Abbreviated rowe and koetter presentation


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COLLAGE CITY; Rowe and Koetter 1978. A summary of the five chapters intended for presentation to an Architecture and Urbanism MA group. Manchester 26 November 2013.

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Abbreviated rowe and koetter presentation

  1. 1. COLLAGE CITY Colin Rowe + Fred Koetter MIT Press 1978
  2. 2. The first double page presents the argument of the book as an enigmatic pictogram; from Francesco do Giorgio Martini’s UTOPIAN city c. 1490 designed for the Duke of Milan to the revolutionary Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning 1911 -12. This is a true binary which is resolved on page 140
  3. 3. Even before we start reading R+K offer the reader a playful new vision of a collaged architecture which will get the name “contextualist” in later critical thought; a graphic designed by Griffin and Kolhoff called “City of Composite Presence”.
  4. 4. Introduction
  5. 5. a summary: page 181: “The disintegration of modern architecture seems to call for …a strategy… an enlightened pluralism… and possibly even common sense”
  6. 6. By page 4 we are made aware that we should embrace a liberal political reading of the failures of post war Utopian city planning as it had been interpreted in the United States. There is also an implication that these grand schemes were segregating sectors of city population, in particular black and Hispanic groups who were already rejecting the planners’ high rise blocks by trashing them.
  7. 7. TRAGEDY “impoverished banalities of public housing which stand around like the undernourished symbols of a new world which refused to be born” P. 4 P. 4 “the city of modern architecture has been rendered tragically ridiculous” PRUITT- IGOE video debate + demolition 1956 -1971 Providence Journal August 30 2012
  8. 8. The proposal R+K suggest “a constructive dis-illusion” (The “illusionist” will turn out to be Le Corbusier and his school of post war adherents)
  9. 9. Introduction: the problem of contemporary urban thinking; binary oppositions, contradictory positions, paradox naïve idealism sterile scientific rigour P.5 modern architecture.... both repulsive......two polarised positions neither of which offer the solution to the problem Despotism of science:let science build the town The tyranny of the majority :let people build the town
  10. 10. NATURE CUSTOM IN DOUBT “the authenticity of the new” the architect who is seen as a “a human Ouija board” (conducts a sort of communion with the dead architects of the past and possesses a supernatural power to see the future) Meanwhile... “The rape of the cities of the world proceeds”
  11. 11. Chapter 1: Utopia: Decline and Fall
  12. 12. MODERN ARCHITECTURE IS A THINLY DISGUISED ALIBI Its ideal was to exhibit the virtues of an apostolic p.11 poverty: “a kingdom of heaven on earth” FINSTERLIN: HYSTERICAL ecstatic GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM seen here in the illustrations of BRUNO TAUT’S fairy tale mountain communities
  13. 13. Chapter 1: UTOPIANISM is the “the highly volcanic species of psychological lava which is the substratum of the modern city” Frank Lloyd Wright saw the architect as the saviour of the culture of modern American society or Le Corbusier the great machine to be put in motion...the exact prescription for its ills These architects display messianic passion:- “they want to end the world and begin it anew”
  14. 14. MORE UTOPIAN fallacies By the 18th century ARCADIAN activist Newtonian rationalism = society could be explained like physics Henri de Saint Simon proposed universal ruling body/authority of the learned; the golden age is not behind us but in front and to be realised by the perfection of the social order -the activist / blueprint for utopia was born The science of man: politics would be a branch of physics all knowledge was to act in concert artistic avant gardes were crucial to the destiny of the human race All this led to“Utopian inflammation”
  15. 15. Science rules; Boullee ; Cenotaph to Newton c.1784 Even in 1914 Antonio di Sant’Elia also can be traced back to the Saint-Simon Utopian school
  16. 16. Fourier ; PHALANSTERY; 1829 based on Versailles and a model for a sort of Marxist proletarian mega palace where the workers occupy the simulacrum/archetype of aristocratic privilege
  17. 17. So if utopian plans were limited maybe society could change as a natural man who is a sort of utopian construct; the mythical noble savage enters here. He lives in a pastoral arcadia leading us to a widest variety of performances – never a convincing possibility 1844 Darley ‘Scenes from Indian Life’ or Le Corbusier ‘ The Natural Man’ c 1929 p17
  18. 18. Chapter 2: After the Millennium
