Any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness. Walter Benjamin
–los magazine #3 MMXIX Berlin cover image by Igor Vukičević
ORDNUNGSLOS by –los magazine p. 6-7
DISSONANCE by Elda Broglio p. 8-17
A WORD ABOUT A WORD by Sotiris Frankos p. 18-23
HEY, SLAVS by Igor Vukičević p. 24-31
IRREGULARITÄTEN by Fabian Reinsch p. 32-39
by –los magazine
How standard is the standard? Just as our mind sorts, arranges and processes information and ideas, artistic and architectural production has always tried to arrange and catalogue them. This begins with the Greek order of columns and ends with the canonicalization of the entire history of arts. The natural limits and social influences on this aspect were reflected in disorientation and parallelization of the various movements after the postmodernism of the 1980s. Given the so-called ‘end of history’ or simply lack of one aesthetic principle to be followed, the creative disciplines were freed from the canonic interpretation of arts, with the feeling that everything was possible. As a result of constant order reinvention influenced by technological and societal developments, we are currently facing coexisting neo-postmodernism, rationalism and parametric technoarchitecture. The social phenomenon of the architect‘s ‘ordering hand’, a myth that culminated in the postwar period as the principles of the car-friendly modern city were often unrestrainedly implemented in the Tabula Rasa of the destruction of the Second World War, is still alive today. But the autocratic architectural creator was also subjected by more ordering elements, like spatial 6
regulations. These not only shape the direct appearance of the built environment, but also serve as essential tools of urban development. Above all, housing and industrial buildings are influenced by notions of standardization, grid, prefabrication, the individual within the system. Our built environment has therefore always been a subject to laws, norms and standards. In society, the economic system can only be maintained with the will of its actors. Only if the order is accepted, social control can ensure that individual actors fit into it. An order is therefore maintained by each individual. So can we say that order is a social construct? According to which actors is the current order and the order of the future actually formed? Politics? Google? Media? The order influences notions of architecture, design, politics, our thoughts and social role models. Is order a necessity to survive as a society, to keep our cities functional, to let our minds function within the standard? In this ordered world, are there still islands of Ordnungslosigkeit?
by Elda Broglio
We were built by glances. What I see, what you see, what other people see, what society sees. My shadow as a mirror on the ground. The feeling of being observed and of being judged. The fear of it and the guilty pleasure for it. Getting naked, being naked, feeling naked. Perfection, ideals, proportions, subjectivity. Comparison, competition, insecurity, confidence. Human laws over our bodies. I hope that in the middle of all those images and all that deafening noise we get deeply lost until it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter anymore, until we are capable to find comfort and beauty in nothing else but ourselves.
LET’S HAVE A WORD ABOUT A WORD. by Sotiris Frankos
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
Language matters. Words carry meanings. The definition of what an architect is, or does, cannot but affect the concept we have of them, the platonic idea in our minds, and finally and inevitably the very act of architectural practice itself. I am prefacing this text with this statement as a way to excuse my, otherwise seemingly inconsequential at first, following linguistic digression.
The architect is the one who designs buildings. That’s the definition Google gave me, at least. But I can also tell you that it hasn’t always been this way. How do I know?
The architect is the master builder. Tell me a dinosaur’s name and I can probably figure out what feature makes it stand out from its peers. Name a disease and I usually get instant insight into what it concerns. No, this is not the lamest superpower in the world, it’s plain old applied etymology, combined with a knowledge of the Greek language. As it happens, “architect” is a Greek word as well; “αρχιτέκτων”. It’s a compound word, arkhi- (αρχι-) and tekton (τέκτων). Its lite18
ral translation is master builder which would accurately reflect the function of an architect in ancient Greece, but the term seems harder to reconcile with an architect‘s function in the contemporary world. Humor me for a minute and let‘s take this etymology thing a little bit further. Άρχι- comes from the ancient Greek word “ἄρχω”, meaning to begin or to rule; to govern. Αρχή, the noun, likewise can refer, among other things, to a beginning or an authority or a rule; a principle. And, though that is not the historical origin of the word, in a different world αρχιτέκτων could plausibly have been used to refer to rule-makers or people who build, based on rules and principles. That last one definitely sounds a little bit more relevant to today’s architectural practice.
