Architecture and Structuralism: the ordering of Space, Herman Hertzberger, Rotterdam, 2015, a review


The writer is also a University teacher (Delft  University) and an active architect (I am not sure he is still teaching though). He is over 8o. I found his name trough a recent project, and I decided to follow the path to see where it leads…

Totally amazed of the intensity of his thoughts, and sometimes in a full time agreement with his teories.

The book chapters, as to say index, is already a recension as reading carefully the titles one can imagine the content. The titles tell us a lot.

Introduction,

Structuralism and Architecture,

Open versus Closed Structures

The collective character of Structure

Interpretability

Architecture`s Unconscious Programme

Generic, Specific, and Polyvalent

Identity

Building Order

Construction Kits

Sustainability

Work in progress

.

Where I am totally in sintony:

“Innovations in architecture are not necessarily improvements but essentially are shifts in emphasis and, therefore, attention,. Besides changes that are difficult to explain there are constants that are equally inexplicable, such as the seemingly indestructible classicism. We see it cropping up wherever there is a need to express certainty , solidity, status and power, in one or other from remotely derived from Classical Antiquity with the quite arbitrary pretention of having eternal value. For the record, the basis of other styles of architecture as well as other collective modes of construction, whether or not religiously inspired,culturally determined or otherwisecommunally driven, generally speaking is every bit as arbitrary”[pg.186]

Also the chapter dedicated to Sustainability unveil some fictitious value related to green, and its prophets. It is truly a fervent pamphlet about the amount of lies that the term has been crammed.

Some chapters mark the link between his group origins, team 10, and the japanese metabolist movement of the sixties. The main value of his theory is how to design and address the space in between the pubblic and the private. A very soften regard leads the reader to understand why some choices are better than others. I would give 5 start just for this unique splendid and fully supported explanation.

The thoughts are explained to such a greater number of examples from the romans to Arles, the city of Lucca, Le Corbusier, and his mentor mr.Aldo Van Eyck another dutch architect that is convincing. Often Le Corbusier is cited both in positive and critic way. Structuralism has an interesting story that officially began with a scism inside the Functionalism, in 1959.

He may had not yet win the pritzker prize, but he does not need it.

 

 

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