  19. 19. “A certain aimlessness has afflicted the modern architect” p. 33 Two opposing cults have emerged: townscape science fiction townscape Cubism and townscape are linked “beer and yachts”. Ref: Gosling, D., 1996, Gordon Cullen, Visions of Urban Design, AD Academy editions, London science fiction. THIS IS A REVIVAL process; hyper rationalization
  20. 20. THERE IS THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE EXISTING CITY WILL BE MADE TO GO AWAY. “WE LIVE IN TOWNSCAPE AND WE SHOP IN FUTURISM” p.40 That is we live in suburban streets with little gardens which make the townscape but our commercial and economic life is in the modern city
  21. 21. Later 20th century studios+ progressive modern architecture can be summarised as : “a bout with destiny (followed by) a morning after nausea” Here are the named ateliers which are accused of one of a kind projects that fail to produce anything other than a series of prize winning exempla……….. • • • • • • • Superstudio Friedman Nakajima and GAUS NER groupUSSR Cumbernauld Archigram Team X was “all this activity worth-while?” Meanwhile popular preference is for a bijou sugar coated munchkin land………………
  22. 22. Roberto Venturi
  23. 23. But the real Main street…… “registers an optimistic desperation” P46
  24. 24. FRANCES YATES: memory and the Gothic Cathedral P.48 Frances Yates saw gothic cathedrals as mnemonic devices - repositories of memory that also seem to predict the future “theatres of memory” (conservative) . or “theatres of prophecy” – (radicals) “(There is a) failure to recognise the complementary relationship of processes of anticipation and retrospection”
  25. 25. Chapter 3; Crisis of the Object: Predicament of Texture
  26. 26. (TEXTURE=plan/matrix/pattern) p.52” “Visually oriented minded architects and planners occupied with the trophies and triumphs of culture … had for the most part shamefully compromised not only the pleasurable possibilities but worse than this the essential sanitary bases of that more intimate world within which ’real’ people … actually do exist”
  27. 27. The 3 questions p.49 1 why are we compelled to prefer a nostalgia for the future to that of the past? 2 could the imagined ideal city reflect /allow for our psychological constitution? 3 could this ideal city behave as theatres of memory (conservative) and theatres of prophecy – (radicals)?
  28. 28. The return to nature: “Great blocks of dwellings run through the town. What does it matter? They are behind the screen of trees. Nature is entered into the lease” 1948 Le Corbusier The Home of Man Le Corbusier ; Ville Radieuse 1930
  29. 29. 1 Interwar emphasis on honesty and hygiene; freedom , nature and spirit DE STIJL: Theo Van Doesburg;s architecture will develop in an all round plastic way; see Gropius’ 1929 development of rows of apartment blocks of different heights……
  30. 30. THE FIXATION of modern architecture: the building as interesting and detached object? • Buildings are needed but also made to go away – • a contradiction • The positions of 1933 ATHENS CIAM to 1947 CIAM see an acceptance that there is a city “core” NEW TOWN eg HARLOW c.1959 p.61 “a foreign body interjected into a garden suburb without the benefit of quotation marks”
  31. 31. p.62-63 SOLID and VOID. Le Corbusier Saint–Die compared with the city of Parma; A figure / ground plan gestalt opposition: the “proliferation of objects”
  32. 32. from diagnosis to prognosis p.66; Vittoria, Spain Plaza Mayor OR Le Corbusier Plan Voisin 1925
  33. 33. Solid and void: “The Uffizi is Marseilles turned outside in… a jelly mould for the Unite”
  34. 34. VOIDS; the public realm as apologetic ghost The city in the park became the city in the parking lot p.65 it is just possible that alternatives are to be found……….. Tenet of modern architecture 1; Why must all outdoor space be in public ownership?
  35. 35. memory and prophecy continued Gunnar Asplund (memory) compared to Le Corbusier (prophecy). “Asplund attempts to make of his buildings as much as possible a part of the urban continuum” “we are concerned with their reconciliation” (memory and prophecy).
  36. 36. S.M della CONSOLAZIONE at TODI can become Sant’ Agnese in Piazza Navona ; “fluctuates between building as object and its reinterpretation as texture” Sant Agnese “simultaneously ‘compromised’ and intact”
  37. 37. “POCHE”; understood as the imprint of the plan upon the traditional heavy structure… “But building as infill! The idea can seem deplorably passive…” p.83 Allow for the joint existence of the overtly planned and the genuinely unplanned Wiesbaden c1900
  38. 38. Chapter 4:
  39. 39. p. 88 “The garden as criticism of the city…” has its clearest expression at Versailles in the planning of LeNotre; “ an aristocratic Disney World” Compare this autocratic plan with that of the apparently disorganised Villa Adriana at Tivoli constructed by the Emperor Hadrian based on his understanding of the City of Rome.
