We could not live without architecture, but that is not why it matters. The purpose of this book is to explain what buildings do beyond keeping us out of the rain. “Architecture is not about ehirimatom.ml is about everything else. It is never a neutral envelope. It is always made to contain something, and to. Why Architecture Matters - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. Why Architecture Matters.
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First published: 12 August ehirimatom.ml x · Read the full text. About. Related; Information. ePDF PDF · PDF · ePDF PDF. Get this from a library! Why architecture matters. [Paul Goldberger] -- Why Architecture Matters is not a work of architectural history or a guide to the styles or an. This books (Why Architecture Matters (Why X Matters) [PDF]) Made by Paul Goldberger About Books none To Download Please Click.
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Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Why architecture matters Author: Paul Goldberger Publisher: New Haven: Why X matters. English View all editions and formats Summary: Why Architecture Matters is not a work of architectural history or a guide to the styles or an architectural dictionary, though it contains elements of all three.
The purpose of Why Architecture Matters is to "come to grips with how things feel to us when we stand before them, with how architecture affects us emotionally as well as intellectually"--With its impact on our lives. Upon completing this remarkable architectural journey, readers will enjoy a wonderfully rewarding new way of seeing and experiencing every aspect of the built world.
Read more Show all links. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Electronic books Electronic book Additional Physical Format: Print version: Goldberger, Paul. Why architecture matters. Document, Internet resource Document Type: While it can be pleasing to think of them in ascending signicance, this is a subtle footnote to the real message that Vitruvius conveys, which is that they are interdependent.
Without rmness and delight, commodity is nothing. But delight needs rmness, not only so the building stands up, but also so its art can reach its great- est heights.
The builders of the Pyramids, the Greek temples, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals were all engineers as much as architects; to them these disciplines were one. In our time, the disciplines have diverged, and engineers are not architects.
But every great structure of modern Meaning, Culture, and Symbol 7 times, from Jorn Utzons Sydney Opera House to Frank Gehrys Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, is a product of engineers as much as of architects; without rmness, there will be no delight. All three elements of architecture are essential. So architecture is art and it is not art; it is art and it is some- thing more, or less, as the case may be.
This is its paradox and its glory, and always has been: art and not art, at once. Architecture is not like a painting or a novel or a poem; its role is to provide shelter, and its reality in the physical world makes it unlike anything else that we commonly place in the realm of art.
Unlike a symphony, a building must fulll a certain practical function giving us a place to work, or to live, or to shop or to worship or to be entertainedand it must stand up. But a building is not at all like other things that we place in the realm of the practical but that may have aesthetic aspirations, such as an airplane, an auto- mobile, or a cooking pot. For we expect a work of architecture, when it succeeds in its aesthetic aims, to be capable of creating a more profound set of feelings than a well-designed toaster.
Sir John Soanes Museum, the architects extraordinary town- house in Londonand one of the greatest works by an architect who was one of the most brilliant and original design forces to have come out of Georgian Londoncontains a room that can make this clear.
It was Soanes breakfast room, and it is fairly small, with a round table set under a low dome that is not a real dome but a canopy, supported by narrow columns at four cor- ners. Where the canopy meets the corners, Soane placed small, round mirrors, so that the occupants of the breakfast table can see one another without looking directly at each other. The 8 Meaning, Culture, and Symbol yellowish walls are lined with bookcases and paintings, and natu- ral light tumbles in softly beside the canopy, indirectly, from above.
Soane liked to create rooms within rooms and spaces that connect in unusual ways with other spaces, and in the break- fast room you can see that he is doing it not just as the early- nineteenth-centurys version of razzle-dazzle but to provide a kind of psychic comfort.
The dome is protecting, but it is not quite enclosing, a reminder that while we may feel uncommuni- cative and vulnerable early in the morning, we need to move out of that stage into the world. The breakfast room functions as a kind of halfway house, cozy in a way that other, more formal spaces tend not to be, and soft in the way it introduces us to the day.
It is a room of great beauty and serenity, perfectly bal- anced between openness and enclosure, between public and pri- vate.
The British architecture critic Ian Nairn was exaggerating only somewhat when he called the breakfast room probably the deepest penetration of space and of mans position in space, and hence in the world, that any architect has ever created.
In the breakfast room, Soane used architecture to fulll a routine function and create a powerful, almost transcendent ex- perience at the same time. For me there are other buildings, too, that achieve the extraordinary as they fulll a function that, in and of itself, is perfectly ordinary. In , when Mies van der Rohe was asked to create a small pavilion to represent Germany at the world exposition in Barcelona, he produced a sublime composition of glass, marble, steel, and concrete, arranged to appear almost as if the elements were at planes oating in space.
