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Lecture 6

ARC132H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Species Ii, Le Corbusier, Lever House

Architecture Studies
Course Code
Zeynep Celik

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Lecture 6 – Architecture as Species II: Transparency
space as a concept existed in late 19th C
discussed by architects – the void, air, instead of walls + windows, etc that make space
displaced thought on orders, proportions, harmony
NB – tectonics <=> “structure”
transparency --> modern ARC: all about glass
claims that modern ARC = without ornaments --> modern ARC = elimination of ornaments
claims made by representatives of modern movement – ornaments aren't used anymore (claims
made in 1920s, 30s, 40s)
Giedion (secretary of CIAM) + Colin Rowe (influential in America after war) --> influential figures in
modern movement
Recall: discussion of tectonics
* Mies van der Rohe, Dominion Centre, Toronto, 1967-69
despite simplicity --> building conforms to grid structure --> building = complexity
ARC of modern movement claims that it = always about visibility, legibility, self-evidence about Mies
buildings --> were transparent in literal + figurative sense
Mies, IIT Crown Hall, Chicago, USA, 1956 --> model conforms to orthogonal logic --> what you see =
what you get
despite legibility + visibility of structural system of Mies buildings --> structure itself = hidden
* Mies van der Rohe, Seagram Building, New York City, 1958
Mies buildings --> structure = hidden
ex: eyebeam - @ facades of building to make structure appearance
structure = hidden inside column
* Tectonics - strange tension in modern movement between:
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
modern architects still concerned with how things look
glass house
ideal transparency in modern ARC that forces inhabitants of ARC to moral rectitude
transparency not only about glass (although significant material) (in modern ARC)
also about legibility, clarity, visibility, implications of moral truthfulness
enforces inhabitants to adapt certain behaviours
*SANAA (Japanese firm), Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA, 2006
involves collection of glass objects
Toledo – once important centre of glass manufacture
building = very transparent
literally glass box situated in park beside 19th C Beaux-Arts style museum (Pavilion of museum) and

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built to house 5000 glass artifacts
plan of building (walls = thin + looks like bubble diagram):
has no thickness --> only simple line
glass walls represented as thin lines
looks like bubble diagram
corners of space = rounded
logic: orthogonal (can tell where columns are)
spaces in rooms (making up plan) conform + depart from orthogonal logic
circulation = snake-like
workshops where glass = manufactured on site
plan determined by program --> program – what = supposed to take place in building
program of building
* Poche – The method or result of representing the solid part of a building (as a wall, etc.) by
a darkened area on an architectural plan
white spaces of building of where to occupy; distinction between interior + exterior spaces
elaborate pattern of poche in building
poche: found in void in panels of glass
* Philip Johnson, Glass House, New Canaan, CT, 1949
clear distinction between what's exterior + interior space
poche logic = inverted
volume has envelope of glass around it
only solid mass: toilet
Toledo museum ~ Beaux-Arts poche, where deep pockets between occupiable spaces = void (not solid)
glass box: volume = always enveloped with surface of glass
interior vs. exterior
solid vs. void
transparency vs. opaque
*SANAA (Japanese firm), Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA, 2006
placement of glass boxes inside large glass boxes
technical explanation:
layers of glass walls provide elaborate heating + cooling system
building has 3 zones:
hot zone – glass = manufactured --> heat recovered = used elsewhere
gallery – specific temperatures for artifacts --> cool air from galleries = recovered -->
used to cool glass production zone
buffer zones (between different layers of glass panels) = thermal --> heated + cooled to
avoid condensation on panels
material (glass movement): Germany --> China --> USA
2 curved pieces of glass --> thermal void between them
curtains: monitor + control amount of light entering building
sections – slicing building --> like x-ray
elevation – how you view faces of building from a distance
architects interested in exploring sections
observe how spaces work
*SANAA (Japanese firm), Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA, 2006
* Sejima – effort to make glass transparent, yet architects seek to find effects that make it
opaque; illusions and reflections created by way glass panels are laid; architects seeking to
create phantom effects (ex. Reflections of curtains on curved glasses)
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