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The Future

of Architecture.
Since1889.
-
Jean-Louis
eohen

~
,
1
Introduction
f Architecture's expanded field
010 - Two thresholds in time

013 - The carousel 01 hegemonies


014 - The continuity 01 type

015 - Historians versus architects,

or the problem 01 inclusion

02 03
S eds to rails: The search Domestic innovation
e dominion of steel for modern form and tectonic expression
018 - The lamp 01 style 028 - Toward a "new art" from Paris to Berlin 042 - The central place 01 Great Britain

019 - The eminence 01 the Beaux-Arts 031 - Great Britain alter the Arts and Crafts 043 - Residential re/orm
023 - Proqrarns 01 modernization 034 - Art Nouveau and the Paris-Nancy axis 043 - Uni/ying the urban landscape

023 - Networks 01 internationalization 036 - From Italian "Floreale" to Russian "Modern" 046 - The advent 01 rein/orced concrete

036 - The Catalan renaissance 053 - Concrete nationalisms

07 08 09
In search of a language: The Great War and its Expressionism in
from classicism to Cubism side effects Weimar Germany and
the Netherlands
090 - Anglo-American classicisms 102 - A triple mobilization
092 - German nostalgia 103 - The spread 01 Taylorism 110 - The Arbeitsrat lür Kunst

093 - Loos and the lure 01 "Western culture" 103 - Commemoration and reconstruction 111 - Dynamism in architecture

097 - Berlage and the question 01 proportions 106 - Postwar recomposition 117 - Hanseatic Expressionism
100 - Cubism and cubistics 108 - New architects between 118 - De Klerk and the Amsterdam School

science and propaganda

13 14 15
Architecture and The architecture Internationalization,
revolution in Russia of social reform its networks
and spectacles
162 - The shock 01 revolution 176 - Modernizing cities

165 - A pro/ession renewed 180 - Red Vienna 190 - The journal as printed stage

166 - The "social condensers" 181 - The new Frank/urt 191 - Model cities and open-air exhibitions

171 - Polemics and rivalries 185 - Taut's housing developments in Berlin 194 - Modern architecture enters the museums

171 - The Palace 01 the Soviets competition 186 - French suburbs 195 - The International Congresses

186 - Echoes overseas 01 Modern Architecture (CIAM)

189 - Equipping the suburbs 198 - Networks 01 in/luence and historical narratives
04 05 06
American rediscovered, The challenge of the New production,
tall and wide metropolis new aesthetic
056 - Chicago in white and black 070 - An explosion without precedent 082 - The AEG model in Berlin
057 - Sullivan's inventions 071 -_The planners' toolbox 083 - Factory as inspiration
060 - Wright and prarie architecture 071 - Town, square, and monument 085 - The Deutscher Werkbund
063 - Wright and Europe 076 - The idyll 01 the garden city 088 - Futurist mechanization
067 - The skyscraper migrates to New York 077 - Zoning tor the colonies and
lor Europe's metropoles

10 11 12
Return to order in Paris Dada, De Stijl, and Mies: Architectural education
from subversiveness in turmoil
124 - Purist lorms and urban compositions
to elementarism
127 - Le Corbusier and the modern house 152 - The Beaux-Arts and the alternatives
128 - Grand vessels in Paris and Geneva 138 - The Dada blast 153 - The Weimar Bauhaus
128 - Perret and the "sovereign shelter" 138 - The new lorms 01 De Stijl 156 - The Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin
129 - Paris Art Deco 143 - Van Doesburg builds 156 - The Vkhutemas in Moscow
132 - Mallet-Stevens, or elegant modernism 143 - Oud and Rietveld, Irom 161 - Innovative schools in the
136 - The extent 01 French modernism lurniture to house design new and old worlds
148 - Mies van der Rohe's theoretical projects

16 17 18
Futurism and Rationalism The spectrum of North American
in Fascist Italy classicisms modernities
and traditionalisms
200 - A second Futurism 224 - Wright, the return
200 - Muzio and the Novecento 212 - Literal classicism 231 - Los Angeles - lertile ground
204 - The regime and Rationalism 215 - Modern classicism 232 - The skyscraper reloaded
207 - Terragni's geometries 216 - Traditionalism and selt-crttlcal modernism 236 - Industrial products:
208 - An ambiguous "Mediterraneanism" 217 - Opportunism without borders between lactory and market
209 - New territories 217 - Islands 01 coexistence 238 - The New Deal's housing relorm

and the European immigration


19 20 21
Functionalism and Modern languages Colonial experiences
machine aesthetics conquer the world and new nationalisms
250 - British reticence deleated 272 - From Arabizing to modernizing
240 - Taylorism and architecture
255 - Northern European modernisms in North Alrica
241 - From ergonomics to
258 - The modern as Czechoslovakia's 275 - Near Eastern and Alrican endeavors
standard dimensions
national brand 275 - Italian cities around the Mediterranean
242 - Poetic lunctionalism:
260 - The moderns in Hungary and Poland 277 - The modernization 01 Turkey and Iran
Chareau and Nelson
261 - Balkan ligures 279 - Chinese pluralism
243 - Dynamic lunctionalism in
262 - Iberian modernization 283 - Modern hegemony in Palestine
France and the United States
264 - Japanese experiments

265 - Brazilian curves

25 26 27
Le Corbusier reinvented The shape of American Repression and diffusion
and reinterpreted hegemony of modernism
322 - The Unité d'Habitation 338 - The second skyscraper age 358 - Seven Sisters in Moscow
322 - 01 palaces and houses 342 - Mies the American 359 - Socialist realism exported
324 - The surprise 01 Ronchamp 345 - Wright's last return 359 - Khrushchev's critique
325 - Indian adventures 346 - Research out west 360 - Aalto's eminent position
326 - Invention and introspection 349 - Gropius and Breuer: the 366 - Japan's new energy
326 - Corbusian mannerisms assimilation 01 the Bauhaus 367 - Latin Americanisms
330 - Anglo-American Brutalism 351 - Saarinen's Iyricism and Johnson's anxiety 372 - Archipelagoes 01 invention
334 - The saga 01 Brasilia 352 - The solitude 01 Kahn
353 - From experimentation to commerce

31 32 33
lhe postmodern From regionalism to critical The neo-Futurist
season internationalism optimism of high tech
-- - From nostalgia to play 424 - Scarpa, or the rediscovery 01 craft 438 - Beaubourg establishes a canon
- The "end 01 prohibitions" 426 - Siza's poetic rigor 439 - Composition according to Rogers
.: - - Retrieving urbanity's ligures 427 - Collective endeavor in the Ticino 439 - Experimentation according to Piano
- America turns postmodern 431 - Moneo and Iberia 441 - Structure according to Foster
.:~ - e uncertain Iront 01 postmodernism 432 - Europe as a lield 01 experience 445 - Architects and engineers

e city - composition or collage? 433 - Research in South Asia 446 - New geometries

434 - Latin American personalities

434 - A critical internationalism


22 23 24
Architecture of a total war Tabula rasa to horror The fatal crisis of
vacui: reconstruction the Modern Movement,
286 - Front lines and home Ironts
and renaissance and the alternatives
287 - Extreme scales

288 - Air raid protection 298 - An American age 310 - The Festival 01 Britain
291 - Constructive and destructive techniques 299 - Literal reconstruction or radical 312 - Italian Neorealism
291 - Mobility and Ilexibility modernization? 314 - Planet Brazil
292 - Architecture 01 military occupation 301 - The "neighborhood unit" as model 318 - Housing and innovation
292 - Imagining the postwar world 302 - The traditionalists at work in North Alrica
294 - Converting to peace 302 - In search 01 a British model 319 - CIAM in turmoil
294 - Memory and memorials 303 - German debates 320 - The end 01 CIAM
309 - A modernist triumph?

28 29 30
Toward new utopias Between elitism and After 1968: architecture
populism: alternative forthe city
378 - Italy: critical continuity
architecture
381 - Independent together 404 - 1968, annus mirabilis
385 - Technology: ethos or icon? 394 - Research and technocracy 405 - Observing the extended city
386 - Hovering cities 01 indeterminacy 395 - Venturi's critique 405 - The shape 01 the city
388 - Metabolism in Japan 396 - Grays and Whites 408 - The input 01 the user
388 - Megastructures and global agitation 401 - From lunctionalism to

389 - Technology and its double advocacy planning

34 35
Architecture's Vanishing points
outer boundaries
469 - Strategic geographies 476 - Notes
- - Gehry, or the seduction 01 art 471 - Reinvented materials 494 - Bibliography

- - Koolhaas, or lantastic realism 471 - Sustainable buildings 506 - Index

-- - Nouvel, or mystery recovered 472 - The city reborn yet threatened 526 - Acknowledgments and credits

- Herzog and de Meuron, 473 - Landscape as horizon

or the principie 01 the collection 473 - Hypermodern media

.:; - Deconstructivists and rationalists 474 - Persistent social expectations

- Fragmentation and poetry in Japan


Architecture's
expanded field

William Morris's News from Nawhere and H. G. Wells's When consumption. The field al so expanded with the rise of new
the Sleeper Wakes, published in 1890 and 1899 respectively, types and classes of users. Architecture ceased to be a dis-
depict a future society - a socialist utopia in the former case, cipline exclusively in the service of the wealthy and began to
a capitalist dystopia in the latter - encountered by the novels' address broader constituencies, including municipalities, coop-
protagonists after a long period of sleep. If the contemporary eratives, and a wide range of institutions and social groups ..• 2

inhabitants of the planet had awakened in the early twenty-first It also responded to the breaking down of classical codes, the
century, they would have been at a loss to recognize not just rejection of historical imitation, and the introduction of new
the cities constellating the world's surface, but also the build- materials. Its new relations to technology, the arts, and the city
ings making them up. Both cities and buildings have under- were affected by external conditions as well as by internal anes.
gone fundamentaltransformations, more so than at any time At times it had recourse to sources outside the discipline,
in the past. Likewise, the quantity of building stock produced adopting metaphors based on biological organisms, machines,
since 1900 has surpassed the sum total of that which existed or language; at other times it found inspiration within its own
in all previous human history. disciplinary traditions ..• 3 In view of all these transformations,
Not only did the population of urban areas exceed that of the it has been impossible to limit architecture's definition in this
countryside for the first time shortly after the year 2000, but book to realized constructions. Unbuilt designs, as well as
also the very forms of human presence on the face of the earth books, journals, and public manifestations embodying the cul-
reflected tharoughgoing changes. In the nineteenth century, the ture of architecture in its broadest sense, have also been taken
train station and department store joined the ha use, palace, into account. Indeed, realized buildings are always informed by
and temple in the existing inventory of building types. In the ideas, narratives, and repressed memories of past projects.
twentieth century, office and apartment towers, large housing
developments, vast hangars enclosing factories and shopping
centers, and a wide variety of infrastructures ranging from Two thresholds in time
dams to airports followed. Contradicting the British historian
Nikolaus Pevsner, who famously wrote that "a bicycle shed is The very delimitation "twentieth century" is open to debate.
a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture," .• 1 Rejecting a strictly chronological definition, the present narrative
the most prosaic programs came to be considered objects begins with the period from 1880 to 1914. It finds its temporal
worthy of aesthetic altention. This unprecedented surge in con- brackets between the "short century" that the British historian
struction was meager compensation for a previously unim- Eric Hobsbawm condensed into the years from 1914 to 1991 .• 4
aginable level of destructian ot natural resources and cultural and a longer span that places the twentieth century's origins
treasures, the effects ot industrialization, urbanization, and war. within a continuum that goes as far back as the Enlightenment.
. Architecture's mutations were not limited to the invention of This initial mament is characterized by the convergence of
programs responding to the new demands of production and industrialization and urbanization, the rise of social democracy

Introduction I Architecture's expanded field


throughout Europe, the emergence of the social sciences as second millennium appeared to signal the next radical break in
disciplinary specializations, and the dissemination of the the culture of architecture. It is this moment that provides the
thought of important philosophers from Friedrich Nietzsche to closing bracket for this book. The automation of processes in
Henri Bergson. It also coincides with the rise of revolutionary a digital age had the effect of modifying the division of profes-
art movements such as Symbolism in poetry and the arfs, and sional labor as well as the relationship between the design stu-
Cubism in painting. While the European powers were fighting dio and the building site. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao,
a war for world domination and orchestrating the triumph of Spain, completed by Frank Gehry in 1997, was a highly visible
imperialism, designers, and the images of their work, also exemplar of these new practices while also a demonstration of
began to make inroads around the globe, thanks to the unprec- the potential importance of architecture in urban planning and
edented acceleration of modes of transport and new networks of public policy; together with dozens of other surprising build-
printed information, which disseminated the cultural norms of the ings, Gehry's museum called into question the traditional defini-
leading-nations. tion of the architectural object. With architecture firms, clients,
A pair of almost contemporaneous events were crucial to this and cultural organizations enjoying unprecedented mobility,
beginning: the Universal Exposition in Paris of 1889 and the the rise of a generation of designers hyped by the international
World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago of 1893. The Paris media, but initially engaged in theoretical and critical activ-
fair coincided with the climactic moment of European colonial- ity and open to utopian discourse, coincided with a crisis in the
ism, while the Chicaco fair signaled the emergence of the New social policies that had developed over the course of the twen-
World on the international scene. Both everits called the very tieth century. Coming on the heels of several generations of
definition of architecture into question, in its purpose - as its architects who had nurtured high aspirations to social trans-
addressees became much broader social groups - as well as formation, designers at the end of the twentieth century often
its forms. Mass production, of which Fordism became the most relinquished to developers and politicians tools that they might
significant system of organization, led to the creation of a world- have used to achieve substantive reforms.
wide market and encouraged the most radical architects to The span from 1889 to 2000 does not divide easily into tidy,
search for new forms consonant with the machine aesthetic. At self-contained segments. Rather, it is necessary to take into
the same time, traditionalists, who were often no less engaged account multiple, overlapping temporalities throughout the
socially and no less hostile to eclecticism, sought to perpetuate century, as suggested by the historian Fernand Braudel in his
the more comforting archetypes of the past by adjusting them historical interpretation of the Mediterranean world. -> 5 Braudel
o new demands. used the architectural metaphor of multidimensional "planes"
Almost one century later - after decolonization, which culmi- to describe these multiple temporalities. In twentieth-century
nated with Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990, and architecture they include state policies and their highly volatile
e end of the Cold War, which was marked by the West's configurations; life cycles of institutions and organizations as
iumph over the Soviet bloc in 1989 - the winding down of the well as cities and regions, which undergo slow processes of

010 I 011
Introduction I Architecture's expanded field
3 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the
Illinois Institute 01 Technology, c. 1945

growth and decline; and, most simply, the construction of major manifestoes, which have sometimes exerted their influence at
buildings and the lives of architects, critics, clients, and histori- a distance of several decades. An attempt has been made
ans. More fleeting temporalities, in which concepts and ideals throughout the book to identify the visual documents allowing
appear and disappear only to resurface a few decades later, the clearest understanding of these resonances and reverbera-
also play their par!. The problem of writing a history of twentieth- tions. Together with images of completed buildings, sometimes
century architecture is precisely that of relating these differential within their urban contexts, pages of magazines, book covers,
rates of temporal change to specific designs and built objects. and architects' portraits help to reconstruct the complexity of
Given this framework, I have resisted the temptation to write a continuously changing networks of signs and forms.
history of what has been known as the "Modern Movement"
ever since Nikolaus Pevsner made a rather partisan identi-
fication of its "pioneers" in 1936, celebrating Walter Gropius The carousel of hegemonies
as its major figurehead. -> 6 I have also avoided perpetuat-
ing the rubric of the "International Style," formulated in 1932 in In the following pages, the different national "scenes" of archi-
New York, -> 7 preferring instead to shape a broader definition tecture have been treated as porous to international strategies
of modernity that cannot be reduced to the fetish of novitas, and debates - as contexts in which the latter were subjected to
of the new for newness's sake. From this point of view, it was discussion, modification, and adaption - rather than as territo-
essential not to disreqard architectural interpretations of moder- ries with impermeable borders. The history of twentieth-century
nity based on conservative or traditionalist concepts, even if architecture could be written by following the thread - or, rather,
they were frequently rejected or ridiculed by militant critics act- untangling the knot - of consecutive systems of hegemony
ing, as is often the case, on behalf of the leading architects. imposed on national and regional cultures. -> 9 The period under
Resurgences of classicism and the occasional subversive erup- consideration was characterized in crucial ways by recurrent
tion of the vernacular are part of this bigger picture. Indeed, far economic and political conflicts between dominant states,
from being a rigid category, and even less a sterile one, tradi- including their military consequences. These conflicts had tre-
tion - though sometimes wholly fabricated - has consistently mendous impact on culture. In 1941 the media tycoon Henry
served as an intellectual stimulan!. -> 8 Luce declared that the twentieth century was destined to be
An exploration of the shifting boundaries between architecture the "American Century," following centuries implicitly perceived
and the related fields of art, urban planning, and technology as "French" and then "English." -> 10 There is no doubt that the
al so proved indispensable for understanding the changing United States exercised considerable influence on architecture
methods of form-giving. The elevated ideals with which radi- - as on many other fields of culture - even before the massive
cal architects have often identified themselves - such as the increase in its power following victory over the Axis forces in
machine aesthetic or organicism - needed to be taken into 1945 and a second triumphal moment at the end of the Cold
account, along with the effects of the apparently most abstract War. -> 11 The vocabulary of architecture faithfully reflected

012 I 013
these shifts. After 1945 American terminology supplemented been perfected by the British. The architecture of the Moroccan
the Italian language of architecture that had emerged during city of Casablanca was defined in relation not just to Paris but
the Renaissance and then was supplemented by French and al so to Berlin and Los Angeles, while Buenos Aires contained
British terms in the eiqhteenth and nineteenth centuries and by echoes of Madrid, Budapest, Milan, New York, and Paris.
German terms in the early twentieth century. -> 12

But the hegemony of this relatively new civilization was not


the only thing to have an impact on global architeclure. The continuity of type
Considering each national scene as a porous rather than
closed real m reveals systems of domination of varying types, On each national scene, the groups competing for dominance
intensity, and duration, from industrial modes of production in architecture at times indulged in exaggerated polemics in
lo patlerns of leisure. National scenes have remained open order to consolidate their own "symbolic capital," in sociologist
despite recurrent attempts by authoritarian or xenophobic Pierre Bourdieu's sense of the termo -> 14 It was therefore impos-
regimes to shore up their borders. Far from giving way to a sible to limit a history of the relationships structuring twentieth-
homogenizing internationalism, national systems have con- century architecture to a list of aesthetic "influences" - a term
stantly redefined themselves, shaped by the interplay of inter- I have consciously avoided. Instead, following Hans Robert Jauss,
nal and external forces. Long before the advent of air travel and I found it essential to analyze the reception met by works and
new information technologies, the global circulation of ideas ideas, as this often redefined the professional identity of archi-
and images by way of the steamship, the telegraph, and the tects, even those working at a considerable distance from the
mechanical reproduction of pictures - all nineteenth-century buildings they were interpreting and sometimes emulating. -> 15

inventions - shaped every local scene. This book proposes to map the relationships established
These patterns may also be detected within colonial empires, among theoretical systems, seminal concepts, urban plans,
which both reached their apogee and underwent their final paper projects, and completed buildings. This last, however,
collapse in the twentieth century, then were partially perpetu- along with individual architects, remains the central focus,
ated under postcolonial conditions after 1945. But the relation- although, once again, with their local and international recep-
ship of the colonizer to the colonized was never unidirectional, tion taken into account. The connection between imagined
and the hybridization that characterized urban planning and spaces and built ones was particularly strong in the twentieth
architecture in many colonies, where local themes were century, given that the principal types of structures were often
assimilated into constructions built by the dominant power, developed in a kind of leap from the shelf of the "ideal project
also operated between colonizing nations. -> 13 The general library," as identified by Bruno Fortier, -> 16 to the reality of the
plan of Chandigarh, capital of the Punjab - initially entrusted construction site.
to the American architect Albert Mayer, then to Paris-based Le The glass towers imagined by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in
Corbusier - was rooted in town-planning principies that had 1921, for example, were built only in the 1950s. They then

Introduction I Architecture's expanded field


became a tiresome cliché - an easy target for critics advocat- within an optimistic picture of the encounter between formal
ing "postmodernism" - before being reborn at the end of the and technological invention and social advances ...• 22 Twenty
century thanks to new technological advances. Likewise, the years later, but in a similar vein, Kenneth Frampton proposed
immeuble-villa conceived by Le Corbusier in 1922, a collec- a "critical history" of the Modern Movement, seeking to pro-
tive dwelling with individual living spaces, has contínued'to long its "incomplete project." ..•23 Soon after, William Curtis
inspire projects in the third millennium. The machine-build- took into account the global expansion of modern architecture,
ing that Antonio Sant'Elia envisioned just before World War I a perspective rooted in his own experiences in Asia and Latin
would appear in a modified form in the Centre Pompidou in America ...• 24 In 2002, Alan Colquhoun published a concise sur-
Paris, while the contorted, biomorphic structures dreamed of vey no less committed to the celebration of modernism than
by the Expressionists have finally become feasible today in an Frampton's ...• 25
age when digital modeling has made it possible to break down Reyner Banham, who as early as 1960 saw roots of modern
complex shapes into components that can be calculated and architectural strategies in both Italian Futurism and French
industrially produced. Classicism, was among those to propose a more subversive
reading ...• 26 Manfredo Tafuri and Francesco Dal Co also ana-
Iyzed the relationship of aesthetics and politics in twentieth-
Historians versus architects, century architecture, underlining the ideological forces that
or the problem of inclusion shaped the field, ..•27 which Tafuri had addressed previously in
his enigmatic but magisterial Architecture and Utopía (1973).
Until the 1970s the histories told by Sigfried Giedion, Bruno Several generations of biographical dictionaries and encyclo-
Zevi, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, and Leonardo Benevolo per- pedias have allowed readings parallel to those offered by these
petuated a view of modern architecture that gave priority to the historical narratives. Recently Adrian Forty attempted, in Words
radical character of its innovations. Each narrative carried its and Buíldíngs, to define the semantic field of modern archi-
own particular biases ...• 17 As early as 1929 Giedion was inter- tecture by identifying some of its key terms, whereas Anthony
ested in observing "national constants." ..•18 By 1941 he spoke Vidler unveiled the strategies determining many of these found-
of the creation of a "new tradition," a notion Hitchcock had ing histories ...• 28 Yet few of these works have attempted to
proposed in 1929 ...• 19 In 1951 Zevi responded to Giedion by reveal the continuities that characterize modern architecture
highlighting the historical relationship of architectural culture - an often broken thread, but one that runs throughout the
to politics and surveying a vast array of buildings ...• 20 In 1958 episodes discussed in this book.
Hitchcock described the "reintegration" of the arts of the engi- From Giedion to Tafuri to Frampton, these discourses of archi-
neer and the architect; he also preferred to write about build- tectural history have revealed the fact that the supposed auton-
ings that he had actually had the opportunity to visit. ..•21 As for omy or objectivity of the author is a quasi-fiction. Many of these
Benevolo, he placed the development of modern architecture books originated from a commission by a particular architect

014 I 015
- in Giedion's case, by Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius - or appears all the more obsolete thirty years after the eruption
reflected an intellectual position developed in close contact of the last of several short-lived postmodernisms. Without
with architects - in Tafuri's case, with Aldo Rossi and Vittorio going so far as to extend the definition of the modern condi-
Gregotti. Through such relationships, architects have undeni- tion to the vast configurations of scientific and political thought
ably shaped historians' thinking and writing and at times biased explored by, tor example, Bruno Latour, -> 30 I have ventured
their interpretations. beyond the limits of the movements literally proclaiming their
The following pages try to place less emphasis on the creativity own modernity to consider changes brought about by the con-
of incontestable "masters" like Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, vergence 01 the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and
and Mies -> 29 than on the sometimes unfairly neglected work of the rise of the nation-state. The adjustment of conservative build-
architects who had less heroic careers but have been rediscov- ing codes to the lunctional requirements 01 modernization - the
ered through the publication of a plethora of monographs dur- objective process of the material transformation of society -
ing the last two decades. The importance of the "masters" of belongs to this chronicle as much as do innovations in building
modern architecture needs to be assessed as much through a typology and torrn, even if the former respond more to the man-
careful reconsideration of their ascendancy and period of dom- dates of state power and capital than to ideal s of social relorm.
ination as through a celebration of their work. From this point It is difficult and perhaps impossible to communicate in a single
01 view - and unlike many 01 the volumes named above - this narrative a spectrum of experiences that thousands of mono-
book attempts to be as inclusive as possible, within the limits 01 graphs, exhibition catalogs, doctoral theses, and thematic stud-
its format and at the risk 01 occasionally oversimplilying corn- ies have not yet exhausted. Yet by alternating wide brushstrokes
plex trajectories. I have frequently devoted more attention to with specific details, I have endeavored to evoke a landscape of
the experimental beginnings 01 architects' careers than to their recurrent themes and at times to reveal different ways of think-
late periods, when their work often regressed or was simply fro- ing about the past. Among these recurrent themes is the
zen in place by success and repetition. passionate search by modern architects for an architecture
In order to avoid reproducing the kind 01 epic narrative with considered to be "rational" - a term that has enjoyed much
which many previous histories have interpreteo the theories and success over many decades - or in any case to be justified
designs of the most innovative architects 01 the nineteenth cen- by a ratio related to construction, function, or economy. This
tury - reducing their immediate predecessors to the dubious search led in extreme cases to a reduction of the conception
status 01 "pioneers" - I have taken a broad view 01 the untold- of "rational" building to little more than the implementation of
ing of architectural modernity. The continuity between the ide- principies like the provision of optimal ventilation or an align-
als and reform strategies lorged during the first decades of the ment guaranteeing maximum sunlight. Another recurrent
Industrial Revolution and those 01 the "mature" modernism of theme in twentieth-century architecture has been the relation-
the 1920s cannot be denied. Indeed, a definition 01 modernity ship of architectural programs to the needs of exploited social
limited to the aesthetic and design precepts of high modernism classes - a subject taken into consideration by professional

Introduction I Architecture's expanded field


architects for the first time in history during this periodo
Throughout the twentieth century, diverse populist movements
constantly addressed this subject, whether structurally - for
example, in terms of social housing - or aesthetically, by draw-
ing on vernacular rather than "pedigreed" forms.
I have aspired to trace projects, alongside the dazzling accom-
plishments of the "rnasters" and their trailblazing experiments
that claimed to free architecture from the weight of history, that
are more reflective of the slow, cumulative, and irresistible
process of modernization. During the golden age of Hollywood
cinema, the major studios and leading producers categorized
eir movies as "A," "B," or "e" according to their budget. This
narrative, though most often focused on A buildings, was
initially written with the intention not to neglect the relation-
ship between the "major" architecture of the most spectacular
• orks and the "minor" architecture of mass production, which
constituted the urban backdrop for the monumental projects.
The physical limitations of a single volume have constrained this
arnbítíon, But if the pages that follow cannot unravel all the mys-
zsries of twentieth-century architecture, they aim first and fore-
-nost to be an invitation to discovery and to suggest a framework
in which to understand its most characteristic features.

016 I 017
Sheds to rails:
the dominion
of steel

The historical cycle referred to by the Scottish urban planner The lamp of style
Patrick Geddes and his American disciple Lewis Mumford as
the "paleotechnic age" was symbolized by the invention of the At a time when national identity was developing in parallel with a
steam engine, the diffusion of the telegraph, and the expansion passion for history, Semper and his French contemporary Eugene
of the railroads ..• 1 As it unfolded, the crisis of rapidly growing Emmanuel Viollet-Ie-Duc shared the beliefs that architecture must
cities and the erosion of historicist architectural languages pro- free itself from the multiple styles inherited from the past and that
voked a late-nineteenth-century revision of ideals that had been the logic embedded in the history of architecture, when released
formulated in response to the Industrial Revolution. Most of the from the baggage of historical styles, would give rise to the one
theoretical positions and slogans of the following decades true style of the contemporary age. Semper declared, "Style is the
sprang from these precocious visions of a new culture based accord of an art object wilh its genesis and with all the precondi-
on induslry. The effects of scientific discoveries combined tions and circumstances of its becoming." .• 4 Viollet-Ie-Duc added
wilh Romanlicism and belated echoes of the Enlighlenmenl lo in his Lectures on Architecture 5 that style was no longer merely
broaden Ihe ambilions of new nation-states thal rapidly came lo the result of the will to create a form, but rather the logical outcome
both support and depend upon imperialism and colonial expan- of a given set of conditions: "As long as we are used to proceeding
sion. National and inlernalional economic growth heighlened by reasoning, as long as we have a principie, any compositional
the demand for public policies that would satisfy the expecla- task is possible, if not easy, and follows an orderly, methodical
tions of increasingly well-organized workers. path, the results of which, though they may not be masterpieces,
In 1889 an international exposition opened in Paris to com- are at the very least fine, acceptable pieces of work that can have
memorale the hundredlh anniversary of the fall of the Baslille. style." .• 5 Thus a locomotive or a sleamboat could be stylish in the
With Iheir Galerie des Machines, 11 Ferdinand Dulert and sense meant by Viollet-Ie-Duc so long as it did not imitate a stage-
Victor Conlamin soughl lo ouldo Joseph Paxlon's Crystal coach or a sailboat but embraced its own lechnical requirements.
Palace al Ihe London world exposition, which in 1851 had The bold gestures represented by the Galerie des Machines,
revealed Ihe vast gap between the mechanical elegance of its in which three-hinged arches spanned 110 meters (360 feet),
prefabricated glass envelope and the eclectic ornamentation and by the 300-meter (986-foot) tower that would soon take
of the industrial objects it housed ..• 2 The sight of these new the name of Gustave Eiffel, 13 the man responsible for its
products featuring mass-produced decoration had spurred design and erection, were made possible by the use of iron,
John Ruskin to pen diatribes against the machines that were the preeminenl material of nineteenth-century industry. Though
stripping workers of their rale in handcrafting objects. But the clearly visible in both these emblematic edifices, iron was care-
"Caribbean hut" also on view at the 1851 fair inspired the ideas fully disguised in other contexts, including most of the buildings
that would fuel Gottfried Semper's treatise Oer Stil in den tech- erected in Europe and North America in the middle of the cen-
nischen und tektonischen Künsten (Style in the Technical and tury. Architectural theorists therefore took particular interest in
Tectonic Arts; 1860-3) ..• 3 4 the question of how to sheathe metallic structures ..• 6

Chapter 01 I Sheds to rails: the dominion 01 steel


6 ~ Firth 01 Forth Bridge, Benjamin
,- Baker and John Fowler, Edinburgh,
Inchgarvie and File, United Kingdom,
1880-90

,It===~=

I el g
Caribbean Hut, Irom Der Stil in den 5 Vaulting 01 Large Spaces, Irom Entretiens
zecnniscnen und tektonischen Künsten sur I'architecture (Lectures on Architecture),
Slyle in the Technical and Tectonic Arts), Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-Ie-Duc, 1872
30ttlried Semper, 1860-3

11 his 1849 volume The Seven Lamps of Architecture, Ruskin had the dominant status 01the methods inculcated at the École
eñounced "structural deceit" as inimical to architectural "truth." des Beaux-Arts in Paris, which was uncontested as the lead-
e wrote, "The architect is not bound [italics in original] to exhibit ing school in Europe and much 01the world. Among its stu-
structure; nor are we to complain 01 him ter concealing it, any dent body were young Americans and Central and Eastern
ore than we should regret that the outer surlaces 01the human Europeans, whose adherence to its principies would vary widely
- ame conceal much 01 its anatomy; nevertheless, that building alter they returned home. The Beaux-Arts approach lavored axial
"11 generally be the noblest, which to an intelligent eye discovers composition, symmetry, and hierarchy - above all in the con-
- e great secrets 01 its structure, as an animal lorm does, although text 01the competitions in which its students engaged - and
• om a careless observer they may be concealed." -> 7 In a similar it neglected the relationship 01 buildings to the urban labric in
.~in, Semper - borrowing the notion 01 "tectonics," or the exterior favor 01 an abstract vision that generally imposed them on empty
axpression 01 interior structure, lrom the historian Karl Bbtlicher sites. -> 10 But as the New York architect and Beaux-Arts alumnus
- proposed to differentiate the Kernform (corelorm) lrom the Ernest Flagg underlined in a lively article written upon his return
«unsttorm (artform) in buildings. -> 8 Filty years later Walter Irom France, such an approach provided ballast against the
3enjamin no longer resorted to these kinds 01 organic images to hazards 01 prolessional practice. -> 11

characterize nineteenth-century Parisian architecture but rather The École was hardly characterized by complete unanimity, how-
oorrowed a ligure lrom psychoanalysis. In a clarilication 01 a ever; contradictory positions were olten embraced even by those
staternent by Giedio'n, he noted that the engineering structure 01 who adhered to its central principies. In contrast to the carica-
e ildings played "the role 01 bodily processes - around which tures drawn by modernist critics, many exponents 01 eclecticism
ertistic' architectures gather, like dreams around the Iramework 01 used the past not as a supermarket ter historical ornaments but
~ ysiological processes." -> 9 He thus updated Semper's distinc- rather as a source lor evaluating the "true" and "correct" language
zon between Kernform and Kunstform using a concept proposed suited to each project; in this respect they differed Irom both the
Sigmund Freud tor the interpretation 01dreams. champions 01 a rigorous classicism and the hard-line rational-
ists. The Beaux-Arts "eclectics" olten proclaimed their allegiance
The eminence of the Beaux-Arts to Viollet-Ie-Duc, tor whom a building's plan was a lunction 01 its
purpose and its lacade deduced Irom its plan. The Paris architect
~~e relationship 01the outer skin to the internal structure rern- and critic Frantz Jourdain expressed this position by praising the
z: ed a kind 01 mystery in the great Parisian buildings 01the late architects 01the 1889 exposition lor having "put aside senile and
- ,eteenth century, such as Charles Garnier's Opéra (1860-75) dangerous formulas and understood that ... social requirements
=..1<1
Victor Laloux's Gare d'Orsay (1887-1900). The metal used cannot be subjected to the tyrannical rule 01 a style," and particu-
- lheir construction was totally hidden by their lacades, which, larly lor having understood that "it is the necessities 01 everyday
lhe case 01the Opéra, were expertly decorated with sculp- lile that have the right to dictate the structure and to demand that
::...·eand architectural ornament. These two buildings epitomized it provide rational exteriors, plans, and proportions." -> 12

018 I 019
7 Postsparkasse, atto Wagner,
Vienna, Austria, 1903, first version
01 the main elevation
DIE KOMPOSITION,
IE KUNST 1ST, WIE SCHON

D DAS WORT
ElN KONNEN,
FAHIOKElT,
WENIGEN AUSERwAHLTEN
VOLLENDUNG
ANDEUTET,
SJE 1ST ElNE
WELCHE, VON

ERHOSEN,
ZUR
DER
SCHONHEIT SlNHLICHEN AUS.
nauca VERLEIHT. 111111
11 WIRDDIESERAUSDRUCKDURCH
DAS AUGE W AHRGENOMMEN, SO
ENTSPRICHTDlESEP'~OKEITDEM
BEORIFFE ,,an.DENDE KUNST". ti
iI VON DEN BILDENDEN KONsTEN
Hlt.BEN MALEREI 1.TND BlLDNEREI
IHRE VORBILDER STETS IN DER
NATUR, wAHREND DIE BAUKUNST
OlE MENSCHLICHE SCHAFFEH5-
KRAFT DIREKT ZUR BASlS HAT
UNO ES VERS'I'EHT, DAS VERAR-
BErrETE ALS VOLUG NEUGESTAL-
TETES ZU BlETEN. [J 1111

8 Page from Moderne Architektur (Modern 9 Postsparkasse, Otto Wagner, Vienna, Austria, 1903-6
Architecture), Otto Wagner, 1896
10 ~ History 01 Human Habitation, section at the Universal Exposition, Charles Garnier, Paris, France, 1889

