By Gevork Hartoonian
Looking again over the 20 th century, Hartoonian discusses the paintings of 3 significant architects: Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry and Bernard Tschumi, in connection with their theoretical positions and historicizes present architecture within the context of the continuing secularization of the myths surrounding the traditions of 19th century structure regularly, and, particularly, Gottfried Semper's discourse at the tectonic.
Providing a worthy contribution to the present debates surrounding architectural background and theory, this passionately written book makes priceless studying for any architect.
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Extra info for Crisis of the Object: The Architecture of Theatricality
In the main reading room of the library, the stone pedestals provide a base for iron columns that are shaped and detailed to simulate the flutes used in classical stone columns. 2 Eugène E. Viollet le Duc, project for a concert hall, 1866. 3 Henry Labrouste, Bibliothèque Ste-Geneviève, Paris, 1838–50. Reading Room. of the main reading room. The exposed truss of these arches juxtaposes structural logic with a classical sense of ornamentation: like a burdened row of leaves forming a cyma and abacus, the floral forms, cut out of the fabric of the truss, are meant to increase the inertia of iron.
The stone base and symmetrical composition of Gropius’ design frames a romantic vision of architecture whose form is derived from the nature of material. The uniform use of wooden structural elements in Rodchenko’s constructs, and in Melnikov’s design for the Russian Pavilion in Paris, on the other hand, does not mimic the rational organization of the world of technology. Here the rawness of metal and wood are embellished beyond the utilitarian attributes of material and those pumped into the design by the artist.
Architecture. This may have been his way of saving past traditions and juxtaposing the new with the old. That Gothic architecture was a tectonic form did not concern Semper. It was rather the absence of duality between the core-form and the art-form that made him sceptical about the tectonic potential of Gothic architecture. The lack of flexibility in the Gothic form robs the stone wall of its expressive potential, and minimizes the tectonic expression of enclosure, an essential aspect of Semper’s theory of theatricality.