Figure 3.2). Central to the claim made here is that Semper contemplated the Caribbean hut in analogy to the Crystal Palace where it was displayed. Instead of reading the Caribbean hut as a type, the originality of which is sustained through a process of successive substitutions, an analogical consideration demands recalling Bramante’s intervention in St. Peter’s in Rome. Both Bramante and Raphael after him turned “the scene of Nativity into a visualization of the history of architecture” with no rupture, but an anomaly: in their drawings, the depicted Doric structure “mediates between the advanced stone architecture and the hut.”9 In order to protect the three parts of the old basilica – the tomb of Peter, the altar over it, and the ancient apse – the tegurio Bramante proposed functioned as a place of “communication between the ample and advanced architecture of the current church and its primitive and sacred origins.”10 Such an analogical rapport between container and contained, between an advanced structure and a primitive one, underpins my reading of Semper’s take on the displayed hut. In this line of consideration, the exposed structural elements of Joseph Paxton’s building neither resembled the classical orders, nor had anything to do with the Albertian consideration of the column as ornament. The building rather exhibited the element of column as part of the structural frame, dissimilar to the column’s use in the work of engineering. This difference is another aspect of the earlier suggested collapse of type into the hut. It is well known that Semper presented a materialist reading of the displayed Caribbean structure – materialist in the sense that he not only recognized the structure’s four elements, but also associated each of them with motifs found in the products of four industries, which, interestingly enough, were each trying to modify their production processes according to

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the exigencies of the emerging capitalism.11 This is not to make a symbolic rapport between the Crystal Palace and the hut. On the contrary, I am suggesting that Semper’s reading of the displayed hut destabilized the Crystal Palace as a spatial institution of the rising industrial bourgeoisie. To further emphasize the significance of Semper’s theory of architecture, especially with regard to contemporary architecture’s obsession with surface, I will take Semper’s discourse on skin and frame, and formulate a constructive critique of contemporary architecture in general, and the tendency to dress architecture anew in the light of the digital zeitgeist in particular. The theoretical contribution of the proposed diachronic reading of the architecture of analogy is twofold: first, the concept of analogy disrupts the process of mimesis, allowing a historiographical construction where continuity and rupture do not exclude each other.12 Second, it also allows to critique the contemporary inclination toward the institutionalization of architecture centred on temporality. In the remainder of this chapter, I will further elaborate on Semper’s architectural theory and examine its implications for contemporary discourses on frame and skin. The intention is to show how the modifications taking place in the discussed three frame structures offer concrete material for understanding how capitalism tightens its grip on architecture. The agency of this operation, I will argue, is not merely technical; it also benefits from the ways that capitalism produces subjectivities that see architecture as naturally part of the aesthetic of spectacle experienced in every cultural domain. Whereas the idea of historical style was based on the conviction that a building “has to be seen to possess an overall style that is linked to a historical moment, to the circumstances of its fabrication,”13 in late capitalism the existence of such a correspondence is ideological and should be the focus of criticism.

Frame I During the last two decades, tectonics has turned out to be an overarching theme in various theorizations of architecture. What stands out in different interpretations of the subject is its relevance to contemporary architectural praxis.14 It is an extreme simplification to say that architecture today is different from any past period. Nevertheless, architecture continues to maintain a complex rapport with technique, aesthetics, and whatever we mean by the word culture; therefore, it should come as no surprise that tectonics is today discussed with reference to techniques that are definitive for the age of digital reproducibility.15 It is not my intention in this chapter to map the pros and cons of the tectonic. Rather, what I wish to demonstrate is the criticality of the triad of technique, aesthetics, and the cultural for the tectonics of frame and skin. My take on this subject is important because it aligns architecture with the broader context of the early processes of modernization as discussed by Alina Payne,16 and I want to extend the discussion to focus on how objects are transgressed to become part of contemporary culture.

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Prior to the contemporary surge of interest in tectonics, the subject was usually discussed in the context of nineteenth-century art history. A breakaway from this convention of historiography took place when a number of doctoral dissertations successfully shifted the focus of investigation from history to Semper’s architectural theory.17 These manuscripts foreshadow a number of issues that are critical for an in-depth understanding of the historicity of Semper’s discourse. They also foreshadow the contemporary turn to tectonics. I will pursue this unfolding and its historical significance through three deconstructivist alignments, which together frame the core of Semper’s theoretical contribution. These strategic alignments connect (1) architecture with Kunstindustrie, (2) ornament with detailing, and (3) style with primitive motifs. One theoretical consequence of this proposition is to distance architecture from the traditions of art history; another is to dismantle the humanist discourse on the origin of architecture. Semper’s theorization of architecture opened different vistas into nineteenth century architectural discourses. I will argue that, unlike the humanist and Romanticist aspiration toward the revival of Greek or Gothic styles, and the Arts and Crafts’ tendency to dream of a labour organization similar to the Medieval Guild system, what has been mistakenly taken as materialist in Semper’s discourse rather anticipates the “weak thought” strategy discussed by Gianni Vattimo.18 Contrary to the nineteenth-century inclination toward either rejecting or resisting modernity, Semper’s tectonics posits a theoretical paradigm the central concern of which is to “save” the thematic of the architectural discipline. It does this by recoding the culture of building in the purview of the nihilism of technology – that is, “the already given and everyday, which is always historically qualified and culturally dense.”19 This is a historiographic project, one that insists on genealogies that align architecture with the production and consumption cycles of capitalism. Self-exiled in England, Semper was in a position to benefit from the positive fruits of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Central to this observation is the historical turn toward a design philosophy – the reformist movement – that wanted to break with the classical norms of symmetry and representation, two canons institutionalized through the historicist association of architecture with the body. Equally important for a critical understanding of Semper is his notion of labour and materiality, the architectonic implications of which are not reducible to the moralistic and metaphysical interpretations dear to Pugin and Ruskin.20 Obviously, labour, material, and technique are the primary ingredients of construction. However, unique to the nineteenth century is the proliferation of a consciousness of labour and technique that was not available before the advent of industrialization. To simplify a subject that demands extensive historical investigation, what needs to be recognized here is the historical opening instigated by modernization. In addition to other consequences, modernization allowed a number of German architects and thinkers, including Semper, to consider the origins of architecture differently. This difference, I would posit, is centred on the transgression

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of architectonic implications of craft into industry. What does this claim amount to? The major event taking place during Semper’s tenure in London was the opening of the Great Exhibition housed in Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, 1851. The fact that this building was erected in less than eleven months, and that it used iron and glass through a rudimentary prefabricated and mechanized construction system, further stirred the style debate that was already branching in different directions. From Pugin’s esteem for Gothic as the emblem of convenience, construction, and propriety, to Fergusson’s advocacy for the Italian style as “common sense,” and whatever else filled the gap between these two positions, Harry F. Mallgrave observes that “their ideological or stylistic preferences were often superficial to the main lines of their arguments.”21 What influenced Semper was Henry Cole’s theoretical line disseminated through the Journal of Design and Manufactures (1849). Central to Cole’s position was the need to establish a tight collaboration between the guild system and the needs of manufacturing firms. His aim was to tighten the gap between “appearance” and fabrication that was caused by the mechanization of labour.22 This idea was indeed in line with the London School of Design endorsed by Parliament in 1837. One consequence of this development was to shift the style debate away from borrowed historical idioms. What was instead emphasized was a host of design strategies aimed at accomplishing two things: first, to use ornament in a way that would counteract the degraded effects of machine manufacturing. This, according to Richard Redgrave, was only possible when “handicraft is entirely or partially the means of producing the ornament.”23 Second, and this is the inner contradiction of the reformist agenda,24 to create a balance between artisanship and machinery to the point where the final product would represent the country as a first-class competitor with other industrialized nations, economically and artistically. For Cole, “the problem of art and design was subject to an essentially industrial solution: the methods successfully used to manufacture cotton would be used to manufacture art.”25 If architecture was previously taught and practised in reference to its own history (the classical traditions) through the curriculum developed by Cole and Redgrave, the emerging concept of design inevitably aligned the artwork with industry. This, I would suggest, was in anticipation of the German Werkbund and the Bauhaus schools, two institutions subservient to the interests of the emerging industrial production system. One can extend the suggested alignment between design and technique to the contemporary situation, in which the digital is trying to limit the scope of design to the technical and yet expanding its consumption domain to the cultural level, the theatricalization evident in most contemporary architecture. Semper arrived in London in October 1850 when the construction of the Crystal Palace was not yet fully completed. Aside from his daily visits to the site of the new spectacle, and reading the pros and cons of the newly finished building, what stimulated Semper’s Der Stil, as I suggested above, was an

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analogical understanding of two unrelated structures, the Caribbean hut and the Crystal Palace inside which it was displayed. Again, following Rossi’s discourse,26 I would argue that what is involved in analogy is the notion of transgression rather than the theory of mimesis. I will go further and suggest that the subtitle of Semper’s manuscript does indeed draw analogical parallels between the technical arts and the tectonic arts. On the one hand, we are reminded of the four elements evidenced in the Caribbean hut: the element of roof (covering), the wall (the enclosure), the hearth (gathering), and the base (podium). On the other hand, we have Semper’s discussion of these elements in reference to four industries. What relates the Caribbean hut to the Crystal Palace are motifs (surface articulations, as we will see below) that draw from the ur-forms developed through the four industries. The origins of architecture thus cease to be associated with the body, or the translation of the wooden hut into stone architecture, an idea propagated by Karl Botticher.27 According to Joseph Rykwert, Semper was obsessed with the knot, a cultural artefact which for Semper represented the first detail produced throughout the long history of civilization. Considering his own obsession with making analogies between the body and architecture, Rykwert goes further, saying that what intrigued Semper was “the body in motion that he would have wanted to contemplate.”28 I would like to take Rykwert’s observation and, first, remind the reader of my own discourse on the tectonic of theatricality. Second, I would like to improve this notion of theatricality in analogy to the figure of the knot. What is involved in the idea of theatricality is the necessary disjunction between the constructed form and the artform, the appearance of cladding. What this means is that architecture is construction plus something else. Considered artistically, the implied excess is embellished in reference to the physical body of the building, as is the case with the mask and the face behind. However, the implied duality should not be taken literally. Rather, it should be channelled through image, representation; whether the mask denotes happiness or sadness, either way it is always experienced in reference to the topology of the face. The gestural nature of the tectonic of theatricality can be better understood in analogy to the knot generated out of a twisted rope. Therefore, the analogy I made earlier between the Caribbean hut and the Crystal Palace correlates to the analogy I would like to make between the knot and the tectonic of theatricality. This proposition illuminates Semper’s discourse on surface as the architectonic element mediating between construction and ornament:29 from rope to knot, and from material to materiality and detailing. Now, as evidenced in numerous review reports written in the aftermath of the Great Exhibition, there was a sense at the time that the entire business of “design” ought to be reconsidered. Following Redgrave’s report, most nineteenth-century architects and critics turned their attention to the relationship between ornament and construction.30 The principle that design

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should follow, Redgrave argued, is to ornament construction rather than constructing the ornament; this was in criticism of most objects displayed in the Exhibition. His observation also prompted a different notion of style, one that was concerned with the artistic (aesthetic?) dimension of the work. Learning from the applied arts, it was obvious that the design of a vase, to remain with Semper’s example, should first follow its purpose, and then be ornamented accordingly. It was also suggested that a carpet “should express flatness,” without ornaments that would discourage one from treading upon it.31 This interest in purpose (function) rather than unnecessary decoration was indeed the core of Semper’s materialism. In his London lecture, Semper underlined the fact that he was more convinced than ever that “the history of Architecture begins with the history of practical arts, and that the laws of beauty and style in Architecture have their paragons in those which concern industrial art.”32 According to Semper, what architects should learn, in addition to the idea of purposefulness evident in the form of a vase, is the aesthetic significance that charges the surface. The comparison Semper makes between the Egyptian and the Greek vase, for example, is not only centred on their formal differences, but more importantly, on how the surface articulation (ornament) of each is conceived in reference to its purpose. These early aesthetic and artistic motifs, first achieved in industrial arts, were then transplanted into architecture. Again, Semper reminds his reader that the decorative motifs used in wall surfaces were originally developed in tapestry, and then used in mosaic. In most of Henry Sullivan’s buildings – an architect who was likely familiar with Semper’s theory, and whom we will get back to shortly – the brick cladding follows the embroidery developed at the edges of carpets, and/or ceramics. Also noteworthy is Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of “textile” concrete blocks in the Alice Millard House (1923). Upon completion of the building, he referred to himself a “weaver.” According to Kenneth Frampton, Wright considered “his conception of the textile block as an all-enveloping woven membrane.”33 Semper’s historico-theoretical argument endorses the idea that the artistic experience emanating from textile and knot is the progenitor of the surface aesthetics emulated in architecture. Thus, the tectonic task is to establish cohesion between purpose, construction, and ornament as expressed in the final form, and contemplated through its surface articulation. To elaborate on what has been said so far, I need to further emphasize the idea of surface embellishment as discussed in Semper’s theory of cladding. My intention is to throw critical light on contemporary architects’ turn to “surface,” which, more often than not, is legitimized as part of the zeitgeist of the present digital age. Recalling Semper’s theory of Bekleidung, Adolf Loos suggested that the first task of the architect is to put four carpets up. He then said the obvious: that the carpets cannot stand erect by themselves. The second task of the architect, he continued, is to think of a framework that will support the four carpets. If style is not to be reduced to preconceived images of historical forms, then, how does the structural attain surface expression?

