May 22, 2004

Sui Generis

Gössel and Leuthäuser's "Architecture in the Twentieth Century": beautiful photos of beautiful buildings, interesting architectures, astonishing constructions, regrettable megalomanias... but nothing, nothing at all, on what it's like to be in any of those buildings, or what it's like to experience these buildings at ground level, from the street, from within, or how they weathered and aged, how they related to the buildings and environment around them, what their users, inhabitants, neighbours, etc., felt about them... i.e., architecture. All form, façade, surface, and engineering (but still, endless food for my starved mind). I spend hours just imagining the experience, or looking at the detailing or the colour fields, the engineered structures... (c.f. Brand's "How Buildings Learn", a book with its own blindspots amongst the insights and "aha!" moments). G&L mention Utzon once, but the Sydney Opera House doesn't make the grade, of course. Sui generis = dead end?


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