  40. 40. Versailles / Villa Adriana; “which is the most useful model for us?” “these are laboratory specimens” p. 93
  41. 41. fox + hedgehog “The fox knows many things but a hedgehog knows one big thing “ Isaiah Berlin Versailles is of the hedgehog and Hadrian’s Villa is of the fox… Post world war II architects understandably had to operate the hedgehog big idea to save humanity There is the utopian promise of the new city to emerge from this post war psycho-cultural context. Against this is the freedom of vox populi; let the people decide what they want; these are foxes attacking a hedgehog. The “fantasy” of organic growth
  42. 42. WE NEED BRICOLEURS p.102 The key to “the prognosis” for R+K Claude Levi-Strauss ‘The Savage Mind’ 1966 employed the term as a way of understanding the complexity of customs employed by primitive tribes “ the bricoleur is adept at performing a large number of diverse tasks;……..the contingent result of all the occasions there have been to renew or enrich the stock or to maintain it with the remains of previous constructions or destructions….. There are different kinds of projects… they are ‘operators’ …”
  43. 43. WE NEED BRICOLAGE Rome; “a resiliant traffic jam of intentions”p.106-7 THE COLLISION CITY “Rome is offered as some sort of model which might be envisaged as alternative to the disastrous urbanism of social engineering and total design” The theory of “politics and perception” is put together in this chapter. Politics of black segregation We have an urgent need for the fox and the bricoleur R+K include 13 photos of the plan of Rome in this chapter
  44. 44. Examples of architectural bricolage
  45. 45. Chapter 5:Collage City and the Reconquest of Time
  46. 46. TIME an iconic, cosmic, dramatic narrative enigma page repeated twice by R+K This can be related to “image” “memory” “prophecy” “solid” “void”
  47. 47. MODERNISM BETRAYED? Tradition and “Traduttore” = Traitor what is this betrayal? The 20th century architect’s comparable rejection of tradition… but maintains a tacit affiliation to what is by now a distinctly traditional body of attitudes and procedures P125 This explains the aspects of tradition which explain the 20th century architect’s distaste for this element in architectural design and by taking on tradition “betrays” the profession
  48. 48. MUSEUM CITY The city as museum + the “museum predicament” A positive concert of culture and educational purpose Munich became eclectic; “ a supremely conscientious profusion of references; Florentine, medieval, Byzantine, Roman, Greek”. A city of objects and episodes Its significance has remained unassessed
  49. 49. MUSEUM = scaffold vs EXHIBITS = demonstrations structure event Which dominates? Structure or event Modern architecture resolved this as an all pervasive scaffold (structure) SOLUTION A two way commerce/dialogue/dialectic is required between these two forces
  50. 50. Modern architectural ethics; the tradition of modern architecture always professing a distaste for art Increasing poverty of meaning and decline of invention
  51. 51. Picasso + IMAGE “I have never made trials or experiments. Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth, at least the truth it is given to understand” “To me there is no past and no future in art…” •Bulls head or handlebars; art or function. A metamorphosis. •A dialectic between past and future. •What is antique and what is of today? Collage is simultaneously innocent and devious. A combination of dissimilar things
  52. 52. Still Life with Chair Caning 1911-12 This painting is a cubist collage “DISPARATE OBJECTS HELD TOGETHER BY VARIOUS MEANS” P140
  53. 53. OBJECTS • The objects introduced into the collage can be either aristocratic or they can be “folkish” • Collage accommodates both hybrid display and the requirements of self determination
  54. 54. Le Corbusier is a collage maker! • Nestle Pavilion 1928 + Marseilles Unite 1946
  55. 55. UTOPIA has been a MANDALA ; device for concentrating and protecting ideas. “The government of laws not men” Liberty must exist… IN THE ETERNAL PRESENT
  56. 56. RE-SOLUTION a collage technique insists on a balancing act • “it is suggested a collage approach …. is at present the only way of dealing with the ultimate problems of either or both utopia and tradition” • p148 • Samuel Johnson; “wit…… the discovery of some occult relation between images and appearance remote from each other”
  57. 57. An action plan? p149; “collage could even be a strategy which by supporting the utopian illusion of changelessness and finality might even fuel a reality of change , motion, action, history.” Plato; “ in heaven there is laid up a pattern of such an (IDEAL- UTOPIAN) city.. But it is of no importance for the individual will act according to the rules of that city and no other”
  58. 58. 30 pages of “EXCURSUS” ; a sort of appendix of their examples of image/architecture that need to inform this coming revolution that they advocate 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Memorable streets Stabilizers Potentially interminable set pieces Splendid public terraces Ambiguous and composite buildings Nostalgia producing instruments The garden Commentary