The white, at roof and the walls of green marble with stainless Meaning, Culture, and Symbol 9 To view this image, please refer to the print version of this book. Sir John Soane, breakfast room, Sir John Soanes Museum, London steel columns in front of them combine to have immense sensual power, a tiny exhibit pavilion in which you feel an entire world of continuous, oating space, and one of the rst modern buildings anywhere to convey a sense of richness and luxury amid great restrainta building that in some ways has more in common, at least spiritually, with the spare classical architecture of Japan.
Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona Pavilion and nished a decade later, in , had an even more mundane purpose, which was to house clerical employees. Wright created an enormous, altogether spectacular room of light and swirling curves under a translucent ceiling.
The room was lined in brick with clerestory windows of translucent Pyrex tubes, and its struc- ture was supported on a forest of slender, tapering columns, each of which was topped by a huge, round disc, like a lily pad of concrete oating in the translucent ceiling.
The space looks, even now, like a futurist fantasy; it must have been altogether as- tonishing in the s. While Wrights specially designed typ- ing chairs and steel worktables were less than functional and the room, though awash in natural light, allowed no views to the exteriorthis was Frank Lloyd Wrights world you were in, and not for an instant would he let you forget itthe Johnson Wax building still gave typists a modern cathedral, an ennobling place, in which to work.
Meaning, Culture, and Symbol 11 To view this image, please refer to the print version of this book. Frank Lloyd Wright, Great Workroom, Johnson Wax headquarters, Racine, Wisconsin Another example, quite dierent, but worth discussing in more detail, since it is perhaps the building where, at least in the United States, architectural form and symbol come together with a more serene grace than in any other: the original campus of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, by Thomas Jeerson.
Designed when Jeerson was seventy-four, the academical vil- lage, as he liked to call it, consists of two parallel rows of ve classical houses, called pavilions, connected by low, colonnaded walkways, which face each other across a wide, magnicently proportioned grassy lawn.
At the head of the lawn, presiding over the entire composition, is the Rotunda, a domed structure he based on the Pantheon in Rome. Each pavilion is designed according to a dierent classical 12 Meaning, Culture, and Symbol motif, so that together they constitute a virtual education in classical architecture: the directness and simplicity of the Doric order, the richness of the Corinthian, can here be compared in what amounts to a Jeersonian fugue of classical variations.
As Jeerson conceived it, the Rotunda served as the library, which was a splendid piece of symbolism, for it turned the form used to honor the ancient gods into a temple of the book and then gave that temple pride of place in the composition. There are other kinds of symbolism, too: the pavilions, with their great stylistic range, stand as a kind of beginning of the American tendency to pick and choose from history, shaping the styles of the past to our own purposes. And the pavilions which originally housed the faculty and the students rooms set be- hind, connected by colonnaded walkways, meant that the uni- versity lived together as a community.
The whole place is a lesson, not just in the didactic sense of the classical orders, but in a thousand subtler ways as well.
Ulti- mately the University of Virginia is an essay in balancebalance between the built world and the natural one, between the indi- vidual and the community, between past and present, between order and freedom. There is order to the buildings, freedom to the lawn itselfbut as the buildings order and dene and enclose the great open space, so does the space make the buildings sen- sual and rich.
Neither the buildings nor the lawn would have any meaning without the other, and the dialogue they enter into is a sublime composition.
The lawn is terraced, so that it steps down gradually as it moves away from the Rotunda, adding a whole other rhythm to Meaning, Culture, and Symbol 13 To view this image, please refer to the print version of this book. The lawn is a room, and the sky its ceiling; I know of few other outdoor places anywhere where the sense of architectural space can be so intensely felt.
In Jeersons buildings, there are other kinds of balances as wellbetween the icy coolness of the white-painted stone and the warm redness of the brick, between the sumptuousness of the Corinthian order and the restraint of the Doric, between the rhythms of the columns, marching on and on down the lawn, and the masses of the pavilions.
In the late afternoon light all this can tug at your heart, and you feel that you can touch that light, dancing on those columns, making the brick soft and rich. There is awesome beauty here, but also utter clarity. It becomes clear that Jeerson created both a total abstraction and a remarkably 14 Meaning, Culture, and Symbol literal expression of an idea.
Architecture has rarely been as sure of itself, as creative, as inventive, and as relaxed as it is here. We certainly could not live with constant attention to music and would surely tune out even the loveliest sounds if we were sur- rounded by them at every moment, as we are by architecture. Because architecture is omnipresent, it obliges us to stop seeing it.
We cannot take it in constantly at its highest level of intensity, as we have seen. And yet we cannot not take it in, either. All architecture, from art at its highest to the architecture that barely makes it over the threshold of intention, shapes the world in which we live most of our lives.