Programs of modernization returned to the United States alter several years abroad and dis-
covered the skyscrapers of New York with an admiration tinged
The "everyday life" referred to by Jourdain had been radically with horror, writing in 1906 that they resembled "extravagant pins
transformed since the beginnings of industrialization, Increased in a cushion already overplanted, --> 15

manufacturing needs and expanded communication and dis- The tension between civil engineering and architecture, so obvi-
tribution networks required more factories, train stations, mar- ous in international exhibitions where historicist ornament con-
kets, and department stores, The establishment of nation-states trasted sharply with structural innovations, was toned down
had stimulated the construction of palaces for the governing elites somewhat in the great works of the engineers, often achieved
and large halls for parliamentary assernblies. New penal, health- without archítects. Photographs of Eiffel's viaducts in Porto and
care, and education policies took material form in prisons, hospi- Garabit (1876-7 and 1881-4, respectively) and of Benjamin Baker
tals, schools, and universities. Above all, the dawn of the age of and John Fowler's spectacular bridge over the Firth of Forth
organization led to the proliferation of a new type of edifice, par- (1880-90) 6 publicized the idea of an architecture based on the
ticularly in the United States: the large building devoted exclu- elasticity of the frame rather than the massiveness of the walls,
sively to otfices. Traditional construction techniques relying on Images of bridges, dams, locks, and other marvels of civil engi-
stone and brick masonry, though ingeniously reinforced with tie neering free of any applied artistic forms inspired many careers
beams, girders, and iron frames, were reaching their limits, and in engineering and architecture. It is no coincidence that the illus-
the invention of new types of structures became crucial. tration opening Le Corbusier's manifesto Vers une architecture
Many contemporaries recognized the new horizons opened (Toward an Architecture; 1923) is a view of the Garabit Viaduct. 12

up by the great iron and glass halls built to serve the agendas
01 the Industrial Revolution and the nation-state, Decades ear- Networks of internationalization
lier, the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol had put forward a vision 01
a new transparent, vertical architecture derived from his anal- Once travel by steamship and the rapid long-distance trans-
ysis of Gothic architecture and based on "one principal idea: mission and increasingly accurate reproduction of photographs
height." --> 13 Later in the century Émile Zola studied the concept encouraged the circulation of people and images, international-
01 the new Parisian department sto res in writing his novel Au ization intensified. World's fairs became mass spectacles
bonheur des dames (The Ladies' Paradise; 1883) and solicited crowded with travelers from far-flung places, while professional
me advice of Jourdain, who would later design the Samaritaine architects hopped on trains and boats to go see their colleagues'
Department Store in Paris, Zola's contemporary Joris-Karl work. --> 16 Architectural periodicals provided plans and photo-
Huysmans observed that the new iron edifices did not include graphs of even the most distant structures, while a genuinely
"Greek, Gothic or Renaissance borrowings; they are a new, origi- global market for architecture took shape through major compe-
nal form, unachievable with stone, possible only with the metal- titions, such as the one in 1898 for the campus of the University of
lurgical products of our tactories." --> 14 As for Henry James, he California, Berkeley, and those held between 1905 and 1914 for

022 I 023
13 Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel and
Maurice Koechlin, Paris, France, 1888-9

·I-:--....,~~~JII!!!IIII'IIII..·

-~ S.;..
"

ESTHÉTIQUE DE L'INGENIEUR
ARCHITECTURE

11 Galerie des Machines, Ferdinand Dutert and 12 Garabit Viaduct, Gustave Eiffel,
Victar Contamin, Paris, France, 1889 Loubaresse/Ruynes-en-Margeride,
France, 1881-4, page lrom Le
Carbusier, Vers une Architecture
(Towards an Architecture, 1923)

the design of new capital cities like Canberra and for extensions lacked the structural rigor of the Galerie des Machines. Rare were
to Barcelona, Berlin, and Antwerp. Photography, already a wide- the pavilions displaying a new, more fluid aesthetic or even hinting
spread practice, became a powerful medium in the circulation of at an organic life. The most remarkable contributions, such as the
architectural forms and the study of urban environments. In fact, pavilion devoted to a novel evocation of a village church designed
both architects and writers seized on the young medium and by Eliel Saarinen, who was representing Finland, served to crys-
practiced it themselves: Émile Zola photographed the Crystal tallize the national forms for which the past century had constantly
Palace as reconstructed in Sydenham, outside London, and Frank searched. From this time on, the most successful experiments were
Lloyd Wright returned from his first trip to Japan with a collection to take the form of houses and modest public buildings rather than
of his own photographs of temples and gardens ...• 17 Artists' inter- the grand official architecture of nation-states and municipalities.
pretations of modern life were no less significant. In Paris, Claude The most coherent and revolutionary architectural hypothesis put
Monet painted memorable views of the Gare Saint-Lazare, the forward during this period between the two Paris world's fairs was
train station closest to his studio, while Gustave Caillebotte and probably that of the Viennese architect Otto Wagner. In Moderne
Georges Seurat took an interest in the nearby Pont de l'Europe Architektur (1896), 8 written for his students at the Vienna Academy
and the bridge in Asnieres ...• 18 This acute attention to the met- of Fine Arts, he advocated a Nutzsti/ (utilitarian style) that was free
ropolitan scenery would continue with the Expressionists and the of historical references and that transposed the rhythms of indus-
Futurists. Though architects had a close working relationship with trial society to architecture: "One idea inspires the book, namely
the practitioners of the decorative arts, it was the work of paint- that the basis of today's predominant views on architecture must
ers that especially transformed their sensibility. There were many be shifted, and we must become fully aware that the sole depar-
domains of internationalization. The rapid growth of colonial ture point for our artistic work can only be modern life." ..•20 After
empires, notably those of Great Britain and France, was accompa- his metropolitan railroad stations, which he began building in 1895,
nied by an assimilation and transformation of the visual languages and the two buildings he erected on the Wienzeile in 1898, fea-
of colonized peoples, which the European public encountered turing bold floral decorations on ceramics and more conservative
especially through the ephemeral extravaganzas of world's fairs. sculptural ornament, Wagner's designs underwent a spectacular
The Human Habitation pavilions built by Charles Garnier for the transformation. The glazing of the main hall of his Postsparkasse
1889 exposition 10 - and strongly criticized by the academy for (Post Office Savings Bank; 1903-6) 9 was free of any such deco-
their "Iack of taste" - opened multiple cultures to observation ...• 19 rative detail. On the exterior, the aluminum rivets attesting to the
Architects also had access to handbooks and portfolios contain- logic of the building's on-site assembly became the ornamentation,
ing examples of building designs and ornamental motifs from, for punctuating the still-symmetrical facade that the building turned to
instance, the Far and Near East, which they could copy or adapt the RingstraBe. 7 These rivets, which affixed the stone building's
to their own purposes. The world's fair held in 1900 in Paris was cladding along the great monument-lined boulevard built in the
something of a regression compared to its 1889 predecessor. last third of the nineteenth century, paradoxically pointed forward
Henri Oeglane's Grand Palais and Charles Girault's Petit Palais to an architecture freed from the weight of masonry.

Chapter 01 I Sheds to rails: the dominion 01 steel


The search for
modern form

By the turn 01 the twentieth century, lew progressive architects Toward a "new art" from Paris to Berlin
had lailed to read the work 01 Friedrich Nietzsche. In Thus
Spoke Zarathustra, the German philosopher had affirmed The label "Art Nouveau" (new art) was borrowed from the
the role of "the creator" as an iconoclast, a "Iawbreaker." -> 1 eponymous Paris art gallery owned by Samuel Bing and
Equally rare were those architects ignorant 01 the writings of designed by Louis Bonnier in 1895. It was applied to the experi-
John Ruskin and William Morris, which called for artistic crea- ments carried out in Paris by architects such as Hector Guimard
tion to be rooted in manual labor. A shared cult of youth drove and Jules Lavirotte. But the real starting point of the movement
architects and artists of the new generation to break with insti- was lound in a series of town houses that Victar Horta built in
tutions that were now considered as outdated as they were Brussels beginning in 1893. Here Harta lollowed the agenda
tyrannica!. The 1897 "secession" 01 Viennese artists and archi- that had been set lorth in the first issue 01 the periodical L'Art
tects lrom the prevailing aesthetic culture in Austria - those moderne in 1881, which informed its readers: "The artist is not
who shared the realization that there were no longer any tradi- satisfied merely with building in the ideal, he is involved with
tions left to reject - was the most spectacular example of this everything that interests and touches uso Our monuments,
modern trend toward rupture with art and architecture's past. houses, furniture, clothes, the slightest objects of everyday use
The movement included a group 01 young artists who, starting are constantly revisited and transformed by Art, which com-
in 1898, gathered around the periodical Ver sacrum (Sacred bines with everything and constantly renews our entire life to
Spring), its title an allusion to a poem by the Romantic writer make it more elegant and more noble, more cheerful and more
Ludwig Uhland. socia!." -> 3 Horta followed Viollet-Ie-Duc's injunction to create
The unification between architecture and the decorative arts rational and ethically "true" architecture. To do so, he devoted
was a constant feature of the practice of these young proles- himself to the study of plant life, which inspired the motils used
sionals, who sought in different ways to turn each edifice into in the columns and joists of his houses. He also conceived
a "total wark of art." The latter concept derived from the musi- designs that allowed light to reach deep into the lots on which
cal dramas of Richard Wagner, another figure venerated by his houses were set. Horta's masterpiece, which made his vision
European and North American intellectuals. -> 2 Stone, brick, legible to the working class, was the Maison du Peuple (People's
metal, glass, wood, and ceramics became the instruments of House; 1898-9, demolished 1965) 16 in Brussels, a building
a new orchestral composition in which the specific quality of that enclosed a meeting hall and a brasserie in a metallic cage.
each component was accentuated in a variety 01 design strat- It would remain one of the clearest interpretations of this new
egies known as Art Nouveau in France, Sezession in Austria, type of building commissioned by warkers' unions ar coopera-
Jugendstil in Germany, Floreale or Liberty in Italy, and Modern tives to serve as a proletarian alternative to bourgeois gathering
in Russia. places. French Socialist leader Jean .Jaures declared on the
day 01 its opening: "Here dreams take the solidity of stone
without losing their spiritual elevation." -> 4

Chapter 02 I The search lar modern lorm


14 Sanatorium, Josef Hoffmann, Purkersdorf, Austria, 1904-5

15 Zacherlhaus, Joze Plecnik, Vienna, Austria, 1903-5

16 Maison du Peuple (People's House), Victar Harta, Brussels, Belgium, 1898-9, demolished 1965

028 I 029
17 Bloemenwerl House, Henry Van de Velde, 18 Museum 01 Decoralive Arts, Odón Lechner, 19 The Orchard, Charles F. A. Voysey, Chorleywood,
Uccle, Belgium, 1895-6 Budapesl, Hungary, 1893-6 United Kingdom, 1899

Horta's compatriot Henry van de Velde, born in Antwerp and disseminated their teacher's ideas in Bohemia. Wagner also
trained as a painter, sought an aesthetic principie that would had an impact in Budapest, where Odon Lechner cornbined
apply to every object 01 daily lile. Looking back in 1916, he Wagner's approach with Hungarian ornamenlal themes in such
wrote, "Ruskin and Morris tried to chase ugliness Irom man's buildings as the Museum 01 Decorative Arts (1893-6). 18
heart; I preached that we had to chase it trorn his mind." -> 5 His Having settled in Berlin, Van de Velde was invited by Count
Bloemenwerl House (1895-6) 17 in Uccle, structured around a Harry Kessler to establish new art schools in Weimar, the capi-
central double-height hall in the English lashion, and the tal 01 the Grand Duchy 01 Saxony. Van de Velde both designed
residencies he built in Germany after 1900 were treated as buildings and put in place a curriculum based on a conception
creations in which "the ornamental rnotií becomes an organ- 01 lorm embodied in the "modern line," which he imagined 10 be
ism." He proclaimed that "ornamentation is subject only to the as "expressive as the line that reveals the rush 01 blood beneath
laws 01 the goal it sets for itsell: harmony and equilibrium. It is lhe epidermis, the breath that makes Ilesh rise, the energy that
not expected to represent anything, it must be Iree to not rep- lifts our limbs." He added that the modern line had to transcribe
resent anything since without this Ireedom it could not exist." -> 6 lhe movemenls 01 lile "whether we are devoling ourselves to
In Vienna a group 01 young architects trorn all over Central practical daily chores or we are in a state 01 ecstasy, drunk or
Europe gathered around Otto Wagner and saw their first works drawn into that divine dance, to which, as Zarathustra com-
go up in the Austrian capital. Joseph Maria Olbrich built the mands, man musl constantly give himsell over so as 10 escape
Secession Building in 1898-9 to house the wark 01 radical art- the weight 01 lile and material things." -> 7 For the industrialist
ists. Its pediment was inscribed with the slogan, "To the age its Karl Ernst Osthaus, Van de Velde built in the small manulacturing
art, to art its Ireedom." He also built houses that aspired to pro- town 01 Hagen lirst the Folkwang Museum (1900-2) then the
vide an architectural interpretation 01 his clients' personalities. large villa Hohenhol (1908), culminating a decade 01 work.
Josel Hoffmann undertook a search lar a geometric While these developments were unlolding in Saxony, the Grand
language based on the square and on the interplay 01 black Duke Ernst Ludwig created the Darmstadt arlisls' colony. The
and white. With the Purkersdorl Sanatorium (1904-5) 14 near outside world discovered it in 1901 on the occasion 01 an
Vienna, he developed an orthogonal architecture with white exposition there entitled Ein Ookument deutscher Kunst (A
surlaces, inspired by houses he had sketched on his trav- Document 01 German Art). Olbrich was the star 01 the show.
els in the south 01 Italy. The Slovenian native .Joze Plecnik built Having completed the Secession Building in Vienna a tew years
the Zacherlhaus 15 in 1903-5 using prismatic shapes; this belore, he built the Ernst-Ludwig House 21 ter the exposition, an
was a bold departure trorn the excessive subtleties lhat had arlisls' warkshop that dominaled the Darmstadt colony, as well
quickly diminished the Secession's impact. Max Fabiani erected as his own house, in which he conceived every detail, frorn tex~
the Portois & Fix (1899-1900) and Artaria (1900) buildings, as tiles to cutlery. Peter Behrens, a painter-turned-architect trorn
well as the more classical Urania inslilute 01 popular science Hamburg with a more austere artistic language, lollowed suit by
(1909-10). Wagner's students Jan Kotéra and Pavel Janák designing no less inclusively every leature 01 the house he built

Chapter 02 I The search lar modern lorm


22 Elvira Photo Studio, August Endell, Munich,
Germany, 1897, demolished 1944

23 ~ Glasgow School 01 Art, Charles Rennie


Mackintosh, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 1897-1908

21 Ernst-Ludwig House, Joseph Maria Olbrich,


Darmstadt, Germany, 1899-1901

20 Behrens House, Peter Behrens, Darmstadt,


Germany, 1899-1901

adjacent to Olbrich's. 20 Elsewhere other contemporary designs [true] architectural tradition would remain with us still." ..•10
were more superficial, including the Elvira Photo Studio, (1897, In practical terms, the Arts and Crafts heritage was represented
demolished 1944),22 in Munich realized by August Endell, with principally by the houses 01 Charles Francis Annesley Voysey,
its decorative facade treatmenl. Familiar with Heinrich Wblfflin's whose puritanical approach resulted in what he called "mod-
psychology of art, Endell believed that a Formgefühl (form est country houses." His own residence, The Orchard (1899) 19,
sense) was at the root of all architectural designo According to in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, was an example 01 such a house,
him, "The architect must be a form-artist; only the art 01 form with a rectangular layout designed lor a middle-class, intel-
leads the way to a new architecture." .• 8 lectually inclined owner. Although in Voysey's view "too much
luxury is death to the artistic soul,' .• 11 his New Place, a resi-
Great Britain after the Arts and Crafts dence commissioned by the publisher A. M. M. Stedman in
Haslemere, Surrey (1899), certainly did not lack complexity.
The close ti es between Germany and Great Britain were exem- Several ligures contributed to the modernization 01the British
plified by Charles Rennie Mackintosh's participation in the 1901 scene during this periodo The lurniture designer Charles Robert
"House lor an Art l.over' competition organized by the Zeit- Ashbee proposed to "reconstruct" the industrial system rather
schrift für Innendekoration (Journal lar Interior Decoration) and than rebel against it; he pointed out that in the "modern mechan-
by his attention to Olbrich's work. Around this time, the Arts ical industry 'standard' is necessary, and 'standardization' is nec-
and Crafts movem'ent, which had been centered on William essary," given that "the great social movement" 01the Arts and
Morris, began taking a new direction, and William A. Lethaby Crafts had degenerated into "a narrow and tiresome little aris-
became its principal theorisl. A lormer assistant to the architect tocracy working with great skill lor the very rich." ..•12 Following
Richard Norman Shaw, Lethaby lounded the Central School his design 01 the central hall 01 the Vienna Secession's exhibi-
01 Arts and Crafts in 1888 in London, where he insisted on a tion in 1900, Ashbee's ideas were lelt all the way to Chicago.
socially generous curriculum. In his 1892 book Architecture, There he met Frank Lloyd Wright, who drew on Ashbee's thinking
Mysticism and Myth, he called lor architecture to be a "syn- in his 1901 book The Arts and Crafts of the Machine. Another
thesis of the fine arts, the commune 01 all the cralts." .• 9 But English designer, Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, locused on the
he also expressed a firm beliel in the present, in agreement interior space 01 houses, and his ideas met with such success
with his contemporaries. As Reyner Banham noted, an exten- in Germany that he was invited to join Ashbee in litting out the
sion 01 Lethaby's position may be read in a 1905 article in The Grand Duke 01 Hesse's palace in Darmstadt (1897-8).
Architectural Review, which asks rhetorically: "Why should we More spectacular, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's activity centered
architects live in perpetual rebellion with the present? ... [I]f we on Glasgow, a city with a solid classical tradition. With Herbert
could only think of our building as an entirely modern problem McNair and the sisters Frances and Margaret Macdonald, who
without precedent ... just as the railway engine is, then, with- were close to the Symbolist movement on the Continent, he
out doubt ... the ruins 01 the past might crumble to dust but the lounded "The Four," also known as "The Mac Group." Their

030 I 031
24 Hill House, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Helensburgh, United Kingdom, 1902-3 25 La Samaritaine Department Store, Frantz
Jaurdain, Paris, France, 1904-5

designs were shown in 1896 at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition small cutouts, resembled a kind of sacred forest, especially
Society. Mackintosh also designed several tearooms in when suffused with daylight from the glass roof. Mackintosh's
Glasgow, including "The Willow" (1903-4), whose name was work had considerable resonance on the Continent,-and the
drawn from Dante Gabriel Rossetti's sonnet "The Willow orthogonal shapes of his library countered the preference
Wood." Mackintosh scored the interior with a pattern of ver- there for more plantlike motifs.
tical lines that was echoed in the high backs of the chairs,
while the use of white lacquer contrasted with natural oak. Art Nouveau and the Paris-Nancy axis
The stained-glass door panels and the lighting fixtures were
especially inventive. Mackintosh built a handful of houses On the other si de of the Channel, Art Nouveau branched
on hilly terrain, their prismatic volumes roofed with slates. Of out into two principal centers: Paris and Nancy. In the capital
these, Hill House, (1902-3),24 publisher W. W. Blackie's home city, critics derided the "noodle style" (le style nouille) of Hectar
in Helensburgh, was particularly remarkable for the way its Guimard, whose entrances to metro stations began to appear
walls of stone and rough concrete recalled Scottish houses of on Paris streets in 1900. The most remarkable of them looked
the seventeenth century. For Windyhill, in Kilmacolm (1900), a like insects spreading diaphanous wings. The outcry by critics
house whose walls seem to embrace the garden of its owner, and the hostility of the conservative Commission for Old Paris
William Davidson, Mackintosh designed built-in furniture and prevented Guimard from realizing other such projects, including
white-Iacquered chairs and decarated the walls with geo- a kiosk he designed for the Place de l'Opéra in 1905. Inspired
metric motifs. But his major work, to which he devoted him- by his encounter with Horta's buildings, Guimard had become
self intermittently for more than ten years, was the Glasgow well known thanks to his Castel Béranger (1894-8), 28 a Paris
School of Art. 23 He first completed the east wing (1897-8), building noted for its poetic assemblage of cast iron, brick,
which opened large rectangular windows onto the street, and rough and carved stone. Guimard densely covered the
incorporating allusions to Gothic religious buildings and building's surfaces from its front gate, which opened onto an
medieval fortresses. Built considerably later, the west wing evocation of an underwater grotto, to the wainscoting of its
(1907-8) had a fundamentally different designo A gable struc- apartments, with a vinelike web of lines. The building's facades
ture with three vertical bow windows extending much of the revealed the interior articulation and abandoned any vertical or
height of the elevation, it was a revision of a scheme with horizontal alignment.
small arched windows he had proposed initially. Mackintosh It was rare far Guimard's houses, such as the one he designed
also designed two large glass boxes on the roof to serve as for the ceramicist Louis Coillot in Lille (1898-1900), to sit
studios. But his majar focus was on the library, which occu- quietly between parallel walls. Both the Castel Henriette in
pied two levels and included a balcony floating inside the Sevres (1899-1903, demolished 1969) and the Castel Orgeval
building's masonry envelope ..• 13 This warm composition in Villemoisson-sur-Orge (1900-3) extended the vocabulary
of wooden elements, illuminated by light coming through of the Castel Béranger, displaying an acrobatic assembly of

Chapter 02 I The search lar modern lorrn


26 Entrance Gate at the 1900 27 Louis Majorelle House, Henri Sauvage, Nancy, France, 1898-1901 28 Castel Béranger, Hector Guimard, Paris,
International Exposition, René Binet, France, 1894-8
?aris, France, 1900, as featured on a
publicity blotting paper

cylindrical turrets, elabarate windows, and conical roofs that studies." .• 15 Another pavilion at the fair, designed by Francis
enclosed ingenious plans and made no concession to Jourdain (the son 01 Frantz Jourdain) and Henri Sauvage lar the
symmetry. In 1929 Salvador Dalí interpreted Guimard's playful American dancer l.oie Fuller, evoked the undulating fabrics she
designs as "nothing but the cylindrical anamorphosis of hered- used in her performances.
itary symmetries." .• 14 In fact, Guimard had already revealed Together with the ceramicist Alexandre Bigot and the glass-
his kinship with Viollet-Ie-Duc. He confirmed it with his maker Jacques Gruber, Sauvage also built a house for the
École du Sacré-Coeur (1898) in Paris, where he constructed cabinetmaker Louis Majorelle (1898-1901) 27 in Nancy. Frantz
V-shaped cast-iron supports like the ones Viollet had included Jourdain saw it as the culmination 01 Viollet-Ie-Duc's rational-
in an imaginary view in his Entretiens sur /'architecture ist approach, a "mathematical solution to the problem posed,"
(Lectures on Architecture) twenty-five years earlier. At the unencumbered by any concern lor symmetry: "Sauvage applies
time, Guimard's largest building was the Humbert de Romans this same respect lor truth to his decorative work, which proves
Concert Hall in Paris (1899-1901), the roof 01 which was held to be impeccably rational and which was conceived simulta-
in place by branching wood columns that created the neously with the structure, in one impulse, the consequence 01
impression of a natural lorest. Elsewhere in Paris only Jules an idea and the corollary of a theorem." .• 16 In dialogue with
Lavirotte's extravagantly decorated buildings, such as the the philosopher Paul Souriau, the bard 01 "rational beauty,"
Céramic Hotel (1904) and his apartment building on Avenue the Nancy artists developed a body of work remarkable far its
Rapp, provoked oútraqe Irom contemporaries comparable to vitality and consistency, with Lucien Weissenburger's houses
that elicited by Guimard's work. representing particularly elegant examples ..• 17

Though dominated by eclecticism, the 1900 International Frantz Jourdain was more than a radical critico In 1891 he
Exposition in Paris did feature a few pavilions related to the became the lirst architect to join the Société Nationale des
new aesthetic, including the Bing pavilion by Bonnier, who Beaux-Arts lounded by Auguste Rodin, Euqene Carriere, and
also designed a stunning unbuilt giant globe lar the geogra- Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. He supported Alfred Dreylus
pher Élysée Reclus and who later built two elementary schools against his anti-Semitic accusers and was a friend of Émile
in Paris. Above all, the fair's entrance pavilion, 26 designed Zola, whose lunerary monument he designed in 1902. In
by René Binet, later the author of the new Printemps depart- 1903 he lounded the Salon d'Automne, the principal show-
ment stares (1907-10), reconnected with the organic sources case for Parisian innovation over the next twenty years.
01 Art Nouveau. Binet's interpretation was inspired by the His most brilliant architectural work was the Samaritaine
German biologist Ernst Haeckel, the author 01 a series 01 sci- Department Store 25 built between 1904-5 along the Seine
entilic investigations illustrated with brilliant color plates show- in Paris. The exuberance 01 the wrought-iron decorations with
ing the structures of underwater organisms. As Binet wrote to floral motifs on its front contrasted with the rationality of its
Haeckel of his design: "Everything about it, lrom the general side facades, whose large rectangular windows evoked the
composition to the smallest details, has been inspired by your oflice buildings 01 Chicago.

034 I 035
29 Riabushinsky House, Fiador Shekhtel, Moscow, Russia, 1900-2 30 Botter House, Raimondo
d'Aronco, Constantinople
(Istanbul), Oltoman Empire
(Turkey),1900-1

From Italian "Floreale" to Russian "Modern" development since the abolition 01 serfdom in 1861, the
Muscovite bourgeoisie was quick to take hold 01 those themes
At the turn of the century, the intellectual and aesthetic eman- gathered together by its architects under the banner- of the
cipation already underway in Austria and Belgium began to "Modern" style. Though Viollet-Ie-Duc's reflections on a national
spread throughout Europe. In Italy the dominance 01 Viennese style in his 1879 volume L'art russe (Russian Art) remained
ideas manilested itsell in the work 01 several architects. on everyone's mind, architects now turned to popular themes
Raimondo d'Aronco was one 01 many Italian architects work- rather than those of religious structures. The leading protagonist
ing in the Near Easl. Active in Istanbul Irom 1894 to 1909, 01 the Modern was Fiodor Shekhtel, the creator 01 the Russia
he created, in the words 01 his Roman compatriot Marcello Pavilion at the Glasgow World's Fair (1901), which was praised
Piacentini, "a vast, variable, multilaceted body 01 work," char- lor its inventiveness and its coloration. In Moscow he organ-
acterized by an "exuberant, restless, impulsive" spirit. -> 18 His ized the 1902 Exhibition 01 Architecture and Design in the New
colorlul houses on the Bosphorus and his designs in Pera, Style, displaying Viennese and Scottish works. Shekhtel built
such as the Botter House (1900-1), 30 were characterized by the Riabushinsky House in Moscow (1900-2),29 with a sculp-
the plasticity 01 their surfaces and the graphic effect of their tural staircase that ranks high as a realization 01 European Art
metallic components. Nouveau. He also built the Yaroslavl Train Station in Moscow
Giuseppe Sommaruga and Ernesto Basile, active in Milan and (1902) for the industrialist Savva Mamontov, the patron 01 the
Palermo, respectively, indulged in monumental and historicist Abramtsevo artists' colony, tapping into a repertory of popu- .
imagery when designing public structures but used more Ilex- lar and medieval Russian lorms with the collaboration 01 the
ible lorms lor their private commissions. Sommaruga's Palazzo painter Konstantin Korovin. The Modern approach was not lim-
Castiglione on Corso Venezia in Milan (1903-4) 31 caused a ited to big cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was also
scandal - not because 01 its innovative concrete Iloors, which adopted in the rest 01 the Russian empire, as, lor example, in
were invisible, but because 01 its rough lacade and its anatomi- Mikhail Eisenstein's buildings in Lvov and Riga. -> 20

cally explicit decor. Two voluptuous sculpted lemale ligures on


either side 01 the entrance were removed under pressure lrom The Catalan renaissance
critics and relocated to his Villa Romeo in Milan (1907-12).
The latter was a sophisticated composition 01 materials and Catalonia presented what was probably the most remarkable
colors and probably the most apt example 01 an architecture European scene 01 the period, experiencing a renaixensa, or
described by the key terms "living organism, logic, lunction, renaissance, rooted in its rediscovery 01 its own medieval
constructed objecl." -> 19 Among Basile's abundant contributions history and the adoption 01lorms from the Orient. Several vari-
to the city 01 Palermo, the Villino Florio (1900.,..2) and the Villa ations 01 Barcelona modernism are clearly visible on the Paseo
Igiea Hotel (1898-1900) stood out lor their decorative whimsy. de Gracia, a wide bourgeois avenue in the city's extension
In Russia, which had been plunging headlonq into industrial planned in 1859 by Ildelonso Cerda. Three buildings laced off

Chapter 02 I The search lar modern lorm


31 Palazzo Castiglione. Giuseppe
Sommaruga. Milan. ltaly, 1903-4

036 I 037
32 Casa Milá (La Pedrera; the
Quarry), Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona,
Spain, 1906-10

on the "Manzana de la Discordia" (its name meaning both


"block of discord" and "apple 01 discord," playing on the
double meaning 01 manzana). The Lleó Moreira Building (1902)
by Lluís Dornenech i Montañer is reminiscent of Parisian Art
Nouveau. Farther along, the Amatller Building (1898-1900)
by Josep Puig y Cadalalch, who was not only an architect but
al so an international traveler, archaeologist, and politician, lea-
tured medieval-style decoration and a stepped gable, evoking
Hanseatic merchant houses and concealing its owner's photo-
graphy studio. Next door, the Casa Battló by Antoni Gaudí
(1906), a renovation 01 an older building, was nicknamed Casa
de los Huesos (House 01 Bones) because of the bone-shaped
columns along its front facade, which opens into a stairhall clad
with blue ceramic tiles. The building is topped with a carapace
01 colored ti les.
The medievalizing leatures 01 Puig's Casa Terrades, also known
as the Casa de les Punxes (House 01 Spikes) (1903-7),33
express a clear nostalgia lor Catalonia's golden age. Decorated
with mosaics depicting nationalist motifs, the edilice caused a
political scandal. A lew blocks away, Dornenech built the San
Pau Hospital (1902-10), where the brick patterning is more
playlul. He combined an iron structure and wide glass openings
with extraordinary sculptural inventiveness in the Palau de la
Música Catalana (Palace 01 Catalan Music; 1905-8),35 built lor
the Orféo Catala choir as a symbol 01 the regional renaissance.
The sense 01 imagination manilest in the decoration 01 the
Palau is even more vivid in Gaudí's buildings. A genius inven-
tor of structural and ornamental lorms, this fervent Catholic was
born into a family 01 craltsmen and, inspired by his readings
01 Ruskin and Viollet-Ie-Duc, retained a direct and permanent
connection with his materials. -> 21 Alter some initial buildings
such as the Palacio Güell (1886-9), whose forms reflected

038 I 039
33 Casa Terrades (Casa de les Punxes; House 01 Spikes), Josep Puig y
Cadatalch, Barcelona, Spain, 1903-7

strong neo-Gothic and neo-Moorish inlluences (the latter Throughoul Europe, mosl 01 Ihe impulses initiated by the revolt
derived Irom a trip to Tangier), Gaudí pursued two parallel lines 01 young archilecls and artists betore 1900 persisled unlil 1914,
01 research. On the one hand, he conceived structures based and sometimes beyond. The rigidily 01 classical composition
on slender trames and narrow arches, tested in innovative was lundamenlally and successlully challenged Ihanks to stral-
scale models that used strings to simulate the catenary curves egies aimed at inventing a new urban picturesque and accom-
distributing the structure's weight. On the other, he created an modaling modern ways 01 lile. The legacy 01 Ihe Secession
exuberant ornamental language with pieces 01 broken ceramic, and Arl Nouveau was also visible in Ihe decorative elemenls
wrought iron, and sculptures 01 his own invention. Ihal were soon lo be mass produced - in direcl contradiclion
Every tacet 01 Gaudí's experimentation with structures is repre- lo Iheir movements' initially individualistic aims. Easily imitated
sented in the galleries and the cistern at Park Güell (1900-14), 34 and industrialized, Ihese expressions were subject to both com-
while his investigation 01 residential types led him to the Paseo mercialization and the widest popular consumplion, slrelching
de Gracia, where he built the Casa Mila (1906-10) 32 across lo the larlhest reaches 01 Lalin America and Asia.
frorn the Casa Battló. Known as the "Pedrera" (quarry), the Casa At Ihe same lime, the experiments undertaken trorn Vienna to
Milá evokes the rocky cliffs 01 the Pyrenees at Montserrat, a Glasgow and trorn Moscow to Barcelona also led to the dis-
privileged site tor Catalan regional identity. Inside, the steel covery 01 new geometries, trorn Ihe experimental, Iyrical lan-
column-and-beam structure supports the hanging stone guage 01 Gaudí lo the orthogonal, modular approach 01 Josel
lacade, while the roof bristles with shapes covered in ceramic Hoffmann. This polarily between expressionism and lunction-
tiles and the underground level serves as a parking garage. alism, evident in their divergent directions, would come lo Ihe
In the apartments, wavy ceilings were sculpted by Josep lore in Ihe 1920s.
Maria Jujol, a collaborator 01 Gaudí who later carried on his
research. Gaudí's most ambitious project was the Sagrada
Familia Basilica, which he oversaw trorn 1883 until his death
in 1926. He linished the crypt begun by his lormer employer,
Juan Martorell Montells, as well as the walls 01 the apse and
the eastern lacade 01 the transept, which contains a stunning
grouping 01 statues enmeshed in vines. Most importantly, he
abandoned the Gothic system originally planned ter the nave,
replacing it with stable hyperboloids - surlaces with double
curvatures - without a single Ilying buttress. The church's
construclion progressed episodically tor a century and is still
ongoing loday.

Chapter 02 I The search tor modern íorrn


34 Park Guéll, Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, 1900-14

35 Palace of Catalan Music, Lluís Doménech i Montañer, Barcelona, Spain, 1905-8

040 I 041
Domestic
innovation
and tectonic

expression

The collective search for a new "style" would never have begun countryside a series of stunning weekend houses - a new
without a more profound process of modernization underway. type of bourgeois residence characterized by a great num-
It operated on two distinct yet related planes: as a response to ber of guest rooms. Often nestled against stone walls and fea-
unprecedented social needs and as a dissemination of new turing striking contrasts between volumes and textures, these
construction technologies. The years between the Paris houses were laid out in conjunction with their gardens, gen-
International Exposition of 1889 and World War I corresponded erally designed by Jekyll. Their relative modesty was dis-
to the zenith of British and French imperialism, to Germany's guised by artifices, among them a play with perspective, that
belated but robust expansion, and to the emergence of the Lutyens used to exaggerate their scale. The apparent symme-
United States on the world stage. In this competitive environ- try of L-shaped plan s, as at Tigbourne Court in Witley, Surrey
ment, national hegemonies exercised contradictory effects (1899-1901),38 was no more than a visual illusion: the actual
on architects, reshaping their strategies and aesthetics. landscape is picturesque and irregular. At Deanery Garden
in Sonning, Berkshire (1899-1902), built for Edward Hudson,
The central place of Great Britain founder of the popular periodical Country Life, a double-height
entry hall illuminated by a large bay window contrasts with
The method of composition developed at the École des Beaux- the solid walls enclosing it. At the Bois des Moutiers (1898) in
Arts continued to dominate the design of public architecture, Varengeville, on the French side of the Channel, commissioned
whereas a domestic architecture inspired by the Paris of Baron by the banker Guillaume Mallet, the garden descends to the
Georges-Eugéne Haussmann spread to a wide array of cities, sea as if in an idyllic landscape painted by Claude Lorrain.
from Bucharest to Buenos Aires to New York. Yet the central- These English houses were studied by critics eager to under-
ity of the role played by Great Britain in the sphere of domestic stand and replicate their essential features. One such observer,
architecture was undeniable. The principies applied to British the Berlin architect Hermann Muthesius, published three vol-
residential design in the last decade of the nineteenth century umes entitled Das englische Haus (The English House) 36 in
found enthusiasts among Parisians like Viollet-Ie-Duc and Paul 1908-11, which had a profound effect on German architec-
Sédille, who praised them in 1890 ..• 1 The use of more open ture ..• 3 37 The idealization of British material culture also domi-
plans became widespread, and the double-height "English" nated the thinking of critics of the established aesthetic order,
hall became a common feature in French homes ..• 2 among them Austrian Adolf Loos, who made it the pretext for his
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Edwin Lutyens inau- polemical project to "introduce Western culture into Austria." .• 4
gurated a break with the Arts and Crafts movement. He exam- In the years leading up to World War 1,Germany's rapid
ined everyday dwellings and their close relationship to their modernization and the close relationships established there
gardens, which he was better able to understand after coming between industry and the decorative arts diminished Britain's
into contact with the landscape designer Gertrude Jekyll. preeminence in the production of industrial objects. At the
Between 1889 and 1903 he designed in the English same time, relentless press coverage made both professionals

Chapter 03 I Domestic innovation and tectonic expression


s
ENGLISCHE HAUS

36 Das Englische Haus (The English House),


ermann Muthesius, 1908-11

37 Freudenberg House, Hermann Muthesius, Berlin, Germany, 1907-8

38 ~ Tigbourne Court, Edwin Lutyens, Witley, United Kingdom, 1899-1901

and the public in Germany aware of American urban and archi- building, whose layouts were already well defined. Structures
tectural developments. Mimicking Muthesius, F. Rudolf Vogel devoted to artist's studios, which had first appeared in Paris
published Das amerikanische Haus (The American House) in during the Second Empire, were given new interpretations, as
1910, introducing the work of Henry Hobson Richardson and with André Arfvidson's terra-cotta-clad reinforced-concrete
his successors to a German readership ..• 5 Studio Building (1912) 39 on Rue Carnpaqne-Prerniere in
Paris. Apartment or residential hotels, offering apartments with
Residential reform in-house hotel services for bachelors and couples without
children, spread throughout the United States and occasion-
Domestic architecture reflected the transformations in pro- ally grew to the size of skyscrapers ..• 7 The idea of col lec-
cess. The reforms that took place in the United States, France, tivizing domestic services engendered other types, such as
England, and Germany were touched off by social, political, the Einküchenhaus, or communal-kitchen building; in 1909
technological, spatial, and aesthetic factors. At the social level, Hermann Muthesius and Albert GeBner each built an example
architectural creativity was extended for the first time to a field in Berlin, at Friedenau and at Lichterfelde, respectively ..• 8

it had previously ignored: housing for the poor. As hygiene


became a fundamental concern in municipal and state policy, Unifying the urban landscape
government regulations were brought to bear on lower-class
housing projects, éxplicitly requiring the services of architects. It was no easy task to shape a harmonious urban landscape
The entire sphere of residential architecture reflected the deep composed of buildings by creators who individually aspired to
changes in the living habits of most social classes. Bourgeois originality, particularly under the influence of Art Nouveau ide-
residences became increasingly complex, with more rooms als. The question of how to regulate facades was hotly debated
devoted to receiving guests, larger and more numerous openings in most European cities and some North American ones, some-
to the outdoors, and the addition of bathrooms or, in the case times at precisely the same time that competitions were reward-
of France, less hospital-like cabinets de toilette ..• 6 The relative ing the facades of the year's most original buildings. The unified
amenity of different floors changed drastically with the installation urban street wall, or einheitliche StraBenfront, found many
of electrical elevators, which replaced early hydraulic-powered advocates in Germany, while in New York the demand for visual
ones. These made upper levels - previously left to servants continuity among buildings, based on the classicizing model
and inhabitants of lesser means - and roof terraces more valu- of Haussmann's Paris, often went under the name of "munici-
able and stimulated the construction of ever taller buildings. The pal improvement." .• 9 At the same time, the Paris building code
almost universal availability of electric lighting extended daytime of 1902, 40 written by Louis Bonnier, encouraged a break with
living into the night and modified the use of every type of room. what critics like Charles Baudelaire and Victor Hugo had
There was little uniformity. New building types augmented perceived as Haussmann's tyrannical horizontality. Thus the
established ones such as the town house and the apartment question of uniformity generated divided opinions.

