ARC132H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Adolf Loos, Panopticon, Commuter Town

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5 Feb 2013

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Lecture 10 Architecture as Utopia I: House / Housing
- Recall module 2: tectonics, transparency, ornament, machine aesthetics
o Rhetoric of functionalism = myth in ARC
o Mod. ARC = complex, sophisticated endeavour
o Reyner Banham idea of machine aesthetics (promoted by ARC of mod. movement) =
JUST aesthetics
Most mod. buildings LOOK like machines, but DON‟T WORK like machines
- Social projects of mod. ARC
o ARC can be used to change society for the better
- * Utopia - an imaginary and indefinitely remote place; a place of ideal perfection
- * Dystopia an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives
o Used to describe metropolis
o Mod. ARC tried to make ideal society in which social relations = more harmonious
BUT created dystopia (inequality + control)
o Modernist projects to improve life of lower-income groups
Created dystopia
- The Separate World of Pruitt-Igoe
- Tension btwn mod. architects to make dreams + nightmares
- Le Corbusier, Unite d’Habitation, Marseille, 1947-52 vs. Yamasaki, Pruitt-Igoe, St. Louis,
1955, destroyed in 1972
o Housing (great # of units being accommodated in one complex) + Houses (single unit)
Richard Boyle, Chiswick House, Middlesex, England, begun 1725
o To go from oneroom to next, need to pass thru all rooms
Robert Kerr, Bearwood, 1864
o Emergence of corridors new sensibility of privacy
Rooms = lined up accessed by corridor
Type a particular spatial arrangement
- * Robin Evans, ―Figures, Doors, and Passages‖, 1978
o ―If anything is described by an architectural plan, it is the nature of human
relationships, since the elements whose trace it recordswalls, doors, windows
and stairsare employed first to divide and then selectively re-unite inhabited
o Assumption:
Social relations (interactions btwn ppl) in houses = inscribed into plan read
plan + conclude life of inhabitants = living (mod. assumption)
Argument can change social relations by changing spatial arrangement
o Assumption since enlightenment
- 2 houses:
o 1) Adolf Loos, Mueller House, Prague, 1930 vs. 2) Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye, 1928
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o Ornaments migrated into materials material‟s richness for Le Corbusier: ornaments
migrated into white wall
o Both houses make inhabitants move + live in particular ways (by virtue of plans)
1) more introverted life
2) forces inhabitants to move thru layers
o changing plan/section can change lives of ppl living there
Most utopian aspect of ARC attempts to change society for the better
Most dystopian aspect of ARC instrument of control
- * Le Corbusier, Towards an Architecture, 1923
o Architecture or Revolution
Revolution can be avoided
If use ARC as tool to help + improve society, revolutions can be avoided
1) Chaux Saltworks by Ledoux
- Utopian aspect has always coexisted w/ dystopian aspect
- * Ledoux, Royal Saltworks of Chaux, original commission 1771, built between 1774-78
o Ledoux
Worked in old regime
Interested in idea of character building should always reflect inhabitant‟s
o Ledoux tried to ease present tensions in manufacturing complex (on eve of revolution)
thru ARC
Understood project as part of global network (of commodities, labour + capital)
o Housing of complex arranged according to skill of workers
o Plan:
Left no clear geometry (represents spatial + social order of complex)
Right clear geometry
Buildings = self-sufficient
Center of plan: church changed to director‟s house
Desire to reform society thru form by imposing geometry on typology that =
o Ledoux looking for ARC‟cal order geological order
o Director‟s house peculiar order
Desire to create order closer to origins of Earth
o Ledoux rearranged living quarters of workers
Streamlined it, spatial logic, communal space, improved living conditions
o Argument:
On one hand architect takes active role in imposing form upon a type of spatial
arrangement + having an active hand in improving worker‟s living conditions
easing tension btwn workers + director
Other hand complex = like panopticon (prison) (* Jeremy Bentham, The
Penitentiary Panopticon, section, elevation, and half-plan, 1791)
Panopticon: based on (internalized) discipline + control, etc. @ center of
Ideal city + social order
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