B12 B A U ME ISTER C U R AT E D BY D AV I D CHIPPE R – FIELD ARCH I T E C T S 113th year‘s issues The Architecture Magazine
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B I. 12 “Stoffwechsel”
Imitation and Repetition Observations on Gottfried Semper’s “Theorie des Stoffwechsels”
curated by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin and the Institute for Public Building and Design at the University of Stuttgart
Hannah Jonas, p. 08 Adrian von Buttlar, p. 10 Klaus Jan Philipp, p. 12 Harry Francis Mallgrave, p. 14 Günter Figal, p. 18 Michaela Ott, p. 20 Kärin Nickelsen and Claus Spenninger, p. 22 Louise Wagner, p. 26 Catherina Wenzel, p. 30
II. III. Finding the Familiar in the New A Series of Photos Taken in the Shell of the James Simon Galerie Stephan TrĂźby, p. 38 Ute Zscharnt, p. 40
Knowing and Not Knowing The James Simon Galerie on the Museum Island, Berlin
David Chipperfield and Alexander Schwarz, p. 70 Ute Zscharnt, p. 77 Konstantin Wenzel, p. 90 Alexander Schwarz, p. 96 Sections 34 + 92 Photo Credits 102 Solutions 119 Imprint, Preview 120 Portfolio 128 Column
Translations: David Skogley, Sylvie Malich, David Koralek, Dr. Lee Holt
The Appearance of Things – Buildings as Works of Art Text: Günter Figal V Variation belongs to all art as well as to architecture. Forms are created in different ways and thus recur in variation. This is often the only way to draw attention to the form. In addition, form is better understood when it is experienced as a variation, as this is the only way the full breadth of its possibilities can be discovered. But just how should the
Fig. 1 18
variation of form, as such, be understood? When Semper describes the creation of new architectural forms using different “materials” as Stof fwechsel, this becomes a useful characterisation for all art in general. The association of an organic process, i.e. the transformation of a foreign substance into an endogenous substance, corresponds much more closely to the varying creation of similar forms in art than to the distinctions between form and material made by Aristotle. Although Aristotle realised that every form cannot be made from each material, for instance a saw cannot be made out of wood, his understanding of form led him to believe that even when a material is suitable, it doesn’t cont ribute anything to the form itself. It doesn’t change it, and therefore the difference between
equally suitable materials can be ignored. This is different with works of art, however. When Cy Twombly casts a sculpture that was initially made of wood and ca rdboa rd i n b ronze, t he new sculpture is not merely another example of the same work of art, but rather a new one. The form becomes different due to the new “material” and thus is simply no longer the same form. But why is this so? Aesthetics as phenomenology This is because of the fact that the form takes on another appearance when it is made of another material. This is important because works of art are essentially their appearance – everything about them has to do with appearance and is there for the sake of appearance. Instead of being
things that appear, works of art are ’the appearance of things’. They appear by allowing everything that is a part of them to be seen or heard or read. Accordingly, works of art differ from ordinary things because their form and material can no longer be separated from one another. With normal things it is the material that matters, but with things based on appearance it is the quality of this appearance that is the most important aspect. In terms of appearance these objects can be described as material, especially when one thinks of textile surfaces, and on this basis all visible surfaces can be understood as textures. A stele like Barnett Newman’s sculpture Here shows the steel, that it is made of, as its texture – just like the metallic shining of its steel highlights the vertical form of the stele. In this work of
ar t, form and material are equally important moments that are determined by each other. The quality of the material’s appearance has gained th rough the form, and the quality of the form’s appearance is influenced by the material. If the form is created in another material, one might say that it has been transformed into this material.
