Oppo»lto) Tho flats wall

Ubwe) Volumetric plan ilop contre) Detail of the exterior

(Top right) Aerial view of tho building and Its urrovndingt

Right! The interior eetres wide: they have been fabricated thanks loaperfectly smooth metal mould in which the Wo*ing layers were superimposed: a demouldmg agent, a layer of gelcoat. a coat of tvn. a coat of fibreglass. a coat of resin, a coat of foam, a coat of fibreglass. a coat of «silt' Acrylic and polycarbon are used for the laDery concourse toptighting which takes the lorm of double bowstring strutted lenses' to cor<rol solar gain. Finally. PVC fabric is stretched over laminated arches throughout re (©rebuilding where it provides an economi-«1 false ceiling, and is continued uninter-n-CKed beneath skylights where it acts as a »fit diffuser. as well as in the canopy covering r* entrance to the building.

Ubwe) Volumetric plan ilop contre) Detail of the exterior

(Top right) Aerial view of tho building and Its urrovndingt

Right! The interior


Christian do Portzamparc CITÉ DE LA MUSIQUE

(Paris. France) 1984-90

Conceived as a 'city within the city', a work composed of many compositions, a spatial structure expressing the 'art of movement' and 'made for sound", this project sits at the southern entrance of the Pare de la Villette. one of the last in the Granc/s Projets series of President Mitterand.

The highly heterogeneous character of the complex emerged out of its intricate, multifunctional programme, 'a unique collection of places devoted to music and dance'. The building is divided roughly into two zones. The western zone is devoted to teaching and study; It also contains large halls for group rehearsals. This zone is itself partitioned further into 'four north-south bands separated by hallways of light'.

In the centre of the complex there is an interior court, a patio and a cloistered garden seven metres below street level. The conical form belongs to the organ hall next to the theatre shell.

The activities housed in the eastern zone are more public. The zone contains an elliptical cylinder-shaped concert hall (capacity 1200 persons) for symphonic music and contemporary performances, a Museum of Music (for listening to and viewing one of the most beautiful collections of instruments in the world), a Centre for Organ Studies, an amphitheatre, the headquarters of the Ensem ble Intercontemporaln. the Institute of Music Instruction, student residences and shops specializing in music. As with the western zone, the eastern is further divided into explicitly articulated locations, each housing an individual activity. All the locations are joined by a circulation network stressing the integrity of each space and the transparency of the overall volume.

The plurality of elements which make up the spatial composition did not result only from the nature of the programme. It was also the outcome of the anti-monistic design principle of de Portzamparc: a building should not be an arbitrarily shaped, universal envelope, but a multiform assemblage of volumes and facades responding to the different conditions of the site, some requesting openness, some suggesting insularity, some a symmetrical treatment, some an asymmetrical, free, geometric design. 'What more natural', de Portzamparc writes, 'than that a building (should] propose all kinds of different faces... No one side should be more decisive than the others ... they are all different, without expressing a hierarchy".

In addition to the compositional motivation, there are several other benefits to be derived from a spatial arrangement of such highly particularized units which, de Portzamparc believes, the project achieves. First, the effect

(Above left) Underground plan

(Above) Isometric projection with section view of tho concert hall

(Opposite) Views from the court

(Above) View from the court (Opposite) East facade of scale: the building, despite its size, avoids inspiring those feelings of claustrophobia and vertigo so common to 'grand structure' projects. Secondly, there is a functional requirement: a facility so devoted to the contemplation of sound structures and the production of 'noise' needs powerful insulation devices. In housing each musical event in distinct volumes or sub groups of spaces, de Portzamparc found an efficient and effective way of solving the problem of acoustical protection. A third benefit from this individualization of parts Is the urban-friendly quality of the building: natural light and long views, and diverse outdoor 'in-between' locations provide public areas for socializing at the same size and frequency as in traditional, historical city centres.

This project makes use of Corbusier's 'bricolage' manner of composition and has a strong aura of his work: the shell covering the concert hall is a replica of the Chandigarh Assembly Hall and of the church of Firminy: the western facade emulates the curved and rhythmical portico of the Palace of the Assembly of Chandigarh; the rounded walls are a hallmark of any number of Corbusier's designs; and the undulating roof can be traced back to Corbusier's Utopian and never-completed project at La Sainte-Baume. When all the sources of inspiration are identified and the "Intertextual" interpretation of the citations is carried out in this project's rich memory labyrinth, one may feel overpowered by a sense of wonder at the brilliance of the original bricoleur.