  59. 59. 1. Memorable streets
  60. 60. 2.Stabilizers
  61. 61. 3. Potentially interminable set pieces
  62. 62. 4. Splendid public terraces
  63. 63. 5.Ambiguous and composite buildings
  64. 64. 6.Nostalgia producing instruments
  65. 65. 7.The garden
  66. 66. 8.Commentary
  67. 67. The disintegration of modern architecture seems to call for …a strategy… an enlightened pluralism… and possibly even common sense
  68. 68. Reviews of Rowe and Koetter This group of pdfs offers the complete download of Collage City and discusses the book in context and some of its subsequent debate
  69. 69. KEY REFERENCES • CIAM The Congrès internationaux d'architecture moderne – CIAM (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) was an organization founded in 1928 and disbanded in 1959 28 European architects organized by Le Corbusier, Hélène de Mandrot (owner of the castle), and Sigfried Giedion (the first secretary-general). CIAM meant to advance the cause of "architecture as a social art". saw architecture as an economic and political tool that could be used to improve the world through the design of buildings and through urban planning principles of "The Functional City", • Team 10 was active from 1953 • CIRPAC, the Comité international pour la résolution des problèmes de l’architecture contemporaine (International Committee for the Resolution of Problems in Contemporary Architecture).
  70. 70. R+K summarise and critically engage with a substantial body of theory to demonstrate the way urbanism developed into the 1970s • • BRUNO TAUT Bruno Julius Florian Taut (4 May 1880 – 24 December 1938) was a prolific German architect, urban planner and author active during the Weimar period. Taut is known for his theoretical work, speculative writings and the buildings he designed. His sketches for the publication "Alpine Architecture" (1917) are the work of an unabashed Utopian visionary. The Reform estate was built between 1912-15 in the southwest of Magdeburg. The estate comprises one storey terrace houses for a housing trust. It was the first project where Taut used colour as a design principle. • CHILIASM the doctrine of Christ's expected return to reign on earth for 1000 years; millennialism. • FOURIER Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (21 March 1768 – 16 May 1830) was a French mathematician and physicist born in Auxerre and best known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series and their applications to problems of heat transfer and vibrations. The Fourier transform and Fourier's Law are also named in his honour. Fourier is also generally credited with the discovery of the greenhouse effect. • Auguste comte (28 January 1794 – 21 September 1859), better known as Auguste Comte (French: [oɡyst t]), was a French philosopher. He was a founder of the discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism. He is sometimes regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term.[2] Strongly influenced by the utopian socialist Henri Saint-Simon, • • Henri Saint-Simon, (17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825) was a French early socialist theorist whose thought influenced the foundations of various 19th century philosophies; perhaps most notably Marxism, positivism and the discipline of sociology.
  71. 71. R+K summarise and critically engage with a substantial body of theory to demonstrate the way urbanism developed into the 1970s • • • • ATHENS CHARTER proceedings went unpublished from 1933 until 1942, when Le Corbusier, acting alone, published them in heavily edited form as the "Athens Charter." Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism - 1928-1960, Cambridge Mass. and London 2000. (Foreword by Kenneth Frampton). Sigfried Giedion, Space, Time and Architecture - The Growth of a New Tradition, Cambridge Mass. 2009, 5th edition. (CIAM, summary in Part VI). Max Risselada and Dirk van den Heuvel (eds.), TEAM 10 - In Search of a Utopia of the Present - 1953-1981, Rotterdam 2005. (TEAM 10 out of CIAM). • DANIEL BURNHAM FAIA (September 4, 1846 – June 1, 1912) was an American architect and urban designer. He was the Director of Works for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago and downtown Washington, D.C. He also designed several famous buildings, including the Flatiron Building in New York City and Union Station in Washington D.C • SANTAYANA Santayana was an early adherent of epiphenomenalism. He also influenced many of his prominent students, perhaps most notably the poet Wallace Stevens "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", "only the dead have seen the end of war." The Sense of Beauty • • • CASSIRER he developed a theory of symbolism, and used it to expand phenomenology of knowledge into a more general philosophy of culture. He is one of the leading 20th century advocates of philosophical idealism. The Myth of the State Cassirer's last work The Myth of the State (1946) The book discusses the opposition of logos and mythos in Greek thought