sicism, however, which takes on and emulates ant ique forms. While classical buildings refer to antique forms and are only understandable because of them, the light and airy structure of columns forming the literature museum’s lantern has its own, completely individual quality of appearance. This allows the building to be aesthetically compared to the
Parallel phenomena This is particularly evident in older buildings where construction has been continued, i.e. refurbished and completed (but not reconst ructed ruins, for example), but where the contrast between the old and new parts is clearly visible without being dramatical-
Buildings This phenomenon can also be seen in buildings that are works of art. Buildings, however, are too big to be mere things and one should therefore not describe them as ’appearing things’ but rather, one should say, when viewed from the outside, they are like appearing things. They are essent ial ly bui l t space t ha t, when experienced as space, can only appear as far as space can appear at all. You never have a space in front of you like you do a picture or a sculpture. Instead, one is surrounded by the space and can therefore never really see the entire space at once. But as far as buildings are works of art, they do indeed ’appear’ and are determined by the interplay of form and material. And there is a Stoffwechsel here as well: Columns made of stone, as if they are part of a Greek temple, are very different from columns made of concrete, especially when these are slender and angular. This is exactly the way it is at the Museum of Modern Li te ra tu re i n Ma rbach am Neckar (Fig. 1). Arrayed in a grid, the angular columns form the lantern on a base that rests on a mountain and are repeated as an organising element of the lower level. If this building is reminiscent of a Greek or Roman temple, this is not just an arbitrary association. The memory is instead based on the building itself – in the Stoffwechsel of the columns and thus also in the concrete, which is cast in a form that is not normally associated with this construction material. The Museum of Modern Literature is a far cry from clas-
the building. The fact that this juxtaposition also creates a sense of unity is experienced quite effortlessly and generally without even realising it by simply walking through the rooms of the Neues Museum. Moving from one room to the other and back again while remaining within this one building – in the space as it is to be experienced as built space with the building. It is this one space within the building that makes the juxtaposition of the two parts possible – by giving the alteration and transformation in appearance sufficient ‘free space’ within this one building, which exhibits Stoffwechsel. And this Stoffwechsel becomes visible due to the juxtaposition of the building’s parts. This shows that architecture is not only historical. It can indeed be understood as a sequence of variations, or perhaps developments – as change. But it is more important that architecture, as spatial design, juxtaposes the historical, thus making it clearly intelligible. When this is as successful as it is at the Neues Museum, architecture becomes the key to understanding history.
Literature Günter Figal, The Appearance of Things. Aesthetics as Phenomenology, Indiana University Press, 2015. Günter Figal, Unscheinbar keit. Der Raum der Phänomenologie, Tübingen 2015.
temple buildings it is reminiscent of. In its individuality, the building brings these antique structures into the “presence of appearance” instead of being a later descendant that merely evokes the past of its ancestors. Works of art have this presence of appearance in common, regardless of which period they belong to. As appearing things, works of art do not invalidate the chronological order of art history, but they do make it unimportant.
ly overemphasised. One such building is the Neues Museum on Museum Island in Berlin (Fig. 2). Stüler’s original building, built in the mid-19th century and heavily damaged and partially destroyed during the Second World War, has been supplemented in a way that two architectural solutions stand juxtaposed to one another, and through this juxtaposition a new phenomenon is created while preserving the original structure of
did his PhD at the University of Heidelberg and is currently a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau. He has been a guest professor at numerous universities, including the Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, the University of Leuven and Boston College.
“The conformity of an artistic phenomenon […] with all the conditions and circumstances of its becoming.” 1
We remember. We are adopting Semper’s theoretical observation as the basis for a practical architectural examination and rethinking that which has already been built. Is the form and the expression of a building unique and anchored in the respective time of its construction, or are form and expression present in many variations and present for all time? In our work at David Chipperfield Architects we look for those things that are self-evident in architecture. There are buildings, fragments and forms we commonly think of
as we go about the day-to-day work of design, forms that seem self-evident to us. Are these the forms that carry memory within themselves? On the following pages we present architecture that seems familiar, understandable and self-evident, that is understandable in itself. We are assembling forms in the shell of the James Simon Galerie, the new entrance building at Berlin’s Museum Island – forms that we remember in forms that we have thought of ourselves, in an architecture that is still being developed and whose form is not yet complete. Photographer Ute Zscharnt placed images of familiar architecture at various places around the construction site and then photographed these familiar images, using the unfinished structure as a backdrop. She has created 21 picture-in-picture photographs that
reveal both the form and materiality which have been handed down to us as well as that which we have developed ourselves. Text: Hannah Jonas
Semper, Gottfried: On Architectural Styles (1869). Pp. 264 –284 in Gottfried Semper, The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings. Harry Francis Mallgrave and Wolfgang Herrmann, trans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1989.