(Above) View from the court (Opposite) East facade


(Vienna. Austria) 1985-90

The Neues Haas Haus stands on the site of earlier Roman fortifications, in the heart of the historic First District of Vienna, opposite St Stephen's Cathedral. But it also lies inside a territory defined very much by Holieln's own mental world: three decades of stage design, exhibitions, industrial design, artifacts, furniture. the radiant Retti candle shop (1964). the florid Chista Metek boutique (1967). the precious Schullin Jewelry Shop (1972. pp. 72-73). The Neues Haas Haus is an ambitious commercial project of eight storeys: four sales floors facing onto a glassed-in courtyard, three office floors and a restaurant on top. As in most buildings by Hans Hollein, functionally the organization of the project is an ordinary response to the needs of the programme. The extraordinary aspects of the project relate mainly to the treatment of the facade and to the reading it invites.

There is an aura of Richard Strauss in the building: contrast, paradox, irony, a delicate balance between classical and anti-classical views of spatial composition. In short, it is characterized by what have been called 'oxy-moric poetics', and it is these that make it one of the most intriguing works of Hollein's career.

At first glance, the eye is caught by an apparently strange sight. A graceful, classical.


(Above left) Section

(Above) Qeneral plan and ground floor plan

(Opposite, above) Exterior view

(Above left) Section

(Above) Qeneral plan and ground floor plan

(Opposite, above) Exterior view

(Opposito, bolow) Interior view from the glassod-ln courtyard

b^odere like temple stands at the top of the massive volume of the building, where it tomnates the structure, it is as if the build-mg'sonly reason for existing were to serve as a foundation for this delicate pavilion.

Another strange aspect emerges when one W«.s at the facades of the building. It is encased in two stone walls which remain open at the corner, their place being taken by an noosing wall of curved glass. The Roman baroque like stone walls, with their solidly mounted and sombre convex forms, rise up as if to relortify the city on this very site of its ancient walls: then they suddenly disappear, to «pose a radiant, all-glass turret. There is a contextual explanation for this highly contrasted manner of treating a facade: according toHollein himself, the periphery of the building varies m response to changing conditions of the sue around it. Thus we find "stone towards the Graben and the Goldschiedgasse' and glass 'where the view is more open*, that is. orerlooking the mam square which faces the corner of the building. The idea of contextual "iterpretation is reinforced by the fact that the Bedding's curved outline follows the contour of tne Roman fortification.

But there is probably another way of reading :r>e project, more complex and more in line with

Hollein's idea of architecture - his preoccupation with creating 'fiction' through buildings and giving birth to 'salient worlds of design', as in the case of the Schullin Jewelry Shop (pp. 72-73). The building in its design narrates, in an urban-theatrical and highly abstract manner. the act of stripping, the state of undress acted out architecturally by the exposure of the sparkling epidermis of the curtain wall. The 'plot' of the suggestive stripping away of the fabric of the perforated stone wall offers a 'commercial' image par excellence. This is a fitting image for a super emporium trying to revive the lifestyle of a bygone, typically Viennese pre-war department store.

But ultimately there is a bitter-sweet moral allegory within this image of the built and unbuilt, the covered and revealed, which ties the project to the high and low art tradition of fin-de-sidcle Vienna - also an obsessive theme present in most of Hollein's prolific works. The cracking of the stone wall can be interpreted simultaneously as covering as well as strip ping, as revealing nudity as well as laceration, as the coupling of libido and abstinence, as eros and thanatos. More abstractly, this ambiguous architectural pattern can be seen as representing the cognitive acts of spatial composition and decomposition.

Aldo van Eyck HUBERTUS

(Amsterdam. Holland) 1982-87

Mazzorbo Project Plan

Aldo van Eyck's views first came into prominence in 1946 when, as an employee of the Office of Public Works in Amsterdam under the direction of Cornelis van Eesteren. he took a dissenting position against the massive projects of urban reconstruction typical of the post war, militant 'progressive' approach that advocated the 'total' rebuilding of European cities. Van Eyck proposed, instead, small-scale 'Infill' interventions, to be inserted in the voids of the bombed or abandoned urban fabric, which would spontaneously accommodate urgent needs in a focused, flexible and humane way. Three decades later, when most of such anti-planning, so-called incremental' ideas about urban intervention had become standard thinking in the architectural profession at large, and van Eyck himself had gone in different directions, he returned to the idea of designing an infill project consistent with his life-long vision of a socially committed architecture. The result was Hubertus. a home for single mothers (now for single parents of either sex) and their children.