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More importantly, in what ways does the suggested Loosian skin and bone precede and differ from the contemporary interest in surface? Central to Semper’s discourse on the tectonic is the organic balance between the forces of gravity and the substance of material. It is true, Semper claims, that most styles are based upon “sound principles of statics and construction.” However, it is only the Greek temple that seems to have “grown” organically. Therefore, what lies behind the beauty of a Greek temple is not applied ornaments or unnecessary accessories; it is rather material constructs and detailing that are animated aesthetically, similar to natural forms that are animated by their presumed organic life.34 Spyros Papapetros has recently taken up the subject of organic life, and explored its aesthetic implications throughout history. Recalling Semper and others, he wrote that animation “subsists on ‘exaggeration’ and hyperbole, as well as an increasing ‘abstraction’ from real life; it thrives in its denunciation of ‘frugality’ and celebrates the excess of imagination and its luxurious use of visual means.”35 I would go further and suggest that animation is also at work in both the figure of the knot, and in the classical orders, the aesthetic of which was achieved through surface articulation of the material, stone in most cases. The twenty-four fluting used in the Ionic column, which runs out to a knife-edge, was easily scarred. Interestingly, the grooves inscribed on the surface of the same column were used, etymologically, in recollection of sounds reminiscent of the flute. Therefore, the aesthetics implied in tectonics is not merely a matter of putting materials together, but the end result of a process through which the constructed material is imaginatively animated. The tectonic of theatricality should be understood in terms of a surface articulation that aims to defy the material as such. This is achieved through the very act of fabrication, wherein the object is transformed into a meaningful cultural artefact – in other words, when the object of craft is transformed into an object of industry. There is another dimension to Semper’s discussion of the column. Much discussed in reference to the body, and considered the ornament par excellence by Leon Battista Alberti, the column for Semper was the ultimate tectonic analogue. I will conclude this chapter by briefly plotting the implications of the Semperian tectonics of column for contemporary architecture. But for now, I would like to recall Semper’s reflection on two of the earliest forms of column, the Egyptian and the Persian: whereas the Egyptian capital uses ornaments mostly drawn from the ladies’ hat, the Persian capital, by contrast, presents a higher stage of stylistic development. From the Semperian viewpoint “the higher stage” connotes an objective and subjective state that benefits from a level of technical and aesthetic sensibility that is more advanced than in the immediate past. According to Semper, the metal sheeting initially used to cover the wooden shaft of the Persian column was later discovered to be, in itself, capable of acting as the column. This transformation, I would suggest, helped to make it possible to transplant the form of the metal capital of the Persian column into the stone capitals of the

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Persepolis. This is what I meant earlier regarding Semper’s discussion of type as a built analogue. Interestingly enough, without mentioning the distinction, Quatremère de Quincy makes between type and model, Semper defines “type” as a primitive form (or ur-form) originally prescribed by necessity. Unique to ur-form is the cohesion it establishes between material, form, and the process of making, which basically involves tools and skills developed in conjunction with using each material. In its subsequent treatment, the original form (type) becomes “plastic or pictorial.” Semper reminds his reader of the processes through which doors were coated with bronze plates. These plates, similar to the cladding of the Persian column, were hollow and panelled, like the original wooden doors that were covered by metal plates. How does this transference (Semper coined the term Stoffwechsel) relate to contemporary skin and bone tectonics?

Frame II In his seminal essay entitled “Chicago Frame,” Colin Rowe underlines the universal nature of frame, comparing it to the role column played in classical architecture. According to Rowe, the frame has so “become architecture, that contemporary architecture is almost inconceivable in its absence.”36 Consistent in most of the tall buildings of Chicago, to stay with his text, is the presence of the classical notion of façade, a frontal surface embellished with familiar idioms to please the spectator’s aesthetic expectations. This phenomenon, framed-surface articulation, prevails in most of Henry Sullivan’s tall buildings built in Chicago (Carson Pirie Scott Co Building, 1899), St Louis (Wainwright Building, 1891, New York City (BayardCondit Building, 1897, and Buffalo (Guaranty Building, 1896). In all these buildings, the frame underpins the façade’s surface articulation, assuring the continuity of the aesthetic norms of humanism. However, what happens between Chicago Auditorium Building and Carson Pirie Scott is that the rapport between surface and the vertical and horizontal dictums of the frame structure shifts towards the over-domination of frame in the latter project. In this mutation, the Wainwright building is a pivotal case. According to Alan Colquhoun, the surface cladding of Wainwright anticipates Mies’ Seagram building. On another occasion, I have extensively demonstrated the differences between these two buildings with reference to their spatial and planimetric organizations.37 Colquhoun fails, Daniel Sherer writes, “to distinguish between the disparate normative values assumed by the classical and industrial idioms in the Chicago context.”38 Of the sources important for the rise of the Chicago industrial idioms, Louis Sullivan wrote, “The tall commercial building arose from the pressure of land prices, the land prices from the pressure of population, the pressure of population from external pressures.”39 However, as far as tectonics is concerned, the Miesian curtain wall departs from the classical notion of façade, weaving it into the frame

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Figure 8.1 Henry Sullivan, Wainwright Building, St. Louis, MO, USA, 1891 (photograph by the author)

Figure 8.2 Henry Sullivan, Bayard-Condit Co Building, Manhattan, New York, USA 1897 (photograph by the author)

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structure. In the Seagram building, the idea of frontality is discarded and the envelope looks like it is wrapping the building’s structural volume. A different relationship between surface and frame prevails in Frank Lloyd Wright’s St. Mark’s Tower, 1929, to provide a different tectonic articulation of skin and frame. Similar to the branches of a tree, the tower’s four volumes project outward along four walls that intersect at the central concrete core column. The strategy seems, Rowe writes, to “derive from the ‘organic’ demand for the integration of space and structure; and, as fulfilling this demand, the building becomes a single, complete, and self-explanatory utterance.”40 If we follow Rowe’s reading, then, Wright’s organic integration of space and structure can be associated with the classical canon where the “meaning” of the edifice communicates with the spectator regardless of its structural system, and through its façade articulations. Furthermore, in St Mark’s Tower the Sullivanesque dialectics between surface and structure and the Miesian curtain-wall wrapping the volume give way to a sculpted massing. Tectonic or otherwise, the dialogical rapport between space and structure remains the central occupation of modern movement architecture. In the same article, Rowe recalls Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino frame, making a distinction between American architects’ use of frame and that of their

Figure 8.3 Frank Lloyd Wright, St. Mark’s Tower, New York, USA, 1929 (photograph by the author)

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European counterparts. In Chicago, he writes, “it might be said that the frame was convincing as fact rather than as idea,” as was the case with European architects in the 1920s. This difference also has to do with the financial capital’s intervention in the rebuilding after the Chicago fire of 1874. The new frame structure was fireproof, economic, and was an effective technique in the densification of the city. Also new was the establishment of a different organization among labour, capital and technique, which I would argue lasted until recently, and is superseded in the wake of the emerging global capitalism and parametric design. Paradoxically, what lies beneath most complex and digitally reproduced architecture in general, and tall buildings specifically, is the frame skeleton wrapped by various materials, the aesthetic of expressionism of which tallies with the spectacle permeating the cultural commodities of late capitalism. There are numerous cases in architecture today where Semper’s tectonic formulation of the relationship between cladding and frame is drastically modified. I will discuss this transformation in the context of spectacular globalization and the gridlock between architecture and capitalism later in this chapter.

Frame III In wrapping the frame of the Seagram Building, Mies was perhaps recollecting what he had already experimented with during his Berlin period. In a 1921 project called Glass Tower, a transparent glass curtain wraps the irregular geometry of a plan otherwise punctuated twice to house the design’s core service volumes. The wrapping nature of the glass curtain, reduced to look almost like a transparent cloth, is further emphasized by the absence of any sign of columns in the plan. Instead, the project’s columns are shown running through each floor slab in the volumetric image of the tower. Sigfried Giedion characterized this project as a “modern excursion into the realm of fantasy,”41 one that was already anticipated in the Reliance Building designed by Burnham and Root, 1894. However, the difference between these two buildings cannot be overstated when the plan and vertical images of these two projects are put next to each other. There is no direct or indirect trace of the frame structure (steel or concrete) in Mies’ visionary project. By contrast, while the cladding of the Reliance building does look like it is wrapping the volume, the regulating lines of its façade articulation follow the horizontal edges of the floor slab and the vertical traces of its column, a composition alien to Mies. In a recent review of Bernard Tschumi’s exhibition at the Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris, Anthony Vidler notes that the spatial and organizational consequences of Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino frame offer an appropriate point of departure for a critical understanding of the Five Points that Tschumi pursues in his architecture.42 What needs to be added to Vidler’s elaboration of the historical differences between these two architects’ work is the fact that the search for Objectivity was central to the formation of

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modern architecture. Critical to Tschumi’s architecture, by contrast, is a conceptual drive for objectivity that differs from the Bauhaus search for the neue Sachlichkeit, and from Le Corbusier’s Purism.43 These differences correspond to various modernist conceptualizations of the frame-structure system. What is left aside by both Rowe and Vidler is the singularity of Mies’ rapprochement to the frame.44 Consider Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion, designed in 1928, destroyed during the war and rebuilt in 1986. What makes Mies’ strategic approach to frame in this particular project different from an experimental project called the 50 × 50 House (1951), and other built projects the syntax of which culminated in the Berlin Neue Nationalgalerie (1968), is his unique interpretation of Semper’s tectonic theory. Many historians and critics, including this author,45 have written extensively about the Barcelona Pavilion before and after its contemporary reconstruction. In the successful portfolio of early modern movement architecture, Mies’ Pavilion is a path-breaking work. Centred on the tectonic rapport between column and wall, the design’s planimetric organization blends space, materiality, and circulation. This building is the best example for understanding Semper’s concept of the tectonic of theatricality: the idea that architecture is construction plus something else, or, to put it differently, that excess is what makes architecture different from building. The overall volumetric composition of the Pavilion might be taken for De Stijl’s sense of objectivity, a composition based on vertical and horizontal planes. This is true at the perceptual level, and is supported by the invisible position of the Pavilion’s frame structure, its eight columns with related steel beams. Neither from any one angle, nor moving along the interior space, does the spectator ever have the chance to see and contemplate the frame’s eight columns as a coherent structural system. The late Robin Evans wrote that Mies “was not just interested in the truth of construction, he was also interested in expressing the truth of construction.”46 What is therefore unique to the Miesian concept of frame is that it is articulated in relation to the element of roof and enclosure, wall and/or partition. Interestingly enough, Mies did further explore, almost to the point of exhaustion, the tectonic dialogue between column, roof, and glass-curtain membrane as he moved from the Barcelona Pavilion to his later projects. What happens along the way is that each major architectural element attains tectonic form: the glass curtain wall wraps the interior space, the roof hovers above, and the column supports the roof. At a perceptual level, however, by moving the column away from the corner, Mies deconstructed the conventional rapport between column and enclosure evident in most of Chicago’s tall buildings.47 And yet repeating the frame system first envisioned in the 50 × 50 House through numerous later projects, regardless of their scale and function, we can speculate that Mies had intuited the future formal and expressionistic possibilities implied in Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino frame. In hindsight, the concept of repetition (resistance) evident in Mies’ later work, turns our initial speculation into a historical observation; the playfulness permeating contemporary architecture.