With one foot necessarily in the real world, it straddles the gap between reality and dreams. To be engaged with architecture is to be engaged with almost everything else as well: culture, society, politics, business, history, family, religion, education.
Every building exists to house some- thing, and what it houses is itself part of the pursuit of architec- ture.
The joy of architecture as art is only an aspect of the experi- ence of architecture, profound though it may be; there is also great satisfaction to understanding the built environment as a form of engagement with every other function imaginable. Architecture is social as well as individual: as it exists in physi- cal reality, it exists in social reality, too.
Two people can experi- ence a work of architecture as dierently as they can experience a painting or a symphony, but the way architecture enforces social interaction, imposing a common experience despite the possible dierences in judgment that may result, is unique. It takes many people to make a work of architecture and many people to use Meaning, Culture, and Symbol 15 one.
The novel may reach its fullest meaning when read by a single person, acting alone; but the concert hall or museum or oce building or even private house derives much of its meaning from the social acts that occur within it and from how its physi- cal form is intricately involved in those social acts.
When we see a concert hall empty, after hours, we can appreciate its physical form, but we see it as a vacuum, cut o from its purpose, and thus we barely see it at all. Even a cathedralwhich architectural pilgrims are most likely to visit at quiet times and which may confer extraordinary gifts of intimacy on the solitary visitor rises to yet another level of meaning when we experience it lled with worshipers.
Architecture is the ultimate physical representation of a cul- ture, more so than even its ag. The list could expand to thousands of structures, and they need not be celebrated ones; county courthouses and town halls in small communities everywhere can possess the same qualities and con- vey the same meaning: architecture is a powerful icon because it represents common experience, more so than any other art, and resonates more than most other aspects of common cultural experience.
A ag is a relatively simple object whose entire eect lies in its blunt, direct, and total symbolism, but architecture functions as a dierent kind of icon.
It is complicated, experi- enced over time, and generally large enough to be perceived in very dierent ways by dierent people, however much they may 16 Meaning, Culture, and Symbol share a commitment to its iconic status.
Every work of architec- ture, whatever its symbolic associations, also exists as an aesthetic experience, as pure physical sensation. The White House is four walls, a portico, some severe Georgian detailing, and some splen- did rooms full of elegant objects and decoration, and while only a Martian unaware of its history could perceive it only as a pure object, no one can perceive it only as pure symbol, either.
Every iconic piece of architecture speaks to us simultaneously as both form and symbol. When a work of architecture functions as icon, then it matters in a dierent kind of way from other buildings. The power of architectural icons is undiminished today, even as so many other symbols of our culture appear to weaken. We can see this not only in the continued magnetic pull of such places as the White House and the Capitola pull that seems undiminished by the cynicism with which voters regard the occupants of these build- ings and the political events that go on inside thembut also in the ascension to iconic status of the World Trade Center after its destruction on September 11, , when tragic circumstances led the United States to embrace, surely for the rst time, an enormous, modernist, commercial building and confer on it all of the symbolic meaning that is often reserved for more tradi- tional kinds of architecture.
That it took martyrdom to render the Twin Towers beloved and to make people view them as being as fundamentally an American symbol as the Lincoln Memorial Meaning, Culture, and Symbol 17 is not surprising, of course, not only because Americans have always had a certain conict with modernismwe want to be seen as advanced, indeed as the most advanced culture there is, but at the same time we have always been most comfortable keeping one foot in the past, like Jeerson seeking to move forward by adopting and reinventing what has come before, not by breaking with tradition.
For many Americans, before Septem- ber 11, Colonial Williamsburg probably felt like a more natural symbol of the country than did a very tall box of glass and steel.
The risks of breaking with history were clear in the saga sur- rounding another important icon, the work of architecture that is probably the rst modernist civic monument to achieve any degree of iconic status in the United States: the Vietnam Vet- erans Memorial in Washington, D. This is also worth discussing in detail, since it is an extraor- dinary story, and not only because Lin was a twenty-one-year-old student when she designed it.
When the jury of an architectural competition selected Lins designa pair of two-hundred-foot- long black granite walls that join to form a V which embraces a gently sloping plot of groundwhat troubled many people was not Lins age but her reliance on abstraction.
Where were the statues, where were the traditional symbols? The fact that Lin proposed to give the memorial a sense of immediacy and connec- tion to the dead by carving the names of all 57, Americans who were killed in Vietnam from to into the granite did not seem, to some people, sucient to remove it from what they considered the realm of cold, impersonal abstraction.
The project went ahead only after a compromise led to the addition 18 Meaning, Culture, and Symbol of a statue of soldiers and a agpole at some distance from the wall. But once the memorial was built, it turned out to be Lins original designthe wall of namesthat possesses the real emo- tional power, not the mawkish, literalizing elements added for fear the wall would not speak clearly enough.