The commission came from the Hubertus Association, a Christian charity that had moved away from its original 19th-century paternalistic character. The building houses around 16 parents and a total of 73 children. Each family unit stays for about six months, during which time the single working parents are helped with their problems by 65 qualified professionals. The institutional principles are inspired by Carl Rogers' "client centred' therapy and his ideals of a "therapeutic", but also 'democratic' community.

This building stands in one of the most interesting parts of Amsterdam. It is inserted into a row of typical bourgeois, parallelepiped town houses in Plantage. an area associated with the Amsterdam Zoo. Berlage's Diamond Workers Union and theatres such as the Hollandse Schouwburg. which is just across the street from Hubertus. The site of the project itself was once occupied by the Talmud Thora Synagogue. Besides being an infill. Hubertus is partly a re-utilization of an existing adjacent building.

Van Eyck had to invent a new spatial organization for the new institution and hedW this by introducing existing principles of the rule system of composition, colour and w slruction. all of which were put to work in tw sen/ice of the building's programme: but they

Opposite. left) Plan of ftvo children's

Opposite. left) Plan of ftvo children's

■Ks lOpposlts. right) Mezzanine plan

(Abovs) Conceptual drawing

Rifht) Views of the facade and the interior op«n aroa

«ere also developed independently, rather like i quasi autonomous essay on space and its cognition.

The front of the new building is a pushed in and broken version of the well-ordered, reserved, frontal classicist Amsterdam facade typical of its street. The front door is set back, to create an open porch behind the building line and at the same time a kind of bay window, as *ell as a light well right on the street. An ad&tional light well lies immediately behind the entrance, while the bay-window motif is taken up at the back of the building. This fragmentation has the effect of producing a sense of intimacy. Equally unconventional is tf* organization of the interior space, which floes not. however, completely abandon the traditional orthogonal grid plan. There is also a wonderful transparency and spatial depth typical of the domestic architecture so often featured in Dutch 17th-century paintings. The new design uses a number of van Eyck's characteristic motifs: the unexpected syncopation which cheerfully subverts the compo sition's tripartite system of taxis, the chopped off corners creating a 45-degree angle, the over-emphasized doorsteps and stair, the mixing of the square and the circle.

Many of these devices are drawn from the thesaurus of precedents of world architecture, ranging from African homesteads to Guarini churches and Santorini streets, to complexes by Johannes Duiker and. most definitely, projects by Le Corbusier. But none of them is employed for cognitive reasons alone, separate from meaning and use. In all their eccentri city and iconoclasm. they can be seen to be delivering, in sticks and stones, a critique of the conformist and routine obedience of order. But they also serve to celebrate a child's sense of place, in the manner of another van Eyck project, his famous Municipal Orphanage in Amsterdam (1960). Hubertus. by the use of colour, forms a total contrast to the sombre, generally uneventful facades around it. A polychromic 'rainbow bouquet', it is in van Eyck's words an icon of joy. affection and optimism. In the last analysis, his contribution is deeply human. It lies in creating what he calls a sense of 'homecoming' through a paradox: by making us feel momentarily like strangers in a new world.


Glancarlo De Cario Archltotto MAZZORBO HOUSING PROJECT

(Venice. Italy) 1980-85

I-U-J rl Pi I

A housing project for just eighty dwellings would have normally passed unremarked in most cases, as Giancarlo De Carlo has observed. Eighty dwellings on the Venetian Lagoon, however, are a different matter and have a significant impact. De Carlo claims that his greatest concern has been the delicate, almost imperceptible structure of a 'myriad of minute signs' which, for him. has always had a 'clear meaning', indicating the movement of the various types of boats, the niches where fish gather, the topography of mooring. Observing the project, on the island of Mazzorbo. across from the islands of Burano and Torcello and only a few minutes from Venice itself, makes it immediately obvious that historical considerations, the 'gentle invasion' of new houses in a landscape charged with a cultural past, were of paramount importance.

In a passage quoted by Richard MacCormac in his inaugural address as the RlBA's new president, on 2 July 1991. he summarized De Carlo's life-long efforts to build within highly constrained cultural contexts: 'De Carlo says: "To design in a historic place, one should first of all read its layers of architectural strata and try to understand the significance of each layer before superimposing a new one. This does not mean indulging in imitation, as this would be a mean-spirited approach, saying nothing about the present and spreading confusion over the past. What is called for is the invention of new architectural Images that are authentic and at the same time reciprocal with images already existing.'"