042 1 043
41 Automobile Garage, Auguste Perret,
Paris, France, 1906-7, demolished 1971

39 Studio Building, André Arfvidson, 40 Drawing illustrating the new Paris urban regulations, Louis Bonnier, 1902
Paris, France, 1912

The preoccupation with hygiene at the turn 01 the century had II the nineteenth century saw the improvement 01 bank-linanced
more lar-reaching results than just increasing the number 01 housing projects, the early twentieth century was characterized
apartments with bathrooms and toilets. II led to a reconceptual- by public programs beneliting white-collar employees as well
ization 01 the very lorm that buildings should take. The building as lactory workers. The Woníngwet (Housing Law) adopted in
codes 01 major cities prescribed the enlargement 01 air shafts the Netherlands in 1901 called ter public linancing 01 dwellings
and courtyards tor ventilation, while also aiming to broaden built with municipal or cooperative sponsorship, mandating
streets so as to space out housing blocks. For example, the quality standards and imposing regulatory authority. Between
New York State Tenement House Act 011901 not only modilied 1894 and 1912 France passed a body 01 laws putting in place
the lacades 01 apartment blocks by requiring open spaces to a program of low-cost housing that was guaranteed, and
be regularly placed along the street-Iacing walls, but al so eventually linanced, by the state. As a result, the number 01
proloundly altered their tloor plans by mandating larger court- housing projects increased through the initiatives 01 philan-
yards ..• 10 The lear 01 tuberculosis led to a veritable obsession thropic societies such as the Rothschild Foundation and the
with sunlight. Projects by the Paris architect Adolphe-Augustin Lebaudy Foundation, and subsequently through the work 01
Rey, notably in his housing complex tor the Rothschild specialized government agencies. The cooperative system
Foundation (1905), where the open courtyard was adopted was further developed in Germany, while in the UK the system
after wind-tunnel tests determined the optimal ventilation sys- combined municipal action with private philanthropy.
tem lor apartment buildings, clearly displayed this concern ..• 11

At the same time, the growing number 01 automobiles also had The advent of reinforced concrete
a direct effect on the design 01 domestic buildings. Initial
solutions based on stables that had been used tor horse-drawn Construction was another lield in which transformations took
carriages since the sixteenth century were quickly replaced by place at every level 01 architecture, particularly with the intro-
specialized garages, such as the one Auguste Perret designed duction 01 reinforced concrete. The effects 01 this new mate-
on Rue de Ponthieu in Paris (1906-7, demolished 1971),41 and rial on the planning and management 01 building construction
by parking spaces constructed underneath new buildings. The were as profound as its impact on architectural theory.
automobile augured new ways 01 perceiving the urban land- Produced by combining a mixture 01 cement, stone aggre-
scape, blurring the perception 01 contrasts and thereby gates, and water with steel reinlorcement, reinlorced concrete
radically changing the very idea 01 the monument. In 1910 was considered by Siglried Giedion a "Iaboratory material,"
Peter Behrens declared, "Individual buildings no longer speak a direct result 01 progress in both chemistry and mathemat-
tor themselves. The only architecture appropriate to such a way ics ..• 13 The lew decades between the rediscovery 01 this
01 viewing our surroundings, which has now become a habit, is material - originally used by the Romans - and its industriali-
one that produces surlaces as unilorm and calm as possible, zation were marked by the invention 01 dependable methods
which in their simplicity present no obstacles." .• 12 to calculate the proportions 01 the concrete ingredients with

Chapter 03 I Domestic innovation and tectonic expression i'".:


·
ent Buildmg, A u guste
42 Apartm 1903-4
::>erre,
t Paris , France,
43 Hennebique Headquarters, Rue Danton, Edouard Arnaud, Paris, Franee, 1901 44 Chureh of Saint-Jean de Montmartre,
Anatole de Baudot, Paris, Franee, 1894-1904

45 Baron Empain's "Hindu" Palaee, Alexandre


Mareel, Heliopolis, Egypt, 1907-10

rigorous precision and the development of patent-licensed Alexandre Bigot's exposed brick and terra-cotta decorations
construction systems. Engineers, contractors, and architects gave the church a warmth that offset the cavernous nature
competed to master the techniques and to control a mar- of its interior. Until 1914 Baudot continued to develop numer-
ket that quickly became global. Just at the moment that iron ous theoretical projects for concrete meeting or concert halls;
structures seemed to have reached their limits, reinforced in these he appeared to be striving to rediscover the power
concrete offered new spatial possibilities to the constructive and light of the great Gothic naves and to realize what his
imagination. -> 14 mentor Viollet-Ie-Duc had envisioned in iron. In his posthu-
The French engineer Francois Hennebique's company mously published book L'architecture, /e passé, /e présent
became one of the first multinationals in the construction (Architecture: Past and Present; 1916), Baudot referred to iron
business, opening branches abroad in the 1890s to assist as little more than a "step" toward "its successor, reinforced
architects in adapting the new process of concrete construc- concrete, which has all of its advantages, and resolves with
tion to their projects. The Hennebique method, based on an incontestable sureness the profound flaws found in the direct
apparently simple system of columns and beams, allowed for use of metal." -> 16
adventurous torrns. -> 15 The company built both historicist It would fall to Auguste Perret to establish the primacy of
edifices, such as the "Hindu" palace designed by Alexandre concrete once and for all, -> 17 An alumnus of the École des
Marcel for Baron Empain in Heliopolis (1907-10), 45 and totally Beaux-Arts who had gane into business with his brothers
utilitarian structures devoid of any ornamentation for its indus- Gustave and Claude, Perret broke the mold of Parisian urban
trial clients. The building that Édouard Arnaud designed for architecture with his building on Rue Franklin (1903-4),42
the firm's Paris headquarters (1901) 43 appeared to be made Its concrete structure was plainly visible from the street,
of smooth carved stone, while Hennebique's own villa in barely clad by Bigot's ceramics. In 1908 the American critic
Bourg-Ia-Reine (1903) explored all kinds of concrete surface Arthur C. David made no attempt to hide his contempt: "As
treatments - washed, aggregated, striated, stuccoed - and an experiment in the frank treatment of a new material, this
provided an example of a roof terrace used as a garden, in building has its interest; but the interest is assuredly not aes-
this case for growing vegetables. thetic. The architect has not made any attempt to give it a
Other processes were experimented with. In one, the engi- pleasing aspect; and it should be considered rather as the
neer Paul Cottancin poured concrete reinforced with wire into raw material of architecture than as the finished product." -> 18

forms made of brick, which subsequently served as cladding Full-Iledqed members of the Parisian art scene, the Perrets
for the building. The material was put to its most spectacu- participated in the activities of the Passy circle, founded
lar use by Anatole de Baudot in the Church of Saint-Jean de in July 1912, which al so included the poets Guillaume
Montmartre (1894-1904). 44 With its arches seemingly sus- Apollinaire and Paul Fort; the artists Francis Picabia, Albert
pended in midair, the building so terrified Parisians that the Gleizes, and Raymond Duchamp-Villon; and the critic
municipal authorities nearly forced the parish priest to raze it. Sébastien Voirol. -> 19

Chapter 03 I Domestie innovation and teetonie expression


"""-e.'
~.~,.,.,-,--.~~~~.
46 Woman's Club, Irving Gill, La Jolla, California, USA, 1912-13

In 1913 Auguste Perret made his name in Paris with the Champs 1902, and he laid the first concrete road, Route 57, in Warren
Élysées Theater. 48 This "philharmonic palace" combining three County, New Jersey. But Edison's effort in 1906 to mold
separate halls, inspired by Louis Sullivan's Auditorium Building individual houses and all their furniture out of a single pour of
in Chicago, had first been entrusted to the Swiss architect Henri concrete in Stewartville, New Jersey, was a commercial failure.
Fivaz, then to Henry van de Velde. When it came to its construc- The engineer Ernest L. Ransome had more success in develop-
tion, however, the Belgian architect found himself competing with ing concrete in the United States. Southern California turned out
Perret, who had been consulted concerning the concrete struc- to be particularly fertile ground for research on the new material.
ture. Though certain aspects of Van de Velde's conception were Irving Gill invented a tilt-slab system of monolithic walls, poured
conserved in Perret's final design, they were worked into a con- on the ground, then hoisted to a vertical position; these were
crete cage held by four bowstring arches of a type previously used in the La Jolla Woman's Club (1912-13) ...• 21 46
used exclusively for bridges. The outline of this structure is trace- In New York the most interesting experiment in concrete was
able on the facade in the design of the stone facing by the sculp- Grosvenor Atterbury's buildings at the Forest Hills Gardens
tor Antoine Bourdelle, who recruited the painters Maurice Denis, complex in Queens (1909-13), which had a romantic touch.
Edouard Vuillard, and Ker-Xavier Roussel in an exceptional col- European civil engineers devoted themselves to inventing new
laboration. Nicknamed the "zeppelin of avenue Montaigne" by processes and new forms adapted to the properties of the
Germanophobe critics, this edifice hosted the world premiere of material. The Swiss engineer Robert Maillart designed unprec-
Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in 1913...• 20 edentedly elegant works spanning Alpine rivers and ravines,
Perret was the most radical of the architects to explore the beginning with the bridge over the Inn at Zuoz (1900) and the
potential of concrete. His experiments quickly led him to erect Tavanasa Bridge (1905).47 His curved and taut forms went
factories and warehouses with slender vaults, the most widely beyond the limits of the Hennebique method; as he explained
publicized example of which was built for the Wallut agricultural in 1938, "Reinforced concrete does not grow like wood, is not
supply company in Casablanca, a city that was a bridgehead rolled like steel, and has no joints like masonry. It is best
for French colonization in Morocco. But Perret was not the only compared with cast iron as a material that is cast in forms, and
Parisian to experiment with the new material. Francois Le Coeur perhaps we can learn directly from the long development of
introduced concrete in public building with his extension to the the latter something about how, by avoiding rigidity in form, we
Postal Administration Building in Paris (1907) and in telephone can achieve a fluid continuity between members that serve
exchange buildings - a new type of program - on Rue du different functions." ..•22 The diaphanous shapes designed by
Faubourq-Poissonniere (1912) and Rue du Temple (1914). the French civil engineer Euqene Freyssinet broke radically with
After the French state bought up private patents, concrete the language of iron and stone structures. Freyssinet built a
entered the public domain, and its use fascinated all types of bridge in Ferrieres-sur-Sichon (1906) and the Boutiron Bridge
innovators. In the United States, the prolific American inven- in Vichy (1913), among others, before going on to invent pre-
tor Thomas Alva Edison took an interest in concrete as early as stressed concrete in the 1920s ...• 23

Chapter 03 I Domestic innovation and tectonic expression


47 Concrete Bridge, Robert Maillart, Tavanasa, Switzerland, 1905

48 Champs-Elysées Theater, Auguste Perret, Paris, France, 1910-3

050 I 051
49 Seaplane Hangars, S. Schultz, K. N. Hbjgaard and H. Forschammer, Reval (Tallinn), Russia (Estonia), 1917

F'-' - -w_~. -.-. - ,


~- ~~

50 Dom-ino House, project, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), France, 1914

Chapter 03 I Domestic innovation and tectonic expression


51 ~ Centenary Hall, Max Berg,
Breslau (Wroc!aw), Germany
(Poland),1912-13

Concrete nationalisms Bois, who had translated German handbooks on concrete into
French, he was a draftsman in the Perret office from 1908 to
Despite its apparent objectivity, concrete design was una- 1909. In 1914 Jeanneret conceived a construction principie
voidably animated by national characteristics. It was soon in relying on columns and horizontal slabs to generate a poten-
use all over Europe, as in the stunning seaplane hangars 49 tially infinite number of conligurations of plans and facades.
built in 1917 by the engineers S. Schultz and K. N. Hbjgaard, The Dom-ino House 50 - its name combines references to
and H. Forschammer for the Danish firm Christian & Nielsen the words domus (house) and innovation and also evokes the
in Reval (now Tallinn), Estonia. -> 24 Though French in its earli- game of dominoes - was the most striking example 01 an arcni-
est conception - a product of the research 01 Joseph Monier, tecture based on the building skeleton. -> 26

whose name was long attached to the material in early German In just a few decades this material born of the research 01
literature - and claimed by France for decades, concrete sub- chemists and engineers radically altered building practices and
sequently came to be considered "Germanic" by conserva- the conception 01 civil engineering works. It also changed the
tive critics who interpreted the "brutality" 01 certain buildings relationship between the load-bearing structure, the internal
as an expression 01Teutonic hardness. In tact, the Germans partitions, and the exterior 01 the building, leading to a break
developed their own technologies. The Wayss & Freytag com- with the principies of both stone or brick masonry and wood or
pany devised techniques based on the Monier system, placing iron structures. Though they only partially met Viollet-Ie-Duc's
so much emphasis on methods 01 calculation that Hennebique expectations regarding the "truth" 01 the structure, the experi-
declared his "horror at this hodgepodge of science" and his mental constructions poured in concrete promised a new tec-
preference for the "plain old recipes" 01 the first concrete for- tonic expression, in the sense given that term by Gottfried
mulas. -> 25 The most spectacular concrete building erected in Semper, who saw tectonics as "a conscious attempt by the arti-
the German empire was Max Berg's Jahrhunderthalle in what is san to express cosmic laws and cosmic order when molding
now Wroctaw (Centenary Hall; 1912-13),51 which for a time was material." -> 27 The tectonics of concrete heralded the fusion 01
the most voluminous structure in the world. With a 65-meter Kernform and Kunstform 01 which Semper had dreamed.
(213-100t) diameter, the Jahrhunderthalle was the lirst building
to outdo the Roman Pantheon's 43 meters (141 leet). The struc-
ture consisted of four large arches bearing thirty-two radial ribs
plus additional concentric ones. Its exterior, with rather static
stacks 01 window strips, did not hint at the spectacular, almost
Piranesian space inside.
The ideas of the young Swiss architect Charles-Édouard
Jeanneret - later to be known as Le Corbusier - had roots in
both Germany and France. A lriend 01 the engineer Max Du

052 I 053
America
rediscovered,
tall and wide

In Oemocracy in America (1835), Alexis de Tocqueville char- complex of large buildings with classical exteriors. These
acterized the most ambitious men in democracies as being inspired its nickname, the White City. The primary exception to
solely concerned with "the present moment": "They quickly the dominant classicism was the entrance to the Transportation
achieve many endeavors, rather than erect a few particularly Building, 56 designed by Louis Sullivan, which displayed an
durable monuments." -> 1 For many decades this was exactly imaginative use of Turkish ornaments. Certain pavilions, such
how Europeans perceived American architecture. Less impressed as the Japanese He-o-den, aroused visitors' curiosity. Yet for
with grand public buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C., many travelers, the ultimate impression of Chicago was not that
than with the nation's bridges, factories, and skyscrapers, they of Burnham's monumental yet ephemeral city, but the "black
saw the latter as expressions of a technological sublime linked city" that had arisen since the great fire of 1871.
to the New World's economic power. -> 2 At the time, John and Chicago's giant slaughterhouses, most especially its conveyor-
Washington Roebling's Brooklyn Bridge (1867-82) was prob- belt system, conceived for the dismembering of carcasses,
ably the most renowned structure in the United States. After served as models for many subsequent factories. -> 3 But even
the U.S. census bureau officially confirmed the closing of the more vivid were Chicago's commercial buildings with their
American frontier in 1890, a new epoch began that combined steel frames. People referred to them interchangeably as both
the end of westward territorial expansion with an imperialist "cloud-pressers" and "sky-scrapers," the latter name borrowed
thrust overseas. The development of great steel and transpor- from that given to the tallest sail on a ship. The Parisian novelist
tation companies gave rise to projects of unprecedented scale. Paul Bourget described these structures ayear after the fair in
The architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who died in 1886, had his book Outre-Mer: Impressions of America, noting that the .
anticipated such grand projects. He left an imaginative body "simple power of necessity is to a certain degree a principie of
of work that brilliantly deployed Romanesque models, as in his beauty; and these structures so plainly manifest this necessity
Trinity Church in Boston (1872-7). Richardson also recycled the that you feel a strange emotion in contemplating them. It is the
tectonics of the Renaissance palazzo, as in his Marshall Field first draught of a new sort of art - an art of democracy made
Warehouse in Chicago (1885-7, demolished 1930), with its by the masses and for the masses." -> 4

austere stone walls. The buildings had begun to appear in Chicago's downtown
Loop during the 1880s in response to the fourfold effect of urban
Chicago in white and black concentration, the development of the steel frame, the elevator,
and the telephone. William Le Baron Jenney built the Home
The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition 55 held in Chicago Insurance Building (1885-6, demolished 1931) 52 and the sec-
introduced American architecture both to a national audi- ond Leiter Building (1889-91) using a steel skeleton and partly
ence and to the fair's many foreign visitors. Built under the non-bearing facades. Efficient organization and management
authoritative direction of Daniel H. Burnham, with gardens made John Wellborn Root and Daniel H. Burnham's archi-
designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the fair centered on a tectural firm the most modern in the world, to the point that the

Chapter 04 I America rediscovered, tall and wide


11 . 1" 11
OO!J ¡m ~~

53 Auditorium Building, Dankmar Adler and Louis 54 Auditorium Building, Dankmar Adler and Louis
Sullivan, Chicago, IIlinois, USA, 1886-9, section Sullivan, Chicago, IIlinois, USA, 1886-9, interior 01
opera house

55 ~ World's Columbian Exposition, Daniel H.


Burnham, Chicago, IIlinois, USA, 1893

Home Insurance Building, William Le Baron


-ET ey, Chicago, IIlinois, USA, 1885-6,
::=-:lOlished 1931

:: an 01 its offices was published in the European press, -> 5 suspended within its metal skeleton with a hotel and offices.
:3 rnham and Root built the Rookery (1886-7), whose great Its use 01 electricity was advanced, its ornamentation dense yet
courtyard covered in glass was clad in marble and reminiscent restrained. In 1892 Sullivan pronounced himsell in favor 01 a
== ichardson's work; the Monadnock Building (1889-92), whose moratorium on ornament, "in order that our thought might con-
5- een stories constituted the culminating achievement 01 centrate acutely upon the production 01 buildings well lormed
ad-bearing wall construction; the Masonic Temple (1890-2), and comely in the nude." Yet this nudity was not to be total, and
:: iefly the tallest building in the world at twenty-two stories; his "strong, athletic and simple lorms" would be hall-concealed
= d the Reliance Building (1890-4), whose terra-cotta lacades "in a garment 01 poetic imagery." -> 7 Sullivan was a reader 01
ere, tor the first time in architectural history, entirely sus- Ruskin and Viollet-Ie-Duc, whereas his partner Adler knew
aended trorn the steel skeleton rather than carrying their own Semper well. Sullivan was al so familiar with the French archi-
ad. These structures and those by the prolilic lirm 01 William tect Victor Ruprich-Robert's Flore ornementale (Ornamental
olabird and Martin Roche, such as the Tacoma Building Flora; 1876), and he conceived his system 01 decoration, based
888) and the Old Colony Building (1894), were largely clus- on vegetal rnotits, according to a metapharical principie 01
:ered on LaSalle Street, a cradle 01 unprecedented innovation growth. Sullivan continued to rellect on the theme 01 germina-
vhere the final break with the "dry goods box style" occurred tion and prolileration until the end 01 his lile. -> 8

as a result 01 the need lar the best possible lighting tor the In an 1896 essay Sullivan proposed to examine the question
ices. The first buildings were heterogeneous, with the street 01 the tall office building "artistically considered." Some 01 his
"acades more elaborate than the side elevations, which were statements would imprint themselves upon the minds 01 his
oarely decorated. Alter Chicago promulgated its 1892 code, contemporaries: "It is the pervading law 01 all things organic
hich limited buildings heights to 150 leet (45.7 meters), and inorganic, 01 all things physical and metaphysical, 01 all
uildings with tour identical lacades beca me the rule. In any things human and all things superhuman, 01 all true maniles-
event, the economic crisis 01 the lollowing years would stall tations 01 the head, 01 the heart, 01 the soul, that the lile is
eir lurther rise. -> 6 recognizable in its expression, that torrn lollows lunction. This
is the law." Relerring to the "tall building," he wondered how to
Sullivan's inventions "proclaim trorn the dizzy height 01 this strange, weird, modern
housetop the peacelul evangel 01 sentiment, 01 beauty, the cult
One 01 the structures rnost admired by visitors lo Chicago 01 a higher lile?" The solution was simple: "It must be tall, every
in 1893 was Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan's Audilorium inch 01 it tall. The toree and power 01 altitude must be in it, the
3uilding (1886-9). 53,54 Covered in stone cladding that echoed glory and pride 01 exaltation must be in it. It must be every inch
the arches and rusticaled walls 01 the Marshall Field Slore a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that trorn
and embellished wilh an almost symphonic orchestralion oi bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line." He
decorative surlaces and details, it combined an opera house rejected the column as a uselul model, with "the moulded [sic]

056 I 057
56 Transportation Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Louis Sullivan, 57 Schlesinger & Meyer Department Store (Carson, Pirie & Scott ,
Chicago, IIlinois, USA, 1891-3 Store), Louis Sullivan, Chicago, IIlinois, USA, 1899-1904

58 Guaranty Building, Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, Buffalo,


New York, USA, 1894-6

base of the column typical of the lower stories of our build- while employed in his office: part of the Auditorium Building
ing, the plain or fluted shaft suggesting the monotonous, unin- and the Charnley House (1892), which featured remarkably
terrupted series of office-tiers, and the capital the completing playful interior volumes. But Wright was also taken by-all things
power and luxuriance of the attic," counterposing the lessons of Japanese, particularly admiring the Pavilion of the Empire at the
nature to the tyranny of the existing codeso .• 9 1893 world's fair. Through his contacts with the Japan scholar
With the Wainwright Building in Saint Louis (1890-1), the Ernest Fenollosa, he discovered the writings of Edward Morse
Guaranty Building in Buffalo (1894-6),58 and the Bayard and Arthur Dow ..• 11 For Wright, this culture offered a lesson
Building in New York (1897-9), Sullivan put his theories to the in architecture, particularly with respect to the clear separa-
test. Perfectly legible in their vertical stacking, his structures read tion between the floor and the roof and the central place of
as prismatic volumes crowned with a thin cornice. The principal the tokonoma - a niche for flower arrangements, which Wright
elements of their geometry were visible on their planar facades, replaced in his houses by the hearth or fireplace. Japan also
which were covered in organic motifs. As autonomous struc- provided lessons in graphics and in landscape. This would lead
tu res, these buildings tended to fulfill the Neo-Grec ideal of the him from the gardens he saw on his first trip there in 1905 to the
primitive temple ..• 10 At the turn of the century, after the depres- design of his Taliesin estate in Wisconsin in subsequent years.
sion of the 1890s interrupted the construction of skyscrapers, Wright established himself in the wealthy Protestant neighbor-
Sullivan designed the Schlesinger & Meyer Department Store hood of Oak Park, which he described as "a suburb which denies
(1899-1904, renamed Carson, Pirie & Scott) 57 in Chicago, Chicago." .• 12 There, influenced by social movements that
establishing a new equilibrium between the composite build- approached the reform of domestic space as a way to reform
ing's overall volume and the modular grid of the facade, which moral behavior, he built his own house (1889-98). -> 13 59 Though
featured large rectangular bay windows. The repetitive nature symmetrical on the outside, the house has an interior that plays
of the rectilinear windows contrasted powerfully with the flo- on the oppositions between two centers: the vaulted music room,
ral explosion of the cast-iron canopy at the building's corner. In symbolizing Oak Park's communal life, and the fireplace with
Owatonna, Minnesota, where he built the National Farmers Bank "inglenooks," a private gathering place for the family. The house's
(1906-7), and elsewhere in the Midwest, Sullivan subsequently collective aspect, reinforcing the importance of sociability and
designed boxlike structures clad in brick, the luxuriant deco- shared dinners, prevails over its individual spaces. Establishing
ration of which seemed to be compressed but barely contained his studio on the premises, Wright appended to the house
by their geometric frames. a square office and an octagonal reading room (1895), which
added complexity and fluidity to the overall structure.
Wright and prairie architecture His houses in Oak Park and nearby River Forest reveal Wright's
extraordinary imagination. His success was rapid - he
Frank Lloyd Wright, another great American iconoelast, drafted designed ninety buildings between 1901 and 1909. In 1900,
two designs for his lieber Meister (beloved master) Sullivan an article in Boston's Architectural Review referred to Wright's

Chapter 04 I America rediscovered, tall and wide


/
59 Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio, Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park, IIlinois, 60 William H. Winslow House and Stables, Frank Lloyd Wright, River Forest,
USA,1889-98 IIlinois, USA, 1893-4

"perpetual inspiration," contrasting it with the wark 01 the "Great and created a system based on a logic 01 growth and varia-
American usines d'architecture," the typical large tactorv-like tion using a square-room module. -> 17 The continuity between
American architecture offices; the 'author declared that "tew the house and the landscape was made more intimate by the
architects have given us more poetic translations 01 materi- generous overhanging roots, the low ceilings, and the horizon-
als into structure." -> 14 Inlluenced by relormers such as William tal juxtaposition 01 the windows. Wright's other realized pro-
C. Gannett, whose sermon "The House Beautilul" was typeset jects 01 this period ranged Irom vast residences like the
and reprinted by Wright in collabaration with his client William Susan L. Dana House (1902-4) 61 in Springlield, IlIinois; the
H. Winslow in 1897, the architect aimed lar his houses, in Darwin D. Martin House (1904) in Buffalo, New York; and the
Gannetl's words, to serve the purpose 01 "dear togetherness," Avery Coonley House (1908) in Riverside, Illinois; to more
being "Iike a constant love-song without words, whose mean- modest buildings like the Frank Thomas and Edwin H. Cheney
ing is 'we are glad that we are alive together.' " -> 15 With its houses in Oak Park (1901 and 1904) and the Isabel Roberts
upper band 01 windows and overhanging root, Winslow's house House in River Farest (1908). Certain houses were located on
(1893-4) 60 in River Forest initiated Wrighl's exploration 01 hor- spectacular terrain, like the Hardy House (1905), built on a clitt
izontally extended lorms. Though its relatively orderly, even in Racine, Wisconsin. Among all 01 these, the Martin House is
solemn, street-side lacade contrasts with the Ireer nature 01 remarkable not only tor its almost absolute absence 01 divid-
the back, the entire building is striated with clearly articulated ing walls and its use 01 Iree-standing supports, but also lar the
horizontal bands. The lireplace is the pivot 01the structure. Here coherence 01 its geometry, which extends Irom objects and fur-
the housewile was to preside over a real m that extended to the niture to the rooms themselves and out into the garden. The
entire interior. In 1901 Wright devised theoretical projects like continuity between the library, the living room, and the dining
"A Home in a Prairie Town" and "A Small House with 'Lots 01 room is maintained by interstitial spaces that are like walls 01 air.
Room in 11'" lar the Ladies Home Journa/, positioning himsell Wright remained unlucky with his projects lor major American
as the theorist 01 a new domestic architecture. industrialists. His lormer assistant Marion Mahony completed
The architecture he elabarated was made to measure lar the the house he designed lar Henry Ford, and the project he
wide plains surrounding Chicago. In his 1908 article "In the proposed to Harold McCormick in Lake Forest (1907-9) was
Cause 01 Architecture," he wrote, "The Prairie has a beauty turned down. Yet the Frederick C. Robie House (1906-8) 62 in
01 its own, and we should recognize and accentuate this Chicago provided him with an opportunity to build a kind 01
natural beauty, its quiet level. Hence, gently sloping rools, spatial and technological manilesto, as Reyner Banham has
low proportions, quiet skylines, suppressed heavyset chim- noted. -> 18 The elongated house, extending along the street,
neys and sheltering overhangs, low terraces and outreach- is protected lrom rain and the noonday sun by projecting
ing walls sequestering private gardens." -> 16 Starting with the eaves. In the summer it is shaded by a courtyard on the north,
Ward Willits House in Highland Park (1902), Wright developed which serves as a cool-air tan k, while its horizontal windows
ideas he had previously lormulated lor the Winslow House help ventilate it. Inside, the passages are fl.uid between the

Chapter 04 I America rediscovered, tall and wide


62 Frederick C. Rabie Hause, Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago, IIlinois, USA, 1906-8, drawing made in the 1920s

63 ~ Unity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park, IlIinois, USA, 1905-8

Susan L. Dana House, Frank Lloyd Wright,


3:: -ngfield, Illinois, USA, 1902-4

second-floor living room and the dining room, which are sepa- Sunday school interact with one another like the formal compo-
rated by the chimney, and between the ground-floor billiard nents of Wright's domestic designs. The concrete mass of the
-30m and the children's game room. Radiators, heating tubes, walls, into which all the ducts and pipes were integrated, recalls
z: d lighting devices are built into the walls. Unlike Sullivan, the sol id envelopes of Richardson's houses, while the church's
right had no interest in purely rational construction; instead he interior recaptures the warm centrality of Wright's houses.
ade ornament the starting point 01 his architectural configura- Wright carefully studied the path leading into the house 01 wor-
ns and adapted the structure to achieve his design goals. For ship from the street, and in his eyes it too became a "meeting
sxample, the nearly 30-loot (10-meter) I-beams bearing the root place." The articulation of the basic structure and of the sec-
- the Robie House were installed lengthwise, once other motifs ondary elements, more complex than that in Buffalo, was part
e the repetitive rhythm 01 the ornamented windows) had of a search for design unity that seemed to constitute a meta-
~een determined, without any reservations about this seem- phor of the building's purpose ..• 20

gly illogical solution.