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Frame less Central to Mies’ concept of frame is the tectonic rapport between the roof, the column and the enclosure. If we agree with the proposition that the nineteenth century’s obsessive search for style ultimately focused on the formulation of the language of steel and glass architecture, then Mies’ architecture, as I claimed in previous chapters, brought the early modernist interest in intertwining style with zeitgeist to a halt. The fact that this development coincided with various claims for the end of modernity and the beginning of postmodernism demands that we discuss the complex rapport between cultural and the developments taking place at the socio-economic and technological levels of post-war capitalism. For now, I would like to make the following observation: that which over-determines the architecture of both postmodernism and parametric design is the emergence of surface as an autonomous aesthetic entity. Nevertheless, beneath the postmodernist esteem for the simulation of historical forms are design strategies that most often abuse Le Corbusier’s conceptualization of the Dom-ino frame. The French architect’s idea of “free-façade,” for example, was meaningful only in reference to the other four points discussed in his Five Points of Architecture. Otherwise, the tendency to make the frontal façade a representational surface has a long history in the architecture of humanism. To continue this line of consideration, we should accept that parametric design has been successful in reversing the course of architecture that had been unfolding since the 1990s. However, with the emergence of biomorphic surfaces in most digitally reproduced architecture, gone is the aesthetic aspiration of humanism for frontality, and the Miesian tectonic formulation between the three elements of roof, enclosure, and frame. What makes the use of frame structure in parametric design different from its appropriation in modern and postmodern architecture is the weakening, if not the disappearance, of the line separating the roof from the wall. In turning the vertical posture of the wall into an organic and hyperbolic enclosure, the spatial configuration instigated by the grid of the frame structure is compromised, and the surface is enforced with its own structural system. Consider, for example, Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Baku. Using the most advanced computational system, the building demonstrates an undulating and soft-looking skin supported by a concrete structure combined with a space frame system. Furthermore, the surface geometry: fosters unconventional structural solutions such as the introduction of curved ‘”boot columns” to achieve peel of surface from the ground to the west of the building, and the “dovetail” tapering of the cantilever beams that support the building envelope to the east of the site.48 To ensure the design’s powerful plasticity (expressionism), and to cover various transitional zones, the architect uses different cladding materials

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Figure 8.4 Zahah Hadid, Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Baku, 2014 (image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects)

such as glass-fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) and glass-fibre reinforced polyester (GFRP). In the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, the frame structure is compromised with a composite construction system wherein the tectonic of skin and bone gives way to a rising and falling structural envelope. With this gesture, “the building blurs the conventional differentiation between architectural object and urban landscape, building envelope and urban plaza, figure and ground, interior and exterior.”49 The project’s delicate tectonic grounding of the earth-work and the frame work (to use a Semperian terminology), on the other hand, is a reminder of Jørn Utzon’s Opera House, Sydney, with this difference: Utzon’s original shell roof-work had to be edited and replaced later by a semi-ribbed frame and shell system. The architect’s tectonic articulation necessitated a construction system that would combine structural elements of steel, wood, and concrete. Instead of smothering material and structural differences, Utzon highlighted materiality, charging the work with a sophisticated joint-work, detailing evident from both the interior and the exterior of the building. By contrast, nothing demonstrates the atectonic quality of Hadid’s Heydar Alyev project better than the smooth undulating interior and exterior surfaces. Similar to the overwhelming presence of commodities in contemporary everyday life experience, the surface in Hadid’s project is seemingly conceived independent of its structure. In the interior of Heydar Alyev, detailing is disbanded at the expense of a white hollow, as if wrapping the spectator’s body.

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Figure 8.5 Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House, interior, Sydney, Australia, 1973 (photograph by the author)

Re-framing the frame My brief discussion of the proposed three orders of frame posits two interrelated issues: first, that, through modernization, technological transformation exerted significant pressure on architecture to expand its spatial and formal potentialities beyond those created using the masonry construction system. Second, that the progression of each discussed order demonstrates the tightening process of capitalism’s grip on architecture. What this means is that, in order to be part of the overall system of capitalism, in addition to accommodating the available labour, skills and techniques, architecture had no choice but to also accommodate the process of the commodification of culture enforced by global capitalism. While the iron beam, for example, was first tailored to be used in railroads, it was soon re-designed in the shape of the steel T-beam and column for the construction of bridges and exhibition halls, and was further modified to suit the construction process of architecture. No one can overestimate the perceptual, formal, and scale transformations architecture has gone through since the invention of the steel frame structure system. Consider the Crystal Palace, a unique structure capable of deconstructing the traditions of interior space, turning it into an exhibition arena filled with various products of the

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early industrial world. Interestingly enough, it took only half a century for the interior space depicted in a 1956 collage by Richard Hamilton, entitled “today’s home,” to become the real room that is nowadays packed with all kinds of consumer goods, a small exhibition space in its own right. These typological transformations had formal and aesthetic connotations as well. What should be underlined, however, is the way that techniques developed in industries extraneous to building distanced architecture from its craftbased traditions step by step, placing architecture in a complex network characteristic of the capitalist cycles of production and consumption. And yet, digitally reproduced architecture might not be the last blow to an architecture that was for so long coded either by masonry building techniques, or by the steel frame structural system. In spite of or because of this, it cannot be deniable that architecture today looks like standing firm in entirely new ways. Digital modalities of assembly, Stanford Kwinter writes, invoke “patterns of biological propagation and variation, as well as more architecturally familiar mechanical-tectonic principles and especially their limits.”50 Furthermore, most commodities, including architecture, are today subject to a knowledge that is more cognitive and less technical and skill-based.51 No wonder then that contemporary architects can design any form with minimal regard to the skills and techniques needed for its construction. This development was already suggested in Brunelleschi’s design of the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence (1419–36), when the design of the dome not only introduced a rift between design (desegno) and making, but also introduced the architect’s freedom to choose idioms of a different historicity in anticipation of the contemporary notion of the autonomy of architecture.52 Technically driven understanding of autonomy today is also one of the reasons why most architecture students who use digital software are able to generate interesting forms without knowing how to resolve issues related to the planimetric and sectional organizations of the project. Now, in addition to technological innovations, the crisis of modernity inaugurated fragmentation traceable in the subjective and objective aspects of the everyday life of cosmopolitan citizens. This fragmentation in turn, necessitated the formation of subjectivities that could get along and engage with an experience of temporality that changes speedily, even erratically at times. This last unfolding was an arrow to the heart of historicists’ attempts to sustain the myth of a one-to-one correspondence between style and the conditions of a given time.53 Thus, hard to grasp today is the belief that the zeitgeist of modernity could have generated a homogeneous language advocated by the early International Style architecture. Interestingly enough, in contemporary investigations of the nineteenth century’s technical, socioeconomic, and aesthetic unfolding, Semper’s architectural theory has drawn renewed attention.54 This interest has to do, among other things, with his discourse on style that is not articulated in reference to type or origin as two separate entities, noted earlier in this chapter. Even though Semper paid homage to Durand’s discourse on type, he took issue with the French

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architect on two accounts: first, that Durand’s audience were students of the École Polytechnique and not artists; and, second, that Durand aligned various types with each other in mechanical ways instead of “showing the organic laws by which they are connected together.”55 For Semper, style was the result of a mathematical equation made up of various coefficients,56 including variables such as place, climate, material, skill, and the state of given cultural sensibilities in general. These variables, contrary to the early modernist assumption, were not in synchrony with the dominant technical and aesthetic demands of the time. This observation goes well with the saying that “from the standpoint of production the diverse operation of capitalism’s processes demands a framework that recognizes a periodicity constituted by uneven temporalities.”57 Specifically, then, how does Semper’s theory of architecture contribute to a critical understanding of contemporary architecture’s entanglement with capitalism? The anachronism I have attributed to Semper’s theory of style is balanced with his emphasis on use, and purpose. Here is how he differentiated the Egyptian situla from the Greek hydria with reference to its use, which is to catch water from a running source, and to carry the vessel by bodily means: whereas the situla was shaped to catch water from the Nile and to be carried on yoke, the hydria’s shape, according to Semper, was suitable for collecting water from a fountain and carrying it on the head.58 Semper then provides a detailed explanation of the shape and decorative elements of each vessel. In the same text, Semper associates the situla with Egyptian institutions, the “first principle of which was stability.” These observations go well with Semper’s radical claim that motifs used in architecture were first originated in the four industries of textiles (enclosure), ceramics (the hearth), carpentry

Figure 8.6 Situla and hydria, Gottfried Semper, Der Stil, 1860 (image courtesy of Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (86-B18560))

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(the roof), and masonry (terrace making). Furthermore, claiming that the “laws of beauty and style” in architecture “have their paragons in those which concern industrial art,”59 Semper wanted to highlight the two variables that influence the formation of style the most. Again, we are reminded of those exigencies of the work that relate to external factors, the laws of nature and necessity, and how these influence the performance of the work. His is indeed nothing short of a modern theory of architecture, with the difference that for Semper stylistic motifs, surface embellishment in particular, were not absolute. They are rather recoded in reference to technical developments taking place in various industries as the process of industrialization moves from one state of reproducibility to another. This explicit tendency toward materialism is what makes Semper’s theory of architecture relevant to the conditions of architecture in global capitalism, and relevant to the agency of digital reproducibility, which demands thinking the variables internal to Semper’s theory anew. Central to my diachronic juxtaposition of a theoretical work developed during the nineteenth century with the contemporary situation of architecture is this: similar to industrial techniques, the digital will attain its full operative potentialities when its technical apparatus is internalized into the realm of culture, a phenomenon evidently in progress today. It is indeed because of the necessity for transplantation (ideology) that digital architecture calls upon surface as the architectonic element with most potential for recharging abstract aesthetics beyond purism, and, at the same time, shedding a different light on the idea of surface embellishment, the fulcrum of Semper’s architectural theory indeed. Furthermore, in weaving what has been (history) with what is (now-time), I expect that a different concept of time will prevail that is different from the linear paradigm that still over-dominates major contemporary historiographies of architecture. Therefore, “one must understand that in each historical object, all times encounter one another, collide, or base themselves plastically on one another, bifurcate, or even become entangled with one another.”60 My proposed diachronic approach to history is important at another level: it coincides with capital’s transgression of the nation-state boundaries in favour of global operation that, interestingly enough, is most effective in the dissemination of a compelling desire to consume fetishized commodities, including the current spectacularization of architecture.61 Having established these points of convergence between the past and present of modernity, I must point out that what remains problematic in Semper’s theorization of architecture is, paradoxically, of an aesthetic nature. Aware of the correspondence between beauty and style, Semper purposely avoided discussing aesthetics at a time when the body and historical types were brushed aside from the organic correspondence he established between the art-form and the core-form. Even though many architects have made associations between the culture of building and other artistic forms, the notion of aesthetics should be critically addressed today when culture is taken

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over by the spectacle of global capitalism. If Semper attempted to project a sense of organic continuity within the received culture, the situation since the post-war era has changed in favour of an industrially ready-made aesthetics, or image building, which debunks all typologies except those in direct relation to the demands of today’s global corporations. This development has many consequences, including the demise of state-sponsored social housing projects during the last several decades. Instead, capital investment is channelled mostly towards projects that serve the financial interest of corporate institutions, and with an eye to satisfying the prevailing consumer culture – a move from building museums to building sports arena and corporate tall buildings that blend luxurious condos with commercial functions as capital moves from one station of profit making to another. What then is the point of recalling Semper in the age of digital reproducibility? Obviously Semper was not an advocate of social housing, even though he helped the Austrian revolutionaries to build their barricades. What interests me, instead, are the aura, historical time, and Semper’s radical and deconstructivist theorization of architecture that allows us today to historicize contemporary architectural ideology at two interrelated levels. First, it has been shown that the advent of industrialization and the realization of the Crystal Palace, a spectacular venture of its time, present proper historical analogues for our contemporaneity that is marked by digital revolution; the globalization of the culture industry; and a move from the mechanical to the digital, and from state-bound capital to global corporate capitalism. Second, the Semperian decoding of the technical in the light of the cultural opens a critical vista through which criticism can demonstrate the ways that parametric design represents the aesthetic of spectacle as natural, and this in reference to the concept of theatricality central to Semper’s tectonic discourse. Call it “retrospective criticism,” this is a project of historiography that I have pursued implicitly and explicitly in this and other chapters of this book.