De Carlo's most important inventions are not. however, limited to coping with problems of historical context. His architecture embraces history as part of the design process towards broader cultural and social objectives. Since the design of his early housing project in Matera of the mid-1950s, in the south of Italy, De Carlo has asserted that historical know ledge is a means through which architecture can bring about what he considers emancipation - a participatory rather than a hierarchical, regimented society. Historical knowledge can be achieved, according to De Carlo, very effectively through participatory methods aimed at stimulating and re activating the memory of the inhabitants of a place. It is this sense of historical and hermeneutical dimen sion that makes De Carlo's design, through participation, so distinct from other, more

(Above) Goneral plan of tho Mazzorbo housing project

(Opposite) Two studies for Individual unit»

(Opposite, abovo) The housing dovelopmont soen from tho lagoon

Mazzorbo Project Plan

'positivistic'. user-oriented approaches, from André Lurçafs first attempt, after World War II. to that of the more current practitioners, such as Lucien Kroll (pp. 44-47) and Herman Hertzberger (pp. 48-51).

In the case of the housing project presented here, there were hardly any existing structures on the site, and the only identifiable topographical element was the canal - or rather the memory of it. as the canal bed had been filled in. Given, however, the proximity of the Maz-zorbo site to other small towns, not least Venice itself, 'the enemy, yet dreamed capital", and given also the strong architectural identity of these towns and the fact that most of the inhabitants of the new housing complex were to move there from them - physical images and also past ways of living deeply engraved on their minds - De Carlo acknowledged such contextual constraints.

Through systematic observation, structured interviews and informal meetings. De Carlo and his collaborators began to gather the information needed. The initial phase of research did not just involve people expressing their needs while the architects passively transcribed them. The reconstruction of history they were attempting was not only on the level of constructing a narrative 'truth'. It was. rather, a reciprocal, interactive process. Participation was an attempt at mutual de-alienation. engaging not only the users but the architects themselves, who also suffered from exclusion and isolation. Moreover, even though the contribution of the future 'unskilled' users who lacked specialized knowledge was considered fundamental in tackling the problem at hand, the knowledge of the skilled architects was equally significant in attempting 'to invent and modify the space at hand'.

The initial observational and historical study followed procedures similar to previous studies by De Carlo, especially his acclaimed work on Urbino of the 1960s, in these studies he had developed a number of fundamental characteristic criteria used to analyse urban fabric and through which he could guide his interviews and observations of the users' lifestyle. It was these criteria which later helped to prescribe the results of his research into architecture. In their investigation. De Carlo and his collaborators dug deep into time, revealing layer upon layer of the underlying organization of space patterns, and the activities which took place within them, which finally determined the built forms.

Materials used for edges, steps and moorings are in white Istria stone, the same as in Venice. The layouts of the houses are based on carefully identified patterns of rooms and room relations, windows and window groupings, doors and thresholds, found in the area. In a similar manner, the colours of the facades are derived from the 'chromatic structures' (rather than using isolated colours) that exist >*< Burano and Mazzorbo. The preservation of a» such contextual architectural elements reveals an emphasis on maintaining contact and community, echoing De Carlo's affiliate with the 1960s Team X. The historicismoftie | resulting forms of the houses does not reflects sense of nostalgia or regression, nor havesucfi | historical norms been imposed by the authority of the architect in this respect. There is no | similarity in De Carlo's approach to the useof 1 memory that, for instance. Aldo Rossi mar« (pp. 56-63). What is unique In De Carto's method is masterfully revealed in the Mai zorbo housing, a blend of histoncal socio-analysis', fundamental architectural structuralist conceptions and. most importantly, the 1 belief that neither meaning nor quality in architecture are autonomous values. For De Carlo, meaning is the result of the transactor , between human beings and the quality of the , organization of physical space, which depends | on the way space is peopled and forms are I inhabited, on the manner which allows "eve»y human being' to be 'a potential protagoftst. This is an architecture of human dignity.

(Above) Houso* along the canal

(Opposite, left) Disembarking from a boat on the canal

(Opposite, right) The central spine between housing rows


(Richmond. England) 1985-88

Richmond Riverside is best approached from the river. This is the way the Queen arrived when she opened it in October 1988. on the same day that the Prince of Wales gave his remarkable attack on modern architecture.' This opening to the British architectural historian David Watkin's commentary on Quinlan Terry's project, written in a tone which echoes old guide books to important national monuments. encapsulates perfectly the union intended by the architect between architectural form, event and institution. It is the search for such a union that led to the explicit references, if not a direct revival of classicism, and an uncompromisingcontinuity with historical setting that underlie this project of the classical revival movement of the 1980s.