::AJmmissioned by Darwin Martin's brother John, the adminis- Wright and Europe
'8. ive building 01 the Larkin soap lactory in Buffalo (1902-6,
cernolished 1950) 64 extended the principies 01 Wright's Prairie Wright's principies were carried forward by a group of
-ouses to an office scheme. Despite its lortress-like appear- architects led by William Drummond, John Van Bergen,
ance, the building was naturally illuminated by a glassed- Marion Mahony, and Walter Burley Griffin and known collec-
- courtyard similar to the one at the Rookery, whose lobby tively as the Prairie School. Their form of homage or excessive
right was remodeling at the time. He later described it as "a imitation aroused Wright's pique. Their inspirer spent 1909 and
s rnple cliff 01 brick hermetically sealed (one of the lirst 'air- 1910 in Europe, having Iled there with his client (and lover)
- nditioned' buildings in the country) to keep the interior space Mamah Cheney. He visited Josef Hoffmann's and Joseph Maria
:: ear of the poisonous gases in the smoke Irom the New York Olbrich's buildings, which he already knew from photographs.
8entral trains that puffed along beside it." .• 19 The result 01 He also studied architectural sculpture, taking particular interest
:::areful analysis of the building's intended use, Larkin com- in the work of Franz Metzner, who was responsible for the sculp-
-ned Sullivan's organic conception 01 architecture with a tural figures at Bruno Schmitz's Vblkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig
s: íct orthogonal geometry. Most significantly, it represented and Joze Pleónik's Zacherlhaus. From observing Metzner
c. new type of open workplace, with steel furniture and light- Wright developed a theory of "conventionalization," or the trans-
,g designed as integral to the whole and in keeping with the formation of natural forms into abstract shapes, which he later
uasi-familial vision 01 the company. used in his concrete construction units, or "textile blocks."
oon alter this commission, Wright built Unity Temple in Oak Europe not only gave Wright an important geometry lesson in
?ark (1905-8), 63 another monumental extension of the prin- the interlocking squares and circles of the late Secession, but
cipies of his houses. The square masses of the church and the al so led him to discover pre-Columbian America ..• 21

062 I 063
64 Larkin Company Administration
Building, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buffalo,
New York, USA, 1902-6
- Javid B. Gamble House, Charles S. Greene and Henry M. Greene, Pasadena,
..,¿ ia, USA, 1908

66 First Church 01 Christ Scientist, Bernard Maybeck, Berkeley, California,


USA,191O

--" buildings he designed upon his return to the United States, lirst houses that Irving Gill designed in San Diego were also
as Midway Gardens in Chicago (1914, demolished 1929), inlormed by the Arts and Crafts, while in Berkeley, Bernard
~'e visibly shaped by these discoveries. Maybeck built the First Church 01 Christ Scientist (1910). 66
=::; versely, Europeans were becoming increasingly interested A large room on a square plan that extends to the outside
right. The British architect Charles Robert Ashbee had with pergolas, it combines a wood and concrete structure with
-: Wright in Chicago as early as 1900, but it was in Germany industrial steel sash lor the glass wall in a manner reminiscent
--2.~Wright was now most recognized. He gave a lecture in of Viollet-Ie-Duc's theoretical projects.
-::a in at Bruno M6hring's invitation, and he saw his reputation
greatly when the Wasmuth publishing house released a The skyscraper migrates to New York
- nograph on his buildings in 1911; this followed the release
=" a limited-edition large-size portfolio 01 his works and pro- Alter 1900 the experiments 01 East Coast architects focused on
scts the year belore. -> 22 Richardson had long been the only lactories, silos, and, most conspicuously, skyscrapers. Unlike
- erican architect recognized in the Old World (notably in the Chicago, New York did not pass any regulations limiting the
s erlands, Germany, and Finland), but Sullivan and Wright height 01 new construction. In fact, vertical competition was
took center stage in accounts by visitors to the United unstoppable. The lirst batch 01 skyscrapers was built dur-
=:a es such as Hendrik Petrus Berlage. At times their designs ing the 1870s for newspapers, including Richard Morris
e reproduced in Europe almost exactly as in the model Hunt's building lor the New York Tribune (1873-5, demol-
';:,~ ory built by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer lor the Cologne ished 1955). -> 24 Beginning with the construction 01 the Tower
erkbund Exhibition 01 1914. -> 23 California, though, remained Building by Bradlord Lee Gilbert (1888-9, demolished 1914),
-, ely unknown to Europeans, despite the signilicant works the steel skeleton became the rule tor skyscrapers. The corn-
::~-lt there. It proved fertile ground for American lollowers 01 pletion 01 the Flatiron Building (1901-2) 69 - built lor Chicago
-e Arts and Cralts movement, which cabinetmaker Gustave contractor George A. Fuller by Daniel H. Burnham - was an
_ckley's periodical The Craftsman (1901) had served to dis- incontestable milestone. A 22-story vertical extrusion 01 its tri-
inate. In Pasadena, the work of the brothers Charles S. and angular site, the building was topped with a cornice evoking
-enry M. Greene was best exemplilied by their house lor David the capital 01 a column as in the ideal scheme contested by
3_ Gamble (1908),65 heir of a leading soap manulacturer - a Sullivan. It could be the tip 01 a potentially gigantic imaginary
s -lHul composition of sol id wood elements on a masonry loun- Haussmannian block. Elevators and services were grouped
-~ ion. Like Wright's houses, but designed lor a gentler climate, in the building's core, allowing the window-lit areas 01 each
-e Gamble House is largely open to the outdoors through a tloor to be entirely devoted to offices. Standing at the intersec-
~- ies 01 porches. The Greenes devoted the utmost care to tion 01 Broadway and Filth Avenue, the Flatiron had such iconic
--e assembly 01 the wood Irame and walls, using visible dow- power that the magazine Camera Work saw in it the promise
_ hat evoked the techniques of Japanese builders. The 01 a new aesthetic, and one 01 its admirers, the photographer

066 I 067
69 Flatiron Building, Daniel H.
Burnham, New York City, USA,
1901-2, photograph by
Alfred Slieglitz

67 Woolworth Building, 68 Equitable Building, Graham, Anderson and Probst,


Cass Gilbert, New York City, New York City, USA, 1913-15
USA,1910-13

Allred Stieglitz, responded to the detractors 01 this "monster buildings between eleven and twenty stories high, and the
ocean steamer" that "it is not hideous, but the new America. problem 01 sunlight reaching the streets was much discussed.
The Flat lron is to the United States what the Parthenon was In 1916 the "menace" posed by the skyscraper was remedied by
lo Greece." .• 25 Other buildings, including the New York Times a zoning regulation that controlled the bulk 01 the tall building but
Building by Eidlitz and McKenzie (1903-5), soon lurther mined did not restrict its height on up to 25 percent 01 the site. The new
the potential 01 rare triangular sites in Manhattan's grid. code also established sophisticated regulations to ensure ample
With the 47-story, 594-loot (181-meter) Singer Building (1906-8, light by requiring terraces and setbacks 01 upper Iloors. New
demolished 1968), Ernest Flagg responded to the Singer York was therelore able to remain the "standing city" - as the
Company's explicit commission to create a delinitive verti- novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline put it .• 27 - that would make
cal structure. It was soon lollowed by the Metropolitan Lile such a strong impression on visitors between the world wars.
Insurance Company tower by Pierre L. Lebrun (1907-9), which Though his 1920 book L'architecture aux États-Unis (Architecture
was grafted to a larger block and made conscious relerence in the United States) included reproductions 01 these buildings,
to the campanile 01 Saint Mark's in Venice. Next came the Jacques Gréber persisted in seeing American architecture as
Municipal Building by McKim, Mead and White (1909-14), little more than a rellection 01 French "genius." His younger
which was likened to a modern Colossus of Rhodes in its colleagues did not suffer Irom this superiority complex. On
straddling of Chambers Street. Built on an open U-plan, the the contrary, they lound the cross-Atlantic scene lascinating
Municipal Building symbolized the modernization 01 the city's enough to launch a new path of migration, reversing that of the
administration. Popular Neo-Gothic themes found their place Americans still coming to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-
in the next victor in the ongoing race for height, the Woolworth Arts. The departure tor Chicago 01 the Viennese architect Rudoll
Building (1910-13) 67 by Cass Gilbert. Though Frank W. Schindler and his Prague colleague Antonin Raymond heralded
Woolworth, lounder 01 the dime-store chain, had insisted that a radical geographic shift in the centers of architecture.
his building be fifty leet taller than the Metropolitan Lile build-
ing, the structure is remarkable primarily lor the relinement
01 its elevators and interior circulation and the splendor 01 an
entrance hall given a Byzantine atmosphere by gilt mosaics.
The skyscraper's soaring appearance and the Ilamboyant Neo-
Gothic decor 01 its terra-cotta exterior quickly led the public to
refer to it as the "cathedral 01 commerce." .• 26
Construction of the Equitable Building (1913-15) 68 by Burnham's
successors Graham, Anderson and Probst served to crystallize
gathering lears about the unrestrained individualism of high-
rise structures. By 1913 Manhattan contained about a thousand

Chapter 04 I America rediscovered, tall and wide


The challenge
of the metropolis

In 1908 architect August Endell, a major proponent 01 the services. The resulting need to design dozens of new types
German Jugendstil torrns, published a small book entitled Die of buildings, from suburban train stations to clinics and public
Scnonneit der grossen Stadt (The Beauty 01 the Metropolis). baths, stimulated the architectural imagination ..• 3

Though he did not turn a blind eye to urban problems such The dizzying growth in the populations of large cities deepened
as poverty and congestion, Endell discovered a new aes- the housing crisis, which was already so serious in London,
thetic potential in the industrial landscape, transportation sys- Paris, Berlin, and New York that it was becoming a threat to the
tems, and smoky city skies, much as the Impressionists had social arder. 70 Urban relorms related to housing, transportation,
lound inspiration in the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris in the 1870s. hygiene, education, and leisure were put in place during the
Unlike Friedrich Nietzsche, who invited Zarathustra to "spit on last decade of the nineteenth century. During this era, munici-
the great city, which is the great swill room where all the swill palities became essential torees behind building projects that, in
spumes together," -> 1 Endell believed that the city "gathered in turn, reflected on a wide range of public policies and coopera-
its streets a thousand beautilul things, innumerable marvels, tive programs. Architects and engineers saw vast public com-
inlinite riches, accessible to all but seen by very lew." .• 2 Though missions take shape. Meanwhile the nascent social sciences
he regretted the absence 01 an elusive "intellectual beauty" lound the city to be an irresistible subject. Thewritings 01
with which scientilic thinking might have endowed the city, he sociologists such as Max Weber and Georg Simmel in Germany
praised the beauty created by human organization and labor. and Maurice Halbwachs in France and the research of their
counterparts at the University 01 Chicago laid the loundations far
An explosion without precedent a new critical approach to the study 01 social relationships based
on systematic research and veriliable tacts ..• 4

The urban development that translormed much 01 the Western Problems of hygiene were of primary significance. An issue first
warld had no precedent. It resulted in (and from) increasing raised by physicians and scientists carrying out studies in
industrialization, mass exodus Irom the countryside, and Paris during the mid-eighteenth century, hygiene took a central
emigration to the Americas and the colonies. It also disrupted place in philanthropic activities lollowing devastating cholera
feudal institutions and encouraged the emergence 01 new epidemics a century later. The paradigm 01 the healthy city was
forms of national citizenship. Vast territories were newly urban- applied not only to strategies related to urban design, but also
ized, and existing cities became denser, pushing municipal to the design 01 individual structures. It would dominate architec-
boundaries outward. The process 01 Eingemeindung (munici- tural thought until almost the last third 01 the twentieth century ..• 5
pal integration) that ariginated in German urban areas became Concern for hygiene - initially focused on improving the
an international phenomenon with the creation in 1889 of the circulation 01 air, then on sunlight, and finally on construction
London County Council, the first metropolitan authority in warld materials that would not deteriorate and facades that could be
histary, and in 1898 of Greater New York. As cities expanded, washed - transformed all 01 the thinking behind housing and
they were equipped with communication networks and public public buildings. The low-cost Paris apartments designed by

Chapter 05 I The challenge of the metropolis


'~
n.1'taot_~
v.•••••••J--Io:J"-
...L_ •. K....-li. ._-
•. a..,..Do •••~
71 Street layout, from Town-Planning in Practice,
n•. __
1\'."-
-}o_
•••.•••.• ,....
YlL __ I&"'- __

I "-114001_".
•. r•.••••• ,..-.

Raymond Unwin, 1909


72 Streets in Bruges, from City Planning According
lo Artistic Principies, Camilla SitIe, 1889

73 ~ "Hygienic" set-back housing, Henri Sauvage


and Charles Sarrasin, Paris, France, 1912

70 Compared growth of big cities c. 1910, from Der


St8dtebau (Town Planning), Werner Hegemann, 1910

Henri Sauvage and Charles Sarrasin 73 represent one exarn- In just a lew years, urban planning became a world rnove-
pie; they were advertised as "hygienic," even "athletic," thanks ment. The year 1910 witnessed the nearly simultaneous
to their plans as well as to the white tiling 01 their lacades and Town-Planning Conlerence in London and the AlIgemeine
the provision 01 recreational areas lar their users ...• 6 Elsewhere, Stadtebau-Ausstellung (General Urban-Planning Exhibition) in
the concern to provide middle- and lower-class housing with Berlin, during which large cities had an opportunity to com-
adequate ventilation and access to sunlight led to the expan- pare their plans 01 action ...• 9 The challenge now was to antici-
sion and opening up 01 building courtyards. pate growth and to regulate it not only by understanding real
estate and technical systems but also by imagining the luture
The planners' toolbox architecture 01 large cities. Global networks 01 communica-
tion lacilitated something resembling a collective, barderless
The very instruments used by architects, planners, and policy think tan k, bringing together policy makers, intellectuals, and
makers to calibrate the extension and modernization 01 cities technicians through lield trips, conlerences, and exhibitions.
were translormed by inputs Irom the natural and social sciences. Periodicals such as Oer Stédiebeu (Iounded in Berlin in 1904)
Pressure Irom unions and political movements intensilied the and The Town-Planning Review (Iounded in London in 1909)
demands lar a more democratic process 01 providing housing began appearing, joining the handbooks edited by Josel
and advanced the emerging notion 01 "collective" needs. As a Stübben and Raymond Unwin 71 as the basis 01 a library lor
result, the discipline known in its parallel versions as Stadtebau an emergent international prolession ...• 10
in Germany, town planning in Great Britain, and urbanisme in
France took on new importance ...• 7 The old method 01 creating Town, square, and monument
roads and subdividing the land into lots without dilferentiating
their use or their density was replaced by a complex approach Yet the seeming unanimity 01 relormers and technicians was
to regulation and planning based on statistical data and public shattered the moment it came to putting a specilic lace on the
supervision 01 specialized stages 01 conception and construc- cities of the luture. Should the modern metropolis be designed
tion. Planning became future oriented and prescriptive. by reinterpreting the picturesque beauty 01 historical sites; by
The notion 01 the urban plan became lundamental, symboliz- expanding on the classical principies of monumentality, as rep-
ing the hopes of professionals lar the rational modernization resented by the Beaux-Arts obsession with axiality, hierarchy,
and extension of cities. In the early twentieth century, expan- and historicism; ar by avoiding all nostalgia and designing a
sion and beautilication plans that had evolved over decades new Iramework far the future inspired by a modern mechanized
were replaced by regulations based on new, "scientific" meth- and rationalized economy? The first position was fueled by the
odologies, including measures to divide cities into zones - the theories proposed in 1889 by the Viennese architect Camillo
term zone in both French and German was derived Irom military Sitte in his book Oer Steoiebeu nach seinen künstlerischen
usage - and the elaboration 01 building regulations ...• 8 Grundsétzer. (City Planning according to Artistic Principies), 72

070 I 071
75 World City, project, Ernest Hébrard, 1912

76 Future New York, Harvey Wiley Corbett, 1913


74 Plan 01 Chicago, Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett, Chicago, lllinois,
USA,1909

which attracted a growing number 01 lollowers. Focusing on the Progressive Era. -> 13 As one 01 its most active agents,
the city in its "Sunday best" - that is, on the city center - Burnham provided the movement with emblematic images
Sitte advocated studying the streets and squares of medieval such as the Natianal Mall in Washington, D.C., which was
and Renaissance tawns as a basis for turning modern urban renovated on the basis of his 1902 plan, and his plan lar San
campositions into "total warks 01 art" on the model of the Francisco, which remained unrealized after the 1906 earth-
Wagnerian opera he admired. -> 11 An immediate bestseller, quake despite, or perhaps because 01, its arnbitious scope.
Sitte's book remained the bible of urban planners for decades, Even though the 1909 plan far Chicago 74 that he and Edward
although they often reduced it to caricatural formulas based H. Bennett prepared at the request al local business associa-
an imitatian al medieval cities. No less successful, Platz und tians was only partially implemented, it remained ane al the
Monument (City Square and Manument), published by the art most resonant images al the era. Its visian was al a large city
historian Albert Erich Brinckmann in 1908, reserved its praise divided into lunctional zones, crisscrossed with new streets and
tor the Baroque and classical squares 01 Rome and Paris. -> 12 interconnected railways, refreshed by a system of parks linking
The principies put forward far transforming Berlin, Paris, and it with the lake and surrounding prairies, and, most especially,
Vienna were applied throughout the rest of Europe as new crowned with a monumental city center that would have made it
nation-states like Italy and Romania were established. They also into a "Paris on Lake Michigan." -> 14 Burnham's vocabulary was
found application in independent Latin American countries, also adopted tor certain projects with more humanistic inten-
including Brazil and Argentina; in Meiji Japan; in late Ottoman tions, such as the Cité Mondiale (World City) 75 designed in
Turkey as it underwent modernization; and linally in' colonial 1912 by the French architect Ernest Hébrard for the Norwegian
territories. Unlike the picturesque, contrasting lorms to which sculptor and philanthropist Hendrik Christian Andersen. -> 15

Sitte was attracted, the massive schemes at the heart of these During this same briel but fertile period extending fram 1890
cities leatured long axes and perspectives cannecting vast to World War 1, engineers, architects, landscape designers, and
esplanades dominated by colon nades and domes. Such "artis- social relormers who were committed to solving the problems
tic" principies applied the Beaux-Arts model at the expanded 01 the big city put lorward a third set 01 principies that avoided
scale 01 the grand urban structure. Daniel H. Burnham had both backward-Iooking imitation and grandiose rhetoric. The
used these principies in Chicago in 1893 to layout his "White rapid spread 01 the automobile and the development 01 met-
City," which was imitated at the International Exposition 01 1900 ropolitan railroads spurred a vis ion of the city as a gigantic
in Paris and elsewhere. machine lar traffic. The architect Euqene Hénard's "Street al the
The classicizing phantasmagoria of Chicago and other warld's Future,' 77 presented at the London Town-Planning Conlerence
fairs and the grand urban compasitions 01 Europe's historical in 1910, elabarated the ideas he had outlined in his Études sur
cities provided the model far countless projects by American les transformations de Paris (Studies on the Translormations 01
urban planners, wha were committed to making the metrop- Paris; 1903), in which he proposed to set buildings back from the
olis a "city beautiful," giving spatial lorm to the ideals of street through a system 01 redents (alternating indents). Hénard's

Chapter 05 I The challenge 01 the metropolis


F(0E FUTUI1E.
C'I11'· .•ur C/J

l.'

78 Vienna as an unlimited metropolis, from Die GroBstadt, eine Studie über diese
(The Development 01 a Great City), Otto Wagner, 1911

77 Street 01 the Future, Eugéne Hénard, 1910

future street was entirely determined by traffic - whether auto- Law Olmsted in Boston and other American cities- which
mobile or airplane - and amounted to a series of great mon- found European advocates in the French landscape designer
uments surrounded by roads. The streets had multiple levels, Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier and the German architect Fritz
allowing for the stacking of mass transit, automobiles, and Schumacher, creator of Hamburg's Stadtpark - were deemed
pedestrians ..• 16 In 1913 Hénard's New York counterpart Harvey insufficient sources of fresh air. The Spanish engineer Arturo
Wiley Corbett took the fantasy a step further and imagined the Soria y Mata's project of 1894 for a ciudad lineal (linear city) 79
streets of a future New York 76 as a network of dizzying can- suggested an alternative pattern for the growth of Madrid. The
yons lined with fast lanes and suspended sidewalks, with levi- new suburbs were to extend longitudinally along either side of
tating subways connecting to skyscrapers at the fortieth floor. a streetcar making a loop around the city, Only a segment was
Widely reproduced in popular newspapers, these images soon built, but Soria expanded the concept to the regional scale
fascinated the Italian Futurists. with a scheme of continuous ribbons connecting cities ..• 19

Not every city-planning proposal was so enthusiastic for the The German architect Theodor Fritsch and the British social
mechanical. Otto Wagner accepted the fact that the modern reformer Ebenezer Howard reacted with proposals for broad-
metropolis was no longer defined by its principal monuments scale decentralization. The latest in a long line of writers hos-
or by the visual rules of the picturesque that had been appli- tile to the city, encompassing Jean-Jacques Rousseau and
cable to the cities of antiquity. But he argued that the city must Thomas Jefferson, .• 20 Howard had developed his ideas out
not be confused with the traffic systems serving it. In Moderne of the theories of the Americans Henry George and Edward
Architektur, he wrote that a city where anonymity was the rule Bellamy. He didactically expressed his opposition to both the
would become a "conglomerate of cells" governed by monot- malevolent "magnet" of the big city and the debilitating one
onous repetition. Speculating on Vienna's future, he proposed of the countryside in a triangular diagram, touting instead the
in 1911 a new GroBstadt (metropolis) 780f potentially unlimited atlraction of the "garden city." 80 This last would combine the
growth, meant to spread out like a spider's web. Composed of advantages of the two other alternatives to become, in his view,
homologous neighborhoods in compact orthogonal blocks, it the type of habitat most likely to appeal to people. In his 1898
was to be arranged in a checkerboard pattern around evenly book To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, he described
distributed public spaces and services ..• 17 the broad outlines of a program intended to replace the creep-
ing metropolis with a cluster of garden cities linked to the city
The idyll of the garden city center by railroad, each with a population whose size would be
strictly limited ..• 21 Meant to be funded by philanthropic
The "tentacular cities" that the Belgian poet Émile Verhaeren capitalists or cooperatives, the garden city drew on American
described in apocalyptic verses in 1895 seemed to many experiments such as Olmsted's Garden Suburb in Riverside,
reformers to be places of perdition from which nothing good near Chicago, where Howard had lived. His clever oxymo-
could come ..• 18 Even the park systems designed by Frederick ron "garden city" - which for several decades had been one

Chapter 05 I The challenge 01 the metropolis


I!H[PEO~\.~
WIUU WU.1.1Htf GO?
T9 . Linear City, Arturo Soria y Mata, 1894
81 Hampstead Garden Suburb, Raymond Unwin,
London, United Kingdom, 1905-7

82 ~ Page from Une Cité Industrielle, Tony Garnier,


France, 1917

80 The Three Magnets, from To-Morrow: A Peaceful


Path to Real Reform, Ebenezer Howard, 1902

of Chicago's nicknames - quickly became a slogan that gal- architect Tony Garnier, designs 01 which were published in
vanized associations, municipalities, cooperatives, reformers, 1917. -> 24 An autonomous entity in opposition to the big city,
and al so real-estate speculators around the world. Following it was secular and progressive, a more modern version of a
the founding 01 the Garden-City Association in Great Britain 1901 sketch Garnier had based on a plan described in Émile
in 1901, similar organizations devoted to promoting such exper- Zola's novel Travail (Work).
imental ventures cropped up in Germany and France and
reached all the way to Russia. Articles on the subject were Zoning for the colonies and for
published as far away as Japan. -> 22 Europe's metropoles
The garden city quickly became more than a slogan. Expanding
on the principies developed by Camillo Sitte, Raymond Unwin The reform of existing cities was another goal. Alongside
gave it canonical form with his designs for the first English attempts to improve the appearance of city centers by creat-
garden-city, which was sponsored by Howard himself, built in ing more visually harmonious streets, such as the Boulevard
Letchworth I;leginning in 1903; and for Hampstead Garden Raspail in Paris and the southern extension of Seventh Avenue
Suburb (1905-7),81 a private commission in London for Dame in New York, programs were implemented to replace slums with
Henrietta Barnett. These refined urban compositions were hygienic housing. The first attempts at urban renovation were
based on Unwin's observations of English and Norman villages. launched in London at the municipality's initiative. Berlin soon
Soon after, Richard Riemerschmid and Heinrich Tessenow lollowed. In Paris "insalubrious blocks" were earmarked in 1913
conceived the garden city of Hellerau around the Deutsche and included in the Extension Commission Report written that
Werkstatten factory near Dresden (1909-12). Meanwhile, ground year by the architect Louis Bonnier and the historian Marcel
was broken on the largest garden city in Europe, Wekerle in Poete. -> 25 To a certain extent the "conservative surgery"
Budapest (1909-26). In Russia, Vladimir Semyonov adopted the advocated by Patrick Geddes, a visionary Scottish biologist who
British experiments in his design for the city 01 Prozorovskoe was influenced by sociology and turned to a career as an urban
(1913), while Georges Benoit-Lévy drummed up interest in the planner, was somewhat similar to these projects in its carelul
movement in France. None of these projects fully met Howard's atlention to social transformations in the city and to the relation-
requirements; they contributed in most cases to the spread of ships between "place, work, and folk," illustrated in his diagram
nostalgic regionalist forms and responded to different political 01the "Valley Section." 83 Geddes differentiated between what
agendas, ranging from the paternalistic to the Social Democratic. he saw as the "Utopía" of the garden cities and a "Eutopia" that
By imitating the space of the village, they counterposed the could result from patient modification 01 existing cities. -> 26

reassuring context 01 the small community to the threats posed Geddes tried but failed to apply his ideas in lndia, at a time
by modern society, following the arguments made by the German when the colonized territories were becoming places for urban
sociologist Ferdinand Tbnnies in 1887. -> 23 A rare exception planners to experiment. In 1914 the European empires were
to this rule was the Cité Industrielle project 82 of the Lyons at the height 01 their power, and the dominant nations set about

076 I 077
83 The "Valley Section,' Patrick Geddes, 1915

84 Extension plan for Berlin competition project, 85 Plan far Rabat, Henri Prost, Rabat,
Bruno Móhring, Rudolf Eberstadt and Richard Morocco, 1914
Petersen, 1910

creating new capitals. These were sometimes situated near a new architecture could appear. Echoing Max Weber's socio-
historical urban areas, as was the case with Edwin Lutyens logical analysis 01 bureaucracy, he linked the metropolis to the
and Herbert Baker's New Delhi, which began to be planned in increasing degree 01 organization in society, with the clearest
1912 lollowing Baker's design 01the Union buildings in the South example being the American skyscraper stacking up thousands
Alrican capital 01 Pretoria (1909-13). It evolved into a scheme 01 clerical workers ..• 29 For German urban planners, Chicago
combining major roads and a hexagonal plan that culminated and New York were now points 01 relerence as pertinent as
in Luytens's Viceroy's Palace ..• 27 86 In Rabat, the political capi- London and Paris had been tor previous generations. Site 01 the
tal 01 the French protectorate in Morocco, the Beaux-Arts grad- mass production 01 manulactured goods but also 01 the con-
uate Henri Prost designed an administrative neighborhood that centration 01 service jobs and services, the metropolis was more
applied the characteristics 01 the garden city. 85 Other capitals than a technical challenge tor urban planners. As Endell had
were erected on new sites, such as Australia's Canberra. The already sensed, the urban landscape, having been revolution-
1911 international competition to build Canberra resulted in the ized by the arrival 01 the automobile, was also becoming the
selection 01 the American Walter Burley Griffin over the Finnish milieu and the raw material ter the avant-gardes 01 modernismo
architect Eliel Saarinen and the French planner Donat-Allred
Agache. In Griffin's winning scheme, 87 the city encroached on
the. surrounding areas, making repeated use 01 elements bor-
rowed Irom the Prairie Houses that Griffin had drafted as an
employee in Frank Lloyd Wright's office ..• 28

Following the competition lor the expansion 01 Barcelona - won


in 1905 by the French architect Léon Jaussely, one 01 the lirst
advocates 01 zoning - the 1910 competition lor Greater Berlin
yielded what were probably the most complex strategies 01 the
day. The submitted proposals spanned the entire gamut 01 ideas
then being discussed on both sides 01 the Atlantic. Grandiose
monumental avenues, giant train stations, and garden cities were
the basic building blocks advanced by Ihe competitors. Some
proposals were truly revolutionary: Bruno Mbhring's tea m inte-
grated the surrounding region with the city through great cones
01 vegetation reaching into the city center, 84 an approach that
later met with considerable success. In 1912 the Berlin critic
Karl Scheffler, asking what "the architeclure 01 the metropolis"
should be, determined that it was only in the very large city Ihat

Chapter 05 I The challenge of the metropolis


,
~-
COMMOI'\WEALTH cr AVSTRALlA
FEDERAL CAPITAL CO!\PETITIOti

<::.ITY A~D EfiVIROI1S·


':'CALE

87 Plan lar Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin, Canberra, Australia, 1911

86 Viceroy Palace and its surroundings, Edwin Lutyens, New Delhi, India, 1912-31

080 I 081
New production,
new aesthetic

With the invention 01 the automobile, the spread 01 electricity, character of Dr. Arnheim in Robert Musil's novel The Man with-
advances in scientilic research - especially in chemistry and out Qualities is based, eventually succeeded his father and
physics - and the increasing unilication 01 the world's markets, played a leading role in German public life. The Rathenaus
architecture became both a factor for increasing industrial retained Peter Behrens, whose fame had spread lollowing
productivity and a key component of new visual strategies the design of his own house in Darmstadt as well as of his
developed by big business. Concurrently, and to a certain Exhibition Pavilion in Oldenburg (1905) and the Crematorium
degree in response, artists and architects devoted themselves (1906-7) 88 that he designed in a Florentine manner in' Hagen.
to interpreting a new stage in the machine age's evolutionary The large design oflice Behrens established quickly became
advancement. Patrick Geddes and Lewis Mumlord described it involved in all the AEG's activities. It created electric products
as "neotechnic" in opposition to the "paleotechnic" age 01 coal tor mass consumption - fans, toasters, teakettles, and other
and steam power ..• 1 A variety 01 relationships between devices - with designs so definitive that they remain practi-
architects and industry began taking shape, ranging from the cally unchanged to this day. The company's visual communi-
complete 01 architects into major corporations, to
integrafion cations, from posters to all types 01 printed matter, were carried
architects' eflorts to promote the creative coordination 01 art out according to Behrens's specifications ..• 2 At a more monu-
and industry at all levels, to - last but not least - architects' mental scale, Behrens was involved in the design of all the AEG
independent and at times critical activities within building buildings throughout Berlin, from factories to housing estates.
programs and cultural institutions. Indeed, each product line called for a specific building, partic-
ularly if its components required highly specialized handling.
The AEG model in Berlin The lirst building to be constructed was the Turbine Factory
(1908-9), 89 which Behrens designed with the engineer Karl
The emerging power and imperialism 01 Wilhelmine Germany, Bernhard. Its great form resembles a temple, as if to maintain
where industrialization had taken hold later than in Great Britain a link between the industry-minded "Chicago on the Spree" -
and France, found its economic strength in the rapid development which Rathenau saw as replacing the Prussian monarchs' art-
01 giant companies in the fields of steel, chemistry, and electric- oriented "Athens on the Spree" - and the models 01 antiquity ..• 3
ity. At a time when Britain dominated world commerce, the "made Flanked by a lower building with a wall consisting of a large
in Germany" label was seen as second-rate and derivative. plane 01 glass rhythmically divided by steel frames, the factory
German companies were thus driven to technical and aes- features a 25-meter (82-foot) triple-hinged frame, beneath which
thetic innovation in order to improve the image of their products a crane moved the rnassive rotors and stators. On the front
at home and abroad. The most remarkable example of such facade, the polygonal shape 01 the pediment evokes the contour
a strategy was that 01 the Allgemeine Elektrizitatsgesellschaft of a bolt head at giant scale. Most interesting, Behréns played
(General Electricity Company, known as AEG), founded by Emil with a paradoxical contrast between mass and transpar-
Rathenau in Berlin. Rathenau's son Walther, on whom the ency. The corner pylons, which look like stone piers, are made

Chapter 06 I New production, new aesthetic


Crematorium, Peter Behrens, Hagen, Germany,
-306-7

89 Turbine Factary, Peter Behrens and Kari 90 The staf al Ihe Behrens affice, Neubabelsberg,
Bernhard, Berlin, Germany, 1908-9 Germany, 1910

f concrete yet carry only their own weight, leaning inward as which he referred to in discussions 01the designo -> 5 In Saint
tney rise. The glass plane, on the other hand, tips at an angle Petersburg, Behrens enlisted Mies to help him build the German
:0 the exterior edge of the frame, as il bearing the heavy load embassy (1912), a palace with a red granite colonnade rerninis-
01 the giant rool, which in lact is supported by the underlying cent of the Kleinmotorenfabrik lor the AEG but with a far more
steel-trarne structure. luxurious interior featuring black Doric columns.
3ehrens also built the Kleinmotorenlabrik (Small Motor Factory;
910-13), the lront 01 which is distinguished by a series 01 Factory as inspiration
ark brick columns without capitals standing five stories tall.
The Hochspannungswerk (High Voltage Factory; 1909-10) is Walter Gropius and Adoll Meyer strove to lollow the example
a more complex structure, in which the main halls were sand- set by their mentor, Behrens, in building the Fagus Factory in
iched between two taller volumes containing additional work Alfeld an der Leine (1911-13). 91 Designed to produce beech-
areas. Here the study, coordination, and control 01 production wood shoe lasts, the factory was begun by the architect Eduard
clearly were integral to the manulacturing process: the era of Werner in a Neo-Gothic style. Gropius and Meyer preserved
organization was at hand. Like Charles Garnier's firm during the Werner's masonry foundations, but used them as the base and
design 01 the Paris Opéra in the previous century, Behrens's Irame lor a light steel-and-glass curtain-wall lacade. In contrast
firm attracted ambitious young architects from all over Germany to the piers at Behrens's Turbine Factory, Gropius and Meyer's
and neighboring countries. 90 From 1908 to 1911 he recruited transparent corners contributed to dematerializing the building,
Walter Gropius, Adolf Meyer, Ludwig Mies (Iater known as Mies and the image of a modular structure with razor-sharp outlines
van der Rohe), and Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Iater known as echoed the processes taking place inside the building. This
Le Corbusier), who constantly complained about the tyrannical heralded a new era in industrial architecture: lactories were no
rule of the "bear Behrens." Having recently read Thus Spake longer reminiscent 01 castles and temples; instead, their design
Zarathustra tor the lirst time, Jeanneret identified Behrens with became an allusion to the precise handling of materials and to
the formidable Nietzschean superman. -> 4 the sleekness of the products manufactured within them.
Behrens's success as the AEG's lead architect braught him The owner 01 the Fagus Factory, Carl Benscheid, had-shown
projects lor other industrialists and lor the state, in which Gropius photographs 01 another industrial world, North
he explored the archetype 01 the Renaissance palace. In America, and in a 1913 essay, "The Development 01 Modern
Düsseldorf he built the administrative affices 01the steel rnanu- Industrial Architecture," 92 Gropius enthusiastically pre-
lacturing firm Mannesmann (1911-12), an ally of AEG, basing sented the grain silos and factories built in the "motherland 01
he entire complex, with its repetitive, apparently modular lacade industry." In his eyes, "The compelling monumentality 01 the
bays, on the basic unit 01the office. With its metal structure cov- Canadian and South American grain silos, the coal silos built
ered in stone, the building rellected Behrens's interest in Jacob for the large railway companies, and the totally modern work-
Burckhardt's The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860), shops of the North American lirms almost bear comparison

082 I 083
- ~yus Factory, Walter Gropius
-~olf Meyer, Alfeld an der Leine, DACO"rA
EUWATOR

=-=---cllY,1911-13

OETii.ElOES'l.O
BUNonyDORN

92 Page from "The Development 01 Modern Industrial


Architecture" in the Deutscher Werkbund annual,
Walter Gropius, 1913

~;¡ the buildings of ancient Egypt. Their individuality is so The Deutscher Werkbund
r rnistakable that the meaning of the structure becomes over-
~elmingly clear to the passer-by." -> 6 Other connections existing within institutional networks par-
--ough Gropius and his successors knew little of the techniques alleled personal relationships between architects and indus-
.3ad to operate silos, structures deeply rooted in the American trial figures. Early twentieth-century German art reformers
=.;;ricultural economy, they grasped the aesthetic qualities seeking an aesthetic translormation of daily lile longed for
-= those concrete cylinders and boxes. The automobile facto- a mutually beneficial alliance with industry. To this end,
es of Detroit also captivated Gropius. There is no doubt that they lounded the Verband des deutschen Kunstgewerbes
-8 studied them while preparing his project tor Fagus. Albert (Association 01 German Arts and Crafts), presided over by
~n had erected a large concrete frame building in Highland Hermann Muthesius. The movement's central organ was the
=>ark ter the Ford Motor Company, achieving the ideal of the journal Oer Kunstwart (The Guardian of Art), which was some-
oaylight lactory." -> 7 More than the skyscraper, which was what nationalistic in its orientation. -> 9 The success of the
sñll beyond the reach 01 German designers, these lactories 1906 Kunstgewerbeausstellung (Arts and Crafts Exhibition) in
seemed to open the way to an architecture 01 pure economic Dresden led to the creation in MiJnich the lollowing year 01 the
aiionality. Not all German architects were ready to embrace Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Union), a lederation 01
.nern, though. Paul Bonatz, a student of Theodor Fischer's stu- industrialists, state officials, architects, artists, and critics. While
:Jio in Munich, chose to evoke a Roman basilica in his Stuttgart the positions within this organization Irequently conllicted,
'1ailway Station (1912-30), 94 a reinlorced-concrete building the architect Fritz Schumacher, then a prolessor in Dresden,
lad in stone, implicitly asserting that modern networks like rail- delined the Werkbund's objective in his inaugural speech as
roads demanded a monumentality that went beyond a rather "overcoming the alienation between the executive and the
=etishistic reliance on steel and glass. inventive spirit, in order to bridge the existing divide." -> 10

me prominent Berlin architect Hans Poelzig adopted a sig- Unlike their British predecessors in the Arts and Crafts movement;
nificantly different approach to building lorm and design dur- with whom the supporters 01 the Kunstgewerbe identilied, the
ing the same periodo His Chemical Factory (1911-12) 95 in Luban lounders 01 the Werkbund were not opposed to the leading
(Luborí), near Poznan in Silesia, evoked the brick attics 01 build- capitalist lirms 01 the day. Instead, they tried to ligure out a way
ings in Hanseatic cities like Bremen and Hamburg in the north 01 to cooperate with industry so as to achieve the desired reform
Germany as well as medieval lortilications and Roman aqueducts. 01 material culture. The inspiration tor the organization came
Far removed from Behrens's rhetoric 01 transparency in struc- primarily lrom Muthesius, who had become a professor of archi-
~res like the Turbine Factory, these buildings Ilaunted their tecture at the Handelshochschule (Higher Trade School) in
physical mass while their richly patterned brick surfaces revealed . Berlin, and Irom the relormer Friedrich Naumann, an advocate
to the attentive observer the difference between the supporting 01 Christian Socialism and a deputy in the Reichstag. In 1908
and supported parts 01 the masonry. -> 8 Naumann outlined a theory advocating quality production as

084 I 085
VER.AC·CUS'fAV
••AMMERS·MiiHCHEH

L. I1'1I1OPIRQ1oION .&
93 Ingenieur-aesthetik (Engineering 94 Railway Station, Paul Bonatz, Stuttgart, Germany, 1912-30
Aesthetics), Joseph August Lux, 1910
95 Chemical Factory, Hans Poelzig, Luban (Luborí), Germany (Poland), 1911-12

well as durability and premised on class collabaration: "The "taste." .• 14 They portrayed French culture as a holdover Irom an
social needs of the working class can be united with the need outdated Zivilisation that stood in opposition to the progressive
lar art 01 the progressive part 01 the population by replacing a Kultur 01 industry. This distinction operated on many levels. -> 15

theary based on attrition with one based on durability." -> 11 The The extent 01 the Werkbund's success may be gauged by its
same year Naumann drew up most of the Werkbund statutes. 1914 exhibition in Cologne. The decision to hold the exhibition
The organization grew quickly. By the time it moved its head- in a city so close to France was indicative 01 the association's
quarters to Berlin in 1912, it had nearly a thousand members, increasingly nationalistic stance. At this point the Werkbund had
among them a growing number of businesses. Its activi- 1,870 members and a constantly growing number 01 industrial
ties expanded lurther with the spread of local groups (torty- sponsors. Yet the exhibition buildings hardly conveyed a sense
five by 1914), the publication 01 its Jahrbücher (yearbooks), 01 unanimity . .., 16 Van de Velde pursued his ideal 01 linear lorm
conferences, and exhibitions. The Werkbund worked indi- with a theater whose principal innovation was a tripartite stage.
rectly through the Deutsches Museum für Kunst in Handel Gropius and Meyer's administration building continued the
und Gewerbe (German Museum for Art in Trade and Industry), experiments they had initiated in Alfeld, with exterior staircases
lounded in Hagen by Karl Ernst Osthaus, another of its princi- housed in glass cylinders. Their building was also reminiscent
pal leaders, who organized many traveling exhibitions. At the in many ways of the City National Bank and Hotel built by Frank
instigation of the Werkbund and in imitation of the AEG model, Lloyd Wright in Mason City, lowa (1909), particularly in its sym-
companies recruited architects to design their office buildings metrical composition and overhanging roof.
and manufacturing facilities. The Norddeutsche Lloyd hired Paul In July 1914 the Werkbund organized a conference to coincide
Ludwig Troost and Bruno Paul, who designed tour ships, while with the exhibition. It was marked by a heated conlrontation
the Hamburg-Amerika-Line worked with Muthesius . ..,12 over the notion 01 Typisierung - the creation of type, or
Though the Werkbund's primary goals were to raise the "artis- standardized objects. Muthesius believed that standardization
tic" level of German industrial production and to modernize was inevitable: "More than any other art, architecture strives
consumer taste, the organization also devoted itself to promot- toward the typical. Only in this can it find fullillment. Only in the
ing a form of aesthetic expression unique to technical objects all-embracing and continuous pursuit of this aim can it regain
and civil engineering structures. This ingenieur-aesthetik that effectiveness and undoubted assurance that we admire in
(engineering aesthetics), opposed to both classicism and Art the works of past times that marched along the road of
Nouveau, provided the title lar a 1910 book by Joseph August homogeneity." -> 17 Van de Velde, on the other hand, was strictly
Lux, -> 13 93 who described the aesthetic effects 01 machines in opposed to the notion of Typisierung, just as he was hostile
a discourse similar to that of Paul Souriau in France. While try- to any Kulturpolitik (cultural policy) - a somewhat paradoxi-
ing to dispel the German inferiority complex with respect to cal stance given that he was in the employ 01 the Grand Duke
British industrial production, Lux and his acolytes also sought to of Saxony - and he was supported in his argument by Gropius
combat German anxieties regarding the domination of French and by the individualistic positions of August Endell and