Notes 1 For the architectural implications of this development see Hal Foster, “Image Building,” Artforum International, 43/2 (October 2004): 270–273, 310–311. 2 Jaleh Mansoor, Marshall Plan Modernism: Abstraction and the Beginnings of Autonomia (Durham, NC: Duke University press, 2016). 3 For a classical text discussing these authors, see Joseph Rykwert, The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1983). 4 Alexander Nagel and Christopher S. Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (New York: Zone Books, 2010), 313. 5 Aldo Rossi, “An Analogical Architecture,” in Kate Nesbitt (ed), Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory, 1965–1995 (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 348. 6 Aldo Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1984), 54.

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7 Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography (1984), 16. 8 Peter Eisenman, “Introduction,” in Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1982), 5. 9 Nagel and Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (2010), 317. 10 Nagel and Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (2010), 314–315. Interestingly enough, the word tegurio comes from the Latin word for hut, tugurium, as used in Vitruvius’ famous passage on the origins of architecture. 11 For an extensive elaboration of this aspect of Semper see Gevork Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 12 I am benefiting from Manfredo Tafuri, Interpreting the Renaissance: Princes, Cities, Architects, Daniel Sherer (trans.) (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 12. 13 Nagel and Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (2010), 151. 14 Hartoonian, Ontology of Construction (1994), and Kenneth Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1995). 15 Among others, consider Bernard Cache, “Digital Semper,” in Cynthia Davidson, (ed.), Anymore (New York: Anymore Corporation, 2000); Neil Leach, D. Turnbull, and C. Williams (eds), Digital Tectonics (London: John Wiley and Sons, 2004); Antoine Picon, Digital Culture in Architecture (Basel: Birkhäuser, 2010) especially the chapter titled “From Tectonic to Ornament,” 115–170; Nanako Umemoto and Jesse Reiser, Atlas of Novel Tectonics (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006). For a comprehensive anthology of digital architecture see Mario Carpo (ed.), The Digital Turn in Architecture 1992–2012 (London: John Wiley & Sons, 2013). 16 Alina Payne, From Ornament to Object: Genealogies of Architectural Modernism (New Haven. CT: Yale University Press, 2012). 17 See, for example, James Duncan, “The Legacy of Gottfried Semper: Studies in Spathistorismus,” unpublished doctoral dissertation, Brown University, 1989, and Harry F. Mallgrave, “The Idea of Style: Gottfried Semper in London,” unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1983. 18 Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991). 19 Gianni Vattimo, “Dialectics, Difference, and Weak Thought,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 10/10 (1984): 160. 20 On the subject of materiality see Gevork Hartoonian, “Materiality Matters – If Only for the Look of It!,” in Sandra Karina Loschke (ed.), Materiality and Architecture (London: Routledge, 2016), 59–78. 21 Harry F. Mallgrave, The Idea of Style (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1983), 200. 22 Adrian Forty, Object of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750 (London: Thames & Hudson, 1986), 43. 23 Richard Redgrave quoted in Forty, Object of Desire (1986), 49. 24 As Adrian Forty reminds us, Karl Marx was the first to note this contradiction, and to map in Capital the three stages of the development of capitalist manufacturing. See Forty, Object of Desire 6 (1986), 43. 25 Igor Webb, “The Bradford Wool Exchange: Industrial Capitalism and the Popularity of Gothic,” Victorian Studies (Autumn 1976): 49. 26 Aldo Rossi, “Architecture and Urbanism,” in Kate Nesbitt (ed.), Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory 1965–1995 (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 348–352. 27 On the differences between Karl Botticher and Gottfried Semper, see Mitchell Schwartzer, German Architectural Theory and the Search for Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 28 Joseph Rykwert’s Preface to “Gottfried Semper, London Lecture of November 11, 1853,” Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, 6 (Fall 1983): 5.

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29 For a comprehensive literature review of the theme of ornament see Antoine Picon, Ornament (London: John Wiley and Sons, 2013). 30 Here I am following Mallgrave in The Idea of Style (1983), 218. 31 Mallgrave, The Idea of Style (1983), 217. 32 Gottfried Semper, “London Lecture of November 11, 1853,” Res: 6 (Fall 1983): 9. 33 Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture (1995), 109. 34 Semper, “London Lecture” (1983), 14–15. 35 Spyros Papapetros, On the Animation of the Organic (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 60 36 Colin Rowe, “Chicago Frame,” The Mathematics of Villa and Other Essays (Cambridge. MA: The MIT Press, 1982), 90. 37 Gevork Hartoonian, “Can the Tall Building Be Considered Artistically?” in R. Xing, R. Francis-Jones, D. van der Plaat, and L. Nield (eds), Skyplane (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2009), 96–102. 38 Daniel Sherer, “Fragments of the Modern,” Art Journal, 2/4 (Winter 2003): 108–110. 39 Louis H. Sullivan, The Autobiography of an Idea (New York: Press of the American Institute of Architects Inc., 1924), 310. 40 Rowe, The Mathematics of Villa (1982), 94. 41 Sigfried Giedion, Space, Time, and Architecture (New Haven, CT: Harvard University Press, 1976), 387. 42 Anthony Vidler, “After the Event,” The Architectural Review 236/1411 (Sep. 2014), 87. 43 See the chapter on Bernard Tschumi in Gevork Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle (London: Routledge, 2015). 44 Colin Rowe in the above cited references picks up this subject in two essays entitled “Neo-Classicism and Modern Architecture,” I, and II respectively, 119– 158. 45 Gevork Hartoonian. “Mies van der Rohe: The Genealogy of Column and Wall,” in Ontology of Construction (1993), 68–80. 46 Robin Evans, Translation from Drawing to Building and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1997), 239–240. 47 For further elaboration of these ideas see note 11 above. 48 http://www.archdaily.com/448774/heydar-aliyev-center-zaha-hadid-architects/ accessed, November 7, 2014. 49 See note 48. 50 Stanford Kwinter, “What Lies Beneath,” where the author reviews Cecil Balmond’s Solid Void exhibition. See http://archpaper.com/news/articles. asp?id=3183#.VFxJ1r75nww, accessed Noveber 7, 2014. 51 I am following Razmig Keucheyan’s summarization of Negri and Hardt’s notion of “cognitive capitalism.” See Razmig Keuchyan, The Left Hemisphere (London: Verso Books, 2013), 91–94. 52 Many historians have discussed this subject; here I am benefiting from Pier Vittorio Aurelie, “Do You Remember Counter Revolution: The Politics of Filippo Brunelleschi’s Syntactic Architecture,” AA Files, 71 (2016): 147–165. 53 On this subject see Mari Hvattum, “Crisis and Correspondence: Style in the Nineteenth Century,” Architectural Histories, 1/1 (2013): article 21. 54 In addition to the references provided earlier in note 9, also see Farshid Moussavi, The Function of Style (Cambridge. MA: Harvard University GSD, Actar Publisher, 2015), 12. 55 Semper, “London Lecture” (1983), 9. 56 Semper, “London Lecture” (1983), 11.

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57 Harry Harootunian, “Remembering the Historical Present,” Critical Inquiry 33/3 (Spring 2007): 485. 58 Gottfried Semper, Der Stil, Harry F. Mallgrave (trans.) (Los Angeles. CA: The Getty Research Institute, 2004), 468. 59 Semper, “London Lecture” (1983), 9–10. 60 Georges Didi-Huberman quoted in Keith Moxey, Visual Time: The Image in History (Durham. NC: Duke University Press, 2013), 61. 61 In this course of events, it is not far-fetched to see the historical move from the Kantian notion of pleasure as it relates to aesthetic experience to the Lacanian discourse on desire.

9

It’s time Historicism revisited

To have everything that is past without a prevailing voice as it were infinitely many-voiced is merely historicism Ernst Bloch 19321

Prelude In what ways can historiography contribute to contemporary architectural criticism? How should we approach history when it is impossible to see “how things really happened” in the past?2 For many, including Hegel,3 the past overshadows the present through its memory. From this point of view, the past survives as the “whispered promise of its present. … It must always be digestible as it has been pre-digested.”4 Paul Valéry saw the relationship between past and present differently; he wrote, “we go into the future facing backward.”5 Likewise, and in reference to a Paul Klee painting, Walter Benjamin envisioned the angel of history flying forward with its head turned backward. What concerns these two thinkers most is the problematic rapport between time and history. Whereas most historians follow a quantitative- and continuum-based concept of time with no radical bearing on the established discourses of historicism, Benjamin was one of the few who formulated the relation between present and past dialectically.6 The figure and posture of the angel, as represented in Benjamin’s famous essay,7 suggest a perception of time that is neither historicist nor futurist. Without denying the wind of progress, the angel looks backward staring at the rubble of history. In addition to demonstrating Benjamin’s particular take on historiography, the image alludes to time in a standstill situation; “a time of the now,” or Jetztzeit, which for Giorgio Agamben, “comprises the entire history of mankind in an enormous abridgement.”8 Benjamin’s understanding of time and history challenges both the Greek circular and modernist linear notions of time. For him, time moves like a line whose vector changes in response to exceptional historical events – revolutionary moments, for instance.

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In addition to memory, documents also play a significant role in shaping the present’s understanding of the past. Similar to a document, architecture too is a witness to the past. In a sense, both document and architecture stand as frozen temporalities that need to be critically unpacked independent of memory. To critically approach architecture, past and the present, means to suspend the temptation for stylistic periodization, the hallmark of historicism. It also means to consider architecture in the constellation of the past and present, a state of temporality that suspends historical distance, allowing the historian to see the image of the past in the present, a parallax that enables the historian to shed a different light on the architecture of present. This preliminary insight into “retrospective criticism” offers a framework for historiography. Starting with the following rather dense discussion of time and history, ending with a criticism of one of Zaha Hadid’s works, I expect to further elucidate the suggested framework in a retrospective state. Even when time was measured in reference to the cyclical movement of nature, historical transformations were indexed in reference to events that had collective incentives and/or consequences: sociopolitical and economic crises, natural disasters, and wars. The dialectics of past and present have taken a different turn since the Industrial Revolution, during which time technology emerged as the agency of history’s rapport with time. Historical time was thus differentiated from natural time, and the notion of process – already experienced in the making of artefacts – was considered essential for Western discourses on time. Even though history and time are intertwined and their dynamics have varied throughout the long duration of history, since the advent of mechanical reproducibility, and more so today because of the over-domination of techniques of digital reproducibility, the process experienced in production and communication has attained a level of intensity and ambiguity comparable to the permeability of whatever we mean by contemporaneity.9 What we do know is that contemporaneity differs from the classical, modern, and postmodern experiences of temporality. Today, the globalization of the capital and information industries has further intensified the dynamics of time and history to the point where geographic differences are seemingly nullified, if not vanished, at least in some regions of the world. The conventional association between style and place has weakened, and transformational incentives, aesthetic and/ or formal, have been handed to techniques of digital reproducibility. Still, contrary to the operative scope of the zeitgeist of modernism, which was mapped in reference to utopic ends, the contemporary dynamics of time are neither linear nor targeted at any particular destination. Similar to the idea of networks, the experience of time today is expansive and spreads in many directions. It covers as many territories as it tries to penetrate fields that were rarely touched by techniques identified with the early stages of modernization. One consequence of this development is the profusion of murky feelings about the notion of distance.10 Fredric Jameson writes that, if ours is the moment of global networking:

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the new space involves the suppression of distance (in the sense of Benjamin’s aura) and the relentless saturation of any remaining voids and empty spaces, to the point where the postmodern body… is now exposed to a perceptual barrage of immediacy from which all sheltering layers and intervening mediations have been removed.11 The expansionist operation of time has seemingly tossed the past into an orbit that does not comply with the historicity of the linear or cyclic discourses of time and history. Global contemporaneity, Peter Osborne writes, is “an accompaniment to the more abstract temporality of modernity, and a consequence of spatial expansion.”12 In spite of or because of the “critical” or non-critical theorization of the architecture produced during the last couple of decades, it is now timely to map theories that are grafted into historiography rather than focusing on textuality (text on text), to crudely simplify a poststructuralist terminology. Therefore, because of or in spite of the globalization of architecture, criticism demands exploring the dialectics between history and theory anew. With these preliminary remarks, I intend to map the prospect of a radical discourse of historicism.13 This chapter argues that, in the present state of global capitalism, critical historiography should examine the theoretical implications of the notion of standstill time as discussed by Walter Benjamin. There are two questions I wish to raise here: first, what are the theoretical implications of making an analogy between a standstill concept of time and the globalization of contemporary architectural praxis? For example, how should we index the differences between the current globalization of architecture and the International Style architecture of the 1930s? Second, what is the task of the historian today, when the historical distance is seemingly collapsed, and its memory is decoded in the many facets of the present speedy experience of temporality? Exploring these issues in the following two sections, I wish to unpack Siegfried Kracauer’s “provisional insight into the last things before the last”14 as far as architectural historiography is concerned.

