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Lecture 7

ARC132H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Le Corbusier, Retractable Roof, Piloti

Architecture Studies
Course Code
Zeynep Celik

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Lecture 7 – Architecture as Space III: Ornament
Tectonics – ARC transfers its load to ground --> structure (ex: TD Bank)
Transparency - SANAA, Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA, 2006
modernism --> modern ARC clear about its tectonics, structure --> has transparency + self-evidence
of structure, program, use, spatial organization, etc --> get what you see
corollary argument about transparency
modernism in ARC comments on what = right + wrong
moralizing rhetoric about modern ARC
modern ARC = about deep space + not just about surface
concept of space didn't exist in ARC until recently
architects didn't explicitly talk about space --> talked about building in terms of order,
harmony, proportion, etc
@ end of 19th C, conflict of space became objective term in ARC discourses -->
came with moralizing attitude that space = more important than surface
b/c of its clarity, transparency, legibility, self-evidence, modern ARC --> functionalism
utopian aspect of modern ARC – claims to be bettering society
BUT also controlling desire by architect --> architect wants to tell inhabitants what to do
* Functionalism – the claim that the design of an object should be determined by its function
rather than by aesthetic considerations, and that anything practically designed will be inherently
Structure Program Use Spatial Organization, etc
Functional ARC
Function comes first and beauty after
Claim comes from (early 20th C) historians, critics, etc writing about modern movement (also
criticisms in late 20th C)
Which chair is more functional?
Chair, late 19th C
intricate carvings
Marcel Breuer, Wassily Chair, 1925
Breuer taught @ Bauhaus
Wassily Chair designed with steel
less ornamental
promoting good posture (not functionally)
skeleton of chair, only has necessary parts
complicated frame
mass production of object = important
NB – no clear what function is
idea of function not simple
ornaments – anything falling out of rhetoric of functionality in modern ARC – i.e., anything that is
unnecessary (any excess)
no functional explanation why Breuer bent angles in chair
modernism: function before beauty --> doesn't really hold
Wassily chair = functional design
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* Tectonics
How does a building stand up? Vs. How does a building APPEAR to stand up?
How does it come together? Vs. How does it APPEAR to come together?
What is its structural logic? Vs. How does it EXPRESS its structural logic?
ACTUAL structure – APPARENT structure
How structure IS – How structure APPEARS
* Fiction of Function Being – Appearance
Claim that objects before modernism aren’t functional compared to modern objects
* Mies van der Rohe, Seagram Building, New York City, 1958
* Herzog and de Meuron, Beijing Olympic Stadium, Beijing, China, 2008
look @ sections of plan
concave (top section on slide), convex (bottom section)
2 separate, but interconnected structures
inside = bowl made of reinforced concrete
outside structure made of steel mesh
programs in between 2 structures
building initially supposed to have retractable roof --> too chere
structure --> “bird's nest”
structure of building = most necessary part of building --> tectonics (in structure) = how load of
building = carried/transported + how architects choose to express structure
bowl + steel mesh --> need to pay attention to tell them apart (need models)
steel lattice + ghost structure inside
tries to look light --> ~ weightless
light effects --> structure appears to be disappearing
produces ephemeral, atmospheric effects --> material effects to immaterial effects
building inspired by Chinese pottery
no discernible pattern, no grid
pattern may look random, but is symmetrical
building = simultaneously what modern ARC says it's doing, but also negating logic
no pursuit of clarity, legibility, transparency, self-evidence, etc
going for ambiguity
H +dM buildings – erotic allure of their buildings due to their ambiguity (selon Kitness) --> structure +
ornaments presented as straightforward things in modern ARC
idea of function + ornament = on sliding scale
* Adolf Loos, Ornament and Crime, 1908
Ornament was wasteful, it put a burden on the national economy
Ornament didn’t fit into Loos’s scheme of cultural evolution, it was what the primitive and the
barbarians did
Wasn’t okay for modern man to have tattoos on body, but okay for barbarians from distant land
what is okay for barbarians, not okay for modern man
What is appropriate for one culture, not okay in another
Sometimes most modern is identified with most ancient (primitive/babaric)
Ornament added nothing to the use value
Drawing distinction between exchange and use value
Use value – value getting out of using object
Exchange value – value object finds most in market
Loos says: most ornamental things are expensive
Le Corbusier says: least ornamental things are expensive
Ornament was not hygienic
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