Chapter 06 I New production, new aesthetic


96 Glass Pavilion at the Werkbund Exposition, Bruno Taut, Cologne, Germany, 97 Glass Pavilion at the Werkbund Exposition, Bruno Taut, Cologne, Germany,
1914, exterior 1914, interior

Hermann Obrist. The conllict revealed an inherent contradiction architecture open to daydreams, with glass as an instrument 01
within the Werkbund between the upholders 01 Kunstgewerbe, both relorm and redemption.
or the applied arts, and those who wished to place design in the
service 01 production, a concept at the heart 01 industrial designo Futurist mechanization
The most original building at the Cologne exhibition was by
Bruno Taut, one 01 the young Werkbund rebels hostile to The Italian Futurists based their efforts to lound a new artistic
Muthesius. A prismatic polyhedral dome on a circular base, discourse and a new architectural style on the sensations pro-
his Glass Pavilion 96,97 aimed to demonstrate all the possibili- duced by motion and speed. Just as Behrens came to dis-
ties 01 glass by incorporating this material in the lorm 01 win- tance himsell lrom the Jugendstil - even il critics still spoke
dows, glass bricks, and polychrome glass mosaics ..• 18 A 01 a Behrensstil (Behrens style) - and Perret trorn the Art
Irieze running around the building's lourteen-Iacet perimeter Nouveau, so the artists gathered around the poet and provo-
was inscribed with slogans such as "Happiness without glass, cateur Filippo Tommaso Marinetti revolted against the Stile
how crass!"; "Colo red glass destroys hatred"; "Glass opens Liberty, the Italian version 01 Art Nouveau (also known as
up a new age"; and "Brick building only does harm." Their Floreale). This literary and artistic uprising was a response
author was the poet and novelist Paul Scheerbart, whom Taut to the translormations provoked by industrialization and the
had belriended in 1913 ..• 19 In an aphorism-lilled publication growth 01 metropoles such as Milan and Turin. Marinetti's
entitled G/asarchitektur (1914), Scheerbart expressed simi- "Manilesto 01 Futurism" appeared in the Paris daily Le Figaro
lar ideas, enumerating potential types 01 glass buildings while in 1909. Declaring war on historical cities, Marinetti wrote: "We
promising a new world based on colored-glass sensations and will sing 01 the multicolored and polyphonic tides 01 revolution
declaring that glass had the potential to be the salvation 01 in the modern capitals; we will sing 01 the vibrant nightly fervor
society and individuals. 01 arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons;
In his novel Das graue Tuch (The Gray Cloth), published the greedy stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; lactories
same year, Scheerbart related the exploits 01 a demiurge archi- hung on clouds by the crooked lines 01 their smoke; bridges
tect Ilying over the world in an airship, building observatories that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, Ilashing in the sun
on glaciers and glass sanatoriums on lakeshores ..• 20 The with a glitter 01 knives." .• 21
nature 01 the relationship between architects and glass, which In 1910 the painter and sculptor Umberto Boccioni began
in the nineteenth century had centered on train stations and expressing in his paintings the simultaneity 01 urban events,
exhibition halts, and more recently on model lactories like the exalting the movement 01 crowds ano the agitation 01 the
Fagus, now shifted. By celebrating the utopian possibilities 01 streets. In his unpublished "Architettura futurista, manifesto"
glass, Scheerbart and Taut emphasized the experiences prom- (1914), he evoked the possibility 01 an "architectural impres-
ised by an architecture no longer obsessed with structure and sionism," an architecture 01 pure necessity, in which "the
tectonics or with its place in stone cities. They heralded an spaces 01 an edilice would provide the maximum performance,

Chapter 06 I New production, new aesthetic


The New City, project, Antonio Sant'Elia, 1914 99 Electric Power Plant, project, Antonio Sant'Elia, 1914

e a motor." He announced that the "dynamic needs 01 mod- In the manilesto he published in August 1914, Sant'Elia
sm lile will necessarily give rise to an evolving architecture" described the Futurist house as "similar to a gigantic machine"
:: d noted that "the more ships, automobiles, and railroad made 01 "cement, glass, and iron, without painting and without
s.ations have subordinated their architecture to the needs sculpture, rich only in the innate beauty 01 its lines and reliels."
- ey have encountered, the more they have gained in artis- He called tor a radical alteration 01 the organization 01 build-
e expression." Regrettably, in his view, "Processes as deeply ings: "Elevators must not be hidden in stair corners like soli-
lorrned as those employed by mechanics have been com- tary worms; rather, having become useless, staircases must be
letely neglected in the construction 01 housing, roads, etc." abolished, and elevators must climb like iron and glass snakes
"he elevator, lollowed by the airplane, allowed lor the con- along the Ironts 01 buildings." -> 23 He also expressed his ideas
quest 01 the vertical dimension: "The luture will progressively in watercolor drawings tor La Citte Nuova (The New City), 98
crease the architectural possibilities with regard to height shown in the Nuove Tendenze exhibition. Yet these ideas
and depth. Thus lile will slice through the age-old horizontal would long remain unknown. Only the illustrations accompa-
e 01 the terrestrial surface, the inlinite verticality 01 the eleva- nying his manilesto, published in Lacerba, had wide circula-
:or ... and the spirals 01 the airplane and the dirigible." -> 22 tion. Alter the Second World War, the Communist philosopher
"he young architect Antonio Sant'Elia repeated Boccioni's Antonio Gramsci described Futurism, by then discredited
orcphetic rellections almost literally in his July 1914 mani- by its alliance with Fascism, as nothing more than a kind of
<esto "L'architettura luturista." A colounder with the critic Ugo "Fordist lanlare" based on the "exaltation 01 big cities." -> 24
ebbia, the artist Leonardo Dudreville, and the architect Yet the attention the Futurists drew to machines and to the
ario Chiattone 01 the Nuove Tendenze (New Tendencies) industrial milieu of modernization constituted a precedent
group, which had exhibited its work two months earlier at without which the most relined new architecture of the 1920s
the Famiglia Artistica gallery in Milan, Sant'Elia had previ- would not have emerged.
ously been inspired by the aesthetics 01 Otto Wagner. He had
also undertaken a series 01 theoretical projects lor monu-
ments and industrial structures like electric power plants. 99
Impressed by images 01 such American constructions as the
3rooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Station, and even more
by Harvey Wiley Corbett's "Future New York" - which was
reproduced in L'illustrazione italiana in 1913 - he imagined
cities designed like an "immense, tumultuous, agile, mobile
building site, dynamic in every part," and proclaimed: "Rools
must be exploited, basements utilized, the importance 01
facades diminished."

088 I 089
In search
of a language:
from Classicism
to Cubism

Some architects sought a source 01 renewal not in new tech- Anglo-American classicisms
nologies and responses to industrial production but rather in the
discipline 01 architecture itsell. Their prelerences ranged lrom nos- The center 01 gravity 01 monumental classicism had largely
talgia tor the classical to a radical rupture with all existing codes shifted trorn Paris to the United States by the end 01 the nine-
and torrns al representation, even those locused on the machine, teenth century. The scale 01 American commissions, whether
in order to return to the more abstract dimensions 01 designo Yet lunded by big business, the government, or philanthropists,
despite many attempts to overturn it, the architecture taught at the resulted in buildings - and architectural lirms - 01 unprecedenteo
École des Beaux-Arts in Paris remained the dominant paradigm size. For instance, the development 01 railroads and 01 alliances
tor the first two decades 01 the twentieth century. In tact, the École among rail companies led Daniel H. Burnham to build Union
was responsible ter the spread 01 a genuine "international style" Station in Washington, D.C., as a marble edilice that could be
years belore this term was coined. -> 1 Its dissemination was a visually identilied with the Capitol and the White House. In New
belated expression 01 French dominance in matters al taste, con- York, Whitney Warren and Charles Wetmore with Charles Reed
tinuing a pattern that had developed in the eighteenth century and and Allen Stern built Grand Central Station (1903-13). Based
was reinlorced by the school's location in a city that was still the on a spatial concept evoking the Roman baths, its giant con-
cultural capital 01 the world. -> 2 The growing number 01 loreign course was erected over a network 01 underground tracks while
students enrolling at the Beaux-Arts beginning in the last third al a neighborhood took shape on top 01 these sunken spaces. The
the nineteenth century, the international activities al major French Gare d'Orsay in Paris, built on an identical principie, was the
academics and prolessionals, and the emigration 01 Beaux-Arts work al Victor Laloux, the Beaux-Arts prolessor who, not coinci-
instructors also helped propagate the school's curriculum. dentally, was the mentor to most 01 the school's American stu-
The ongoing success 01 the Beaux-Arts method was due largely dents. Another monumental New York train station was designec
to its ability to integrate the lunctional requirements 01 moderni- by the lirm 01 Charles F. McKim, William R. Mead, and Stanlord
zation. The analytical approach taught in Julien-Azais Guadet's White: Pennsylvania Station (1905-10, demolished 1964), which
Éléments et théorie de I'architecture (Elements and Theory 01 leatured a waiting room inspired by Rome's Baths 01 Caracalla
Architecture; 1905), the school's principal design treatise, pre- and remarkable tor its powerlul exposed steel structure.
pared students to evaluate new types 01 buildings that were more McKim and White had previously worked with Henry Hobson
complex and less grandiloquent than the great palaces studied in Richardson. In tact, their lirst significant commission had been
pursuit 01 the Grand Prix de Rome, 100 with which the Beaux-Arts the Boston Public Library (1885-95), which stood across the
curriculum has toa often been associated. -> 3 The historicist ele- street frorn their mentor's Trinity Church. Between 1870 and
ments applied to nineteenth-century buildings slowly disappeared, 1919 their lirm constructed nearly a thousand buildings. They
while the principies 01 symmetry and hierarchy were adjusted to explored the principie 01 the Italian Renaissance palazzo in
new lunctional and symbolic requirements - sometimes with a a variety 01 New York buildings, including the University Club
great deal 01 imagination - until the late 1940s. (1900), a grandiose pile on Fifth Avenue, and the more delicate

Chapter 07 I In search of a language: from classicism lo Cubism


Grand Prix de Rome project at the École des Beaux-Arts, Charles Lemaresquier, Paris, France, 1900
102 Heathcote, Edwin Lutyens, Ikley, United Kingdom, 1906 103 Page from Um 1800 (Around 1800),
Paul Mebes, 1908

Morgan Library (1906). On an urban scale, they designed the with Paul Wallot on the Reichstag in Berlin, invented new forms
campus of Columbia University in upper Manhattan, an axial by using concrete in buildings such as the Garrison Church in
composition dominated by the dome of Low Memorial Library Ulm (1905-10). 107 Fischer taught Camillo Sitte's picturesque
(1895-7). 101 Following in the footsteps of several hundred urban precepts along with his own reflections on new build-
other architects, John M. Carrete and Thomas Hastings did their ing types, first in Stuttgart and later in Munich. Some archi-
professional apprenticeship in McKim, Mead and White's office, tects diverged from the prevailing fixation on antiquity and,
having previously studied in Paris. They went on to design even more often, the Renaissance, idealizing instead other
extravagant hotels and homes from Florida to the New York moments in the history of architecture. One of the books most
metropolitan area, as well as the New York Public Library widely used by German and Austrian designers prior to 1914
(1897-1911), an example of civic magnificence in the service was Um 1800 (Around 1800) 103 by the Berlin architect Paul
of delivering culture to the masses. Mebes . ..,5 In this popular collection of nostalgic images of
A classical resurgence was al so underway in England. eighteenth-century building types, Mebes celebrated the hon-
Beginning in 1904, Edwin Lutyens set about countering the esty and formal restraint found in Germany's rural and bour-
vanity of "villa-dom," launching what he referred to, with char- geois constructions at the turn of the previous century. He
acteristic humor, as a "Wrenaissance," a return to Christopher particularly emphasized the harmony between buildings and
Wren. But Lutyens's frame of reference extended beyond the their gardens, as well as the stylistic unity of architectural el e-
architect who had rebuilt Saint Paul's. A self-conscious refer- ments, decoration, and furniture.
ence to Andrea Palladio - "Palladio is the game," he wrote In some ways this vernacular and bourgeois traditionalism was
in 1903 ..,4 - was evident in his designs for houses such as an expression of the GroBstadtfeind/ichkeit (hostility toward
Heathcote (1906) 102 in IIkley, Yorkshire and Nashdom, the res- the big city) that took hold among the German intelligentsia
idence of Prince and Princess Alexis Dolgorouki in Taplow, distressed about the erosion of cultural values brought on by
Buckinghamshire (1904-9). Erected on a terraced site, the lat- urbanization and internationalization. This anxiety led to the
ter had two different facades - one in exposed stone, the other idealization of a carefully edited past. The tendency was exem-
in stuccoed brick - creating contrasts of rhythm and texture plified by Julius Langbehn's book Rembrandt a/s Erzieher
that extended the sense of counterpoint he had previously dis- (Rembrandt as Educator; 1890), which the author published
played, but now within less of a classical straitjacket. anonymously. Its purpose was to denounce the problems
affecting modern Germany and proclaim art the only possi-
German nostalgia ble force for resistance and renewal. The Dürerbund (Dürer
Association), organized by the publisher and critic Ferdinand
There was no shortage of proponents of classicism in Avenarius (1902), and the Bund deutscher Heimatschutz
Germany, though some slowly freed themselves from its ten- (Society for the Preservation of the German Homeland),
ets. The Munich architect Theodor Fischer, who had worked founded in 1904 by the teacher Ernst Rudorff, became the

Chapter 07 I In search of a language: from classicism to Cubism


/

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"'- ._ ..•.... _ .._ ..". _ .. //// IDAS
EIN BLATT ZUR EINFUEHRUNG
W1ANñERE I
ABENDLAENDISCHER KULTUR
IN OESTERREICH: GESCHRIEBEN
VON ADOLF LOOS 1. JAHR

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GOBELINS
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FRANZOSISCHE TEPPICHE

.$ STICKEREIEN
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WIEN, L Kmúnuslrassc 55, J. SIodt

WIEN, l. GRABEN '0. Société Franco,..Autrichienne


105 Drawing Irom Hausbau und Dergleichen (House
Building and the Like), Heinrich Tessenow, 1916
106 Cover 01 Das Andere (The Other),
Adoll Loos, 1903

:: incipal mediators between these ideas and architecture. Rhythmic Gymnastics (1910-12), 104 which was built tor the
- e Bund fought not only for the preservation of endangered Swiss musician Émile Jacques-Dalcroze and the reformer
z: dscapes, but al so for farms that were altogether mod- Wolf Dohrn. Here, Tessenow successfully melded the arche-
='Tl yet infarmed by tradition. It worked far the conservation of types of the classical temple and the bourgeois house. Thanks
onuments as well as of rural structures, plant and animal life, to his poetic pen-and-ink drawings, Tessenow's architectural
a: d traditional practices, customs, holidays, and dress. language became widely accessible in books such as Der
- e architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg - a frequent contri bu- Wohnungsbau (Building Houses; 1909) and Hausbau und
r to Der Kunstwart, a journal founded by Ferdinand Avenarius dergleichen (House Building and the Like; 1916). -> 7 105

1887 - was the most effective propagandist for the princi-


es of Heimatschutz. After the success of his book Hausliche Loos and the lure of "Western culture"
unstptlege (Domestic Artistic Care; 1898), in which he argued
. r a refined and traditionalist culture of domestic architecture, Adolf Loos was another architect focused on the early archi-
- e nine volumes of his Kulturarbeiten (Culture Works), pub- tecture of the nineteenth century, particularly on the Viennese
shed from 1901 to 1917, presented a binary vision of German buildings of Joseph Kornháusel. Praising American technical
ousing, urban landscapes, and gardens, opposing "examples" objects he had discovered on a three-year stay in the United
and "counterexamples." This editorial device, which the radical States, and combating both the outdated approaches of his
oderns would later put to good use, butlressed his argument contemporaries and the arbitrary aestheticism of the Secession,
for a thoughtful replication of small, preindustrial cities, which he Loos set about introducing "Western culture," especially its
considered the only legitimate answer to the question of rnet- clothing and plumbing, into Vienna. As publisher and author of
-opoütan expansion. It is telling that Schultze-Naumburg was the ephemeral broadsheet Das Andere (The Other; 1903), 106
among the many members of the Bund deutscher Heimatschutz he wrote essays in the spirit of the satirist Karl Kraus. Das Andere
ho went on to found the Deutscher Werkbund: in his eyes and offered a radical critique of the Potemkin city erected around
ose of his colleagues, there was no contradiction between Vienna's RingstraBe in the 1860s, which Loos considered a
he fight for good industrial farm and ataste for harmony. -> 6 monumental lie, and bitingly atlacked the fashionable styles
The most elegant yet rigorous reading of the traditional German of Joseph Maria Olbrich and Henry van de Velde.
architecture produced during the period "around 1800" was Despite the title of his famous lecture "Ornament and Crime"
provided by Heinrich Tessenow. In the garden city of Hellerau, (delivered in 1908, but first published in 1913 in Paris), -> 8 Loos
which was closely associated with the Werkbund, he built sev- was not categorically opposed to decoration. On the contrary,
eral sets of houses that achieved an ideal of functionality and he espoused an appropriate, judicious use of ornament in which
simplicity through a geometric and abstract rendition of tradi- each material was used for what it was, without pretense. In an
ional house types. He also provided Hellerau with its earlier article, "Das Prinzip der Bekleidung" (The Principie of
culminating achievement and central edifice, the School for Cladding; 1898), he used metaphors barrowed from fashion to

092 I 093
107 Garrison Church, Theodor
Fischer, Ulm, Germany, 1905-10

094 I 095
't . .(. ti. .'

108 Goldmann and Salatsch Department Store, Adolf Loos, Vienna, Austria, 1909-11

Chapter 07 I In search 01 a language: lrom classicism to Cubism


109 Kárntner Bar, Adolf Loos, Vienna, Austria, 1907 110 Steiner House, Adolf Loos, Vienna, Austria, 1910

ciscuss architecture, and in "Damenmode" (Ladies' Fashion; Everything else, everything which serves a purpose, should be
-898), asserting that women were less attractive when they excluded Irom the realm 01 art." -> 10

rete naked, he praised the anonymous qualities of English Many of Loos's houses, which often consist 01 cubic volumes
~shion, the ideal of which was to make the wearer totally invis- with white surfaces and understated openings, appear to have
Die in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. -> 9 been inspired by houses in London. They were embodiments 01
--DOS'S attachment to certain classical themes was clear in his the argument in his essay "Heimatkunst" (Homeland Art; 1914):
-1Seof Doric columns at the entry of the Villa Karma in Montreux, "The building should be dumb on the outside and reveal its
witzerland (1903-6), and the Goldmann and Salatsch wealth only on the inside." -> 11 The exterior, in otherwords,
Jepartment Store (1909-11) 108 on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna. was meant to belong to society and the interior to the individual.
The latter building provoked a scandal because of the bareness Differentiating the height of rooms according to their function and
of its lacade on the upper levels, a quality all the more striking creating complex interpenetrations of levels and split-Ievels, Loos
since it was located across Irom the entrance to the Imperial invented the Raumplan, or spatial plan, which revolutionized the
=>alaceand Saint Michael's Church. Soon nicknamed the conventional vertical superimposition of floors. In the Steiner
"Looshaus," the building has a lacade that is divided into three House (1910) 110 in Vienna, local regulations limited Loos to only
bands beneath its cornice line: the upper stories, containing a single story on the street, so he developed the house toward
apartments, are based on a principie of sobriety and anonyrn- the garden, deeming its centrifugal aspect "Japanese." Also
i1y; the two lower levels, easily visible to passersby, are clad in Vienna, his house lor Dr. Gustav Scheu (1911-13) seemed to
in green marble. The Doric columns, also in green marble, do conlirm the analysis 01 his work by another Viennese artist, the
not actually bear the weight of the lacade. This differentiation composer Arnold Schonberq, who saw it as "a non-cornpos-
on the lacade echoes Louis Sullivan's similar treatment at the ite, immediate, three-dimensional conception," in which "every-
Carson, Pirie & Scott Department Store, and it also continues thing is thought out, imagined, composed and molded in space
an architectural dialogue with Gottlried Semper. without any expedient, without auxiliary plans, without interrup-
Loos's work consisted primarily of fitting out residential and tions and breaks; directly, as if all the structures were transpar-
commercial interiors. The Karntner Bar (1907) 109 in Vienna ent; as if the eye 01 the spirit were conlronted by space in all its
s a boxlike space just 7 meters deep, 3.5 meters tall, and parts and as a totality simultaneously." -> 12

_5 wide (23 by 11 by 11 leet). Loos combined Skyros marble,


~ yx, and wood with mirrors intended to enlarge the sense 01 the Berlage and the question of proportions
space; the effect was also meant to intensily customers' sense 01
.snsion and disorientation. Loos became involved in designing Trained at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute, the Dutch archi-
lOuses. Yet he did not consider the house to qualily as "art." tect Hendrik Petrus Berlage was a reader 01 Viollet-Ie-Duc
11 his essay "Architektur" (1910), he wrote: "Only a very small and Semper, in whom he found the basis for a practical aes-
oart of architecture belongs to art: the tomb and the monument. thetic: the only aesthetic capable 01 yielding style as such,

096 I 097
111 Stock Exchange, Hendrik Petrus Berlage, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1896-1903, elevation

112 Stock Exchange, Hendrik Petrus Berlage, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1896-1903, interior

Chapter 07 I In search of a language: from classicism to Cubism


113 Sint Hubertus Hunting Lodge, Hendrik Petrus Berlage and Bart Van der Leck,
Hoenderloo, Netherlands, 1914-19

in opposition to the many styles of the past, In this, Berlage the principal facade on the Damrak, the eastern facade is more
was quite close to such French architects as Frantz Jourdain. sedate and respects the scale of the neighboring blocks. The
Visiting North America fifteen years after Loos, he returned to principal room is the commodity exchange, which features a
Europe full of enthusiasm for Louis Sullivan's and Frank L10yd large steel structural frame. The grain exchange is topped by
Wright's buildings. Like his Viennese contemporary Loos, he horizontal beams, while the stock exchange, at the rear of the
rejected the ephemerality of fashion, borrowing an aphorism building, has lighter trusses. The difference in the spatial quali-
from Thomas Sheraton's 1794 Cabinet Maker: "Time alters ties of these three rooms expressed Berlage's belief that archi-
fashion ... but what is founded on geometry and real science tecture "resides in the creation of spaces, not in the design of
will remain unalterable." -> 13 facades." -> 15 The rooms were enclosed by walls whose solid-
After constructing his first buildings in a Neo-Renaissance vein, ity was punctuated by the indispensable structural bracing ele-
Berlage began to explore systems of proportions in the Henny ments of brackets, keystones, and lintels.
House in The Hague (1898) - in this case, square propor- The principal quality of the Stock Exchange is its serenity.
tions. His major project at this date, his third project overall, was Berlage said that he aimed to achieve an effect of "repose,"
the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, 111,112 designed with a Neo- by which he meant both serenity and rest: "In the smaller works
Gothic plan in 1885 and built in 1896-1903. This enormous of the ancients [there) is a charming repose. In contrast, our
143-by-55-meter (469-by-180-foot) edifice was based entirely present-day architecture gives a very restless impression.
on a modular grid and the "Egyptian triangle" system of propor- I would almost say that the two words 'style' and 'repose' are
tions, with a height-to-base ratio of eight to five. He drew on the synonymous; that repose is the same as style and style the same
research of his compatriots Jan H. de Groot, J. L. M. Lauweriks, as repose." -> 16 The Italian architect Aldo Rossi stressed that
and K. P. C. de Bazel, who had developed this system three the Stock Exchange "does not seem to have the typical appear-
dimensionally in competition proposals that Berlage had the ance of the cathedral of capital, of the temple of cash, which its
opportunity to study. He asserted: "1 have become convinced name calls to mind," and that strangely, in its mysterious rich-
that geometry, the mathematical science, is not only of great ness, it "seems instead like a market, a store, a gymnasium;
usefulness in the creation of artistic form but is also an absolute it is devoid of the glorification of bourgeois wealth." -> 17 The
necessity." He hazarded a comparison: "Why should architec- building had considerable impact throughout Europe, notably
ture - the art most frequently compared to music - something on the young Berlin architect Ludwig Mies, who was in com-
that led Schlegel to the well-known expression 'frozen music' petition with Berlage for the commission for the Krbller-Müller
- be composed without rhythmic, that is to say, geometrical House. Though the Dutch architect failed to realize that project,
laws?" -> 14 In keeping with the rationalist credo that the plan he would design others for this rich family from The Hague: the
should determine the elevation, the silhouelte and especially Sint Hubertus Hunting Lodge (1914-19) 113 in Hoenderloo and
the fenestration paltern of the Stock Exchange reveal the build- the Holland House in London (1914). In the latter he most ciearly
ing's interior organization. While there is a rhythmic quality to put his observations of Sullivan's work to use.

098 I 099
114 "Cubist House" at the Salon d'Automne, Raymond Duchamp-Villon,
Paris, France, 1912

Cubism and cubistics the Auguste Rodin exhibition in 1902 - a prime example of
Prague's focus on Paris. As a student of Wagner, Kotéra favored
Certain opponents to the idea of renewing architecture by means linear patterns, as in his designs for the Urbánek Buildinq in
of its own linguistic codes turned in the direction of new art Prague (1911-13) and the house of the music publisher Jan
movements likeCubism, which for a time seemed to promise Laichter (1908-9). He displayed a more dynamic concep-
the geometric rationality sought by Berlage and others. Initial tion of space in the Hradec Králové Museum (1909-12). His
attempts at incorporating the devices of early Cubist paint- colleague Pavel Janák found a different precedent for Czech
ing into architecture were rather ineffective, though. In 1912, Cubism in the sculptural forms of the Bohemian Baroque,
the sculptor Raymond Duchamp-Villon exhibited the facade which he updated in his work. In 1910 Janák criticized Wagner:
and ground floor of a rather strange "Cubist House" 114 at the "It is possible to predict the future direction of architecture: cre-
Salon d'Automne in Paris. Its floor plan was conventional and ation. Artistic thinking and abstraction will predominate over
its Cubist touches mostly ornamental. -7 18 Yet Duchamp-Villon practicality, which will recede, and the pursuit of plastic form,
had major ambitions, if a 1916 letter is any evidence: "We must of the plastic realization of architectural concepts, will come
establish a new decor of architecture, not only in the character- to the fore." -720 Janák proposed a complete program for the
istic lines of our times, which would be but a transposition of renewal of architecture and particularly of the facade, pro-
these lines and forms in other materials, and which is an error. pounding the idea that a building should look like the result of a
Rather, we must penetrate the relation of these objects among process of crystallization.
themselves, in order to interpret, in lines, planes, and synthetic Groups in Prague such as the Association of Visual Artists and
volumes, which are balanced, in their place, in rhythms analo- the Mánes Society carried on heated architectural debates over
gous to those of the life surrounding us." -719 His ensemble at this idea. Janák's ideas were realized by Josef Goéár, notably
the Salon, undertaken on the initiative of the painter André Mare, in his orthogonal glass facade for the Wenke Depattment Store
essentially remained a showcase for his own work and that of in .larornéf (1909-10) and the House ofthe Black Madonna in
his brother, Marcel Duchamp, as well as of his friends Roger Prague (1912), 115 whose facade combines the dark solids of
de La Fresnaye, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, its structural members with the crystalline prisms of its win-
and Marie Laurencin. Cubism here was used not to challenge dows. The house introduced into Prague's old city the idea that
the spatiality of the living room or bedroom, but to create cor- a break with the existing codes of eclecticism and the Czech
nices and pediments whose polygonal shapes were essentially Sezession could lead to a unified aesthetic capable of rivaling
just an ornamental theme. the Gothic or the Bohemian Baroque. Goóár's approach was
The most fruitful encounter between architecture and Cubism radicalized by Josef Chochol with a house in thePrague district
took place in Prague. At the time, Czech architectural cul- of vvsehrad (1911-12) 116 and a building on Neklanova Street
ture was dominated by atto Wagner, whose message was in the same city (1913). Both were angular structures in which
propagated by Jan Kotéra, the designer of a pavilion built for the building's entire volume contributed to highly contrasting

Chapter 07 I In search of a language: from classicism to Cubism


115 House of the Black Madonna, Josef Gocár, 116 House in Vysehrad, Josef Chochol, Prague, Bohemia (Czech Republic),
Prague, Bohemia (Czech Republic), 1912 1911-12

prismatic effects. Chochol displayed almost Futurist leanings


in his declarations regarding an architecture of connections
with daily life: "We first and always demand and need the fresh
excitement of new artistic intensities, springing from the tumul-
tuous and glowing mass of contemporary life." -> 21

In 1930 the functionalist critic Karel Teige denounced "the


basic, almost absurd misunderstanding of the fundamental and
specific postulates of architecture" -> 22 exemplified by these
Czech buildings. Nonetheless, they constituted an original and
intense effort to replace classical certainties with the search for
a new code, using Cubism as a formula in a paradoxical effort
to distinguish the individual work.

100 I 101
The
GreatWar
and its
side effects

Instead of disrupting the pattern of transformation in which whose watercolors depicted the operations of their own
architecture was engaged worldwide, the first industrial war French team of camoufleurs. -> 4

in history had the opposite effect: by accelerating moderniza- The second, more indirect mobilization was that of architec-
tion, World War I revealed and challenged the nationalist lean- ture itself, which was called upon to give shape to construc-
ings that had characterized the emerging architectural cultures. tion programs for a war that had quickly become "total." Though
Some reformers of the prewar era had indeed expressed a the design of fortifications, which spread across unprecedented
certain admiration for aesthetic aspects of the technology of expanses of territory, remained essentially a military task, pro-
war. Members of the Deutscher Werkbund, whose buildings grams related to aerial forces, the war's great novelty, were
in Cologne were promptly converted into barracks in 1914, sometimes conceived by architects or civil engineers. Auguste
were attracted to the extraordinary rationality of German impe- Perret designed concrete and steel airplane hangars and shelters
rial navy vessels. -> 1 The Italian Futurists, for their part, hoped for dirigibles, while Euqene Freyssinet built airship hangars in
Italy would enter the war on the side of the Allies. As early as Avord and Istres in 1916 and 1917. Continuing on from his war
his 1909 manifesto Marinetti had declared, "We will glorify war work after peace came, Freyssinet built gigantic parabolic dirig-
- the only true hygiene of the world - militarism, patriotism, ible hangars at Orly Airfield (1921-3, bombed 1944). 119 These
the destructive gesture of anarchists, the beautiful ideas which 300-meter-long and 50-meter-high (985-foot by 364-foot) vaults
kill." -> 2 Several members 01 the movement joined the Lombard were made rigid by the wavelike configuration of their arches,
Battalion of Volunteer Cyclists and Automobilists. They would which were built from precast components.
paya heavy price in the war: Umberto Boccioni died in 1916 The third mobilization was even more diffuse: it had to do with
after falling off a horse, and Antonio Sant'Elia was killed the the industrial nature of a total war, in which human and material
same year by a bullet to the head. resources are deployed under the direction of state organizations
run by industrialists - men like Walther Rathenau in Germany and
A triple mobilization socialists like Albert Thomas in France. Throughout Europe and
the United States, the creation of major munitions and aviation
At first, architects were mobilized only for battle. The time they factories and shipyards necessitated the hasty construction of
spent in the trenches would be the determining experience for housing developments to shelter thegrowing workforce. Archi-
a generation of young European architects, shaping their view tects took advantage of such projects to continue their pre-war
of the world for decades to come. -> 3 On the Russian front, research. Paul Schmitthenner's Staaken Garden City (1914-18) 117

Erich Mendelsohn filled his sketchbooks 118 with visions of near the munitions factor y in Spandau, west of Berlin, realized
an architecture that would express the dynamism of industry. the village ideal of Heimatschutz by using the architectural lan-
Architects and painters on the front lines were enlisted in the guage of the eighteenth-century Dutch quarter in Potsdam.
earliest efforts to create camouflage. Among those invotved in Schmitthenner organized the houses according to five given types
this effort were Franz Marc, Fernand Léger, and André Mare, and standardized elements like doors and windows. -> 5

Chapter 08 I The Great War and its side effects


-
118 Industrial Building, from a sketchbook, Erich Mendelsohn, 1917

119 ~ Dirigible Hangars, Eugéne Freyssinet, Orly, France, 1921-3, demolished

117 Garden City, Paul Schmitthenner, Staaken, Germany, 1914-18

The spread of Taylorism concept after 1918 by politicians and economists, and its
metaphorical use byarchitects.
In all the warring nations, production was transformed by
new concepts related to the scientific organization of labor. Commemoration and reconstruction
Conceived in the United States by the engineer Frederick
Winslow Taylor and described in his Principies of Scientific The first effect of the war, even before it was over, was an unprec-
Management (1911), -> 6 these concepts were known in Europe edented increase in the number and size of military cemeteries.
even before the war, At the time, socialist critics had denounced Groups such as the Deutscher Werkbund set to work designing
the "organization of overwork." But the war-driven need to them, playing a role in shaping a genuine cult of the warrior. -> 9

make do with a reduced workforce and to incorporate women In Great Britain, the Imperial War Graves Commission, founded
into industrial production led to the introduction of a rigid hier- in 1917 by Fabian Ware, developed burial places in France and
archy orrnanaqernent in"fhe factory and to strict control over Belgium for the bodies of soldiers left on the battlefield. To assist
workers' movements. -> 7 Manufactured products, particularly him, Ware hired the writer Rudyard Kipling and the architects
munitions, had to meet new standards of quality, reliability, con- Reginald Blomfield and Edwin Lutyens. They designed many
sistency, and compatibility. Standardization, which had been commemorative projects, including the cemetery of Étaples,
initiated during the American Civil War, became a general overlooking the English Channel near Le Touquet (1918-20),
requirement and soon permeated architecture. In Germany and the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme
the engineer Heinrich Schaechterle, head of the Kbnigliche (1927-32) 120 - a giant brick and stone arch that is supported by
Fabrikationsbüro (Royal Manufacturing Office), known as Fabo, several similar arches and suggests a type of classical abstrae-
prompted the founding of the Deutsche Industrie-Normen, or tion. -> 10 In contrast to these serene memorial landscapes, the
DIN (German Industrial Norms), which eventually regulated ossuary built in Douaumont by Léon Azéma to commemorate the
the entirety of production. The Americans also intensified their bloody battle of Verdun (1920-32),122 featuring a long concrete
efforts to make manufacturing processes as rational as possi- vault, resembles a military structure grafted onto a neo-Roman-
ble. After the war, French architects studied their approach in esque steeple. There was no shortage of references to the archi-
order to make reconstruction more efficient. -> 8 tectural past in memorials such as Tannenberg (1924-7) 121 in
The degree of organization needed to conduct a war that Hohenstein, Eastern Prussia; its series of towers arranged in a
mobilized millions of combatants and even more workers led circle, built by Johannes and Walter Krüger, evoke the Castel
to the widespread dissemination of the concept of "planning." del Monte built by the Hohenstaufens in Apulia. One excep-
The conduct of military operations and the organization of tion to this nostalgic approach was the Monumento ai Caduti
industrial production required a continuous effort to prepare (Monument to the Fallen; 1932-3) in Como, built by Giuseppe
the transformation of the territory. Wartime propaganda pro- Terragni, which took an aerodynamic form basedon a Futurist
moting planning led to the nearly universal adoption of this sketch made by Sant'Elia twenty years earlier.