Analogy I It is nothing new to say that the discipline of history is a reality on its own right and is understood and interpreted through memory, relevant historiographies, and archival studies. Most historiographies encompass a number of issues, but for the sake of brevity I will confine the scope of my investigation here to time and the way temporality structures the relation of past to present. My discussion will primarily focus on the historiography of architecture, which is like a puzzle: its ambiguities demand unlocking diverse narratives – technical, political, and aesthetic, to mention a few that are essential for the formation of architectural ideology.15 Since the emergence of the concept of history, Marx wrote, the categories that express bourgeois society give us “insights into the structure and

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relations of production of all the vanished social formations out of whose ruins and elements it built itself up.”16 Here Marx discloses a retrospective understanding of historical time, which is dismissed by transcendentalists and historicists alike. Uninterested in giving the due attention to a given time, the advocates of the former position embrace ideas that fly above everyday life, or Lebenswelt. In doing so, they sacrifice the specifics of the past to the persuasion of an unknown future, endorsed by the assumption that time flows homogeneously. The historicist’s enthusiasm for relativism, on the other hand, overestimates facts and the state of a given reality. It sees past and future in the light of the factuality of the present situation. For Marx, by contrast, the relation of past to present is not evolutionary but dialectical, meaning that history emerges through complex processes of negation and affirmation, freedom and necessity. The present sheds a new light on the past. In retrospect, the present itself cant scape from the shadow it has cast on the past. For Marx, the dialectics of time and history not only provides critical insight into the present of past things, but also projects the present of future things. It unfolds a vision of historiography that is primarily concerned with major and long-term structural changes. According to Bernard Braudel, Marx’s genius lies in the “secret of his long sway, in the fact that he was the first to construct true social models, on the basis of a historical longue durée.”17 Interestingly enough, Martin Heidegger wrote: “Because Marx by experiencing estrangement attains an essential dimension of history, the Marxist view of history is superior to other historical accounts.”18 The members of the Annales group, including Braudel, sought to transform traditional historiography’s approaches to events, socio-political or otherwise, as well as storytelling techniques, i.e. the narrative. For this group of historians, historical studies did not rise out of the dilemma of science or history. Highlighting the contribution of the Annales historians, Jacques Rancière suggests that, “the revolution in historical study is the arrangement of a space for the conjunction of contradictions,”19 implicit in the opposition between science and literature, between technology and traditional modes of making. This was not the case with the early historians of modern movement architecture who framed historicism in the purview of modern times. These historians sought the zeitgeist hovering like cloud, measuring the progressive facets of what lay beneath in reference to the object’s ability to mirror the formal and aesthetic implications of technology. Sigfried Giedion, for one, outlined his vision of historiography according to selected architects’ interpretation of technology, Le Corbusier’s in particular.20 In addition to technology, which is historically a major factor in pushing architecture from one state of crisis to another, the early historiographies of modern architecture also gave ample attention to philosophical, perceptual, and aesthetic discourses that were formative for the historicity of the period under investigation. Locked in the traditional art history understanding of historicism, however, the two tiers of investigation, “intellectual” and

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“abstract” labour, were expected to question the assumption that the past is homogeneous, solid like stone, and should be catalogued “as it happened.”21 Dismissed also was the anachronism involved in the historicity of architectural production, and in the historian’s take on historicity. However, in the process of design, the architect attends the project with memories of architectural history. Likewise, the historian views history in reference to his/ her own experience of time. Anachronism is eminent in Eric Hobsbawm’s historiography. He wrote that at the outset of the twentieth century, while the newly rich still mimicked the lifestyle of the aristocracy, nineteenth-century historical eclecticism was pushed aside in favour of the abstract language of modern architecture. As a result, architecture foregrounded aesthetics in analogy to machine rather than emulating the classical theories of mimesis.22 Looking into the past from the vantage point of the present provides the opportunity to see and interpret historical facts in a different light than when an idea was uttered, or when an event unfolded in a particular historical context. Again, Hobsbawm reminds us that the past “turns into the discovery of history as a process of directional change of development or revolution.”23 Critical historiography should, therefore, demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the present and the prospects of the present of future things. Now, and speaking historically, how does the relation of past to present work in architecture? In other words, how do history and architecture relate to each other, given that each of them travels a specific path, a historical one indeed, that is particular to their interiority? In addition to the prevailing general network of technical means and intellectual labour that glue architecture more than any other work of art to the given system of production and consumption, the task of history is the recovery, “as far as possible, of the original functions and ideologies that, in the course of time, define and delimit the role and meaning of architecture.”24 If we accept that the advent of modernity was a singular historical and structural event, an epoch of recovery, should we not then say that architecture is cut between two long historical periods, the first concerning the various manifestations of the historicity of modern movement architecture? It is clear today that, contrary to the early historiographies that framed the language of modern architecture in reference to the work of four masters, Le Corbusier, Mies, Gropius, and Wright, other architects like Alvar Aalto also played a significant role in the realization of modernism in architecture. The second period concerns the classical, including baroque, which for a number of historians inaugurated mannerism in style discourse. Central to the codification of the classical tradition and its stylistic variations and articulations is the over-domination of the masonry construction system. This tectonic consideration is important because it settles the differences between the modern and the classical in particular terms – particular in the sense that it refuses the distinction made between “art and non-artistic or historical pretexts.” The material of the work of architecture, to paraphrase Jameson, “has its own semi-autonomous history: but that history is itself part of the material.”25

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In tectonics, the aesthetic experience includes the knowledge of the material of construction. If in Western cultures the orders define the universal as far as the classical past is concerned, the universal in modern architecture draws instead from three aspects of Le Corbusier’s Five Points of architecture: the open-plan, the free-façade, and the Dom-ino frame system. Even though modern architecture was seen as a total break with history, if only in appearance, from the position of the longue durée there is ample evidence to highlight the continuous presence of languages (variations on the mentioned three aspects) that are both internal to the accumulated culture of building (discipline), and at the same time essential for differentiating architecture from other artistic products. To these two tiers of periodization, we should add a third: the time defining the contemporaneity of architecture in global capitalism – the advent of which, interestingly enough, coincides with the establishment of liberal economics with cultural and technical systems that have global appeal and disgust. Still, from a tectonic point of view the commonality between the modern and digital periods concerns the use and abuse of steel and/or concrete frame structures, even when the final form does not comply with Le Corbusier’s syntax, as discussed in the previous chapter. The commonality also presents a strategy for differentiating the wide appeal of the international style architecture in the first half of the last century from the global dissemination of parametric design today. Shouldn’t this latter difference then be taken for a technologically determinist position? Yes and no, because such a determinism relies on the fact that in global capitalism technology is totally infused with the economic and political aims of global corporations operating since the 1960s. Another line of demarcation should concern the differences between modern and contemporary architecture on the one hand, and classical on the other. As noted above, throughout modernity technology played a significant role in coordinating history’s rapport with time, especially when it came to the timely formation and/or disappearance of themes related to a historical subject. In Little History of Photography, Walter Benjamin notes that the flash of the camera illuminated the vanishing of those aspects of photography that belonged to the era of the bourgeoisie class, historically a coherent entity but just then on the verge of disappearance.26 The significance given to tectonic discourse during the last two decades, I posit, is one manifestation of how the flashing surfaces of digitally reproduced architecture dispense with detailing that belongs to the craft versus machine aura. Another manifestation is the differences we tend to make between two states of architecture: the architecture produced during the age of mechanical reproducibility, and that which is identified with the digital age, to follow a Benjaminian take on periodization. Following the tradition of the Annales, the historian should avoid short-term periodization such as post-war and post-modern architecture. This omission plots a complex web of periodization that neither follows the tradition of style categories, nor sees the objectivity associable with classical, modern, and digital in linear

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terms. Following Michel Foucault’s notion of “the formation of objects,” we can say that each of these three states of objectivity does not define its “internal constitution, but what enables it to appear, to juxtapose itself with other objects, to situate itself in relation to them, to define its difference, its irreducibility, and even perhaps its heterogeneity, in short, to be placed in a field of exteriority.”27 Each of these objectivities re-presents a moment in the larger history of modernization, the architectonic of which is simultaneously informed by their temporal boundaries. Therefore, whereas architectural transformation from the classical era to modernity was epochal, the move from mechanical to digital architecture is not, even though the latter’s image is presented and disseminated as an evolutionary (natural) outcome of modernity’s overemphasis on the role technology plays in the discourse of linear history. The missing point in both the linear and structuralist approaches to periodization is the exclusion of long lasting themes central to the project of modernity, aspects of which are repressed and recovered by capitalism’s constant appeal to change the appearance of the new. However, the epochal rupture attributed to the project of modernity in these pages differs from the structuralist concept of periodization. Following Foucault’s paradigm of “discursive formation,” structuralism takes the notion of periodic formation as a general method of historiography, jettisoning the political implications of “now-time” (full time). For Walter Benjamin, by contrast, time in modernity does not stand for what civilization had achieved after the fall of the classical period. Rather, it presents a de facto closure, projecting its own historicity as the ultimate accomplishment of history experienced in now-time. Dan Smith writes: It is difficult to imagine a sense of the contemporary without the depth of previously elapsed time that late-modernity now describes, to imagine all of time to have been within the scale of the existence of culturally developed humans. He continues that the realization and the possibility of a non-biblical time “was analogous to the ‘invention’ of history.”28 Paradoxically, the idea of future and futurism in politics and arts, itself a remnant of Christian eschatology,29 is abused by the dominant systems of representation that suit the instrumental needs of capitalism. Using the concept of “full time,” Walter Benjamin formulated a historical criticism of the way culture is produced and consumed in capitalism. The historicity of Benjamin’s criticism recalls the Europe of the 1930s, which witnessed, among other texts, the dissemination of three seminal essays that in retrospect should be taken as the “political unconscious” of the era.30 These were Benjamin’s famous essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936), André Breton’s Crisis of the Object (1932), and Martin Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology,

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written earlier but presented for the first time in1949. Each of these texts highlight a discourse of crisis, the main feature of which, argues Rancière, is the pronouncement of the defeat of a modernist paradigm that capitalized on a clear and total rupture with the past. Expanding his scope of observation, Rancière suggests that postmodernism was the “name under whose guise certain artists and thinkers realized what modernism had been: a desperate attempt to establish a ‘distinctive feature of art’ by linking it to a simple teleology of historical evolution and rupture.”31 The above three literary works lay the foundation for a critical understanding of the role technology plays in capitalism, a phenomenon that neither the early historians of modern architecture nor the historical avant-garde grasped the significance of. What Dada and surrealism achieved, writes Hal Foster, was either to “abolish art without realizing it” (Dada), or to “realize art without abolishing it” (surrealism).32 Russian Constructivists, on the other hand, blended avantgarde techniques with the revolutionary sentiment of the time, the politics of mass reception of the work in particular. The productivist artists realized, writes Benjamin Buchloh, “that in order to address a new audience not only did the techniques of production have to be changed, but the forms of distribution and institutions of dissemination and reception would have to be transformed as well.”33 Russian Constructivists produced a body of work most of which still looks fresh, and exhibits the joy and the prospects of a unique historical moment that was short-lived and faded away after the 1930s. During the time of the Russian Revolution, Rancière writes: art and production would be identified because they came under one and the same principle concerning the redistribution of the sensible, they came under one and the same virtue of action that opens up a form of visibility at the same time as it manufactures objects.34 Their case, as I have discussed elsewhere,35 provides a strategy to assess the achievements of modernism, and to critique the spectacular look of contemporary neo-avant-garde architecture. For example, in highlighting the presence of architectonic tropes central to the formation of modern architecture in digital architecture, criticism cuts through appearance, and brings forth issues such as the ontological aspects of the culture of architecture; the inevitability of design’s response to the forces of gravity; the inside/outside dialogue; and the prospects of tectonic articulations of the artform and the core-form, particularly since Le Corbusier’s conceptualization of the Dom-ino frame. The distinction I have insisted on making between “theatricality” and “theatricalization” does indeed underline the need to graft history onto criticism. The retrospective criticism outlined above recalls Walter Benjamin, who saw each state of objectivity as a fossil, “the trace of living history that can be read from the surfaces of the surviving objects.”36 Highlighting the continuity of the aforementioned three elements of Le Corbusier’s architecture, criticism

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should aim at brushing aside the aesthetic of fetishism coating the surfaces of parametric design. I would go further and claim that the urform of contemporary architecture is still modern even though modernism’s utopic politics is replaced with momentary pleasure in the consumption of the spectacle permeating every aspect of today’s culture. Even at this level of consideration, contemporary architecture’s debt to the abstract aesthetic of modernism is paramount. What runs through digital fabrication is indeed a higher stage of abstraction, which can be seen as analogous to the loss of the real, as the use-value (sum total of material and labour) evaporates in the atmosphere of global financial transactions, and as materiality and detailing are pushed aside in favour of the hyperbolic surfaces evident in parametric design.