The architect is the one that builds based on rules and principles. Rules and principles are by their very nature prescriptive and restrictive since they inevitably preclude potential outcomes. And while the word “restriction” usually carries negative connotations, I want to make it clear that in the context of this text it is used in a neutral manner. I, for the purposes of this text, separate restrictions into two categories depending on their origin: natural and artificial. Gravity, for example, is a natural restriction. You might not often think of it as one, but that is only because you have internalised it. It’s a fact, a law of physics not up for debate. It is the duty of every architect to have intimate knowledge of these restrictions. They are constants and affect every design, and ignoring them can have catastrophic consequences. Natural restrictions 19
are not usefully disregarded only in the domain of fiction. Conceptual architecture, that is to say, designs created not with the intention to ever be realized but for the exploration of potentialities and concepts (hence the name), can and should disregard natural (and, for that matter, artificial) restrictions in the pursuit of useful conclusions that can inform future theories or designs. Artificial restrictions, on the other hand, are entirely social constructs, whether they serve a functional purpose or not. There is nothing but man-made institutions imposing them. Internalising those artificial restrictions is very dangerous - and avoiding doing so is easier said than done, because often the process happens unconsciously through osmosis. Architects are inescapably products of the system they exist in, being formed as people in a myriad of imperceptible ways through their mere existence in their social, political, spatial, economic, cultural context. Their very ability to imagine alternatives is hindered by this fact. The limits of what is possible in the mind can only extend slightly beyond that which already exists. Thus, architects tend to reproduce in their designs the system that produced them.
Although not typically attended to by architects - social and spatial arrangements are manifestations of particular systems of organisation, which they also express. Such interrelationships inevitably affect the morphology of social and spatial relations on domestic and civic levels as well. Nathaniel Coleman
It is apparent, then, that the very ordering of elements into a space is a political act, and can reinforce or rebel against the system in which they were created. As a matter of fact, any act of designing a space is authoritarian. Through the spatial order it imposes, and the possibilities the resulting space allows or prohibits, it enforces a top-down social order. Distinguished philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre posited that for any radical change in life to happen, substantial change in the built environment would be a prerequisite. For both of these to take place, though, the existing systems would need to be subjected to rigorous and radical critique.
The architect is the rule-maker. It would be a mistake to label a priori any disruption of order, any attempt at disregarding restrictions or redefining rules, as a bad or a good thing. Likewise, going against the dominant system simply for the sake of it can have unforeseen negative consequences. Laws might be restrictive, but they might be so for a good cause, as is the case in matters pertaining to environmental sustainability. Each architect should form their own axiomatic system on which to base their sociopolitical positions. They should be knowledgeable in matters of applied ethics. Critical thinking is then required to develop a set of personal rules that inform their designs. These rules can and should, of course, be modified or even completely dropped as time goes by, when they no longer serve their intended purpose. As for artificial rules imposed by outside factors, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to remember that they, too, can change. If the restrictionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; origins are laws, they can either be changed through the avenues 21
provided by the governing system or, if there are none, the governing system itself can be changed. If they are social mores, then they can gradually be changed through public advocacy or, since they are not binding, through designing spaces that reflect the architect’s views. This runs, however, the considerable risk of alienating its users. The architect is also an activist. If there’s one thing the architect cannot afford to be, it’s apathetic.
The architect is the one who designs buildings, redux We’re nearing the end of the text and I feel like we’ve gotten to know each other somewhat by now, so let’s get a little personal. As a student, I had a particular inclination towards the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). When the time came for me to choose what I would do with my life, however, I could not in good conscience turn my back to my artistic side. Architecture was supposed to be an art and a science, and that’s why I chose it. But soon, in horror, I discovered a fundamental difference architecture had with my STEM classes. Sure, you could design a building, but the design process was never really done. As my architectural education progressed, I found myself returning to earlier projects and trying to improve them in pursuit of that addictive, grand “Eureka!” moment one got to experience when they solved a math problem. It never happened and it can never happen because there’s never just one right solution. There is no closure in architecture.