102 I 103
121 Tannenberg Memorial, Johannes Krüger and Walter Krüger, Hohenstein,
Germany, 1924-7, destroyed

120 Memorial to the Missing 01 the Somme, Edwin Lutyens, Thiepval, 122 Douaumont Ossuary, Léon Azéma, Fleury-devant-Douaumont,
France, 1927-32 France, 1920-32

Even cities lar Irom the lront lines lelt the weight 01 a war that inhabitants' desire far recognizable torrns was certainly a com-
turned them into arsenals and impoverished them. -> 11 The mon concern among the rebuilders, it led them to propase
reconstruction 01 destroyed urban areas soon became a high- interpretations that were lar from literal. These were occasiorially
stakes enterprise. Urban planners and architects rallied to rebuild combined with authentic technological revolutions in construc-
even belore the hostilities had come to an end, sometimes work- tion. Notwithstanding the fact that iconoclastic systems such as
ing in an international context. In France the American reliel Le Corbusier's Dom-ino project had little success, the immedi-
elfart was not just military and economic. Beginning in 1917, the ate postwar period saw the triumph of reinforced concrete in
American urban planner Gearge Burdett Ford assisted the as so- northeast France, particularly for industrial structures and civil-
ciation La Renaissance des Cités (The Renascence of the Cities) ian buildings. At the same time, certain impressive structural
in the reconstruction of Rheims, 123 a city considered "martyred" leats, such as the rebuilding 01 the concrete frame 01 Rheims
since the German shelling of its cathedral in 1914. Ford's zoning- Cathedral by Henri Deneux (1924-6), had to be clad in stone to
based plan lar that city would be the first reconstruction plan preserve an idealized vision of "reconstitution." This was cer-
approved in France after the war. -> 12 While the most advanced tainly al so the case with the Grand'Place in Arras, which was
French and Belgian urban planners were involved in projects lar re-created from scratch. 125

re-creating destroyed cities, their realizations were lar more con- A careful look at complexes such as the garden cities 01
servative. In many cases they represented the triumph 01 region- Rheims and the railroad towns 01 Lille-Délivrance, Douai, and
alist ideals. The sale reconstruction effort in Germany - where Tergniers, built for the Compagnie du Nord under the direction
innovative architects were careful to adhere to the principies of of the engineer Raoul Dautry, reveals that regionalism worked
Heimatschutz - was in western Prussia. The showcase of this hand in hand with standardization and rationalization.
reconstruction was the city 01 Goldap, rebuilt by Fritz Schophol In addition to these projects in areas affected by combat,
in 1919-21. -> 13 Prussian urban centers seemed to lollow to postwar programs included housing for veterans, who soon
the letter the traditionalist recommendations of Paul Mebes and became a considerable lorce on the European political scene.
Paul Schultze-Naumburg, which were codified in the work 01the In German cities, housing developments for veterans figured
architect Friedrich Ostendarf. -> 14 into urban expansion plans. In Great Britain, the government's
On the other side of the front, lollowing the exhibition La Cité interventions during the war years in the sphere of social policy
Reconstituée (The Reconstituted City) 124 in 1917 - in which continued with the British Housing Act of 1919, which had the
studies 01 village buildings in the regions ruined by the war specific goal of providing "homes fit far heroes to live in." -> 16

were exhibited alongside Tony Garnier's Cité Industrielle -


the torrns 01 traditional rural architecture were widely used Postwar recomposition
as a basis for reconstructing urban areas. -> 15 But to see
these rebuilt structures as no more than an expression of con- Though the damage caused by World War I was unprecedented,
servative taste would be an oversimplification. Though the the consequences of war went lar beyond mere destruction.

Chapter 08 I The Great War and its side effects


123 Plan lor the reconstruction 01 Rheims, George Burdett Ford, Rheims, 124 Farm buildings shown at the La Cité Reconstituée exhibition, Epieds,
France, 1917 France, 1917

The new political geography that took shape had a direct New architects between science
impact on urban planning and architecture, beginning with and propaganda
the intense exchanges that developed among the defeated
nations and lasted until the early 1930s. The relationships After being "under fire" and experiencing the "storm of steel"
between Weimar Germany and the Soviet Union and between - to borrow the titles of firsthand accounts of the front lines by
Germany and Turkey were as significant as the initial inroads Henri Barbusse (1916) and Ernst Jünger (1920) ~ 17 - the ris-
of Americanization in Germany. During this same period, ing generation was faced with contradictory aspirations. The
forced migrations, such as that of one million Greeks evicted aspiration to a classical "return to order," as announced in Jean
from Turkey, had drastic effects on cities, quadrupling the Cocteau's pamphlet Le coq et /'arlequín (Cock and Harlequin;
population of Athens in just a few years. After the collapse 1918), reflected an anxiety stemming from the loss of cultural
of the German and Austrian empires, Czarist Russia and the reference points. This anxiety was the basis of Oswald Spengler's
Ottoman Empire gave way to new nationalist divisions and reactionary diatribe Oer Untergang des Abendlandes (The
emerging nation-states such as Czechoslovakia, Finland, Decline of the West; 1917-22), which became compulsory
and Turkey, which used architecture to affirm their identities. reading for many architects. ~ 18 For many intellectuals and
Territories placed under French and British mandates in the architects such disquietude coexisted with the desire for an
Middle East - Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq - were transformed by uncompromised modernity, to be achieved through a radical
modern plans and construction. break with the outdated world that had led to the war. Faith in
As nations dissolved and re-formed, professional organiza- the potential of science to enable humanity to transcend con-
tions were al so transformed and relocated according to new flict led to the notion of experimental, scientific, or "Iaboratory"
political borders. They were run by men who had been pro- architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. In this work the authority
foundly changed by war, and in some cases even displaced. accorded to the natural sciences was evident.
The emigration of thousands of Russian architects and engi- During the decade between the armistice of 1918 and the stock
neers as a consequence of the Bolshevik Revolution recon- market crash of 1929, a postwar economy boosted by the spread
figured professional circles in parts of Europe, while other of Fordism seemed to promise both affordable, durable con-
groups were faced with forced relocation. Above all, their sumer goods and high wages. The rise of newly founded
experience on the front lines made young architects eager to organizations like the League of Nations and the International
contribute to building a different society. Shortly after returning Labour Organization promised to ensure a peaceful world. The
to civilian life, architects in Germany and Russia established development of the illustrated press, the motion picture indus-
utopian work collectives and devoted themselves to translating try, and the grand spectacles of the world's fairs provided fertile
the need for social change into new experimental forms. ground for the activities of the professional elites. Like political
groups - but also in imitation of the strategies of public relations
and advertising firms, whose growth accompanied the spread

Chapter 08 I The Great War and its side effects


125 Grand'Place, Arras, France, rebuilt 1919-34 126 Portrait 01 an Architect, Wilhelm 127 The Architect, Maria Sironi, 1922
Schnarrenberger, 1923

01 Fordism and consumerism - architects succumbed to the


seduction 01 using slogans to sum up their working methods
and, more often, their aesthetic positions. -> 19

Le Corbusier thus identilied his "Cinq points d'une architecture


moderne" (Five Points 01 a Modern Architecture; 1927), while
Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson enumerated the
"three principies" 01 the International Style (1932). In Athens the
Conqres internationaux d'architecture moderne (International
Congresses 01 Modern Architecture), or CIAM, boiled down
urban planning to "Iour lunctions" (1933). The predilection lor
such quantiliable lormulations and the prolileration 01 archi-
tectural periodicals revealed to what extent architecture had
become a mass medium in its own right, particularly now that
photographic reproduction had become easier to achieve and
disseminate. -> 20

Architects became the heroes 01 modern times in paintings by


Wilhelm Schnarrenberger 126 and Mario Sironi. 127 The strug-
gles and passions 01 the interwar architect later inspired Ayn
Rand's 1943 novel The Fountainhead, whose protagonist was
played by Gary Cooper in King Vidor's lilm adaptation. In 1924
the Dada artist Hans Richter described the "new architect" as
operating in an "internationally organized" space. According to
Richter he had to possess both a "new sensuousness" and the
ability to respond to a society that was "more practical and less
sentimental" in a world 01 "rapid mobility" and "precise calcu-
lations." -> 21 The architect attuned to his era soon became, as
the Russian Constructivist architect Moisei Ginzburg noted two
years later with respect to Le Corbusier, "the very ligure 01 the
new man, lull 01 energy and perseverance in the propaganda
which he deploys in delense 01 his ideas." -> 22

108 I 109
Expressionism
in Weimar
Germanyand
the Netherlands

No nation was more deeply affected by the trauma of World War I - and a majority of artists - including Georg Kolbe, Ludwig
than Germany. The caste-bound society of the Hohenzollern Meidner, Max Pechstein, and Karl Schmitt-Rottluff - the for-
Empire was replaced by the democratic Weimar Republic and mer were clearly in control. In its "Architektur-Program," the
its highly decentralized political structure. Architectural poli- Arbeitsrat put forward the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk -
cies began to be shaped principally by municipal adminis- total work of art - "under the wing of a great architecture."
trations, though some national organizations contributed to Written by Bruno Taut, this programmatic statement featured
financing them. After the assassination of the leftist leaders slogans such as "Art and people must form a unity" and "Art
Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in 1919 and the repres- shall no longer be the enjoyment of the few but the life and
sion of the Spartacist League, their revolutionary party, the new happiness of the masses." .., 1
Social Democratic-dominated government abandoned any The Arbeitsrat program laid out the new republic's strategies
serious or radicalattempt to transform the modes of produc- by insisting on the "public character of all building activity,"
tion. This left on the agenda only the utopia of a progressive the "unitary supervision of whole urban districts, streets, and
"socialization," notably in the field of construction, where the residential estates," and the creation of "permanent experi-
model of the Bauhütte - or medieval guild - proved seductive. mental sites for testing and perfecting new architectural
For a few years the unions considered having the Bauhütten effects." It demanded the dissolution of all academies and
participate directly in the reconstruction of the war-damaged of all monuments, including war memorials, that required an
north of France as part of reparations. These political and eco- excessive quantity of materials, as well as the creation of a
nomic strateqiestound a cultural and architectural response in "national center to ensure the fostering of the arts within the
Expressionism, an aesthetic orientation born in poetry and in framework of future law-making." ..,2
painting, which favored dynamic forms that embodied the psy- In April 1919 members of the Arbeitsrat organized the Auss-
chological torment of wartime Germany. tellung für unbekannte Architekten (Exhibition for Unknown
Architects). In the catalog Gropius wrote that archltecture
The Arbeitsrat für Kunst was "the crystalline expression of man's noblest thoughts,
his ardor, his humanity, his faith, his religion! ... There are no
Following the empire's collapse, demobilized architects architects today, we are all of us merely preparing the way for
organized events intended to reveal new conceptions of him who will once again deserve the name of architect, for
architectural space. In late 1918, with a growing number of that means, lord of art, who will build gardens out of deserts
workers' and soldiers' councils being organized, the Arbeitsrat and pile up wonders to the sky. [italics in original]" ..,3 Taut
für Kunst (Work Council for the Arts) was established in Berlin affirmed in the same leaflet that the desire for the future was
under the direction of Walter Gropius, Cesar Klein, and Adolf architecture in the making: "One day there will be a Weltan-
Behne. Though the council was composed of a minority of schauung [world-view], and then there will al so be its sign, its
architects - including Otto Bartning, and Bruno and Max Taut crystal - architecture." ..,4

Chapter 09 I Expressionism in Weimar Germany and the Netherlands


,.

.
' ...
.,., ..
.¡¡,....•.

:
...•;\.:.

.'

~~t~
.....•
hS•..··
4T¡~h~

129 IIlustration from Architekturentwürfe (Architectural Projects), Hermann


Finsterlin, 1919-20
128 Illustration from Die Auflósung der Stiidte, oder
die Erde eine gute Wohnung (The Dissolution of Cities,
130 ~ Plate from Alpine Architektur (Alpine Architecture), Bruno Taut, 1919
or the Earth as a Good Dwelling), Bruno Taut, 1920

_ h a crystalline architecture had been prophesied by adopting as his own the anti-urban arguments 01 Piotr Kropotkin
-",ul 8cheerbart, to whom the Arbeitsrat's manilesto Ruf zum and other anarchist and socialist theorists. Taut also lounded
=-a.uen (Call to Build; 1920) was dedicated. In 1919 Taut pub- the periodical Frühlicht (Dawn) and from 1921 to 1923 devoted

~
shed his book Die Stadtkrone (The City Crown), 131 an urban
ion lull 01 relerences to pagodas and temples, pro pos-
to place at the center 01 the luture city a soaring tower that
his services to the city 01 Magdeburg
the social program prescribed
Sorne 01 the participants
in an effort to bring about
by the Arbeitsral.
in the Gláserne Kette exchanges pru-
II
}

uld embody its spiritual aspirations. The stunning plates


-" his Alpine Architektur, 130 published the same year, pro-
dently avoided putting their words into action on the build-
ing site. This was the case with Hablik and with Hermann
I
ed the most systematic expression 01the new architecture Finsterlin, whose projects, despite their apparently realistic
- which the Arbeitsrat aspired, while expressing the ideal 01 programs, were mainly situated in an imaginary world. Hablik's
::;otherhood among the peoples 01 Europe. Indeed, his depic- Ausstellungsbauten (Exhibition Constructions; 1921) consisted
;;ons of the multicolored glass cupolas 01 this architecture of pyramidal superimpositions 01 prisms, while Finsterlin's
suspended above the Alps seemed a response to the paci- Architekturentwürfe (Architectural Projects; 1919-20) 129
;; t texts by the French writer Romain Rolland and an anticipa- were unmistakably zoomorphic, evoking snails, seashells,
n 01 his German compatriot Thomas Mann's 1924 novel Der and sea urchins.
zauberberg (The Magic Mountain). The origins of these images
'8 both in 8cheerbart's writings and in the plates published Dynamism in architecture
y Ernst Haeckel in his Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in
ature) and Kristallseelen (Crystal Souls) ...• 5 The fluid and indeed elusive Expressionist movement in
=rom late 1919 to late 1920, in another exaltation 01 crystal- architecture that was embodied in these projects shared with
ine transparency, the utopian correspondence known as the contemporary pictorial experiments a world of fractured but
Gléseme Kette (Glass chain) brought together the Taut broth- dynamic lorms. It also attracted older architects like Peter
ers, Wenzel Hablik, Hans and Wassili Luckhardt, and Hans Behrens, who designed several new structures that trans-
Scharoun. The pseudonyms adopted by the authors 01 this lormed his lormer architectural language ...• 6 His headquar-
series of chain letters - among them Anlang (beginning), Mass, ters for Hbchst in Franklurt am Main (1920-4) was a more
Stellarius, Prometh, and Angkor - allude to the reconciliation Iyrical version 01 his classic prewar buildings. By rellecting
01 man and the cosmos, an aspiration typical 01 the immediate the vertical light coming through glass rools onto multicolored
postwar periodo Bruno Taut rounded out this series 01 utopian enameled-brick walls, he created one 01 the most striking
pronouncements with Die Auflosung der Steote, oder die Erde interiors associated with Expressionism.
eine gute Wohnung (The Dissolution of Cities, or the Earth as a Hans Poelzig's new projects responded to Taut's call tor trans-
Good Dwelling; 1920),128 in which he imagined a great migra- parency by playing with sol id masses. In his contribution to
tion lrom the corrupted cities to the redemptive countryside, the competition tor the Haus der Freundschaft (House 01

110 I 111
\
\

).'

~\ \,.. ....
I
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132 Great Playhouse, Hans
Poelzig, Berlin, Germany, 1918-19

131 Illustration from Die Stadtkrone (The City Crown), Bruno Taut, 1919

Friendship; 1916) in Constantinople; the magical grotto he In 1919 Erich Mendelsohn exhibited his wartime sketches trorn
devised within the GroBe Schauspielhaus (Great Playhouse; the tront lines at the Paul Cassirer Gallery in Berlin. These con-
1918-19) 132 in Berlin, where Max Reinhardt staged his musical sisted 01 very small India-ink perspectives 01 tactories, ware-
performances; and the successive variants 01 his Festspielhaus houses, and hangars. He associated the dynamism 01 their
(Festival Hall; 1920-1) in Salzburg, he introduced a new world strikingly sculptural torrns, which appeared to be lrozen in motion,
01 imposing and mysterious lorms. In 1919, apropos 01 the post- with the "elastic qualities" 01 new materials: "The living qual-
war resurrection 01 the German Werkbund, Poelzig declared: ity 01 architecture depends upon sensuous seizure by means
"True understanding 01 architecture is so unspeakably important 01 touch and sight: upon the terrestrial cohesion 01 mass, upon
because it determines the appearance 01 our homeland, which the super-terrestrial liberty 01 light. ... Out 01 its own laws,
has been so disligured by the hall-hearted architecture 01 recent architecture lays down the conditions that govern its active
decades .... But it is not possible to reinstate architecture as a masses." -> 8 Mendelsohn's social connections in Berlin's bour-
major art overnight. This will be possible only when a coherent geois Jewish establishment allowed him to put his ideas into
major revolution 01 souls has taken place, when the conviction action more quickly than other architects, and his projects had
that we must create things tor eternity has gained general rec- an impact in the United States as early as 1921. -> 9 For the
ognition." -> 7 As an architect with close ties to film and theater, newspaper publisher Rudoll Mosse, Mendelsohn, assisted by
Poelzig designed the set representing medieval Prague in Paul the young Viennese architect Richard Neutra, built a super-
Wegener's The Golem (1923), creating an atmosphere as dis- structure on top 01 the Berliner Tageblatt Building (1921-3)
turbing as that in lilms like Robert Wiene's Cabinet of Doctor translorming the corner 01 the block into a kind 01 ship's prow,
Caligari (1920) and Friedrich Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). Poelzig with torceful horizontal lines that overpowered the original
continued to use his Expressionist language 01 stalactites and lacade. His Hat Factory complex in Luckenwalde, Germany,
stalagmites throughout the 1920s, including in his studies 01 (1923) leatured concrete buildings with oblique roots that
permanent buildings íor the Berlin Fair 01 1928. resembled tolds 01 paper, creating a spectacular sculptural
The Expressionist aesthetic 01 the immediate postwar period also landscape.
affected young architects whose initial works had been 01 a more Mendelsohn's most powerlul building was the laboratory erected
rationalist bent. Gropius, for instance, echoed the engravings 01 tor Albert Einstein within the compound 01 the Potsdam
Max Pechstein and Lyonel Feininger in his Márzqefállenen- Observatory (1919-21). 133 Intended lor experiments with the
Denkmal (Monument to the March Dead; 1920-1) in Weimar, solar spectrum, the lab combined two distinct elements:
with its jagged thrust to the sky. Gropius designed Adoll a tower topped by a cupola, and a horizontal volume into
Sommerleld's wooden house in Berlin-Steglitz (1920-1), in which light beams trorn above were guided and collected tor
the same realm 01 angles and interrupted lines, but with a analysis. The two elements were integrated in a plastic sculp-
calmer symmetry. The house's construction was expedited by tural mass whose continuous surtace made it look as if it were
Sommerfeld's business as a commercial dealer in lumber. made 01 concrete rather than stuccoed brick. Though the name

Chapter 09 I Expressionism in Weimar Germany and the Netherlands


.t.."
.'

GUT GAP.I'\AU
-.:;.':;:t.

135 Garkau Farm, Hugo Hiiring, Scharbeutz-Klingberg,


Germany, 1922-6
Einstein Tower, Erich Mendelsohn, Potsdam, Germany, 1919-21

=- steinturm (Einstein Tower) is an unmistakable reference to the Glaserne Kette, took part in the reconstruction of west-
-~ series of Bismarcktürme (Bismarck Towers) built in many ern Prussia until 1925. Hugo Hárinq, a member of the
=-'es throughout Germany before 1914, this structure erected Novembergruppe - founded in 1918 by Bruno Beye, Cesar
- scientific purposes high above the city was intended, more Klein, Moritz Meltzer, Max Pechstein, and Heinrich Richter -
= íoundly, as a kind of urban crown, responding to Taut's ideas. built the Garkau Farm in Scharbeutz-Klingberg, near Lübeck
--3 forward motion that this brick sphinx seems to imply (1922-6).135 The barn and cowshed leatur~d both angu-
- ght be a materialization of the élan vital described by Henri lar and curved shapes, adhering to the Expressionist ideal
.::'" gson in his L'évolution créatrice (Creative Evolution; 1907), 01 dynamic formo They were covered in exposed brick and
-'ch was translated into German in 1912. In any case, it sug- boards, concealing their concrete structure and latticelike wood
;38tS a completely different approach to organic form than the Iraming, which bore a striking modernity little visible lrom the
+ollusklike shapes Finsterlin was drawing at the time. outside. The larm's plan was determined by its utilitarian pur-
- 1924 Mendelsohn crossed the ocean with the filmmaker Fritz pose - to house and feed cattle - and laithfully respected the
3Ilg and discovered the United States. The experience revo- lunctional requirements that its Iyrical exterior seemed to deny.
_ ionized his way of thinking. He visited Frank l.loyd Wright The Hanseatic cities of northern Germany were particularly
z: d, most importantly, absorbed a new visual culture that he fertile ground for architectural research; their Gothic brick
ould report on in Amerika, das Bilderbuch eines Architekten structures seemed to anticipate the vertical massing 01 the
erica, an Architect's Picture Book; 1926). -> 10 After con- shipping company offices built in the 1920s. In Hamburg,
="onting the spectacle of the streets and skyscrapers of New Fritz Hóger designed the Chilehaus (1922-3), 138 a large
ork and Chicago, Mendelsohn transformed his own archi- block with curved, surging facades clad in dark brick and
~ture: the Schocken department sto res he built in Chemnitz ornamented with medieval motils. The acute angle of the build-
'926-8) 134 and Stuttgart (1929) took on almost aerodynamic ing's prow seemed a response to New York's Flatiron Building,
z ms and accentuated the play of light. In Berlin, the WOGA toward which the vessels 01 the Hamburg-Amerika Line sailed.
-Bisure Complex on the Kufürstendamm (1928-9), dominated Reflecting Hamburg's dominion over the Baltic, the Estonian
~ the Universum Movie Theater, integrated contradictory pro- architect Robert Natus replicated the Chilehaus in miniature
;;;'ams into a single aesthetic entity, reflecting an aspiration to in Tallinn in 1936. -> 12 The brothers Hans and Oskar Gerson,
-armonious urban design, the absence of which Mendelsohn associated with Hóger in the construction of the Sprinkenhol
-ad deplored in the United States. -> 11 (1926-9), built the Ballinhaus Office Building (1926-9) using a
more conventionally orthogonal geometry. Bernhard Hoetger's
Hanseatic Expressionism designs broke loose lrom the constraints of the office build-
ing. His houses (1922) and calé (1924-5) in Worpswede, a col-
"he young Expressionists alternated between theorizing and, ony lor radical artists, revisited the vocabulary of the north's
ore episodically, building. Hans Scharoun, a contributor to rural architecture. Perhaps most notable were his buildings

116 I 117
137 De Dageraad Hausing, Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer, Amsterdam,
Netherlands, 1918-23

136 Plan lar Amsterdam-Sauth, Hendrik Petrus Berlage, 1914-17 138 Chilehaus, Fritz Hoqer, Hamburg, Germany, 1922-3

on BóttcherstraBe in Bremen, which resembled sculptural language, also seems to anticipate Hoetger's buildings 01the
collages. These, particularly the house lor the painter Paula 1920s. Among the assistants on the Scheepvaarthuis was
Modersohn-Becker (1923-7) 141 where a rough exterior accorn- the young de Klerk, who designed many competition projects
panied an oneiric layout 01 oddly convoluted rooms, lully belore building the Hillehuis (1912), an apartment house echo-
exploited the resources 01 brick. ing the complex vertical organization 01 Van der Mey's building.
Most signilicantly, de Klerk's three projects Ior the Eigen Haard
De Klerk and the Amsterdam School (Own Hearth) cooperative in Amsterdam, built Irom 1922
to 1926, created a neighborhood in which urban lorm was
The obvious parallels between these buildings in Hamburg and absorbed into a continuum 01 interrelated sculptural effects. The
Bremen and those erected in Amsterdam by Michel de Klerk play 01the bricks' colors, which range írom crimson to orange;
beginning in 1915 were not coincidental. Though partly attribut- the way they are laid both horizontally and vertically; and their
able to a shared culture 01 brick construction, the correspond- diverse shapes, which vary Irom rectilinear to convex to con-
ences went deeper. To some extent, Weimar policies were a cave, combine to create a rich world in which the modest size
continuation 01 Dutch housing legislation, notably the Woningwet 01 the housing units is partly compensated lor by the build-
011901, which had guaranteed public linancing lor working- ings' sensuous opulence. The lacade is an undulating spec-
class housing. Regulated by a system 01 controls and standards, tacle with unusual-shaped openings that call to mind woven
Dutch housing was built through municipal or cooperative pro- and embroidered textiles. For the third building, nicknamed
grams. The neutrality 01 the Netherlands during the war allowed "The Ship," (1917-21) 140 de Klerk combined a village theme
the country to launch programs more advanced than those 01 with a mechanical motil. The housing wraps around a courtyard
the combatant nations. While German cities were struggling to in which the meeting hall plays the role 01 rural church while the
reactivate their construction industry, Amsterdam was already post office serves as a locomotive pulling the entire complex,
Ilush with building sites ..• 13 which in lact stood alongside the city's main railroad tracks.
But the German and Dutch projects also originated in a shared Next de Klerk collaborated with Piet Kramer on the housing
architectural matrix that incorporated the Theosophical theo- scheme 01 De Dageraad (The Dawn; 1918-23), 137 a cooper-
ries 01J. L. M. Lauweriks and the teaching 01 Hendrik Petrus ative built as a component 01 Berlage's plan tor Amsterdam-
Berlage, which had widely circulated in Germany. Meetings 01 South (1914-17). 136 Here de Klerk presented a clear, open
Architectura et amicitia (Architecture and Friendship), a soci- image 01 low-income housing. He aligned the houses along
ety 01 Amsterdam prolessionals established in 1855, hosted an the street in a continuous wave in which each unit appears to
intense debate on the question 01 Gemeenschapkunst, or social be woven together with its neighbor. Once again he created
art. .• 14 Johan Melchior van der Mey's Scheepvaarthuis (House the illusion 01 a village community by grouping the units two
01 Shipping Companies; 1911-16) in Amsterdam, which decon- by two on a central square to lorm large houses separated by
structed and recomposed elements 01 traditional architectural tall chimneys ..• 15

Chapter 09 I Expressianism in Weimar Germany and the Netherlands


139 Caver of Wendingen (Turning Points), Issue 2, 140 "The Ship,' Eigen Haard Housing Cooperative, Michel de Klerk, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1917-21
cover designed by Michel de Klerk, 1918
141 Paula Modersohn-Becker House, Bernard Hoetger, Bremen, Germany, 1923-7

142 ~ Secand Goetheanum, Rudol! Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, 1924-8

De Klerk was the most brilliant member of a group that included


Dirk Greiner, Margaret Kropholler, and Jan Frederik Staal, all of
whom were committed to the genuinely collective effort required
to realize the different stages of Berlage's plan. The main activist
behind what would soon come to be known as the Amsterdam
School, Hendricus Theodorus Wijdeveld, was responsible for its
publicity organ, Wendingen (Turning Points), 139 a large-format
architecture magazine. He edited the magazine from 1918 to
1931, opening it to both experiments that had taken place in
Russia since 1917 and new directions in Frank Lloyd Wright's
work. In combination with the Expressionist accents latent in de
Klerk's work, Wright's forms were sometimes detectable in the
new buildings in Amsterdam.
Like many of the Dutch architects, the Austrian Rudolf Steiner
had a background in the Theosophical movement. In 1912 he
founded the Anthroposophical Society, formulating a secular
doctrine inspired by Nietzsche and Goethe. For the community
he established in Dornach, near Basel, he erected the Goethe-
anum (1913-20), a building with two wood domes surrounded
by houses in the shape of rocks. This edifice burned down
and was replaced by the second Goetheanum (1924-8),142

a sculptural concrete volume that held an auditorium, a library,


and meeting rooms. The large faceted volume inserted into the
pastoral Swiss landscape majestically conveyed the aspiration
to the total work of art that was one of the founding precepts
of Expressionism.

Chapter 09 I Expressionism in Weimar Germany and the Netherlands


Return to
order in Paris

In 1924, seven years alter his permanent move to Paris, Le In 1918 Jeanneret and Ozenlant published their Purist manilesto
Corbusier diagnosed a case 01 "acute neurasthenia" and the Apres le cubisme (Alter Cubism). It rellected their equal interest in
symptoms 01 a "breakdown" in the drawings that Bruno Taut Greek temples and in the machines introduced into everyday lile
had published tour years earlier in his book Die Auflosung der by the war. The new term "purism" was intended to "express in an
Stiidte ..• 1 Well inlormed about the art and architecture 01 impe- intelligible word the character 01 the modern spirit." In stressinq the
rial Germany, Le Corbusier had turned his back on his youthlul "invariable," Jeanneret and Ozenlant were not "unmoved by the
experiences there in the lirst months 01 World War 1. French art- intelligence that governs certain machines." .• 5 L'Esprit nouveau
ists, though strongly in support 01 the war effort against Germany, likewise displayed a keen sense 01 history and an acute attention
had generally resisted the condemnations 01 Cubism voiced to the products 01 technology. It described itselt as an "illustrated
in more chauvinist circles in Paris, where the style had become international review 01 contemporary activity," open to experimen-
associated with certain important German-owned collections and tal psychology, psychoanalysis, and economics. Politically, it sup-
galleries and branded a boche ("kraut") art lorm. Yet they also ported Bolshevik Russia and Franco-German reconciliation ..• 6
sought during these years to rediscover the threads 01 a national In a series 01 controversial essays Le Corbusier reminded
tradition olten identilied with classicism, whether rendered liter- "Messrs. les architectes" to "open eyes that do not see" to
ally or as a guiding principie open to multiple interpretations. -> 2 ships, cars, and airplanes. These provocative articles became
the chapters 01 the book Vers une architecture (Toward an
Purist forms and urban compositions Architecture; 1923) 143, a manilesto that celebrated mechaniza-
tion, affirmed the necessity 01 using "regulating lines" to propor-
In 1913, in his book Les peintres cubistes, Guillaume Apollinaire tion buildings, and advised the study 01 ancient and Baroque
challenged architects to reclaim the torch 01 innovation lrom art- architecture in order to absorb the "Iesson 01 Rome." .• 7 The
ists and to "construct with sublime intentions." .• 3 In 1917 a lellow impact 01 Le Corbusier's writings was reinlorced by the power 01
poet, Pierre Reverdy, published an essay by yet another poet Paul his theoretical projects. His Contemporary City lor Three Million
Dermée in the lirst issue 01 his periodical Nord-Sud (North-South). Inhabitants, exhibited at the Salon d'Automne (1922), and his Plan
In it Dermée wrote, "Alter a period 01 exuberance and toree must Voisin lor Paris 144, shown at the Exposition Internationale des
lollow a period 01 organization, 01 arrangement, 01 science - that Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition
is to say, a classic age." -> 4 Such calls to order were heard all the 01 Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts, 1925), described a new
way to the Netherlands and Russia, and they were also picked metropolitan organism crisscrossed by highways and dominated
up by Le Corbusier (still known at this time as Charles-Édouard by the glass towers 01 a "city 01 business" - a capitalist version 01
Jeanneret) and the painter Amédée Ozenlant. In 1920, together Taut's Stadtkrone. Le Corbusier surrounded the city with redent
with Dermée, Jeanneret and Ozenlant lounded L'Esprit nouveau housing inspired by Euqene Hénard and with immeuble-villas
(The New Spirit), a multidisciplinary journal that served as the (villa apartments) consisting 01 double-height dwellings with
major platform lor their theories and critiques until 1925. individual gardens, creating a radically new urban landscape.

Chapter 10 I Return to arder in Paris


DES YEUX QUI ~E VOIENT PAS",

11

LES AVIONS

143 Page from Vers une architecture (Towards 144 Plan Voisin, project, Le Corbusier, Paris, France, 1925
an Architecture), Le Corbusier, 1923

145 La Roche House, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Paris, France, 1923-4

124 I 125
s

POLYCHROMIE DES MURS EXTÉRIEURS

LE CORBUSIER ET P. JEANNERET
OUARTIERS MODERNES FRUGES. A PESSAC-BORDEAUX • 1927

15
146 Workers' Houses
Ouartiers modernes Frugés),
--S Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret,
Jessac, France, 1924-6

147 Stein/de Monzie House, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Garches, France, 1926-7

Le Corbusier and the modern house skeletal system and the Maison Citrohan three-story layout;
the double-height living room 01 the lalter was inspired by Paris
During this period Le Corbusier injected the latest develop- artists' studios, For the Parisian elite he designed large houses,
ments in painting into two domestic projects: a studio lor the most complex 01which was built in the suburb of Garches
Ozenlant (1922-3) and, particularly, a house lor the Basel- lar Michael Stein (brother 01 the writer Gertrude Stein), his wife
born banker Raoul La Roche (1923-4) 145. In the lalter he Sarah Stein, and Gabrielle de Monzie (1926-7) 147, -79 The
radically modified his design alter seeing an exhibition 01 archi- house's interplay 01 planar elements and cylindrical stairwells
lecture by the De Stijl group at a Paris gallery, which caused seems to transpose the geometry 01 Purist paintings into space,
im to reconfigure the conventional arrangement of windows while the "regulating lines" 01 the lacade draw on the ancient
on the facade as a composition 01 opaque planes and glass proportions of the golden section. Twenty years later, the
walls. -78 Inside, he conceived the house's circulation as a architect-critic Colin Rowe found another precedent, detecting
promenade architecturale, inspired by the descriptions of a sirnilarity between the proportions 01 the villa's plan and those
processions on tfie Acropolis in ancient Greece that Auguste 01 Palladio's villas, which Le Carbusier knew well, -710

Choisy had recounted in his 1899 Histoire de I'architecture. Le The weekend house that Le Corbusier built in 1929-31 far Pierre
Carbusier's promenade governs the entire interior 01 the house Savoye, a client in the insurance business, in Poissy, near Paris,
from the entrance hall to the painting gallery, which he hung is one 01 the canonical buildings of the twentieth century, The
with Cubist canvases that he purchased lor La Roche at sales villa sits in the middle 01 a meadow like a Ilying machine that
01 the Kahnweiler and Uhde collections. Around the same time, has just barely touched down, The boxlike structure leatures three
he built a home tor.his parents in the Swiss village 01 Corseaux levels interconnected by a ramp that guides the promenade
on the shore 01 Lake Geneva (1923-6), A single horizontal win- erctiitecturete. Wedged between the ground-Iloor pilotis (stilts),
dow provides this modest dwelling with a view 01 the moun- through which automobiles could slip in and out, and the top-
ains and access to the light 01 the lake. The unshadowed floor solarium is the main level, an L-shaped Iloor built around a
luminosity inside the residence differs Irom the chiaroscuro 01 patio and illuminated by a horizontal strip 01 windows overlook-
typical interiors just as the brightness of lactories differs lrom ing the landscape, The vast living room is basically doubled in
the hall-light 01 churches. surface by the patio, while the bedrooms and bathroom echo
Despite his tireless courting 01 automobile and aviation industri- the Iloor plans 01 eighteenth-century Paris apartments.
alists, Le Corbusier, who established a prolessional partnership These houses demonstrated the "Five Points" with which Le
with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret in 1922, succeeded in build- Corbusier summed up his contribution to a new architecture in
ing only a single workers' housing complex. 146 This was real- 1927, alluding transparently to Vignola's live classical orders:
ized in 1924-6 in Pessac, near Bordeaux, lor the industrialist pilotis, freeing up the ground plane; rool terrace, affording
Henri Fruqes. Here he brought together the theoretical models sunlight and commLinion with the skyline; Iree plan, replac-
he had been working on lor ten years, inciuding the Dom-ino ing the "paralyzed plan" 01 load-bearing structures; ribbon

126 I 127
148 League 01 Nations competition project, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, 149 Centrosoyuz (Central Union 01 Consumer Cooperatives), .~
Geneva, Switzerland, 1927 Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Moscow, USSR (Russia), 1928-36

window, offering horizontal vistas; and Iree lacade, whose ground floor punctuated by pilotis. As in his League 01 Nations
openings were no longer dependent on traditional structural project, the building combined a curvilinear auditorium volume
mechanics. AII these points were made possible by the use 01 with orthogonal office wings. But the innovative project - which
reinlorced concrete. -> 11 included a lorerunner 01 central air conditioning based on a
system 01 "neutralizing walls" and "exact respiration" - was too
Grand vessels in Paris and Geneva technically advanced tor the Soviet Union at this date. Material
shortages caused the building's construction to drag on tor
But domestic programs did not satisly Le Corbusier's ambitions; many years. -> t4
he aimed for more important commissions. His lailure to win the In the meantime, the Salvation Army commissioned Le Corbusier
1927 competition tor the headquarters 01the League 01 Nations to design its City 01 Reluge in Paris. Realized in 1929-31, the
in Geneva 148 was a personal trauma. His project elevated the building is a large concrete vessel whose purpose is to house
principie 01 pilotis and terraces to the scale 01 a grand pub- the homeless. With this project, Le Corbusier was linally able
lic edilice, making the site seem to Ilow beneath the building to incorporate his lascination with ships into his architec-
and merge with the Alpine landscape. -> 12 Despite the public- ture: he placed the apartment 01 the project's American patron,
ity campaign mounted by his Iriends throughout Europe to pro- Winaretta Singer-Polignac, at the top 01 the building and
test the rejection 01 his project, the conservative jury remained arranged the communal spaces on the ground Iloor like the
unswayed. Le Corbusier was also thwarted in his efforts to erect lirst-class lounges of a transatlantic liner. Though his "exact res-
a Mundanéum, or World City, in Geneva; a cultural complex in piration" system ter circulating air was rendered. totally ineffec-
the spirit 01 Hendrik Christian Andersen's World City, the project tual by the lack of any device to extract the used air Irom the
was designed lor the philanthropist Paul Otlet using a plan based building, the Salvation Army hostel remained a didactic exam-
on the golden section. Le Corbusier's invocation 01 classical pie 01 Le Corbusier's precepts 01 large-scale construction. So
proportions and his ziggurat-shaped museum - to be the cen- did another important realization in Paris 01 this period, the
terpiece 01 the project - spurred attacks Irom radical architects Swiss Pavilion at the Cité Universitaire (1929-33).
like the Russian El Lissitzky. Lissitzky's criticism 01 Le Corbusier's
excessive historicism and monumentality was echoed by the Perret and the "sovereign shelter"
Prague critic Karel Teige, who scorned the "puzzling, archaic
impression" made by this "metaphysical architecture." -> 13 No other architect on the Paris scene was able to scandal-
Nonetheless, it was in Moscow that Le Corbusier won his lirst ize people with innovations as much as Le Corbusier, although
major commission, tor the Centrosoyuz (1928-36) 149, the others tried. In a city where architects Irequently lormulated
headquarters 01 the Central Union 01 Consumer Cooperatives. and implemented their modern ideals in direct competition
Here he greatly amplilied the principie 01 the promenade with one another, there was no such thing as a united front.
architecturale, designing ramps that rose six stories above a Le Corbusier's mentor, Auguste Perret, opposed the younger

Chapter 10 I Return to arder in Paris


Pavilion 01 L'Esprit nouveau, Le Corbusier and 151 Study lor a Freneh Embassy, projeet, Pierre
::;ere Jeanneret, Paris, Franee, 1924-5 Chareau, Paris, Franee, 1925

152 Cortot Hall, École Normale de Musique,


Auguste Perret, Paris, Franee, 1928-9

architect's use of the ribbon window, insisting that only "the Paris Art Deco
ertical window Irames man [and] agrees with his silhou-
-' S." -> 15 In Le Raincy, east of Paris, Perret built Notre-Dame The 1925 exposition gave Le Corbusier the opportun ity to
::e la Consolation (1922) 153, a church commemorating World build his Pavilion 01 L'Esprit nouveau. 150 In it he displayed dio-
ar I fighters. Its vaulted nave of reinforced concrete he Id up ramas 01 his Ville Contemporaine and Plan Voisin and, most
slender columns is illuminated by walls of concrete-Iramed signilicantly, a unit of his immeuble-villas outfitted with typical
staíned glass. Perret's application of methods developed lor furniture bought Irom manufacturers' catalogs and a prototype
"actories and other secular structures to a religious edifice of his standard cabinets. The pavilion was an implicit critique
caused critics to describe it as "the holy chapel of reinforced of the program 01 the exposition, whose directors, Charles
:::oncrete" and scorn it as a vulgar "prayer hangar." At the time, Plumet and Louis Bonnier, sought to reassert French suprem-
::lerret's thinking was close to that of the poet Paul Valéry, whose acy in the applied arts in the face of prewar competition from
Socratic dialogue Eupalinos, ou I'architecte (Eupalinos, or the Germany. The latter's belated invitation to participate was a de
Architect; 1921), suggested a revived classicism with national- tacto exclusion .
. t accents. -> 16 Using the concrete skeleton to emulate Greek Organized by the Union centrale des arts décoratils and the
monumentality in his public commissions, Perret tirelessly Société des artistes décorateurs, or SAD, the 1925 exposition
sought to implement his delinition 01 the large building as "a gave pride of place to the successful interior decorators who
ressel, a framework, a sovereign shelter capable of housing in designed the "ensembles" 01 furniture associated with depart-
its unity the variety 01 organs necessary to fulfill its lunction." -> 17 ment stores as well as to theinterior designers who merged art
In 1924 Perret opened an off-site studio 01 the École des Beaux- and commerce. They included Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and
rts near the Bois de Boulogne. It was known as the Palais de the team 01 Louis Süe and André Mare. -> 18 Two designers stood
Bois (Wood Palace). Contradicting the school's official stance, out Irom the crowd for work that was as elegant as it was
e encouraged his followers - including Paul Nelson, Ernb cautiously modern: Francis Jourdain, who carefully created
Goldlinger, Oscar Nitzchké, and Denis Honegger - to practice unadorned interiors that were in the spirit 01 Adolf Loos but
an architecture leaturing exposed structural elements made allordable to all 154; and Pierre Chareau, whose convertible fur-
expressive by the interplay of light and shadow and the dif- niture pieces - notably his cylindrical desk-bookshelf for the
lerentiation of finishes. In 1925 he designed the theater at SAD pavilion's exhibit "A French Embassy" 151 - contrasted with
he Exposition Internationale des Arts Oécoratifs et Industriels the static nature of the main contributions. In the same pavilion
Modernes; its three-part stage recalled the one built by Henry Robert (Rob) Mallet-Stevens designed a lobby with a linear,
van de Velde in Cologne eleven years before. Next he built the abstract geometry that was similar in spirit to his Tourism
stunning Cortot Hall (1928-9) 152, a dizzyingly steep concert hall Pavilion, also at the exposition. Four years later, he, Jourdain,
that, by using concrete cantilevers, he was able to squeeze into and Chareau were among the founders of the Union des
the middle of a tight Paris block. artistes modernes, or UAM, a group devoted to applying the

128 I 129
153 Notre-Dame de la Consolation,
Auguste Perret, Le Raincy, France, 1922

130 I 131
.--
Gl11
:
,

- ~
~
-
-
-'

\ .

l.