Analogy II At the risk of repetition, I would like to highlight one more time the ways that critical historiography differs from historicism. First, it avoids the historicist assumption that a “continuing process of historical change” guarantees the realization of a particular future.37 Second, it questions the certainties historicism establishes, and the strategies it uses to narrow down the scope of historical investigation to merely “who did what when,” and “what the work wanted to represent.” In this line of consideration, the scope of future architectonic possibilities is indexed according to constructive historical interpretations and the prospects of raising new questions out of old established languages. If historicism relies on the particularities of a given circumstance, Slavoj Žižek writes, historicity proper “involves the specific temporality of the Event and its aftermath, the span between the Event and its final End (between Christ’s death and the Last Judgment, between Revolution and Communism …).38 To show the particular involved in architecture’s rapport with time, historiography should demonstrate, among other things, how the “cognitive mapping” of the classical sense of objectivity differs from that of the modernist one, to stay with the two major formations of objectivity discussed in the previous section. Elaborating on the concept of cognitive mapping, Fredric Jameson argues that, since the inception of capitalism, capital has projected a sense of totality that all other individualistic, or even group experiences are measured in reference to.39 The idea of totality is also suggested in Foucault’s discussion of “discontinuity.” He wrote that discourse is not the “majestically unfolding manifestation of a thinking, knowing, speaking subject, but, on the contrary, a totality, in which the dispersion of the subject and his discontinuity with himself may be determined.”40 Following the traditions of the historicist account of “totality thinking,” these two writers underline the ideological dimension of cultural products in reference to a totality that for Jameson is indexed by capital, whereas for Foucault it draws from a “system of possibilities,” as Rancière would say. At this point it is important to note that Jameson’s notion of totality does not present a unified entity, and it

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has no pre-determined direction or telos either. Capital as such is composed of various systems, the ultimate balance of which, in a given time and place, depends on the dynamics of each system’s internal contradictions. In analogy to my aforementioned notion of network, we can say that totality is transformed when one or two variables are changed, even though the economic factor remains determinant in the last instance, to use a Marxian terminology. Louis Althusser, for one, wrote that: the “contradiction” is inseparable from the total structure of the social body in which it is found, inseparable from its formal conditions of existence, and even from the instances it governs; it is radically affected by them, determining, but also determined in one and the same movement, and determined by the various levels and instances of the social formation it animates; it might be called overdetermined in its principle.41 Therefore, it is essential for critical historiography not only to show how the architect carries his/her own “discontinuity with himself ” into the work (Foucault), but also to show how the work engages with totality as capital expands its cancer-like grip over every sphere of everyday life, including architecture (Jameson).42 Following these brief, and I must admit rather dense, remarks on how ideology operates in architecture, I wish to propose that the major task of the historian is to unlock the “appearance” of the past (distance?), and bring the subject under investigation into the present. That is, to blend the past into the many facets of the totality that the representational systems of capitalism try to present as the natural order of things. The historian should also reinterpret the historicity of past architecture beyond its temporality, and examine it in the purview of themes developed throughout various periods of architectural history, a totality in its own right. Recalling Bertolt Brecht’s poetry, Jameson reminds us that: no one who has been stunned by the sculpted density of Brecht’s language, by the stark simplicity with which a contemplative distance from historical events is here powerfully condensed into the ancient forms of folk wisdom and the proverb, in sentences as compact as peasants’ wooden spoons and bowls, will any longer question the proposition that in his poetry at least – so exceptionally in the whole history of contemporary culture – the cognitive becomes in and of itself the immediate source of profound aesthetic delight.43 Only a persuasive account of the dialectics between time and history can open a vista wherein the historical object would step in as the agent of historical reconstruction. This Benjaminian take on history demands two additional considerations.44 First, in bringing a historical work forward

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and into the present time we are indeed separating architecture from the ruling ideas of its time. In doing so, and this is the second point, the same work should be unpacked in reference to its contribution to the ideological formation of its own historicity, and the role it has played in repressing (hiding) the utopian potentialities of the past. Another issue to be considered relates to the zeitgeist, and the historicist’s assumption that the homogeneous distribution of the spirit of time across all aspects of society makes it a definitive factor for the periodization of artwork. In reiterating a subject that has been discussed many times in the course of this volume, I wish to introduce two themes that might cast further light on the subject’s limitations. Refuting historicism, Henri Focillon wrote that although “various modes of action are contemporaneous, that is, seized upon at the same moment, it does not follow that they all stand at an equal point in their development.”45 Questioning the idea of zeitgeist that for most modernists was tied to the space/time axiom, Gabriel Rockhill, on the other hand, introduces the horizontal dimension of history, which according to him “foregrounds the variable geography of historical occurrences.”46 Both the unequal development of the work of art in a given period, and geographic differences (regionalism47), topics elaborated by Focillon and Rockhill respectively, are essential for the historiography of architecture, a work of art that is produced out of the participation of various trades, each having particular connection to other relevant industries, and to the totality. If the scope of historiography is not to be reduced to a cohesive account of issues such as aesthetics and form, then it is important to give ample consideration to the variables of geography and the idea of unequal development as they relate to architectural production. At this point, it is important to reiterate once again the dialectics between disciplinarity and totality, although this time in Manfredo Tafuri’s words. Tafuri wrote that criticism must, on the one hand: be made capable of critically describing the processes that condition the “concrete” side of the creation of projects, that is to say, the autonomy of linguistic choices and their historical function as a specific chapter in the history of intellectual labor and its mode of reception. On the other hand, it must be fitted into the general history of the structures and relations of production; it must be made, in other words, to “react” with respect to the development of abstract labor.48 To this we should add a third layer of consideration: the historicity of the historian, his/her own lived experience, the way the historian’s ideological formation moulds into the work. Underlining the centrality of “form” for any great work of art, Georg Lukács cautioned that the “artist was no more

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able to escape from universal estrangement than anyone else,”49 including the historian. And, E.H. Carr wrote, “Before you study the historian, study his historical and social environment.”50 This third layer of consideration is important because, similar to social actors that constantly struggle against their own replacement, architectonic elements are also under pressure to readjust themselves as capitalism deskills and reskills labour, techniques, and materials according to the demands of the emerging means of reproducibility. To further elucidate my take on the proposed two interrelated layers, it is useful to recall Kracauer’s reflection on “anteroom.” In a short essay on photography, he differentiated historiography from philosophy, and wrote that the historian should avoid abstraction, and, like a photographer, should penetrate into the physical world. The historian “devotes himself to the last things before the last, settling in an area which has the character of anteroom.”51 Kracauer goes further and underlines the significance of historicity and the ways that the particular should be discussed in relation to the general, neither of which, according to him, would change without the historian’s engagement with the dialectics between the universal and the given context.52 Kracauer’s remarks on photography suggest that the historian’s rapport with the work is not dissimilar to the state of a person looking at his/her own image in a picture, itself “a means of alienation.”53 Sure, the picture is in my eye, writes Žižek, “but I am also in the picture.”54 The architectonic impulse of Kracauer’s notion of anteroom can be understood in analogy to the waiting space of a railway station that most often precedes the event of riding the train. The anteroom, writes Gertrud Koch, is thus “our life-world, and it is here that the viewpoint from which we can put something into narrative form develops, namely from the context of concrete history.”55 Again, it’s not the style of architecture that should concern the historian, but the narrative reconstruction of various layers involved in the production of the work. After Hegel’s discourse on history, most architectural historians tended to explore history in the light of an absolute concept of time and history. And yet, instead of asking how a particular work of architecture positions itself critically vis-à-vis the nihilism of technology, they elaborated the ways that the work was identifiable with the zeitgeist. The problem with this historicist tendency, writes Žižek, “is that it continues to rely on a set of silent (nonthematized) ontological and epistemological presuppositions about the nature of human knowledge and reality.”56 The problem with the fixation on the one-to-one correspondence between a historical phenomenon and its temporality, between meaning and history, is that it stops short of viewing history as an “openwork” subject to various interpretations, including misinterpretations. Marx famously claimed that human “anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape,”57 a declaration of the triumph of “scientific rationality” which according to Rancière was inspirational to “Annales revolution, the siren song which history must resist.”58 Here, Rancière is seemingly more in agreement with Walter Benjamin who saw each state of objectivity a fossil, “as the trace of living history that can be read from

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the surfaces of the surviving objects,”59 as noted previously. Therefore, any discussion concerning the contemporaneity of architecture is by definition anachronistic, and demands unpacking three sets of historicity: the historicity of the historian, the architect, and the work. Instead of working from general propositions, the historian should conduct a simultaneous investigation of the ways that each cultural product relates to its own past, its disciplinarity, and to the present condition of the production and consumption system. This is important because there are aspects of the zeitgeist that are not simultaneously internalized in all spheres of a given culture. The overstuffed interiors of the nineteenth century, for example, belonged to the same period when engineers produced magnificent work. On this point Kracauer is convincing: he writes: As a configuration of events which belong to series with different time schedules, the period does not arise from the homogenous flow of time; rather, it sets a time of its own – which implies that the way it experiences temporality may not be identical with the experiences of chronologically earlier or later periods.60 So is Gabriel Rockhill: he recognizes three heuristically distinct dimensions to history, the “vertical dimension of chronology, the horizontal dimension of geography, and the stratigraphic dimension of social practice.”61 These propositions, which form a constellation that inform the proposed retrospective criticism, are not good enough if it does not conjugate a dialectical rapport between that which is architectural, the internality of architecture,62 and the concept of totality as discussed earlier, if they do not ask for example, under what conditions does the aesthetic of commodity fetishism attain architectonic dimension today? To be more specific, and in relation to the contemporaneity of architecture, inquiries that involve the dialectics between expression and construction demand reiterating the Semperian notion of Bekleidung, dressing,63 although this time in analogy to Marx’s drive toward “inverting Hegel.” Following Althusser’s remarks on the suggested conversion,64 we can paraphrase the argument in this way: in showing the formal logic of construction, the real contradiction lies not in peeling off the mystifying shell of digital architecture; this demystification would still be based on binary thinking. Rather, what criticism should do is to peel off the skin from itself. This is not to dismiss the fact that surface and its embellishment have been internal to architecture for a long time. From Alberti to Le Corbusier, surface has been the locus of architectural theories. What has changed through digital reproducibility is that the surface is no longer seen in rapport with the frame. The surface has become structural through and through. Therefore, benefiting from and paraphrasing Althusser, we can posit that contradiction in contemporary architecture is “discernible, identifiable and manipulable” as surface in-itself, rather than seeing the surface in rapport with the frame system. This is not to

