Fountainhead

Now that Ayn Rand’s ‘the Fountainhead’ is put on stage by ‘Toneelgroep Amsterdam‘ I started re-reading some of its chapters/dialoges, after having first read it long ago. Once again I find it stunning, in the sense that much of what Rand wrote in 1947 is still valid and maybe more valid then in her days. One example:

“A building is alive, like a  man. Its integrity follows its own truth, its only single theme, and to serve its only purpose. A man doesn’t borrow pieces of his body.  A building doesn’t borrow hunks of its soul. Its maker gives it the soul and every wall, window and stairway to express it.” (p.16)

Of course; one can see/listen again to Roark’s  famous fountainhead – roarks defense. he provides when he is in court, after being – correctly – accused of demolishing one of his (though build by another) buildings. Still; also after heaving seen/listened to Ramsey Nasr recently about his role:  an architect has a client, a framework within which he builds. The Fountainhead is about holding on to one’s ideas and principles: but, referring to Nasr’s remarks, architecture is not ‘free art’ but does have its limits.

Nevertheless: after almost 70 years it remains fascinating, contemporary reading; without having seen it on stage yet, it is remarkable that it is practically sold out. I do hope not all visitors will be architects.

Architecture depends

Sometimes one reads a book and wonders why one has not seen/read this before. To me, this is now the case with a book written by Prof. Jeremy Till, ‘Architecture Depends‘; with its intriguing photograph on the cover of a man dressed as a bear, with in the background the ‘Neue Nationalgalerie’ in Berlin designed by Mies van der Rohe. Architecture, Till argues, “cannot help itself; it is dependent for its very existence on things outside itself“. Given the critics Koolhaas received on his curatorship on the current Architecture Biennale,I believe this is a book to be read by all architects concerned with their profession, as well all concerned with our build environment.

Additionally: Till gave a lecture on March 17th 2011 at the Berlage Institute in Delft; introduced by Roemer van Toorn.

art and/or architecture

Yesterday, Sunday March 16th. an interesting exhibition was opened at RAM-Galeries in Rotterdam. Works of Luc Deleu (TOP-Office), Kas Oosterhuis (ONL/Hyperbody), Tomasz Jaskiewicz and others illustrate the possibilties for an adaptable and ‘interactive’ architecture; an architecture as interface. Especially revealing is the fact that part of Deleu’ work was already actual 20 years ago and is maybe more relevant today. the same evening the ‘Canvas Connection‘ showed Deleu’s work and personal choices on tv.

Salter & senses

Chris Salter referring to Arakawa&Gins Reversible Destiny-project during a discussion on Displace 2.0:
“the general concept was that as we get older, we tend to lose sensory acuity – we lose our sense of smell, of taste, of tactile feeling. By designing architecture that would literally confuse the body, distort the same perceptual habits that you get used to day after day, one might prevent death – not literally, but metaphorically in the sense that death is really about falling into the blandness and lifelessness of routine.”
His project was presented at Todaysart Festival in 2012, theme this year was “the search and the loving for the undiscovered”. Let’s proceed………………..

Habraken

Next Sunday; January 13th. a new film is shown in NAI’s Auditorium on the works of John Habraken: de Drager‘. John Habraken introduced a totally new vision for residential construction by separating the ‘support’ – the base building – and the ‘infill’, its fitting-out. The architect’s only responsibility was the design of the support, of ‘open buildings’ that users could then fit out for themselves. Sonja Lüthi and Marc Schwarz have made a film about Habraken’s body of thought.

performance architecture

On December 6th. 2012, Pedro Gadanho, MOMA’s curator for contemporary architecture, was present at Stroom the Hague for an illustrative lecture on Performance Architecture. Using images from the works of e,g. Gordon Matta-Clark, Haus Ruecker, Raumlabor, Exyzt and many others he discussed the links between architecture and art, between function and influence; adding social space by means of ‘city-performance’.

Under Tomorrow’s Sky

On August 10th. 2012, at MU in Eindhoven the first phase of the project ‘Under Tomorrows Sky‘ was presented and will be extended over the coming month. From the website: “Under Tomorrows Sky is a fictional, future city. Speculative architect Liam Young of the London based Tomorrows Thoughts Today has assembled a think tank of scientists, technologists, futurists, illustrators, science fiction authors and special effects artists to collectively develop this imaginary place, the landscapes that surround it and the stories it contains.” More, much more than the Matrix meets StarWars…….