IJ
154 Smoking Room lar a French Embassy, project, Francis Jourdain, Paris, 155 Grand Hotel Métropole, project, Henri Sauvage, Paris, France, 1928
France, 1925

radical modern aesthetic lavored by the elite to the needs 01 a Jean Prouvé, were involved in building rue Mallet-Stevens. The
larger populace; it held its first exhibition in 1930. -> 19 construction site was headed by Gabriel Guevrekian, an Iranian
One 01 the most prolific architects involved in the 1925 exhi- architect 01 Armenian descent trained in Vienna.
bition was Henri Sauvage, who created several pavilions for In 1923 Mallet-Stevens began working on a large villa in Hyeres
department stores. Sauvage had worked on the development of lor the art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles 156, who
setback terraced buildings in Paris since before the war. After in 1930 would linance Jean Cocteau's lilm Blood of a Poet and
the war he built both a popular version - a low-income resi- Luis Buñuel's L'age d'or. For this house, devoted to pleasure
dence on Rue des Amiraux (1922), with a swimming pool at and entertainment, he designed a cubic structure hovering above
its center - and a bourgeois version called the Studio Building the city and extended by terraces. He wrote: "It is no longer just
(1926), inspired by ocean liners. He also designed a megaloma- some moldings that catch the light, it is the entire lacade. The
niac version for a hotel on the bank of the Seine (1928) 155. In architect sculpts an enormous block, the house." -> 21 Erected
Nantes, Sauvage built the imposing glass structure of the Decré in sections between 1924 and 1928, the house included a room
Department Sto re (1931, bombed 1944). He also worked on devoted to flowers, the design 01which was entrusted to Theo
the extension of the Samaritaine Department Store (1928, with van Doesburg, and it overlooked a Cubist-inspired triangular gar-
Frantz Jourdain) in Paris, where he took a less radical approach den by Guevrekian. In 1929 the American artist Man Ray declared
since he had to comply with urban-planning regulations. that the "cubic lorms" 01the cháteau "brought to mind the title 01
a poem by Mallarmé." -> 22 He used it as the setting tor his dis-
Mallet-Stevens, or elegant modernism turbing film Les mystéres du chateau du Dé (TheMysteries 01the
Cháteau of Dice), a tableau vivant pertormed by masked guests.
In 1927 Robert Mallet-Stevens received a unique honor for a liv- Having designed the sets for Marcel L'Herbier's L'inhumaine (The
ing architect: he had a Paris street named after him. -> 20 He would Inhuman Woman; 1923-4) 157, a lilm intended to promote
build six houses on the new Rue Mallet-Stevens (1926-7) 158. French lashion abroad, Mallet-Stevens began building a cas-
His own, featuring a double-height reception room, stands at the tle in Mézy for the couturier Paul Poiret (1921-3), but the project
entry to the street. Next to it is the studio and residence 01 sculp- was never completed. In Paris he built the Alfa Romeo Garage
tors Jan and Joel Martel, whose quarters are clustered around on Rue Marbeul (1927), which has a structure supported by
the vertical cylinder of a staircase that leads to a belvedere topped concrete arches reminiscent 01 those in Perret's Théátre des
by a circular "lid." Also on the street is a town house with a 150- Champs-Élysées, and an apartment building on Rue Méchain
seat screening room, built lor the lilm director Eric Allatini, and a (1928-9), which is a kind of vertical extrusion of the Rue Mallet-
house tor Madame Reilenberg, a pianist, featuring open living Stevens massing system. His largest project was a casino in
spaces extended by terraces, which offer a lull panorama of the Saint-Jean de Luz on the Basque coast (1927-8), a large rein-
other cubistic houses on the block. Many artists and craftsmen, forced-concrete building with interiors that make use of motifs
including the glass artist Louis Barillet and the young ironsmith first seen at the 1925 exposition.

Chapter 10 I Return to order in Paris


56 Villa de Noailles, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Hyeres, France, 1923-8 157 L'inhumaine film set, Robert Mallet-Stevens, 1923-4,
for Marcel ~ Herbier (director)

159 ~ Hotel Nord-Sud, André l.urcat, Calvi, France, 1929-30

Houses on Rue Mallet-Stevens, Robert M'allet-Stevens, Paris, France, 1926-7

132 I 133
161 Apartment Building, Michel
Roux-Spilz, Paris, France, 1925-8

160 E 1027, Eileen Gray, Roquebrune Cap-Martin, France, 1929

The extent of French modernism lor the Radical-Socialist mayor 01 Lyons, Édouard Herriot. ..,24 Alter
completing the La Mouche Cattle Market and Slaughterhouse
Having made his reputation as a member 01 Mallet-Stevens's (1906-14), which leatured a great market hall constructed 01 steel
circle, Gabriel Guevrekian received a commission through the trusses and inspired by the Galerie des Machines, Garnier contin-
painter Sonia Delaunay to design a town house lor the couturier ued his work in Lyons with the États-Unis low-income housing
Jacques Heim in Neuilly (1927), reinlorcing the signilicant link development (1921-34), a suburban complex 01 airy concrete
between architecture and lashion. No less close to Mallet-Stevens blocks, and the Grange-Blanche hospital (1910-34), a series 01
was the engineer and architect Georges-Henri Pingusson, who pavilions connected by a network 01 underground passages. The
remodelled the lacade and neo n marquee 01 the Théátre des structural clarity 01 Garnier's work was increasingly inllected by
Menus-Plaisirs (1926-9) and built the Paul Arrighi power plant in cla,ssical nostalgia, however. A more monumental aspect 01 his
Vitry-sur-Seine (1926-32), a rare French example 01 modern aes- work was visible in his many designs lor memorials, while Mediter-
thetics intersecting with a lull-Iledged industrial programo ranean accents surlaced in his more intimate patio houses.
At the initiative 01 his brother Jean, at that time a painter with ties to Trained in Lyons as part 01 Garnier's circle, Michel Roux-Spitz com-
Surrealism, André Lurcat built the Villa Seurat (1925-7), an alley 01 bined the smooth geometry 01 the moderns with more static
artist studios in Paris begun two years belore Rue Mallet-Stevens. modes 01 composition in his Paris apartment buildings, such as
The scheme consists 01 a sequence 01 six buildings made 01 cubic the ones on Rue Guynemer (1925-8) 161 and Avenue Henri Martin
volumes with corner window openings. There are clear Loosian (1930-1). In the latter he incorporated leatures borrowed Irom
accents and above all a play with the continuity 01 the street wall. . naval architecture, with a certain heaviness. Poi Abraham and
Across lrom Parc Montsouris, l.urcat built a house lor the painter Charles Siclis provided their own interpretations, whether more tec-
Walter Guggenbühl (1927). A cube set on a trapezoidal base tonic or more spectacular, 01 the passion lor structural expression
extended by a bow window and a pergola, its simplilied geometry that had spread in the 1920s. Eileen Gray, an Irish designer active
and the repetitive conliguration 01 openings on its planar surlaces in Paris, was the only woman to see her contribution acknowl-
had nothing to do with the underlying structural skeleton. This led edged, with E 1027 (1929), 160a villa she built on the Riviera tor
the critic Marie Dormoy justly to contrast turcat's "Iake concrete" to and with Jean Badovici, the editor 01 L'Architecture vivante. While
Perret's use 01 the material. ..,23 The purest expression 01 l.urcat's the end 01 the decade saw an international alliance 01 radical
approach may be seen in the linear and prismatic architecture 01 architects throughout Europe, French architecture seemed to have
the small Hotel Nord-Sud (1929-30) 159, near the Corsican city 01 two laces. The lirst was embodied in the experimental, sometimes
Calvi, which resembles a ship run aground on a reef. provocative work that came out 01 the circle around Le Corbusier.
While the most radical laction 01 French architecture managed to Also innovative but more commercial, the second lace, initially
consolidate its positions during the 1920s, it occupied a small lield. revealed in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Oécoratits et
Large public and private projects continued to be awarded to more Industriels Modernes, produced reverberations that would be lelt in
conservative lirms. One notable exception was Tony Garnier's work North America and Britain as well as in colonial settings.

Chapter 10 [ Return lO order in Paris


Dada, De Stijl,
and Mies: from
subversiveness
to elementarism

By the final months of World War I there were already con- well developed, although they had a longstanding interest in the
flicting attempts to overthrow the dominant forces in art and "machine art" announced by Vladimir Tatlin's first eonstructions in
architecture. Among the new movements, Expressionism had Russia. From Berlin, Dada seattered to Cologne with Arp and Max
roots in prewar Europe, but other contenders, which appeared Ernst, and to Hanover with Kurt Schwitters, until Pieabia and Tzara
even before the German surrender, lacked such antecedents, linally shifted the movement's eenter 01 gravity to Paris, where it
instead emerging from the deep crisis provoked by battles led to the birth 01 Surrealism in 1924. The legaey 01these intense
among intellectuals and artists. years was a vigorous impulse to challenge the·traditional eatego-
ries 01 art and architecture. It would have widespread and lasting
The Dada blast effeets, espeeially in Weimar Germany. The network connect-
ing the members of the Dada galaxy to architectural movements
Dada, the most destructive of these movements, had its moment branched out across the map; artists and architects at the edges
between 1915 and 1923. It was characterized by the subversion 01the movement went on to play important roles in less radical
01traditional representation, a prelerence tor the new technique groups like the Arbeitsrat für Kunst and the German Werkbund.
01 montage, and a bluntly asserted nihilism. A nomadic phenom-
enon that changed aceording to its setting, it was lounded in The new forms of De Stijl
Zurich, then gravitated to New York and Germany, and linally
settled in Paris ..• 1 The evenings organized at Zurieh's Cabaret In the Netherlands, the Expressionism 01 the Amsterdam
Voltaire by the Germans Hugo Ball, Hans Richter, and Richard School was still the dominant force. But beginning in 1916
Huelsenbeck; the Alsatian Hans (Jean) Arp; and the Romanians a radical movement took shape under the name De Stijl, a
Tristan Tzara and Mareel Janco were the opening act of a eollee- term that may be traced back to both Gottfried Semper's trea-
tive revolt against the very concept 01art. The arrival 01 Francis ti se Der Stil (Style) and Viollet-Ie-Duc's call to architects to
Picabia and Marcel Duchamp in New York marked another dis- define "the" style for modern architecture and eonstruction (as
tinctive Dada phase, particularly alter they met Man Ray. Picabia's opposed to choosing among a range 01 competing historical
collages 01 mechanical parts and Duehamp's Fountain, a uri- styles). Hendrik Petrus Berlage advanced both these ideas in
nal that served as a "ready-made" art objeet, exhibited in 1917, the Dutch context. De Stijl never became a structured move-
signaled the Dadaists' interest in anonymous production and ment; its unstable and dynamic sphere 01 inlluenee was een-
maehines, which they derisively parodied and destroyed. tered around a monthly journal and a slogan. This irregularity
Leaving Zurieh for Berlin, Ball and Huelsenbeck expanded their seemed to contradict its main objective: for the artist to con-
aetivities alter meeting George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann 162, nect visual experience to metaphysical ideas, thereby creating
and John Heartfield, combining an ironic play on the icons 01 harmonic works 01 art and reclaiming a central place in soci-
American eivilization with an exploration 01 photomontage tech- ety. The search for a nieuwe beelding or neue Gestaltung - a
niques. The Dadaists' involvement with architeeture was not Neo-Plasticism oía highly metaphysical order - was at odds

Chapter 11 I Dada, De Stijl, and Mies: from subversiveness to elementarism


164 ~ Les Architectes du Groupe
De Stij/, Theo van Doesburg and
Comelis van Eesteren exhibition,
Galerie de I'effort moderne, Paris,
France, 1923

162 Tatlin at Home, Raoul Hausmann, 1920

Germany Pavilion (Barcelona Pavilion), Lúdwig Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, Spain, 1929, rebuilt 1983-6

138 I 139
.
·1.-
,
1
-

.-I
11.
I I
165 Factory, project, J. J. P. Oud, Pomerand, Netherlands, 1919

with Dada's biting irony. The members 01 the De Stijl circle In purely architectural terms, the lounders 01 De Stijl lollowed
ultimately aspired to positive creation, even if they tirst had to distinct palhs, with their production taking very different shapes.
go through a phase 01 deslroying conventions. Van Doesburg was more theoretical and experimental, while
The initial issues 01 the journal De Stijl appeared in mid-1917 in Oud, Wils, and Gerrit Rietveld, an associate 01 the group begin-
Leiden under the editorship 01 the painter Theo van Doesburg. ning in 1919, were more prolessionally oriented. Mondrian also
Contributors included the painters Piel Mondrian, Barl van der experimented in three dimensions, notably on the interior 01 his
Leck, and Gino Severini; the architecl J. J. P. Oud; and Vilmos studio on Rue du Départ in Paris (1921-36) 166 and on his pro-
Huszár, who designed Ihe journal's lago. The group Ihat assem- ject lar the Salan de Madame B. in Dresden (1926).
bled around De Stijl had already shared several experiences. Van Doesburg's involvement in architectural projects began in
Van der Leck had collaborated with Berlage in building the Sint 1917 and developed with the interior 01 the De Ligt House in
Huberlus Hunling Lodge in Hondersloo lar Ihe Krbller-Müller Katwijk (1919), lurnished by Rietveld. Van Doesburg told Oud that
lamily (19J9). Van Doesburg and Oud had collaborated on Ihe the house was Ha painting in three dimensions." .• 4 In 1923 he
creation 01 a colorful, rhylhmic interior lar the De Vonk Vacation collaborated with the young architect Cornelis van Eesteren,
House in Noordwijkerhout (1917) and on the Allegonda Villa whom he had met in Weimar, on the design 01 a concourse
in Katwijk aan Zee (1917). Oud and Van Doesburg later went lar the University 01 Amsterdam (1923). The stained-glass ceil-
their separale ways lollowing disputes over a project lar the ing and the Ilat planes 01 colors painted on the walls conllicted
Spangen Low-Income Housing Development in Rotterdam, with the orthogonal geometry 01the plan, as il the chromatic
where the architect insisted on respecting economic limitations and the spatial aspects 01 the project were totally unconnected.
that the painter could not tolerate. -> 2 He al so realized in collaboration with Van Eesteren three mod-
Van Doesburg and Jan Wils together built the De Lange House els shown in October and November 1923 at the exhibition
in Alkmaar (1916-17), and Huszár and P. J. C. Klaarhamer, a Les Architectes du Groupe De Stijl at the Galerie de I'efforl
Iriend 01 Berlage, joined efforts on the De Arendshoeve House moderne in Paris 164. This exhibilion marked a crucial turning
in Voorburg (1916-19). During this initial phase, each member point in postwar architecture. The models were genuine three-
01 De Stijl sought to establish his place in a collective endeavor. dimensional objects in their own right, but their vertical and
But starting in 1921, each participant began trying to achieve his horizontal planes 01 color entirely dispensed with conventional
own synthesis 01 painting, sculpture, and architecture. -> 3 In this notions 01 the window. The least radical 01the three was a town
new phase, Van Doesburg became so domineering that by the house project supposedly intended lar Léonce Rosenberg, the
time Mondrian and Oud left the group, he had totally isolated gallery's owner, which had a realistic-Iooking setting. The sec-
himsell. Nonetheless, he was able to establish a European net- ond model, a project lar an artist's house, had welded-Iead
work by associating with El Lissitzky and Kurt Schwitters, and trames and planar color surlaces and recalled Mondrian's
he lived lar a period in Weimar, where he was unsuccesslul in painted compositions with black lines. The third, a project lar
securing a teaching position at the Bauhaus. a private house 169, was the most complex, and provided the

Chapter 11 I Dada, De Stijl, and Mies: from subversiveness to elementarism


166 Mondrian Studio, Piet Mondrian, Paris, France, 1921-36 167 The Aubette Cinema and Dance Hall, Theo van Doesburg, Strasbourg,
France, 1926-8. recontruction 1990-4 and 2006-8

168 ~ Schróder House, Gerrit Rietveld, Utrecht, Netherlands, 1924

basis for Van Doesburg's subsequent "counter-constructions," in elements were based upon orthogonal relationships, this room
which "plane, line, and mass [were] freely arranged in a three- had to accommodate itself to a diagonal arrangement of colors,
dimensional relationship." .• 5 The models offered as synthetic a to a counter-composition which, by its nature, was to resist all
representation of three-dimensional space as the axonometrics the tensions of architecture .... If I were asked what I had in
drawn by Auguste Choisy in his 1899 Histoire de /'architecture. mind when I constructed this room, I should be able to reply: to
They had a strong impact on architects in Paris like Robert oppose to the material room in three dimensions a superma-
Mallet-Stevens and Le Corbusier. In turn, De. Stijl annexed the terial and pictorial, diagonal space." ..•7 The originality of Van
French architects' work in the issue of its journal published in Doesburg's design, which was executed by Oscar Nitzchké and
1927 commemorating the group's tenth anniversary. Denis Honegger, two students of Perret, was reinforced by com-
On the occasion of the 1923 exhibition, Van Doesburg attempted parisons with the undulating forms of Jean Arp's dance hall in
to provide a theoretical context for his work with a manifesto the Aubette's cellar and Sophie Taueber-Arp's two-dimensional
entitled "Vers une construction collective" (Toward a Collective work in its tearoom. Van Doesburg ventured into the realm of
Construction). Published the following year, it declared: "The idea urban planning with his City of Circulation project (1924-9), a
that art is an illusion divorced from real life must be abandoned. complex of square eleven-story towers supported at their cor-
The word 'Art' means nothing to usoWe demand that it be ners by sturdy piers that opened the ground level to automobiles.
replaced by the construction of our environment according to Finally, with the help of the young Dutch architect Abraham
creative laws derived from well-defined principies. These laws, Elzas, he built his own house-studio in Meudon Val-Fleury, south
which are akin to those of economics, mathematics, technology, of Paris (1927-30). Both in its details and in the use of pilotis
hygiene, and so forth, encourage a new plastic unity." ..•6 to accommodate a small car, it was closer to Le Corbusier's
villas than to his own more geometric work of 1923. A hyper-
Van Doesburg builds active figure, Van Doesburg used numerous pseudonyms to
cloak his identity, which allowed him both to put forward quasi-
The only large-scale project realized by Van Doesburg was Constructivist ideas and to indulge in Dadaist games. He founded
the Aubette 167, a dance hall, cinema, and restaurant on Place the Concrete Art movement and later participated in estab-
Kléber in Strasbourg (1926-8, resto red 2008). The diagonal lishing the Abstraction-Création group, and he continued to pur-
composition of his addition totally upturned the orthogonality of sue a central role on the European scene until he died in 1931.
Jacques-Francois Blondel's existing building of 1778. The dis-
connection intensified by the use of color in the University of Oud and Rietveld, from furniture to
Amsterdam concourse characterized the project in Strasbourg house design
as well. As Van Doesburg asserted, the principie of diago-
nal "counter-construction" called into question the horizontality At the Paris exhibition of 1923, Oud showed his Purmerend
and verticality of the architectural box: "Since the architectonic Factory (1919) 165, a project that dated from the early, more

142 I 143
170 Housing Development, J. J. P. Oud, Hoek van
Holland, Nelherlands, 1924-7

171 Kielhoek Housing Development, J. J. P. Oud,


Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1925-9

172 Schrbder House, Gerrit Rietveld, Utrecht,


Netherlands, 1924, axonometic 01 the second Iloor

169 Private House, project, Theo van Doesburg and


Cornelis van Eesteren, 1923

collective phase of De Stijl and contained echoes of Frank Lloyd inlinitely expanded on all sides. Tellingly, the church builtin 1929
Wright. In his essay "Kunst en machine" (Art and Machine; tor the development was a rigidly rectangular, factory-like box.
1917), Oud denounced "romantic" approaches, describing style Other architects explored ideas similar to those ol-De Stijl.
as the result of two different trends: "the one, the technically Robert van't Hoff was the most literal of the many Dutch archi-
industrial, which one might call the positive trend, aims at the tects who used a vocabulary derived from Frank Lloyd Wright's
aesthetic representation of products of a technical ingenuity. houses, notably in his Henny House in Huis ter Heide (1915-19),
The second, which one might, in comparison, call the negative where he emulated a Prairie House exterior. Wright's hold on
trend (although it is equally positive in its expression!) - i.e., art - the imagination 01 Dutch architects was equally evident in Wils's
aims to arrive at objectivity by reduction (abstraction). The unity design for the De Dubbele Sleutel (The Double Key) Restaurant
of these two trends forms the essence of the new style." -> 8 (1918), where the exterior of the building clearly expressed its
After a series of visually powerful theoretical projects, such as his interior volumes. The sculptural aspects 01 Wils's Papaverhof
seaside apartments of 1917, Oud built several significant hous- Residential Development (1919-22) in The Hague contrasted
ing developments. In the design of the Oud-Mathenesse Garden with the more industrial leanings of Oud's developments.
Suburb in Rotterdam (1922-3) he had to tollow existing design The cabinetmaker Gerrit Rietveld, who had briefly made cop-
guidelines, and his contribution was limited to selecting color ies of Frank Lloyd Wright's furniture for Robert van't Hoff, was
schemes for the doors. Only in the superintendent's house, with involved with De Stijl's activities lrom the beginning. He con-
its vivid colors and orthogonal shapes, was he able to implement ceived lurniture prototypes composed of basic shapes - wood
the ideal of formal balance prescribed by De Stijl. Two years later planes and standard proliles - sliced in ways that visually
Oud's facade for the Café De Unie (1925, bombed 1940) brought extended the volume 01the objects. His most provocative piece
the new aesthetic to the very heart of Rotterdam. frorn this period was the Red and Blue Armchair 011918, which
With his next housing developments, Oud introduced new ele- he later explairíed "was made to the end of showing that a thing
ments - for instance, the treatment of his buildings' exterior walls 01 beauty, e.g., a spatial object, could be made 01 nothing but
simply as skin rather than as load-bearing structures. His Hoek straight, machined materials." -> 9

van Holland Housing Development (1924-7) 170 is the most Rietveld, who rejected the inhibiting patronage 01 Van Doesburg,
Iyrical. Built near the estuary of the Maas River, the develop- gave the most convincing interpretation of De Stijl's longing tor
ment has rounded end-units, and the uniform line of balconies a synthesis of the arts with his Schrbder House (1924) 168,172

reflects Oud's interpretation of Le Corbusier's "reminder" about in Utrecht. Located at the end 01 a row 01 banal brick buildings,
ocean liners. Though the Kiefhoek Development (1925-9) 171 the house plays with vertical and horizontal planes in three
in Rotterdam was lar larger, Oud treated it in a more elemen- dimensions. Individually, the rooms are very small but llow into
tal manner. He abandoned the symmetry still in use in Hoek van each other. Sliding partitions make it possible to modily the floor
Holland, instead aligning the parallel rectangular blocks 01 the plans of the two main levels, which are partly lit by a small sky-
two-story houses as if they formed part of a fabric that could be light. The intersection of planes and linear elements and the

Chapter 11 I Dada, De Stijl, and Mies: lrom subversiveness to elementarism


.c r-I T~
1_'
L.~
--
174 Concrete Office Building, project, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
Berlin, Germany, 1923

175 Otfice Building, FriedrichstraBe competition project, Ludwig Mies van der
Rohe, Berlin, Germany, 1921

173 Brick Country House, project, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Berlin, Germany, 1923

articulation 01 joints and railings make the house's interior "Zur elementaren Gestaltung" (On Elemental Farm-Creatian) in G.
spaces as difficult to grasp from the inside as they are trorn the One 01 the principal supporters 01 and contributors to G was
outside. Walls are no longer the single determining factor 01 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who published his theoretical pro-
space. Actually very compact, the house was not intended to be ject tor a Concrete Office Building 174 in the same issue that
a manilesto tor an aesthetic reinterpretation 01 domestic lunc- carried Van Doesburg's manilesto. It was accompanied by his
tions but rather, according to Rietveld, to create lormal clarity and own manilesto "Bürohaus" (Office Block), a lirst expression 01
intensily the experience 01 space. -> 10 Projects by the Vienna- his theoretical positions, in which he declared that "Architecture
based artist and architect Friederich Kiesler, invited in 1923 to is the spatially apprehended will 01 the epoch," drawing an the
join De Stijl, seem to echo Rietveld's lurniture and to translorm ideas 01 Berlage, the precursor he most admired, and Behrens,
it into broader, more inclusive spatial systems: the Leger- und who had considered architecture the "rhythmic incorporation
Tragersystem, a flexible and independent hanging system lor 01 the spirit 01 the time." -> 13 A lew months later, Van Doesburg
gallery displays, and the Raumbühne, or space stage, were con- invited Mies to participate in the De Stijl exhibiHon at the Galerie
structed at the Ausstellung neuer Theatertechnik (Exhibition 01 de l'Effort moderne.
New Theater Technology) in Vienna in 1924; while the "City in Beginning in 1921, Mies conceived several iconoclastic
Space" appeared at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts projects. In a competition entry lar a glass affice building 175

Oécoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. -> 11 on the FriedrichstraBe in Berlin, he submitted a design lor a
glass prism with a triangular plan. The angular volume con-
Mies van der Rohe's theoretical projects sisted entirely 01 a curtain wall, without base or cornice, which
appeared to extend the glazing 01 the nearby train station
Van Doesburg lorged a close connection between the Nether- over the entirety 01 its 80-meter (260-loot) structure. A radi-
lands and Germany not only through his presence on the door- cal response to New York's Flatiron Building - which the
step 01 the Bauhaus but also through his participation in the Berlin Dadaists had illustrated in their journal - M.ies's project
Congress 01 Revolutionary Artists held in Düsseldorl in 1922. seemed to materialize Allred Stieglitz's phatos 01 Manhattan
There he lounded a short-lived "Constructivist International" constructian sites. Access to the upper Iloors was pravided by
together with Hans Richter and El Lissitzky. -> 12 In July 1923 a central elevatar care, while narrow canyons lined with glass
Richter, Lissitzky, and Werner Gráff who had attended Van allowed light to penetrate to the interior 01 the site. The trans-
Doesburg's lectures at the Bauhaus, published the lirst issue parent lacades revealing stacks 01 offices called to mind a
01 the journal G, subtitled Material zur elementare Gestaltung beehive - a metapharical term Mies used toidentify the build-
(Materials tor Elemental Form-Creation). Its program was to dis- ing in the competition. -> 14 In 1922 he elabarated a secand
seminate images 01 the technological world and to pro pose an version 01 the project in which the angular lacades gave way
architecture based on the Sachlichkeit, or objectivity, 01 con- to a more Iluid and sinuous outline, praised by critics lar its
struction systems. Van Doesburg published his own manilesto "Gothic power." -> 15

Chapter 11 , Dada, De Stijl, and Mies: from subversiveness to elementarism


177 Hermann Lange House, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Krefeld, Germany, 1928-9

176 Monument to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, Ludwig Mies van der
Rohe, Berlin, Germany, 1926, demolished 1935

Alter his Concrete Office project, which was an abstract inter- Country House began to be palpable in this sequence of open
pretation of the palazzo block that Peter Behrens had built ear- rooms resting on a podium and evoking the garden structures
lier for Mannesmann, Mies conceived a concrete "Country of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which Mies admired. Its stone and
House" (1923), about which he would declare, "We know no glass partitions defined a free-flowing space and were clearly
forms, only problems of construction." .• 16 The house extended distinct from the load-bearing steel frame - despite a few invis-
horizontally across the site and reflected Mies's awareness of ible compromises. The dominant element was a wall of golden
Wright's houses. His Brick Country House 173, designed the onyx, intended as a backdrop for the king of Spain's reception
same year, was more provocative. An assemblage of brick ele- by German officials. In this space - unregulated by any axial
ments, the house consisted of orthogonal volumes joined in a system, open to diagonal views, and designed to accommodate
free-flowing continuum. For Mies, this "series of spatial effects" visitors' movements - the only perceptible symmetry was the
was the result of "the wall [Iosing) its enclosing character and horizontal one between floor and ceiling, making the vertical
[serving) only to articulate the house organism." .• 17 space of the pavilion practically reversible ..• 18

Up to this point, Mies's only real commissions were for bour- The promise of a new type of domestic space first glimpsed in
geois houses, for which he employed a traditionalist language. Barcelona was brought to fruition in the house of Fritz and Grete
He was able to impose more radical views upon his clients Tugendhat (1928-30) 178,179 in Brno, Czechoslovakia. Perched
only alter 1925. Initially, he used brick in an aesthetic, expres- on a hill overlooking the city, the house reproduced the fluid floor
sive way, as in the Wolf House in Guben and especially in the plan of the Barcelona Pavilion, but this time areas had well-
" Monument to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (1926) 176 defined purposes, as if the partitions between rooms had been
in Berlin, a sculptural interpretation of a wall evoking the execu- erased once the plan was completed. According to the critic Paul
tion of the two Spartacist leaders. Beginning with his houses for Westheim, Mies conceived the house as "a circulation route lead-
the textile industrialists Hermann Lange (1928-9) 177 and Josef ing from room to room according to [the owners') style of living."
Esters (1928) in Krefeld, his use of brick ceased to be load Westheim continued: "[T)he home must be considered entirely as
bearing. These two opulent hornes, whose facades brought to a kind of business that, like any other business, is based on the
mind the factories of the neighboring Ruhr region, had steel principie of an articulation of various functions. No room should
structures, which made it possible to superimpose very different be isolated and cut off from the others. Even more, continuity
floor plans on two different levels: large rooms to display the between the rooms is to be pursued. The entire space is to be
owners' collections on the ground floor, bedrooms above. arranged organically, according to its envisaged uses." .• 19 As at
Mies soon applied himself to a more radical annihilation Barcelona, the living room, which overlooked the city, was backed
of traditional domestic space. The first building to undergo with an onyx wall. The dining room was defined by a cylindrical
such treatment, the Germany Pavilion at the 1929 Barcelona partition of rosewood. In 1930, thanks to his very public success
International Exposition 163, did not have much of a program in Barcelona, Mies was named director of the Bauhaus in Dessau,
beyond its ceremonial purpose. The latent fluidity of his Brick where he would radically change the pedagogy of architecture.

Chapter 11 I Dada, De Stijl, and Mies: from subversiveness to elementarism


·e
'

T
L" e eco {SCHOS S,

178,179 Tugendhat House, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Brno, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), 1928-30

150 I 151
Architectural
education in
turmoil

World War I had contradictory effects on architectural schools. months. Even though Auguste Perret's atelier at the Palais de
A number of innovations shook them to their very core during Bois was officially associated with the École des Beaux-Arts,
the 1920s, yet in most countries education remained staunchly his students consistently received failing grades in the École's
conservative and the established centers did not relinquish their project reviews and sornetirnes even had to disguise their affil-
privileged position. At the same time, students in the postwar iation with the atelier to have any chance of passing. In 1934
era moved more easily between schools, gravitating to the new André Lurcat set up an autonomous atelier, where the Marxist
polarities represented by pedagogical programs in Germany, art historian Max Raphaél gave a few lectures, but this effort
Russia, and America, in search of learning that conveyed both was also short lived ..• 3

the excitement of modern technologies and the energy of the In the United States, where the teaching of architecture was
radical movements that had appeared in the wake of the war. universally based on the Beaux-Arts model, teachers who had
been trained in Paris but were aware of new trends initiated
The Beaux-Arts and the alternatives attempts at modernization in the early 1920s. Paul Philippe Cret,
who had been a student in Jean-Louis Pascal's atelier at the
At the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the memorial to hun- Beaux-Arts, became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania
dreds of students who had died in the war served as a power- in 1903, adjustinq .Julien-Azals Guadet's doctrine of composi-
fui reminder of the recent bloodbath. After the Allied victory, the tion to modern programs. In 1927 Jean Labatut, one of Victor
school fell back on established routines, 180 and attempts at Laloux's former students, began teaching at the American surn-
renewal that had emerged before the war were shelved ..• 1 mer school in Fontainebleau, France, which had been founded
Nonetheless, the school retained its worldwide prestige for a by his master in 1923. The following year Labatut was hired to
while, and, despite weaker enrollment by students from the teach at Princeton University, where he would remain until the
United States, it continued to attract Latin Americans, including 1960s ..• 4 Another former student of Laloux and an instruc-
the Venezuelan Carlos Raúl Villanueva, and East Europeans like tor at Fontainebleau, Jacques Carlu, started teaching at the
the Romanian Horia Creanqá, A reversal of sorts took place Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1924 and remained
when French graduates, including Marcel Chappey, Robert there as head professor of architecture until 1933. Jean-
Camelot, and Raymond Lopez, received the Delano grants Jacques Haffner, who had been at Harvard since 1922, was
created after the war by the American Institute of Architects to appointed to Carlu's position in 1938.
draw the most brilliant young professionals to North America, Yet by the mid-1920s, the French were beginning to lose their
thus inaugurating a modern grand tour in which Chicago and preeminence in American universities. The 1922 Chicago Tribune
New York replaced Athens and Rome ..• 2 Tower competition brought new design concepts to the atten-
In Paris, all alternatives to the official mode of architectural tia n of academic institutions. Eliel Saarinen, winner of the com-
training failed. The atelier opened by Robert Mallet-Stevens in petition's second prize, was recruited by Emil Lorch to teach
1925 at the École Spéciale d'Architecture 181 closed after a few at the University of Michigan Architecture School in Ann Arbor.