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deny the skin and bone axiom either. Ontologically, architecture will always attend to the tectonics of skin and bone. The point is rather to demonstrate how criticism weakens the binary relation between surface and frame, and to discuss why in contemporary architecture the surface is the real, and mystified tout court. What then does radical historicism amount to? In the first place, we must recall the classical vision of modernist thinkers, which according to Marshall Berman maintained a simultaneously enthusiastic and critical position with regard to modernity’s endless transformation of the world and related subjects. This position diametrically differs from the contemporary cult of “the end of history,” which embraces the spectacle of late capitalism as a fait accompli. In the second place, a committed historian should periodize contemporary architecture as the system changes gears, expanding its objective and subjective domains of domination. As the reader might already have extrapolated from my strategy of periodization, discussed earlier, the difference between postmodern architecture and parametric design, for example, is not a style issue. Rather, it is a major aspect of the globalization of capital and the image-driven aesthetics of the present culture. More importantly, it is part of the historical necessity of capitalism to disseminate endlessly the empty circulation of historical languages (postmodernism); this not only in assurance of the historicity of humanism, but also anticipates the dissemination of the spectacle of commodity fetishism on a global scale

Figure 9.1 Rem Koolhaas, Seattle Library, interior view (photograph by the author)

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(parametric design), fuelling the myth of technological progress. Finally, criticism should focus on two structures that architecture confronts in every historical period. On the one hand, we are dealing with architectural histories, the narrative of which sheds light on the accumulated knowledge, skills, and techniques, and their formal and spatial visibilities. On the other, we are confronting a state of architectural production, intellectual and abstract labour (definitive for the given system of production and consumption), and the rise of patronage associable with the same system. Now, in order to be more specific about my discourse on retrospective criticism, I would like to draw the reader’s attention to Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy Soho complex, Beijing, China. It is simplistic to say that the envelope of this building follows Le Corbusier’s idea of free-façade. It is also not enough to associate the building’s curvilinear bands with the architecture of early modern expressionism. Yes, behind the free-looking white bands of Hadid’s design stands a frame structure. However, the fact remains that one cannot but see in this project of Hadid’s the image of Eric Mendelsohn’s formerly named Schocken Department Store in Chemnitz, 1928. Before further discussion of the tectonic implications of this juxtaposition, I feel obliged to make a short theoretical detour. On the other hand, the juxtaposition of work from two historical periods dismantles the homologies historicism tends to make between style and time. On the other, the suggested montage opens a field of linguistic operation the interaction of which “make History itself rise up before us, moments of sudden possibility or unexpected freedom, moments of revolution, moments also of defeat and of the bleakest hopelessness.”65 Contemplating Jameson’s notion of suddenness, one cannot but recall the Benjaminian concept of history wherein the past works like the agent of interruption of the continuum of history. Whereas the present is usually related to the past based on a presumed linear continuity of time, a dialectical rapport between what-has-been and the now, according to Walter Benjamin, “is not progression but image, suddenly emergent.”66 Here, the image precedes a constellation where the past leaps into the present, blasting the continuum of time. Walter Benjamin’s complex formulation of an anachronistic understanding of historical time is helpful, but needs to be translated into the architectonic discourse that I have been pursuing throughout this volume, even at the price of distorting aspects of his theoretical vigour, as is perhaps the case with every translation. Now, in putting Mendelsohn’s work next to Hadid’s project, the image allows us to posit a correct but not critical constellation that should be deconstructed in the light of the critical role tectonics plays in the two-tier periodization, the classical and the modern, as discussed in previous pages. While both the Schocken Department Store and the Galaxy Soho projects use frame construction systems, what is particular to Hadid’s work is the aesthetic of spectacle as the work moves from the tectonic of theatricality to theatricalization, the difference between which I have elaborated on another occasion.67 Relevant to this difference is the historicity of Mendelsohn’s

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Figure 9.2 Zaha Hadid, Galaxy Soho, Beijing, exterior view (image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects, UK)

work when the cultural domain was not yet totally commodified as is the case today. Dialectically, my tectonic historicization sheds a different light on Mendelsohn’s work. Extracting it out of its time, and seeing it in the face of Hadid’s mentioned work, the juxtaposition enables us to read the former project in anachronistic understanding of historical time. This means contemplating Mendelsohn’s work in the matrix of both the contemporary experience of time (contemporaneity) and the modern time, Neuzeit. This analogical reading, which benefits from Reinhart Koselleck’s notion of “the temporalization of history,”68 is also useful for criticizing the very fashionable tendency – after Gilles Deleuze’s theorization of Fold – to historicize contemporary architecture in reference to the baroque. There is nothing new in this association, except the fact that it reiterates what is by now an old art history belief that every modern age has its own baroque! Furthermore, the best architects of the baroque could not even have imagined what would be the architectonic implications of Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino frame, let alone the contemporary re-energization of his much discussed notion of surface in the light of digital reproducibility. Beyond the aforementioned two diachronic historicizations, criticism should also secure the “work’s position in history: in the history of form, first of all, and by way of that in the various levels of social history, of subjectivity, and of the mode of production.”69 These two tiers of investigation set the scope of the dialectics of freedom and necessity. They show us how to achieve freedom through critical rapprochement to time and history, thus changing the course of architecture through a retrospective reading of history, aspects of which I have tried to plot in this volume.

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Notes 1 Ernst Bloch, The Heritage of Our Times (Berkeley. CA: University of California Press, 1991), 114. 2 Leopold von Ranke’s concept of history quoted in Jacques Le Goff, History and Memory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 161. 3 On Hegel’s discourse on art history, particularly his claim that in modern times art is “a thing of the past,” see Robert B. Pippin, After the Beautiful: Hegel and the Philosophy of Pictorial Modernism (Chicago. IL: Chicago University Press, 2014). 4 Louis Althusser, “Contradiction and Overdetermination,” in For Marx (London: Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, 1969), 151. 5 Quoted in Le Goff, History and Memory (1992), 19. 6 I am following Giorgio Agamben’s short account of various discourses on time. See Agamben, “Time and History: Critique of Instant and Continuum,” in Infancy and History: On the Destruction of Experience (London: Verso Books, 2007), 97–116. 7 Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” in Illuminations (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 253–264. 8 From Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” here quoted in Agamben, Infancy and History (2007), 112. 9 Terry Smith, “Introduction: The Contemporaneity Question,” Terry Smith, Okwui Enwezor, and Nancy Condee (eds), Antinomies of Art and Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008). 10 On the concept of distance see Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). 11 Fredric Jameson, “Cognitive Mapping,” C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (eds) Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 351. 12 Peter Osborne, “The Postconceptual Condition,” Radical Philosophy, 184 (March Apr 2014): 23. 13 See Gabriel Rockhill, Radical History and the Politics of Art (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). 14 Siegfried Kracauer, History: The Last Things Before the Last (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 16. 15 I am using the notion of puzzle in reference to Manfredo Tafuri’s use of the term in “The Historical Project,” The Sphere and the Labyrinth (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1979). 16 Karl Marx, from Grundrisse, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/ works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm, accessed December 23, 2014. 17 Bernard Braudel, On History (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1980), 51. 18 Martin Heidegger, “Letter on Humanism,” http://pacificinstitute.org/pdf/ Letter_on_%20Humanism.pdf, accessed April 25, 2015. 19 Jacques Rancière, The Names of History (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 1994), 6–7. See also Hayden White’s reflection on the same subject in his introduction to Rancière’s book. 20 See the chapter on Sigfried Giedion in my The Mental Life of the Architectural Historian (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), 103– 142. 21 On this and my related discussion of anachronism, see Georges Didi-Huberman, “Before the Image, Before Time: The Sovereignty of Anachronism,” in Clair Fargo (ed.), Compelling Visuality: The Work of Art In And Out of History (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 31–44.

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22 Eric J. Hobsbawm, “The Social Function of the Past,” Oxford Journals, 55 (May 1972): 14. 23 See Hobsbawm, “The Social Function of the Past” (1972): 11. 24 Manfredo Tafuri, Theories and History of Architecture (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1980), 228. 25 Fredric Jameson, “Foreword: A Monument to Radical Instants,” in Peter Weiss, The Aesthetics of Resistance (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005), xxvii. 26 Walter Benjamin, “Little History of Photography,” in Collected Writings, Vol. 2, 1927–1934 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), 517. 27 Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language (New York: Harper & Torchbooks, 1972), 45. 28 Dan Smith, Traces of Modernity (London: Zero Books, 2012), 38–39. 29 Giorgio Agamben writes, “Despite its apparent scorn for ‘epoch,’ it is Christianity which has laid the foundation for an experience of historicity, rather than the ancient world.” Infancy and History (2007), 103. 30 In addition to Fredric Jameson’s book with the same title, the reader may also want to refer to a recent interpretation of the term in Nadir Lahiji (ed), The Political Unconscious of Architecture: Re-opening Jameson’s Narrative (London: Ashgate, 2011). 31 Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, Gabriel Rockhill (trans.) (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2006), 24–28. 32 I am paraphrasing Guy Debord, quoted in Hal Foster, “Post-Critical,” October 139 (Winter 2012): 8. 33 Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Formalism and Historicity: Models and Methods in Twentieth-Century Art (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015), 252–310. 34 Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics (2006), 45. 35 Gevork Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique (London: Routledge, 2016), Chapter 2. 36 Susan Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (Cambridge. MA: The MIT Press, 1993), 56. 37 Hobsbawm, “The Social Function of the Past” (1972): 12. 38 Slavoj Žižek, The Ticklish Subject (London: Verso Books, 1999), 133. 39 Fredric Jameson, “Cognitive Mapping,” (1988), 348. On various discourses on totality in relation to “radical historicism” see Jonathan Ree’s review in Radical Philosophy, 56 (Autumn 1990): 53–57. 40 Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (1972), 55. On Foucault’s notion of totality see John E. Grumley, “Michel Foucault: Anti-Totalising Skepticism or Totalising Prophecy?” in History and Totality: Radical Historicism from Hegel to Foucault (London: Routledge, 1989), 183–205. 41 Reflecting on Philosophy of History, he posited that “none of these determinations is essentially outside the others, not only because together they constitute an original, organic totality, but also and above all because this totality is reflected in a unique internal principle, which is the truth of all those concrete determinations.” Louis Althusser, For Marx (1969), 101–102. 42 Walter Benjamin discusses this subject in “The Author as Producer,” in Peter Demetz (ed.), Reflections (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), 220– 238. 43 Jameson, Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (1988), 348. 44 Here I am benefiting from Žižek, The Ticklish Subject (1999), 20. 45 Henri Focillon, The Life of Forms in Art (New York: Zone Books, 1992), 140. 46 Rockhill, Radical History (2014), 38–40. 47 In passing I should say that the reader might get a better grasp of the significance of Kenneth Frampton’s discourse on critical regionalism if read in conjunction with the geographic dimension of history.

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48 Manfredo Tafuri, “The Historical ‘Project’”, in The Sphere and the Labyrinth (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1987), 14. 49 See Grumley, History and Totality (1989), 118. 50 E. H. Carr, What is History? (New York: Penguin Books, 2001), 23. 51 Kracauer, History (1995), 195. 52 Slavoj Žižek, “History Against Historicism,” European Journal of English Studies 4/2 (2000): 106. 53 Kracauer, History (1995), 5. 54 Slavoj Žižek, The Parallax View (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006), 17. 55 Gertrud Koch, “Exile, Memory, and Image in Kracauer’s Conception of History,” New German Critique 54 (Fall 1991): 108. 56 Žižek, “History Against Historicism,” (2000): 102. 57 Karl Marx, Outline of the Critique of Political Economy (Grundrisse), https:// www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm, accessed February 2, 2015. 58 Jacques Rancière’s criticism of the Annales school is based on his criticism of a linear vision of history, from the “lowest to the highest speed,” and the “complexification of systems of relations.” See Rancière, The Names of History, (1994), 80–82. 59 Susan Buck-Morss, see note 35. 60 Kracauer, History (1995), 155. 61 Rockhill, Radical History and the Politics of Art (2014), 36–43. 62 For the difference between my interpretation of “internality” and Peter Eisenman’s see Gevork Hartoonian, “Tectonics: Testing the Limits of Architecture,” in A. Leach and J. Macarthur (eds), Architecture, Disciplinarity, and the Arts (Louvain, Belgium: A & S books, Ghent University Press, 2009), 179–192. 63 On this subject see my Architecture and Spectacle (2016). 64 Althusser, For Marx (1969), 98. 65 Reflecting on Paul Ricoeur’s reading of Fernand Braudel’s method of historiography, Fredric Jameson enacts Althusser’s discourse on overdetermination, formulating what he calls “making history appear.” See Fredric Jameson, “The Time of the Historians,” in Valences of the Dialectic (London: Verso Books, 2010), 532–545. 66 See Werner Hamacher, “‘Now’: Walter Benjamin on Historical Time,” in Heidrun Friese (ed.), The Moment: Time and Rupture in Modern Thought (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2001), 183. 67 See Hartoonian, Architecture and Spectacle (2016). 68 Reinhart Koselleck, The Practice of Conceptual History (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), 121. 69 Fredric Jameson, The Ancients and the Postmoderns: On the Historicity of Form (New York: Verso, 2015), 68.

