REIMAGINE SPRING 2021

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Thick-Envelope

Thiago Maso M.S. AAD

reimagine Nestlé Pavilion, Le Corbusier and BEST Store, V&SB. Decorated shed.

Why are we still talking about buildings or cities as if they are separated only by a thin wall? On a not-so-famous project, Le Corbusier called for an idea that would reappear about forty years later. In his Nestle Pavilion from 1928, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret applied a superficial treatment, on the outside-skin of a shed, as decoration to convey meaning. All the virtues of a semi-generic form, decorated as a commercial device intended as a billboard were printed into a thin, metal-sheet façade. Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, his most famous detractors did the same in 1978, painting their trademark pop-inspired flowers and colors into enamel panels enclosing a big-box retail shed. This example shows that reading contemporary

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theory as a play on façades is too superficial, and we shall look deeper into the definition of the façade by researching not its decoration or composition, but the relationship between façade and its thickness. Historically, we could insinuate the façade is an assemblage of symbols attached to the external face of a (generic) wall — the urban portion of the limits of a building — and comprehend this double relationship, building and city form (and the subsequent lobotomy), as a signifier to the city. This ambiguity between the interiorexterior representation is what Venturi (1966) calls the difficult whole, or the complexity and contradiction in the element of the façade that synthesizes the forces existing between the interiority and exteriority of the building.


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