It was too late for me to back out, but my approach to design was informed by my STEM-loving past. Rules and restrictions can be treated as a hurdle, but for me, they’re just like the constants and variables of a math problem. Architecture is problem-solving. The entire point of the process is finding ingenious ways in which you can work around them and still design a great building. And so we’ve come full circle. Look, Google wasn’t wrong. The architect does design buildings. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what an architect should be doing. Did my words manage to modify the concept of the architect in your head? Wittgenstein would be proud.
Athens, Greece 30/6/2019
by Igor Vukičević
In socialist Yugoslavia, order was the norm. Every once in a while, there would be a visionary architectural feat that breaks the code and disturbs the grid. Such is the powerful building of SIVin New Belgrade, modern-day Serbia, which demonstrates the full glory of the fallen Pan-Slavic nation. The luxury of socialism should be nothing more than a paradox. It isn’t supposed to exist. Yet, this building is a true testament to it, in a city of cracked concrete and glitchy billboards, extreme class inequality, institutional corruption and urbicides. As if Yugoslavia was an alien civilisation that had landed its divine spaceship
here in the Slavic-inhabited part of the Balkan peninsula, in hopes of enlightening the masses. Its significance can even be compared to that of the United Nations HQ towerâ&#x20AC;&#x2039;in New York City, USA. Its ambition of modernising the nation is, however, abruptly cut off by war crimes and left eternally unfinishedâ&#x20AC;&#x2039;. This is why a single building is able to act like a subatomic particle acts in quantum physics. In a socialist system it represents a wild extravagance in the middle of modest rigidity, while in a capitalist one - a gesture of order in a landscape of utter chaos.
IRREGULARITÄTEN von Fabian Reinsch
Eine Sammlung einfacher, unkonventioneller
Obwohl uns von allen Seiten suggeriert wird, dass wir für unsere Lebensgestaltung eine größtmögliche Freiheit besitzen, sehen wir uns doch in der Realität einer Reglementierung und vorgefertigten Lebensentwürfen gegenübergestellt. Insbesondere unser Wohnumfeld, vom sozialen oder gewinnorientierten Wohnungsbau bis zur Privatvilla, ist von einer starken Standardisierung auf der einen, und einem mediengenerierten, gesellschaftlichen Vorbild auf der anderen Seite geprägt. Können außerhalb dieser Ordnung überhaupt Räume entstehen, die aus dem Gewohnten ausbrechen und eine Freiheit im Sein und Denken fördern? Mit dem idealen Denk-Ort verbinden wir den in der Welt zentrierten, metaphysischen Raum des Gelehrten in der Antike. Solche puren Räume, wie sie auch Palladio anstrebte, verwehren sich jedoch der Ordnung letztlich nicht, sondern stellen sich selbst als ordnende Kraft in den Mittelpunkt des Kosmos. Die Suche nach einer ordnungs(auf)lösenden Architektur führt zu Projekten die eine starke 32
Reduktion eint. Dabei geht es nicht um einen, inzwischen auch in der Gesellschaft angekommen, asketischen Minimalismus, sondern um das Sehen und Wahrnehmen elementar einfacher Räume. „Ort, Mass und Rhythmus der Teile werden überprüft und variiert, bis sich ein Spielraum zu öffnen beginnt zu einem neuen Ganzen.“¹ – der Spielraum als kurzer, ambivalenter Schwell-Moment der Ordnungslosigkeit. In den bis auf das Elementarste reduzierten Projekten sorgen leichte Irritationen, wie asymmetrische Raumbezüge, dafür, dass undefinierte, freie Räume, die sich der konventionellen Ordnung verwehren, entstehen.