Index

Aalto, A. 8, 134, 179 accelerationism 42 Ackerman, J. 77–8 Adorno, T. 25, 84 Alberti, L. B. 30, 91–2, 98, 100, 103, 107, 118, 153, 159; De re aedificatoria 75–6, 97; Palazzo Rucellai 80, 117; surface 187; Tafuri on 126; Wittkower analysis 93 Althusser, L. 18, 20, 184, 187 Annales 178, 180, 186 Argan, G. 82 Aureli, P. V. 108, 123–4 autonomy: concept of 26, 68; of design 31; disciplinarity and 10; semi- 127 Avant-Garde: historical 39, 42, 182; neo 119, 122, 125–7 Banham, R. 9, 93 Bauhaus 6, 142, 156, 164 Bekleidung 56, 58, 158, 187; see also Semper, G. Benjamin, W. 3, 5, 9, 14–16, 34, 68, 75, 82, 92, 180, 182, 189; Angel of history 6, 30, 35, 37–9, 42, 175; aura 25, 41, 130; exhibition value 3, 131, 143; monument 22; objectivity 186; and Riegl, A. 22–3; time and history 31–2, 175, 177, 181, 189; wish-images 20–1; work of art 141–2, 146 Bergdoll, B. 17, 53, 107, 109 Berman, M. 188 Bernini 74, 77, 80, 84 Biraghi, M. 130; see also Tafuri, M. Bloch, E. 1, 15, 40–1, 175 Borromini, F. 67, 76–7, 79–81, 83, 85, 100 Bötticher, C. 47, 52–4, 57, 61, 157

Bowie, A. 120; see also Kant, E. Braudel, F. 2, 178 Brecht, B. 184 Broch, H. 31–2, Brunelleschi, F. 115–16, 168 Brutalism 10 Buchloh, B. H. D. 7, 182 Cacciari, M. 124 Caribbean Hut 57–8, 69, 153, 157; see also Crystal Palace; Semper, G. Carpo, M. 144 Carr, E. H. 186 Clark, T. J. 121–2 Cohen, J. L. 135 Cole, H. 156 Colquhoun, A. 17–18, 160 Commodification 38, 126–7, 131, 144, 167 contemporaneity 3–4, 7–9, 41, 133, 171, 176–7, 190; of architecture 26, 130, 180, 187 crisis 9, 80, 83–4, 101, 141, 178, 182; of architecture 142–3; of capitalism 25; of Humanism 82, 85; of meaning 80; of modernity 136, 168; of the object 68, 181; periodic 25 Crystal Palace 51, 57, 69, 98, 153–4, 156–7, 167, 171; see also Caribbean Hut Damisch, H. 91, 97, 99 Deleuze, G. 86, 190 Der Stil 55, 57, 62, 69, 98, 106, 156; see also Semper, G. Derrida, J. 8, 20, 41 disciplinarity 69, 117, 119, 124, 127, 131, 185, 187; and autonomy 10, 115

Index disegno 117; see also Renaissance Dom-ino frame 60, 93–4, 107, 123, 162–5, 180, 182, 190; see also Le Corbusier Durand, L. 152, 168–9 Durer, A. 8 Eco, U. 25, 62 Eisenman, P. 39, 97, 99, 122–3, 153; see also autonomy Enlightenment 5, 34–5, 42, 45, 48, 55, 119; age of 67; discourse 32; progress 127; rationalistic approach 91; see also Kant, E. Evans, R. 82, 103, 164 expressionism 72, 127, 151, 165; aesthetic of 163; modern 189 Focillon, H. 185 Forster, K. 93 Forty, A. 147 Foster, H. 9, 134, 182; image building 142; strategic autonomy 127 Foucault, M. 18–19, 151, 181, 183–4; methodology 23 Frampton K. 1, 14, 109, 119, 123, 125, 133, 135, 158; critical regionalism 123 Freud, S. 9, 134 Giedion, S. 5–6, 14, 16, 32, 34, 84, 87, 163, 178; and Panofsky 85 globalization 17, 87, 147, 163, 171; and architecture 176–7, 188 Goldhagen, S. W. 138 Gombrich, E. 140 Greenberg, C. 121–2, 144 Gropius, W. 8, 16, 179 Grunewald, M. 8 Guarini, G. 99 Habermas, J. 25, 124 Hadid, Z. 142, 165–6, 176, 189–90 Hamcher, W. 5 Hamilton, R. 9, 134, 142, 168 Harootunian, H. 38, 40 Hatherley, O. 139–40 Hegel, F. 69, 71–2, 84–5, 120, 175, 187; on architecture 145; art history 191–2; concept of history 17–20, 186; zeitgeist 96; see also Jarzombek, M. Heidegger, M. 68, 120, 136, 178, 181 Hilberseimer, L. 95, 104

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history: historical time 1, 2, 4–5, 15; historicism 15–18, 48; structuralist concept of 19 Hitchcock, H. R. 6, 14, 16 Hobsbawm, E. 179 Hübsch, H. 17, 47, 52–4, 60, 62, 107; analytical method 53; and Bötticher 54 Iversen, M. 22, 96; see also Kunstwollen Jameson, F. 2, 87, 176, 189; history 179; late capitalism 138; on totality 183–4 Jarzombek, M. 101, 120 Johnson, P. 6 Kahn, L. 39, 136–9 Kant, E. 36, 48, 119–20, 125; see also Enlightenment Karatani, K. 125, 131; see also parallax Kaufmann, E. 121 Keucheyan, R. 147 Klee, P. 6, 42, 175; Angelus Novus 32, 35, 37; and Benjamin W. Koselleck, R. 4, 130, 144, 190 Kracauer, S. 69–70, 177, 186–7 Kraus, R. 144–6 Kunstwollen 22–3, 71, 73–4, 96; see also Riegl, A Kwinter, S. 168 Laugier, M. A. 91, 152 Le Corbusier 8, 45, 92–4, 104, 143, 145–6, 178–9, 187; and béton brut 136–9; dom-ino 123, 162–5, 182, 190; five points 6, 60, 96, 102–3, 123, 180, 189; modular 133–4; poem of right angle 143; surface gauche 135–6, 123; vision 16 Le Roy, D. 36, Leach, A. 82, 84 Lethaby, W. 46, 50 Levy, E. 73 licentia 118–19, 124–5 longue durée 2, 18, 178, 180 Loos, A. 61, 107, 142, 146, 153, 158 Lukács, G. 185 Mallgrave, H. F. 47, 50, 60, 75, 156 Mannerism 72, 84–5, 179 Mansoor, J. 151 Marx, K. 3, 9, 38–42, 125, 134, 144, 177–8, 186–7 Mendelsohn, E. 189–90

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Index

Mengs, A. R. 32, 34–6 Mertins, D. 109 Meyer, H. 143 Michelangelo 68, 73–8 Mies 8, 10, 60–2, 132, 134–5, 137, 153, 160, 163–5, 179 Monument 1, 22, 31, 35–7, 59, 121, 152; and brutalism 132, 138–9; and document 18; monumentality 7, 39, 57, 61, 98–9, 101, 103, 106, 108, 121, 139 Morris, W. 46, 50 Mumford, L. 17 Muthesius, H. 46 objectivity 4, 9, 66–9, 71, 139, 163–4, 180–3; new objectivity 142; perception of 20, 151; Rancière, J. 186; Werkbund 131; Wölfflin, H. 21 Osborne, P. 7, 177 Painterly 49, 69–70, 104, 132, 135; see also Wölfflin, H. Palladio, A. 36, 80, 92–3 Panofsky, E. 19, 40–1, 66–9, 71–2, 77–9, 83–5, 87; see also Renaissance Parallax 125, 176; see also Karatani, K. Paxton, J. 98, 153, 156; see also Caribbean Hut; Crystal Palace Payne, A. 46, 49, 71–2, 118, 154; see also Renaissance Perret, A. 103–4 Pevsner, N. 14, 16, 32 Picon, A. 143 Pinder, W. 40 Piranesi, G. B. 36, 39 Porphyrios, D. 18–20, 23 Potts, A. 48 Pugin, A. W. N. 50, 155–6

on Kunstwollen 73; and Semper, G. 92, 94–7, 99–100, 102, 107–8 Ripa, C. 32–4, 36, 42; and Wölfflin, H. 66, 69–70 Rockhill, G. 6, 185, 187 Romanticism 49, 67, 147 Rossi, A. 20, 123–4, 152–3, 157 Rowe, C. 92–3, 109, 123, 162, 164; and Chicago frame 160 Rundbogenstil 52–3, 60; see also Hübsch, H. Ruskin, J. 46, 49–50, 97, 135, 140, 155 Rykwert, J. 97, 107, 144, 157 Sachlichkeit 46, 66, 131, 151, 164; see also objectivity Schinkel, K. F. 54–5 Scholem, G. 6, 37 Schwartz, F. J. 40–1, 53 Schwartzer, M. 53 Semper, G. 3, 25; Stoffwechsel: theatricality 3, 68–9, 72, 103, 114, 129, 157, 159, 164, 171, 182, 189; theatricalization 3, 69, 72, 80, 87, 156, 182, 189; see also Bekleidung; Der Stil Sherer, D. 93, 160 Simmel, G. 1, 40–1 Smith D. 181 Smithsons, A. R. 133–5, 138, 140 Stirling, J. 134 Stoffwechsel 56, 59, 160; see also Semper, G.; surface style 16, 20; period 5, 16; see also Der Stil; Wölfflin, H. Sullivan, H. 158, 160–2 surface 21, 59, 70, 75–6, 96, 117, 144, 146; articulation 157–60, 170; and frame 188; and image 72; surface gauche 135–6

Quincy, Q. 152, 160 Rancière, J. 4, 178, 182–3, 186; on Monument 1; visibility 9 Rembrandt, H. 21–2, see also Riegl, A. Realism 46, 51, 53–5, 57, 80, 98, 134; see objectivity Redgrave, R. 51, 156–8 Renaissance: see Payne, A.; Wood, C.; Wölfflin, H. retrospective criticism 4, 42, 73, 92, 133, 171, 176, 182, 187, 189 Ricoeur, P. 2 Riegl, A. 19–23, 27–8, 71–7, 87, 106;

Tafuri, M. 14, 39, 119, 124, 126, 130, 185; on history 19 techné 46, 48, 91, 125–6 time: historical 2, 4–5, 7–8, 15, 40–2, 171, 176–8, 189–90; and history 33, 34, 190; industrial 30; and modernity 38; see also history: historical time Tournikiotis, P. 8 Trachtenberg, M. 26, 30 Tschumi, B. 119, 123, 163–4 Tyng, A. 138 Utzon, J. 166–7

Index

197

Valéry, P. 175 van Eck, C. 118 van Moos, S. 104 Vasari, G. 31, 48, 76, 117, 119 Vattimo, G. 18, 103, 155 Velazquez, D. 34 Venturi, R. 20; both/and 123 Vidler, A. 92, 109, 135, 140, 163–4 Viollet-le-Duc 45, 49 Vitruvius 46, 57, 91

Warhol, A. 7 Werkbund 2, 131, 156 Winckelmann, J. J. 34–6, 48, 54–5, 57 Wittkower, R. 79–82, 92–3, 97–8, 100, 109, 133 see also Alberti, L. B. Wölfflin, H. 8, 20–1, 40, 49, 66, 73, 77, 84, 86–7, 92; on baroque 68–70; painterliness 140; see also painterly Wood, C. 47, 92 Wright, F. L. 102, 138, 158, 162, 179

Wagner, O. 62

Žižek, S. 39–40, 125, 183, 186