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Glyptothek Munich, Germany 1816-1830; reconstruction 1947-1972
Design for a high-rise building at Bahnhof Friedrichstraße Berlin, Germany 1922
Church of Gesù Nuovo Naples, Italy 1470-1584
Even before its bombing during the Second World War and its greatly altered reconstruction, the Glyptothek, buil t bet ween 1816 and 1839 at Munich’s Königsplatz according to the plans of Leo von Klenze, was somewhat of a blind date between a Hellenised facade and a Romaninspired interior. While the facade reminds one of a Greek temple, in the interior, with its vaulted ceilings, one could imagine being in a Roman bath – lavishly decorated with coloured marble floors and colourful stuccoed walls. As a result of the reconstruction, which was mainly carried out under future museum director Dieter Ohly, the styles of the interior and exterior became somewhat more similar: The visible brick walls were given a sand-coloured coating of slurr y and the simple shell limestone floors and plinth now appear in a monochrome blue-grey. The metabolism associated with the reconstruction marked a change in the treatment of the material from “as if” to an ethic of more honesty.
Semper’s idea of Stoffwechsel referred to more than simple changes in material. He was especial ly inte rested in a subt le dematerialisation – albeit in the context of the m o n u m e n t a l a rch i t e c t u re of the 19th centur y, which didn’t quite have faith in iron as a new building material. It wasn’t really until Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s “skin and bones” architecture of the 1920s, which moved beyond the “pasta” of the 19th century, that dematerialisation was taken seriously. Mies’ two designs for sk yscrapers at Berlin’s Friedrichstraße railway station may be regarded as major projects in this regard. One of the two designs, a triangular 20-story office high-rise in the form of a “cryst a l h o n eyco m b” owes i t s fanned-out shape to the trial of a number of models in which the “rich interplay of light reflections” (Mies) was tested.
There is actually an antithesis to Gott fried Semper’s idea about Stoffwechsel, i.e. his equa l l y funda men ta l a nd dematerialising principle of architecture, which places the longing for eternity that building involves on a pseudo-foundation of ephemeral textiles. This antithesis does not make architecture a theatre of reminiscence about that which is flexible and the sof t, but ra t he r about t he hardest material nature has to offer, namely the diamond. Although this antithesis has been little more than abstractly fo rmula ted wi th rega rd to architectural theory up to now, it has often been built, for example, in the innumerable ashlar diamond facades that were especially popular in Italy during the Renaissance. One of the most beautiful examples of this is the Palazzo Sanseverino, built by architect Novello da San Lucano in 1470. Behind this building’s “hard”, greyish black patinated facade, a much softer looking baroque church was built slightly more than a century later by Giuseppe Valeriano. The church has sumptuous interiors from the 17th and 18th centuries and a fresco by Solimena, which can be viewed today.
Photo Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo: mweau31 / CC BY-SA; photo Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo in James Simon Gale rie: Ute Zscha rnt
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Photo Na t ional Museum of Roman A r t: Klaus F rahm / A r tu r Images; photo Na t ional Museum of Roman Ar t in James Simon Gale rie: Ute Zscha rnt
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Photo Museum of Na tu ral H isto r y: Thomas Spie r / Ar tu r Images; photo Museum of Na tu ral H isto r y in James Simon Gale rie: Ute Zscha rnt
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The work of David Chipperfield Architects is not that of a creator of icons. The office is known for finding solutions to tricky historical building tasks. In this interview, David Chipperfield and Alexander Schwarz, design director and partner of David Chipperfield Architects Berlin, reflect on their own architectural principles. Interview: Alexander Gutzmer, Alexander Russ
Mr. Chipperfield, Mr. Schwarz, curating a magazine – what kind of experience is this for you as architects? BAUMEISTER:
In our architectural work, two modes of production always run parallel. On the one hand, we are simply professionals. We provide services for our clients, keep deadlines, and so on. But then, there is another level on which we
DAV I D C H I PPE R F I E L D :
work. This is about creating a reflective environment for ourselves. It means constantly considering what we are doing. We have a responsibility to our intellectual ambitions. This does not come naturally. In architecture, your own theoretical framework has to be created. Doing an issue of a magazine can help us do that. In this sense, curating a Baumeister issue brings us closer to understanding who we are.