1 Marcel Meili, Peter Märkli - Die Arbeit der Augen, in: Du, Band 52, Heft 5, S.74f, 1992
Harry Rosenthal Atelierhaus Arnold Zweig, Berlin 1931
Das Raumgefühl des Architekten hat einen wundervollen Sieg über die Dimension erfochten. Alles Überflüssige fehlt.²
2 Arnold Zweig, in: Die Werkstatt Arnold Zweigs - Architekt: Harry Rosenthal. Mit einem Geleit- wort des Dichters, Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst und Städtebau, Heft 3, 26. Jg., Berlin 1932, S.102
Philip Johnson Alice Ball House, New Canaan 1953
Alle große Architektur ist Entwurf von Raum, der die Menschen in diesem Raum umschließt, einnimmt, überwältigt oder steigert. [...] Wie bei Laotses Schale ist die Leere darin das eigentliche Wesen.³
3 Philip Johnson, Texte zur Architektur, DVA, Stuttgart 1982, S.170
Kazuo Shinohara House in White, Tokio 1966
Any departure from conventional everyday space is likely to confound human action, since it transcends our field of reference. At such an instant, one realizes how much of everyday activity is conducted within the most stringent order of styles. Loss of styles makes one uncomfortable. For this reason, realization of non-everyday spaces must be carried out a step at a time, establishing new styles along the way to enlarge the expanse of perception.â ´
4 Kazuo Shinohara, Theory of Residential Architecture (1967); in: Monica Gili (Hrsg.) 2G N.58/59 Kazuo Shinohara Casas Houses, Ed. Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 2011, S.251
Clotilde & Bernard Barto Maison Chézine, Nantes 1976
Maison? murs clôtures resserrements quotidien fonctionner besoins fixé immobile Peur alors? laisser venir dessins questions dessins perdre enlever enlever superflu Dépouillement [...] ⁵
5 Poesie von Clotilde Barto (Auszug), in: AA L‘Architecture d‘Aujourd‘hui N°229 Octobre 1983, Groupe Expansion, Paris 1983, S.9
Peter Märkli Mehrfamilienhaus, Trübbach 1989
Anybody can build four walls and a window, this is not the issue. You must be able to make people feel something even through the simple presence of a facade; or the presence of those same four walls and window.⁶
6 Interview mit Peter Märkli, in: Giorgio Azzariti, In Search of a Language – A Journey into Peter Märkli‘s Imaginary, Éditions Cosa Mentale, Marseille 2019, S.167
Livio Vacchini Vacchini House, Costa Tenero 1992
J‘aime réduire l‘irrationnel au minimum et porter le rationnel jusqu‘au limites extrèmes.⁷
7 Livio Vacchini, Capolavori Chefs-d‘oeuvre, Editions du Linteau, Paris 2006, S. 72
THE AUTHORS Elda Broglio Elda Broglio is an illustrator and designer born and raised in Buenos Aires. She received her Graphic Design Degree from The University of Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA) and have studied painting, drawing, illustration and animation with the best teachers in Buenos Aires. She also attended to the authors
the Illustration Summer Residency Program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She has worked with clients from all around the world for Animation and editorial projects. Currently living and working in
Sotiris Frankos. Architect for whom architectural works are not the goal but the tool through which goals are achieved. Interested in how spaces shape us, and the corresponding ethical and moral implications. Consumes media from many genres and art forms in the hopes of finding answers or, even better, questions. Keeps a photo diary.
Igor Vukičević Igor Vukičević (b. 1993) is a student at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad. He is an
active member of the Association of Novi Sad Architectsand the regional platform Tristotrojka. His hobby is exploring and
Berlin based architect.
examining the world through photogra-
After studying in France and Germany, he
phy and writing.
worked for the offices of Stéphane Fernandez (Aix en Provence) and Volker Staab (Berlin). To still his interest in architectural spaces he never stopped researching which results in publishing articles now and then. Since 2018 he is teaching at the Institut für Entwerfen und Gebäudelehre inside the architecture faculty of Leibniz Universität Hannover. He is co-founder of MAROCCO. http://www.marocco.ist
The –los team Founded 2018 in Berlin, –los magazine is an independent publishing project aiming to present remarkable sustainable design and ideas. We are practicing architects and designers, introducing the -los project as a platform for concepts and visual experiences.
Sara Czerwińska Daniel Eichenberg
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