Chapter 12 I Architectural education in turmoil


180 Grand Prix de Rome project, École des Beaux-Arts, Bernard Zehrfuss, 1939

181 Le Corbusier, Robert Mallet-Stevens and Auguste Perret at the


École Spéciale d'Architecture, Paris, France, c. 1939

There he implemented a new curriculum with his Danish ultimate, if distant aim 01 the Bauhaus is the unilied work
colleague, Knud Lonberg-Holm, who had designed, but not 01 art - the great building - in which there is no distinction
submitted, a radically modernist entry to the Tribune Tower between monumental and decorative art." -> 7 Initially this
contest. In 1925 Saarinen designed the campus 01 the Cran- program was steeped in a mystical, Expressionist mood. The
brook Kingswood School (Iater the Cranbrook Academy original faculty consisted primarily of artists: Lyonel Feininger,
of Art), and he became director there in 1932. Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Oskar
Schlemmer. Within a few years László Moholy-Nagy replaced
The Weimar Bauhaus IlIen. The Bauhaus curriculum began with a Vorkurs, an intro-
ductory course developed by Itten dedicated to the explora-
The most intense search lar new educational methods took place tion 01 drawing, color, and materials. It continued in workshops
in Germany, often picking up where prewar efforts had left off. geared to producing designs tor actual clients. Architecture,
Didactic proqrarns were developed in accord with the concep- although not taught as such until 1927, was the ultimate goal
tion 01 architecture as an experimental discipline tor which 01 the curriculum, which aimed ter "mutual planning of exten-
knowledge 01 modern art, psychology, and industry was nec- sive, utopian structural designs - public buildings and build-
essary. Apart Irom art schools like the Kunstschule Debschitz ings íor warship - aimed at the luture." -> 8

in Munich, the Franklurter Kunstschule, the Akademie tür Kunst Europe discovered Gropius's ambitious program at an exhibition
und Kunstgewerbe in Breslau, and the Reimann-Schule in Berlin, held in Weimar in 1923. 183 Its aim was to maintain an ongoing
by lar the most innovative program was launched in Weimar relationship between the school and the public, an objec-
in 1919. -> 5 Five years earlier, the B.elgian Henry van de Velde, tive specilically set out in the 1919 manilesto. An integral part
who had lounded a school there, had resigned under pres- 01 the exhibition, the Haus am Horn, 185 designed by Georg
sure from nationalist attacks. He recommended that it be Muche, provided an idea 01 the Bauhaus's architectural orien-
entrusted to Walter Gropius, August Endell, or Hermann Obrist. tation. Built on a square plan, this experimental house with a
Though the youngest of the three, Gropius was chosen, and it central room suggested a family life without any servants; the
was through his initiative that the Kunstgewerbeschule (Arts and kitchen was treated as a workstation and, with its panoptic
Crafts School) and the Hochschule tür Bildende Kunst (Higher view, a site 01 visual control over the household. Bauhaus stu-
School 01 Fine Arts) were united in April 1919 under the name 01 dents, including Marcel Breuer, lurnished the Haus am Horn's
the Staatliches Bauhaus (State Bauhaus). -> 6 interiors. The exhibit at the Bauhaus, entitled Kunst und Technik
In his lounding program, Gropius described the goal 01 the - eine neue Einheit (Art and Technology: A New Unity), made
new school: "to bring together all creative efforts into one clear the school's new orientation toward industrial produc-
whole, to reunily all the disciplines 01 practical art - sculp- tion, while the projects gathered under the title "Internationale
ture, painting, handicrafts, and the crafts - which are insepa- Architektur" clearly positioned its experiments at the lorelront
rable components 01 a new architecture." He continued, "The of the European avant-garde. -> 9

152 I 153
183 Bauhaus exhibition, Walter Gropius, Weimar, Germany, 1923

182 Staatliches Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, Dessau, Germany, 1925-6

154 I 155
184 Torten Housing Estate, Walter Gropius, Dessau, Germany, 1926-8 185 Haus am Horn, Georg Muche, Weimar, Germany, 1923

The Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin siting 01 buildings became an important component 01 the cur-
riculum. The students built an apartment house in Dessau (1930)
In 1924 the local government in Saxony rejected Gropius's during Meyer's tenure, while the school became increasinqly
program, lorcing him to move the school to a new building in receptive to its director's communist ideas.
Dessau, 182 a manulacturing center closer to Berlin. Opened in Meyer's political activism and his conllict-ridden relationships
1926, the new lacility, which Gropius designed, exemplilied the with many 01 the other Bauhaus Meister (masters) led to his
principies 01 lunctional clarity and modularity now taught in being lired and replaced by Mies van der Rohe in 1930. With
its studios. Each element 01 the pinwheel-plan structure was the support 01 his Iriend Lilly Reich, an interiors architect, Mies
conceived to supply the space and light needed lor its spe- accentuated the shift 01 the Bauhaus toward architecture that
cilic lunctions. The workshops, lor example, had glass rools, had begun under Meyer and strove to make the school more
while the students' living quarters had vertical windows and bal- prolessional. Exercises ceased to be utopian, and students
conies. Gropius al so built houses lor the laculty nearby, pro- locused instead on designing courtyard houses and studying
viding his staft 188 with ample dwellings designed lor artistic the extended urban labrics that interested Hilberseimer. -> 13

work and lor entertaining. -> 10 With the experimental Tbrten In 1932 the municipality 01 Dessau, which had been taken over
Housing Estate (1926-8), 184 commissioned by the municipality by the Nazis, evicted the Bauhaus. Mies reconstituted the school
01 Dessau, the school was able to address architectural ques- as a private institution based in an abandoned lactory in Berlin-
tions at an urban scale. In conceiving these modest modules Steglitz until pressure lrom the Nazis lorced him to close it down
lor working-class tenants in buildings made 01 precast concrete in the summer 01 1933. This triggered a diaspora that would
c.
components, Gropius emulated the automobile assembly line, have lasting effects on schools around the world.
down to his linear organization 01 the construction site. Also
built in Tbrten was a prelabricated Steel House by Muche and The Vkhutemas in Moscow
Richard Paulick, another example 01 the Bauhaus's eftort to
emulate lactory production. -> 11 Though its reverberations were lelt less on an international
In 1928 Gropius stepped down as director and was succeeded scale, an equally signilicant experiment took place in Moscow
by Hannes Meyer. Under the left-wing Swiss architect the teach- during the same years. Like the Bauhaus, it was based on an
ing 01 architecture became more structured. Meyer's lunctionalist impulse to synthesize art and architecture, and therelore on
agenda was encapsulated in a manilesto entitled "bauen" ("to interaction - at least during the initial phase 01 the curriculum
~I'Y"lAnr'1 r"\l'"lj.-IlCI':>, ':>LlUlt-...
JlUI.::l, ClIIU UUIIUGI u. lile; v r'I.IIUlC;1 J r cr o , VI

LlI"" IUIIIIUld. \IUlIlAIUII LIIII""::; ""GUIIUllly! ... UUIIUIII\J 1::; IIULIIIII\J UUL nl\JII""1 MI L dllU I ""GI 11IIGdl OLUUIU::;, 'u16 resulted lrom a merger
organization: social, technical, economic, psychological organi- in 1920 between the School 01 Painting and Sculpture and the
zation." -> 12 Ludwig Hilberseimer began oftering courses in urban Stroganov School 01 Applied Arts. The most original 01 the ini-
planning, and preliminary research on lunctional data and the tial two departments was the Rablak, or Workers' Faculty,

Chapter 12 I Architectural education in turmoil


_ - ------ ------ - -- ------ ------

186 Studio work at Vkhutemas, Moseow, USSR (Russia), 1928

188 ~ Bauhaus stall on the rool at the opening 01 Walter Gropius's Bauhaus building, Dessau,
Germany, 1926. From lelt: Josel Albers, Hinnerk Seheper, Georg Muehe, László Moholy-Nagy,
Herbert Bayer, Joost Sehmidt, Walter Gropius, Mareel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee,
Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stólzl and Oskar Sehlemmer.

187 A studio at the Institut Supérieur des Arts Déeoratils, Abbaye de la Cambre, Brussels, Belgium, 1930

156 I 157
189 Student project at Vkhutemas, Moscow, USSR 190 Lenin Institute, project, Ivan Leonidov, Moscow, 191 Student project, Jean de Maisonseul, Algiers,
(Russia), 1923 USSR (Russia), 1927 Algeria, 1931

which offered accelerated remedial classes to workers with- Dokuchaev, and Krinsky, and the Constructivists, around Vesnin.
out a high school education. At lirst glance the school's toun- Ladovsky was the most active in developing an experimental
dation course appears similar to the Bauhaus's Vorkurs. Its method 01 teaching through his "psychotechnical laboratory,"
students carried out exercises in lour basic disciplines taught in which he perfected a battery 01 tests and techniques derived
by olten ideologically opposed instructors: "graphics," with lrom Hugo Münsterberg's research in applied psychology at
neoclassicist Vladimir Favorsky and Constructivist Alexander Harvard University; his aim was to measure the "psychotech-
Rodchenko; "surface/color," with Alexander Vesnin and Lyubov nic qualities 01 architects" and their ability to perceive lorms
Popova, both also active Constructivists; "volurne," which grad- in space. In 1922-3 students al so began to participate in the
ually became little more than an introduction to sculpture; constantly increasing number 01 architecture competitions tak-
and "s pace:' which was devoted to the study and assembly 01 ing place in Moscow. 189 In 1924-5 all 01 the school's thesis
basic volumes, under the direction 01 Nikolai Ladovsky, Nikolai projects were included in the "New Moscow" plan designed
Dokuchaev, and Vladimir Krinsky, the luture lounders 01 the by Shchusev. Students next turned their attention to new pro-
rationalist group ASNOVA ...• 14 grams lor stadiums, workers' palaces, and communal housing.
Alter one or two years at the school, students were divided Specialization by individual workshops - in residential archi-
among faculties specializing in painting, typography, sculp- tecture, public buildings, urban planning, and so on - began
tu re, textiles, ceramics, wood, metal, and architecture. In 1923 to take shape in 1925. During this phase, the school developed
departments devoted to music and theater were introduced; in projects lor aviation lactories, industrial lacilities, lilm studios,
1924 a department devoted to literature opened. The vertical and apartment and office buildings.
integration 01 individual disciplines was thus more pronounced The projects for skyscrapers that were common belore 1925
than at the Bauhaus, where specialization took place later. were no longer the order 01 the day. Nonetheless, certain thesis
Studio work remained central in laculties such as the Metfak, projects still explored radical hypotheses lor public buildings.
which specialized in metalwork. Inspired by Vladimir Tatlin and Ivan Leonidov designed a Lenin Institute (1927) 190 with a
headed by Rodchenko, it emphasized projects 01 a collective prophetic structure made 01 cables and luturistic electronic
and lunctional nature. The school's more politicized, highly technology; Georgei Krutikov designed a Flying City (1928).
production-oriented students Irequently came into head-on After visiting the Vkhutemas in 1928, Le Corbusier described
conlrontation with colleagues they considered to be either the school in his journal as an "extraordinary demonstration 01
"pure" or decorative artists. Students 01 the Arkhlak, or archi- the modern credo:' adding: "Here a new world is being rebuilt"
tecture studio, were divided into olear-cut camps: the conserva- out 01 a "mystique which gives rise to apure technique." ..•15
tives, under prolessors Ivan Zholtovsky and Alexei Shchusev; the During the 1930s, methods developed in the school's Ioun-
"New Academy," under Ilya Golosov and Konstantin Melnikov; dation course continued to be used, but traditional methods
and the remainder split between two directly competing move- derived lrom the Beaux-Arts were gradually reinstated and the
ments: the "Rationalists," gathered around the trio 01 Ladovsky, school's utopian passions died out.

Chapter 12 I Architectural education in turmoil


192 New Bauhaus, Chicago, lllinois, USA, c. 1938 193 School 01 Architecture,
Liang Ssu Ch'eng, Nanjing, China, c. 1930

Innovative schools in the new and old worlds The most consequential migration was the one that drove
many of the Bauhaus teachers to the United States. A lew
The new schools in Europe at times lavo red conllicting American students had attended the Bauhaus in Berlin, .• 17
approaches. In 1927 Henry van de Velde lounded the Institut but the German experience did not bear fruit in American
Supérieur des Arts Décoratils at the Abbaye de la Cambre schools until the wave 01 emigration provoked by Nazism in
in Brussels, 187 which he would head until 1936, recruiting the 1930s. Seven years alter a lirst exhibition organized at
the modern architects Huib Hoste and Victor Bourgeois and the Chicago Art Club, an exhibition at the Museum 01 Modern
the urban planner Louis Van der Swaelmen. In Italy a national Art in 1938, Bauhaus 1918-1928, lirmly established the ver-
relorm led to the creation in 1924 01 independent architecture sion 01 the school's history propagated by its founder ..• 18

laculties in the academies 01 line art, but these remained solidly Gropius had been recruited by Harvard as chair 01 the archi-
under the control 01 conservative architects. In Turkey, Bruno tecture department two years earlier and tasked by the school's
Taut, whe resettled there alter an initial exile in Japan, taught dean, Joseph Hudnut, with the revision 01 the design curricu-
lrom 1936 until his death in 1938 at the Istanbul Academy 01 lum. Under Gropius the school de-emphasized the teaching 01
Fine Arts, where he pursued the relorm 01 the school's curricu- architectural history and locused on analytical and collective
lum begun by the Austrian Ernst Egli. approaches to design as well as on the modernization 01 studio
The 1930s were characterized by the establishment 01 a grow- programs. In 1938 Mies van der Rohe was hired to head the
ing number 01 architecture schools outside Europe. Modest architecture program at the Armour Institute 01 Chicago, which
ateliers were opened in connection with the School 01 Fine two years later merged with the Lewis Institute to become the
Arts in Algiers by Léon Claro, 191 and in Casablanca by Marius IIlinois Institute 01 Technology ..• 19 Other Bauhaus Meister
Boyer. The Beaux-Arts model, diffracted through the prism also took up places in new institutions. Josel Albers headed
01 Paul Philippe Cret's teaching, served as the loundation for the program at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, while
Chinese schools. The lirst 01 these, largely inspired by the László Moholy-Nagy lounded the New Bauhaus, later renamed
Japanese, was lounded in Suzhou in 1923, then taken over by the Institute of Design, in Chicago. 192 In 1933 Richard Paulick,
the Central University in Nanjing 193 tour years later and staffed who had been an assistant to Gropius in Dessau, landed in
with professors who had studied with Cret at the University Shanghai, where he worked as an urban planner and taught
of Pennsylvania. The lollowing year a school was opened in at the university from 1940 to 1949 ..• 20 In a single decade the
Mukden (Shenyang) by Liang Ssu Ch'eng, another lormer stu- scattering 01 Beaux-Arts alumni around the world had been
dent 01 Cret. .• 16 In Rio de Janeiro, Le Corbusier's 1929 lectures largely superseded by the diaspora 01 the Bauhaus.
so inspired Lucio Costa that he was moved to modernize the
curriculum 01 a school that had been lounded by the French
in the early nineteenth century.

160 I 161
Architecture
and revolution
in Russia

During the lifteen years between the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution councils known as "soviets" changed the circumstances tor
and Joseph Stalin's 1932 campaign to consolidate intellectual those who remained - including architects graduating trorn the
and artistic organizations under strict party rule, Russia was a new schools. The launch 01 a monumental propaganda plan
laboratary lar an astonishing range 01 urban and architectural in 1918 stimulated designs lor the ephemeral translormation
invention. Priar to 1914 the Czarist empire had kept up to date 01 streets and squares as part 01 the celebration 01 the revolu-
with translormations in European architectural culture, and cer- tion and May Day. Initially limited to a display 01 banners and
tain 01 the empire's territories, such as Finland and the Baltic the erection 01 isolated sculptures, these spectacles eventu-
states, had developed their own innovative architecture. Western ally transligured vast public spaces such as Palace Square in
theories were studied with great attention: John Ruskin's works Petrograd and provided a glimpse 01 how an "emancipated"
were popular, and Russian readers had access to translations 01 workers' city might look. The most ambitious 01 these projects
books by Auguste Choisy and Heinrich Wblfflin. But develop- was artist Vladimir Tatlin's Monument to the Third International
ments in Russia's own architecture had been glimpsed outside (1919), 194 which explicitly competed with the Eiffel Tower
its borders only at world's fairs such as the 1900 Paris expo- through its projecled height 01 400 meters (1,312 leet) and steel
sition and, especially, the 1901 fair in Glasgow, where Fyodor skeleton. Built 01 "steel, glass, and revolution," in the words 01
Shekhtel's Russia Pavilion made a strong impression. the critic Nikolai Punin, the tower was designed to hold within
Belore 1914, the experiments 01 architects like Shekhtel operating its spiraling Iramework a cube, a pyramid, a cylinder, and a
under the "modern" banner had developed contemporaneously hall-sphere whose rotation was intended to represent the Ire-
with research on tensile-steel structures undertaken by the civil quency 01 meetings 01 Ihe Communisl lnternational's various
engineer Vladimir Shukhov and the tirst use 01 reinlorced con- sleering committees. -> 2

crete by Russian builders. -> 1 But the social relorms that had Until 1920, conllicts between the Red and White armies led to
come to the lore in Western Europe had been only marginally widespread destruction, which was intensilied by Bolshevik
implemented lollowing the revolution 01 1905, and the compre- campaigns against the Russian Orthodox Church. During
hensive plans that had stimulated the creation 01 new building these uncertain years belore the Reds' power was consoli-
types in Germany and larther west were lacking, largely owing dated, Sinskulptarkh, a group dedicated to the synthesis 01
to the weakness 01 municipal governments. sculpture and architecture (which became the Zhivskulptarkh
once painters joined its ranks), tried to promote cooperation
The shock of revolution between various disciplines. They warked logether on theoreti-
cal schemes lor "people's houses" like those built in Weslern
The effects 01 the October 1917 revolution were as immediate Europe belore 1914, lar communal houses, 196 and lar "temples
as they were manilold. The civil war and then the Bolshevik 01 Iriendship" that paralleled the utopian programs 01 German
repression sent thousands 01 prolessionals into exile, while Expressionism. Nikolai Ladovsky and Vladimir Krinsky, who
the nationalization 01 land and the rise to power 01 new local designed Ihe most evocative 01 these projects, also helped

Chapter 13 1 Architecture and revolution in Russia


194 Monument to the Third International, project, Vladimir Tatlin, Petrograd (Saint Petersburg), Russia, 1919

162 I 163
f-n.~'7-t' df_¿
1IAI_....,yA .•....í_ 9-,,-----.....
,

196 Communal House, project, Nikolai Ladovski, 1920 197 Obmokhu (Society 01 Young Artists) exhibition, Moscow, Russia, 1921

195 Komintern Radio Tower, Vladimir Shukhov, Moscow, Russia, 1922

transform pre-revolutionary art schools into the Vkhutemas. and a few mavericks regularly participated. Several architects
Concurrent discussions within the state-supported Inkhuk who had had successful careers before 1914 - such as Ivan
(Institute of Artistic Culture), where creative methods grounded Fomin, a Saint Petersburg neoclassicist; Zholtovsky, a Moscow
in construction and inspired by engineering were opposed to neo-Palladian; and Alexei Shchusev, an opportunist who in
those based on artistic "composition" and anchored in aca- 1923 reconstituted the MAO (Society 01 Moscow Architects) -
demic tradition, clearly revealed the differences separating continued to receive significant commissions. Two groups were
ladovsky and Krinsky from the supporters of Constructivism. lormed in reaction to this old guardo The ASNOVA (Association
The former aspired to create dynamic forms but were uninter- of New Architects) 198 included Ladovsky, Krinsky, Dokuchaev,
ested in their relationship with materials, while the latter insisted and, for a time, El Lissitzky. 200 This group was very influential
on adapting the model of engineering design to the sphere of among young pea pie. It stood lar strong tectonic expression
art and architecture. The Constructivists exhibited sculptures 01 the building's structure and visual exaltation of its tunc-
made out of metal and inspired by engineering structures at the tion. The second group, whose members were Constructivists,
Obmokhu (Society of Young Artists) exhibition 197 in 1921. was lormally launched with the creation 01 the OSA (Un ion 01
Already a teacher at the Vkhutemas, the artist Alexander Contemporary Architects) in 1925. It was no coincidence that
Rodchenko played a crucial role in these formative stages. -> 3 neither group's name included the term "modern," which had
In 1920 the Bolsheviks launched the GOELRO plan (named been discredited by its association with the Russian version
for the State Comission for the Electrilication of Russia) to of Art Nouveau. Chaired by Alexander Vesnin, the OSA was
build a network of power plants, and embarked on their New largely run by Moisei Ginzburg, whose book-manifesto Sti/ i
Economic Policy (NEP), which loosened restrictions on com- Epokha (Style and Epoch; 1924) echoed Le Corbusier's theo-
merce. New types of architectural commissions - including Iac- ries by suggesting that a new design method should be based
tories, workers' housing, and electric power plants such as Ivan on the study 01 machines and the application of their systems
Zholtovsky's MOGES - were generated by needs related to this to architecture. -> 4 The periodical Sovremennaia Arkhitektura
national electrification plan. There was also demand for more (Contemporary [i.e., Modern] Architecture), or SA, published
office buildings in connection with revived business activity and under Ginzburg's direction lrom 1926 to 1930, presented OSA's
new trading cornpánies such as Arcos and Mosselprom. Local new projects, as well as numerous Western examples, in a radi-
soviets and social-action groups created within various compa- cally new graphic formo -> 5

nies initiated projects to build housing and create workers' clubs. Independent architects such as Ilya Golosov, a proponent 01 a
colorlul, lormally striking architecture, and especially Konstantin
A profession renewed Melnikov rase to prominence through competitions. Melnikov
created a sensation with his Makhorka Tobacco Pavilion at the
Architecture in the USSR was shaped by constant competi- Agricultural Exhibition held in Moscow in 1923 and, two years
tions in which members of different professional associations later, with the pavilion he designed to represent the USSR at

164 I 165
198 Izvestia ASNO VA (News 01 the 199 USSR Pavilion, Konstantin 200 Skyhook, project, El Lissitzky, Moscow, USSR (Russia), 1925
Association 01 New Architects), layout Melnikov, Paris, France, 1925
by El Lissitzky, 1926 201 Zuev Workers' Club, lIya Golosov, Moscow, USSR (Russia), 1928

202 ~ Rusakov Workers' Club, Konstantin Melnikov, Moscow,


USSR (Russia), 1927-9

the Exposition Internationale des Arts Oécoratits et Industrie/s used their income to provide social services and housing
Modernes. 199 Composed of two glazed triangular volumes for their labor forces, as in the Armenikend neighborhood by .
bisected diagonally by a staircase, it was the most conspicu- Alexander Ivanitsky in Baku (1925-8). A fully equipped model
ous structure at the Paris exhibition ...• 6 It revealed to the West district of collective housing was established in Leningrad
the existence of a new Russian architecture, which was further near the Putilov Factory; the schools, communal kitchens, and
confirmed by the presentation elsewhere at the fair of over one workers' clubs around Alexander Gegello's housing on Tractor
hundred projects conceived in the USSR since 1920. Street (1925-7) formed something like a small autonomous city
The commissions emanating from the new regime's institutions centered on the collective workforce ...• 7
began to generate buildings. Among them was Grigory Barkhin's
design for new headquarters for Izvestia, the Moscow daily news- The "social condensers"
paper, which reached back to classical architecture for its large
metope-like oculi. Alexander Vesnin and his brothers Leonid In the second half of the 1920s, neighborhoods multiplied
and Victor failed to realize their 1924 project for the Moscow according to the model of collectivized life - in strong distinc-
office of Pravda , a cage inspired by the metal chassis of the tion to their counterparts in Germany and Austria. Each Soviet
newspaper's printing presses, which was to have functioned building type was subjected to elaborate and specific research.
as a base for billboards, megaphones, and projectors inscrib- In order to transform the population's daily habits as quickly as
ing slogans on the clouds. But the three brothers did succeed possible, buildings became what the Constructivists referred
in building the Mostorg Department Store (1927-9), which was to as "social condensers,' which were meant to accelerate
wrapped in a glass facade, as was Boris Velikovsky's Gostorg changes in the everyday life of the working class. An unacknowl-
Office Building (1926). In addition to newly built traditional edged successor to the pre-1914 "people's houses,' the work-
apartment buildings, many new types of complexes sprang up, ers' club became the principal place of acculturation and the
including Shchusev and Nikolai Markovnikov's Sokol Garden site where the confrontation between different architectural ideas
Suburb, inspired by the planning of Raymond Unwin. There proved most fruitful. The clubs retained the auditoriums, res-
were also workers' housing blocks on Usacheva Street and taurants, and sometimes the athletic equipment of the people's
in the Shabolovka area, which Nikolai Travin erected near the houses, but libraries were given more prominence, with a strong
Komintern Radio Tower (1922). 195 The latter, a lattice of stacked- emphasis on literacy campaigns. Above all, the buildings them-
up hyperboloids designed by Shukhov, seemed to be the real selves were meant to serve as a new and more enduring form
materialization of Tatlin's tower. Shukhov was also responsible of monumental propaganda. The Zuev Workers' Club, 201 built
for the roof structure of two bus depots built by Melnikov. by Golosov in Moscow, pivots expressively on a glass cylin-
Workers, the "victors" of the revolution, were at the heart of der that houses a staircase connecting the different parts of the
the new urban policies. Prosperous companies such as the building. Located at the intersection of two streets, it appears as
Ivanovo textile milis, Sverdlovsk steelworks, and Baku oil firms the hinge of the whole block.

Chapter 13 I Architecture and revolution in Russia


203 Burevestnik Workers' Club, Konstantin Melnikov, Moscow,
USSR (Russia), 1927-9

204 Narkomfin Communal House, Moisei


Ginzburg and Ignati Milinis, Moscow, USSR
(Russia), 1928-30

The five clubs in Moscow that Melnikov built practically simul- House, 204 was carried out under the aegis of Nikolai Miliutin,
taneously in 1927-9 were a testament both to this architect's head of the People's Commissariat for Finance. A veteran
inexhaustible imagination and to the potential of a building Bolshevik who had studied architecture, Miliutin commissioned
type that was in a perpetual state of experimentation. The three Ginzburg and Ignati Milinis to design a project to house his
balconies of the theater of the Rusakov Workers' Club 202 canti- employees in the heart of Moscow. Using a vocabulary explic-
lever over the street, while inside the seats face a stage wedged itly taken from Le Corbusier - pilotis, ribbon windows, and roof
into a triangular plan. The Burevestnik Workers' Club 203 terraces - the project combined a glazed unit for communal
was remarkable for its large convertible theater and flanking services with a long housing block. Most of the living quarters
tower, with a floor plan in the shape of a flower. Between the were two- or three-Ievel "cells" whose spatial complexity com-
Kauchuk Workers' Club, a rather static vertical cylinder, and pensated somewhat for their cramped dimensions. Described
the Svoboda Workers' Club, a horizontal cylinder with mobile as a "transition" between traditional apartments, which had now
walls, Melnikov's forms evolved from an almost conventional all become "domestic communes" shared by several tenants,
monumentality to a search for kineticism, an approach he had and a new, still undefined form of totally collectivized dwelling,
pursued in his proposal for the Pravda Building competition the building was remarkable for its precise design and care-
in 1924 and would further develop in his project for a theater fui execution. -> 8 Ginzburg followed it with another such build-
with a rotating stage in 1931. ing in Sverdlovsk, 206 while Mikhail Barshch and Alexander
The second type of "social condenser" was the "communal Pasternak built a more compact communal house in Moscow.
house," a residential complex with integrated services that was AII these buildings were based on the model dwelling schemes
a direct descendant of the phalanstery, a utopian community developed by Stroikom, or the State Building Committee of the
inspired by the early socialist Charles Fourier in nineteenth- Russian Republic, which carried out studies on how to reduce
century France. Like the "garden city," the "communal house" the size of rooms and integrate services based on German
was more a slogan than a well-defined concept. The term was and American examples. But radical projects such as Ivan
used to describe a wide variety of installations, from the barely Nikolaev's dormitory for students at the Moscow Textile Institute
equipped dormitory recalling the dreariest workers' residences and the extremist ideas of young Constructivists such as Sergei
of the pre-1914 period to Moscow apartment buildings with Kuzmin, who insisted that life be regulated down to the minute,
standards that seem almost luxurious given the difficult condi- quickly discredited the very idea of the communal house.
tions during the NEP. In the second half of the 1920s, full-scale Moscow also became the site of residential buildings with less
experiments were carried out in an attempt to "reconstruct" ambitious ideological programs but powerful monumental pres-
everyday life through the collectivization of food services and ence. These included the Dynamo Building by Fomin (1928-9),
reduction in the size of apartments; the provision of new, shared which explored the potential of a "proletarian Doric," and the
facilities was intended to offset the small living unit. The most House on the Embankment by Boris lofan (1930), a huge apart-
productive of these experiments, the Narkomfin Communal ment block built on the Moskva River across from the Kremlin.

Chapter 13 I Architecture and revolution in Russia


205 Melnikov House, Konstantin Melnikov, Moscow,
..JSSR (Russia), 1927-9

206 Communal House, Moisei Ginzburg, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), USSR (Russia), 1930

"he private house that Melnikov built lor himsell 205 with the The disurbanist model 01 a territory dol1ed with individual
=ees he earned Irom his workers' clubs commissions remains houses reached by automobiles was impracticable in the USSR
nique, as individual residences were unauthorized: it consists 01 the time. In 1931 the Communist Party called to account
01 two interlocking cylindrical towers with stuccoed brick walls the "irresponsible" architects who had proposed such plans,
and lozenge-shaped windows that are reminiscent 01 peasant decreeing the "socialist reconstruction" 01 existing cities. This
ouses and the towers of Russian fortresses. policy would be carried out with the participation of hundreds
01 architects and engineers lrom Germany, who had been led
Polemics and rivalries to emigrate either by the economic crisis in Germany, as was
the case with Ernst May, or by an al1raction to the USSR's rev-
Nith the launch 01 the USSR's lirst Five Year Plan in 1927, the olutionary ideals, as with Hannes Meyer. From 1930 to 1935
forced march toward industrialization spurred the construc- these loreigners designed most 01 the new neighborhoods and
ion 01 thousands ollactories and hundreds 01 new cities. The delined the standards that would be applied to Soviet planning
assistance 01 Western architects was solicited. Thus Erich and housing lor decades to come.
endelsohn builtthe Krasnoe Znamia (Red Banner) Textile The 1931 decision in favor 01 socialist urban planning was
Factory in Leningrad in 1926-8, and in the period leading up made at a time when disagreements between ASNOVA and
01932 Albert Kahn's lirm built several hundred lactories with OSA - which had steadily escalated through the 1920s - had
components shipped Irom the United States. The brutal indus- become particularly bitter, with young architects who delined
rialization and collectivization 01 rural areas raised the ques- themselves as "proletarians" politicizing the architectural dis-
ion 01 what lorm the country's urban planning should take. In course. The competing lactions radicalized their positions, and
1929 and 1930 those who supported the creation 01 a dense campaigns targeted several architects. Leonidov, lor one, was
network 01 medium-sized cities - the "urbanists" - laced 011 harshly criticized tor the "lack 01 realism" 01 his glass prísrns,
against the "disurbanists," who sprang Irom the OSA and were while Melnikov was taken to task lor his relentless individualism.
proponents 01 a radical decentralization leading to the total The work 01the Leningrad architect lakov Chernikhov, whose
eradication 01 cities. Formulated on the occasion 01 compe- boundless visual imagination took shape in unbuildable "archi-
titions held in 1929 lor a "green city" near Moscow and in tectural lantasies" 207 based on machine torrns, lurther contrib-
1930 lor the plan 01 the industrial city 01 Magnitogorsk, the uted to the characterization 01 the Constructivists as complete
dis-urbanist position - as theorized by the sociologist Mikhail utopians ..• 10
Okhitovich - may be understood as a sell-critical reaction
to the communal house projects they had previously sup- The Palace of the Soviets competition
ported ..• 9 Miliutin proposed a third option: the "linear city," 208
based on the late nineteenth-century concept 01 the Spanish The project ter a Palace 01 the Soviets, intended to symbolize
planner Soria y Mata. the return 01the Russian capital to Moscow alter two centuries

170 I 171
207 Architectural Fantasy, lakov Chernikhov, 1931

and the establishment 01 a new proletarian state, served as a The competition coincided with a 1932 decision by the
pretext tor the Communist Party - which up till then had cau- Communist Party regarding the "reorganization 01 literary and
tiously avoided taking sides in the rival currents 01 revolution- artistic unions." AII existing groups were dissolved - to the
ary fervor - to lormulate an oflicial position on architecture. reliel 01 some - and architects were invited to join a central-
An initial competition lor a Palace 01 Labor had been held in ized union. Projects already underway were carried through
1923. Though the Vesnin brothers' proposal lor a composition in aclimate that remained pluralistic lor a lew more years. But
01 volumes leaturing allusions to Auguste Perret made the big- the decision in the Palace 01 the Soviets competition set a new
gest impact, Noa Trotsky won that competition with a neo- direction ter public architecture, which soon became the only
Byzantine project that was soon abandoned. option available, moving it in the direction 01 historicist mon-
In 1931 an ambitious international competition, launched as umentality. While the Vesnin brothers were still able to real-
01 those tor the Tribune Building in Chicago
il in emulation ize their Palace 01 Culture lor the ZIL Automobile Factory in
and the League 01 Nations in Geneva, called ter a project Moscow 209 unhampered - without doubt the largest work-
to be built on a site along the Moskva River across Irom the ers' club ever built - Le Corbusier was able to linish his
Kremlin. Alter a lirst round restricted to Soviet teams, notable Centrosoyuz Building in 1936 only in the lace 01 violent attacks
Western architects, including Gropius, Poelzig, Perret, and Le on its radical modernity. The trends 01 the 1920s, beginning
Corbusier, were invited to submit proposals so as to give the with Constructivism, were now rejected and their most radical
proceedings a veneer 01 impartiality and openness. "Workers' proponents marginalized, as was the case with Leonidov, or
collectives" were also asked to contribute their own naive killed, as with Okhitovich, who died in a Gulag camp in 1937.
designs. In early 1932, three 01 the 272 projects received were Stigmatized lor his impenitent idiosyncratic gestures, Melnikov
selected: those by Zholtovsky, lolan, 210 and an unknown was lorced into retirement at the age 01 lilty. -> 12

young American named Hector Hamilton. Alter another round,


lolan was awarded the commission, with Vladimir Shchuko
and Vladimir Gellreikh named as his collaborators. lolan's ini-
tial project combined the requested 15,000- and 5,000-seat
auditoriums with a statue 01 Vladimir Lenin standing on a tall
base. Directly intervening in the design process, Stalin made
many architectural "suggestions." -> 11 One 01 them resulted in
the statue being placed atop one 01 the auditoriums, thereby
making the project virtually unbuildable, as was inevitably
recognized in the late 1940s.

Chapter 13 [ Architecture and revolution in Russia


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8 Linear City, project, Nikolai Miliutin, Nizhny Novgorod, USSR (Russia), 1930

210 ~ Palace 01 Soviets, project, Boris lolan, 1931-4

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209 Palace 01 Culture lar the ZIL Automobile Factory, Alexander Vesnin, Leonid Vesnin and Viktor Vesnin, Moscow, USSR (Russia), 1931-6

172 I 173
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Chapter 13 I Architecture and revolution in Russia


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174 I 175

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