Jos? Oubrerie shows the audience drawings given to him by Le Corbusier, and his own sketches–some produced as he addresses the audience–to explain the process behind the Church of St. Pierre in Firminy. He stresses the importance of maintaining the church’s original design, while solving problems using contemporary technology. He also discusses his own idependent work.
Video Archive | Modern architecture (14)
Todd Gannon introduces Jos? Oubrerie. Gannon briefly reviews Oubrerie’s body of work, his teaching, and his collaborations with Le Corbusier.
Eric Owen Moss states that he “never wanted to be a master, polished and smooth,” and describes his body of work as “uneven, inconsistent, rough, and exploratory.” Moss presents quotes from Roosevelt, Kierkegaard, and Marco Polo that he directly correlates to architectural discourse, and his own approach to architecture. He continues with his cautionary notion of discomfort with regards to affiliations or allegiance to an architectural discourse without understanding them as choices. He leads into his own work by describing a sculpture by Michelangelo that was ambiguously left in an “unsteady” state, a ballet dancer from Lyon who challenged the notion of “what you see is what you get,” and a Greek capital that was defiled by Romans.
Iara Lee is a movie and music producer whose work involves human interaction with technology and architecture. She presents her video Synthetic Pleasures, which documents attempts to synthesize natural environments to make them easier to consume. It raises questions of the ethical limits of technology and presents technology not as a solution to any problem, but as a tool to escape reality. She also presents three short films, Enclosed Nature, Terminal Happiness, and Towers of Wind which deal more specifically with architecture and its relationship to music and technology.
Lee produced Enclosed Nature, Terminal Happiness, and Towers of Wind to combine contemporary architecture with techno soundtracks. The combination is apt, according to Lee, since both the music and the built structures are products of technological processes which are pretty alien to the way in which nature operates. Moreover, Lee points out a similar stress on rthymn in both the music and the architecture.
Shelly Kappe introduces Reyner Banham’s presentation of the second of two consecutive lectures (see Reyner Banham The American Factory 1900 To 1925 for part one). Reyner Banham describes the impact of American industrial architecture on its European counterpart as one characterized by speculation and misinterpretation, leading to a mythologized basis for the originating tenets of Modern Architecture. The Fagus Factory in Alfeld, Germany and the Fiat Factory in Turin, Italy serve as case studies for Banham’s analysis.
Banham describes the Fagus Factory, Walter Gropius’s role in its design, and its adherence to the ideals of modern architecture. He suggests the influence of American financial backing and a visit to the US by the factory’s owner, Carl Benscheidt in bringing Gropius on to modify a design completed by Eduard Werner. Banham identifies Gropius’ work as a “skin job” that is “neither modern, nor the other thing,” and describes the application of a modernist glass box to the otherwise more antiquated brick pier structure and Art Nouveau-influenced detailing.
Banham continues his lecture with a discussion of the impact of photographic evidence of American industrial buildings on European modern architecture. He describes a time when European modernists saw American engineers as a sort of noble savage, attaining at once an abstract modern and an abstract ancient which escaped the conventions of architecture. Banham describes the mythic impact these photos had on architects who had never seen American industrial structures in person. He goes on to include examples of attempts by Erich Mendelsohn, Mario Chiattoni and Le Corbusier to adopt, publish and further romanticize these forms.