Terry's gateway-building to the complex employs Burlingtonian details. The archway that leads to the townscape cites Palladio's Basilica at Vicenza. Once inside the complex, one encounters the 'Anglo Dutch flavour of houses like Pratt's Coleshill of c. 1650". Watkin writes. Hotham House has eleven-bay piles and a baiustraded belvedere; its external staircase 'recalls that of Poole Guildhall'. In the same vein. Watkin informs us. the Gothic of Venetian back-street houses is used in Bridge Street, along with 'further details recalling Ammanati's work at the Pitti Palace, and the Palazzo Venezia in Rome".

Despite the excessive load of historical references, and the consequent amount of strict programme constraints. Terry incorporates facilities which make use of modern technology to serve the twenty-eight apartments. in what is predominantly a commercial development of about 9.850 square metres of offices and about 1.000 square metres of shops. There are throughways for lorries and fire-engines, air conditioning for all but Whit-taker House, and parking for 135 cars. All basic provisions for users with physical disabilities are made in accordance with the humanistic principles of the architect, whose intention is to create a quality of humanity and care. The architectural organization of the buildings is contextually harmonious with the adjacent London riverside of Georgian Richmond. Kew and Twickenham and is related to their urban character. The scheme is adapted to the major landscape element, the river, through a skilful but simple use of terraces and lawns, ramps and stairs. The relation between river and project is so simple and successful one wonders, with David Watkin. why such obvious and intelligent solutions were not applied to projects of the recent past like the Hayward Gallery and the National Theatre complex. Richmond Riverside Is one of the best projects of the last two decades in its fit to the site.

The project has been criticized for its inconsistency in using up to date technology at the same time as the spatial grammar of the past. One may argue, however, that this is in fact one of its most successful features: the independent pursuit of different systems that together make up an architectural whole, whether these systems are technological, functional or cultural. and the rational pursuit of each aspect independently and with the minimum of conflict. In this respect, the project appears particularly successful in terms of its contemporaneity - paradoxically because of. and not despite, its use of historical precedents coupled with avant garde technology used for domestic comfort.

Perhaps it is not enough, however, simply to identify with intelligence and treat separately only in intellectual terms these distirc aspects, as Terry does. The architect, as producer of culture, has to provide dew justification of the consequences of six»i! discoveries on our life, and to comment W- \ cally upon them, to go beyond a mechanist exposition of a system's complexity. Mat ] needs to be said on a higher level of abstraction as well as in architectural terms. Yettfw \ project seems to turn its back to sucij questions, as non-existent.

Terry is undoubtedly a highly knowledge- j able, conscientious and pragmatic arcancd He is also opposed to what he considers to be I 'progressive charlatanism and demagog», current among many architects. Terry has most wittily expressed his views, for instance»« a recent interview when he said. 'I vwxiidrt have a qualified architect in the office. They're just argumentative. They've got lots of poimcai ideas which aren't of interest to me; they*« a partnership, they're quarrelsome, they're lazy, they arrive late, they don't shave.' He clearly sees projects like Richmond Riverside despite the business-like manner in which they! are carried out. despite their 'lettabtlil/ and their popularity (the Richmond project won W

Opposite) General plan

•ItW) The development soon from tho river Mow) The South Gate l«tow right) Detail of the capital of a

Corinthian pilaeter



Johnnie Walker Award for 'being popular with ne man in the street", and the Prince of Wales ¡*es it too), as being on the same frontier •nere Kroll. Rossi or Rogers see themselves •orkmg. Terry perceives himself as part of an Rant-garde. only one that is even more perse cuted and excluded as a professional establishment than its "radical" members. His campaign for a return to the traditional, classical values is carried out with as much intolerance and consistency as that of the radical «ant gardists he seems to deplore so much. In the same interview quoted above, he con fesses how much he dislikes Grieg and Rach-mamnov. how much he adores the classical •nusic of Mozart and Pureed, and with what ertreme devotion he traces and proportions the profiles of his classical orders. And yet his o»n work rarely succeeds in comparison to the ¿enuine classical compositions. It is almost as 'hecould read correctly the individual notes and chords of Mozart without being able to produce the phrases, to perceive the thematic stnjctures. or to understand that the classical edifice as culture has more to do with cognition and drama than simply with the parade of capitals and cornices.

Opposite) General plan

•ItW) The development soon from tho river Mow) The South Gate l«tow right) Detail of the capital of a

Corinthian pilaeter

Grogotti Associati International

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