away some playfulness. Working on a magazine, we can act more playfully. You are thrown back on yourself, to articulate yourself. You create your own intellectual environment. This is particularly important for an architectural practice that has one foot in the Anglo-Saxon world. D C:
Why? What is the difference between Great Britain and Continental Europe in this respect? B:
Self-questioning as mode of existence?
Yes. You have to constantly check yourself. We try to initiate discomfort for ourselves. As an architect, if you want to be good, you have to work with and without doubt at the same time. In this sense, this magazine issue is an operation to collect thoughts and to deliberately create a level of discomfort, similar to when I directed the Venice Biennale four years ago.
What is interesting is the openness. From the beginning, we were very open as to where this cooperation would lead to. We are in this position because we are doing this as dilettantes. As an architect, you feel responsible for your projects and clients, which takes
ALEX ANDE R SCHWAR Z:
In Europe, there is more respect for the architectural profession. In London, architecture is simply a service. If a client does not like you, he can just say “let’s get rid of them”. In Germany, architects are in a stronger position. Here, the client has to prove that you are not doing your job. You are D C:
Po r t ra i ts David Chippe r f ield and Alexande r Schwa r z: Ute Zscha rnt fo r David Chippe r f ield A rchi tect s
“We believe in digging”
not servicing the client; you are servicing the project.
really about. We want to determine what role architecture can fulfill in one particular incident.
Was that why you opened a German office some years ago?
Our office, founded in 1985, was built up at that very moment. It was a time in which many offices tried to rebuild architecture. Our work coincides with that. Is there a basis for your design convictions?
Not quite. At first, we opened the office in Berlin just as a project office, for the Museum Island project. Then, it grew.
Alexander Schwarz, Martin Reichert, Eva Schad, Harald MĂźller, Christoph Felger and Mark Randel in Berlin developed a skill set that we simply had to keep. The Neues Museum gave us the opportunity to rehearse our own ideas. There is a very productive Anglo Saxon versus German spirit. D C:
Do we hear functionalism in that?
When we first talked about the idea of this magazine, you argued it would be interesting for you because it forces you to clarify your understanding of architecture. Now, how would you describe this understanding?
It is more than functionalism. We see sites as cultural locations. For us, finding an architectural solution means engaging with a problem that we defined beforehand. We want to ask relevant questions.
We live in times that lack any overarching ideologies. The modern movement gave us an ideological umbrella; it was about change and process. This collapsed. Postmodernism, with its substantial rethinking of the notion of history, brought about a substantial loss of confidence. D C:
I want to start with what we are not doing. We do not rely on style, not on our own brand of architecture. There are no architectural forms via which one should recognize our work. Our starting point is always the question what a place, a city, an urban context is
Do broader audiences understand this approach?
B: A S:
Essentially, we often start with the physicality of architecture, its haptic, physical qualities. This point of orientation got lost during modernism and throughout postmodernism. During that time, it was difficult to talk about architectural style in England, especially with Prince Charles. But you could talk about material. This is what we did, like a poet reflecting on words. D C:
Not always. It is a demanding approach, because it tends to collide with the market and the economic imperatives of the construction industry. It is a bit like with food. There is more synthetic food than ever in the world. But more and more people want real food. In food as in architecture, there is a need and a willingness to engage with materials. D C:
An interesting approach to quality in the design process. Is there a similarity to Peter Zumthor, who
Curated by David Chipperfield Architects