In this partially documented lecture architect A. Quincy Jones discusses the Herman Miller manufacturing plant in Michigan. Quincy Jones show slides and talks about the program, function, and module system used in the plant. He also discusses circulation in terms of a spine and a catwalk.
Video Archive | Modernism (104)
Ray Kappe presents his early solo projects starting from 1953. Following the work of the early modernists, these early projects are mostly single-family houses and apartments using the post and beam construction technique. Not interested in conventional building techniques, Kappe’s projects consist of structures with infill panels and carefully consider site relationships. Similar to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra, the skins of these buildings receive the same treatments as the interiors, contributing to the penetration of the exterior to the interior.
Shelly Kappe introduces Raphael Soriano, reviewing his life story, and his rejection of his classical training and his embrace of steel frame construction as a member of the second generation of Los Angeles modernists. Soriano discusses the brainwashing of students and the need to question pedagogy and the practices of the past. He condemns the element of entertainment that runs throughout art and architecture. Soriano then plays a series of audio clips as evidence of the declining quality of mass entertainment.
Charles Jencks begins his lecture on contemporary Japanese architecture by describing the schemes and traditions of Japanese culture. He touches on traditions such as natural materials, life cycles, dualities, planes, and asymmetry and how these elements will be seen again in contemporary Japanese practice under different guises, creating what he calls “multi-valant elements of meaning.” He summarizes these elements into what the Japanese refer to as “the National Style.”
Charles Jencks paries questions about modernism overshadowing the Art Nouveau movement, the death of Art Nouveau, as well as that death of modernism. Jencks also fields questions that concern mass consumerism, kitsch, and meanings associated with the forms of modernism. In the end, Jencks makes assumptions and predictions about where architecture is headed, how it will get there, and what types of theoretical associations will be appropriate with future architectural movements.
This video continues the lecture begun on the video Charles Jencks Recent Italian And Japanese Architecture. Jencks praises the use of metaphors and signs as a way to create architecture that is egalitarian and not elitist. The second half of this video contains the beginning of another lecture, covering the language of modern architecture.
After presenting a short movie of “the end of the megastructure dream,” Banham describes his lecture as a discussion of another dream, the modernist dream, developed in the 1920s, of an architecture in step with technology, “whose wreckage is still with us.” He quotes a passage from Colin Rowe’s preface to the 1975 Five Architects catalog, which characterizes Banham’s approach as “a repudiation of modern architecture’s form and an endorsement of what the modern movement, theoretically, was supposed to be.” Banham characterizes his talk as a response to Rowe. Banham discusses buildings from the mid-1920s like Ernst May’s low-cost housing in Frankfurt which gave some validity to the myth that buildings in a modernist style were economical to build. He discusses Le Corbusier’s “dream world of engineering,” and how he interpreted mass produced products from pipes to ocean liners as perfect solutions to specific needs, created not by a designer but self-created by “the law of mechanical selection.” Banham explores the contradiction in Corbusier’s praise of engineering over design, with his preference for specific shapes and forms, by comparing Corbusier’s discussion of mass-produced automobiles and Corbusier’s houses through his 1935 Weekend House. He begins to discuss the influence of Gropius on the second generation of modernist architects when the tape ends.
Harwell Hamilton Harris responds to questions from Shelly Kappe. Harris describes growing up in an idealistic and progressive early 20th century Los Angeles. He considered himself a sculptor until he saw Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in 1925. An attempt to contact Wright’s assistant, Rudolph Schindler led to meeting with Richard Neutra. Harris describes working for Neutra in the 1920s, along with Gregory Ain. Harris describes how his own practice began when Neutra left to tour Europe in 1930. His first built work, the Lowe House in Altadena, 1934, was published in House Beautiful, and led to more residential work. In his own work, he sees the idea of prefabrication informing his use of interchangeable units, like a musical scale, to create a rhythmical composition. Harris describes how he assumed the immediate post-war period would be bad for practice, so in 1951 he accepted an offer to head the architecture school of the University of Texas at Austin. The possibility of doing more work, while teaching, led him, in 1962, to the School of Design at North Carolina State University. Asked about the difference between his California work and his work in Texas and North Carolina, Harris sees more continuity than difference. He argues that both wood and stucco have interesting characteristics that he uses “joyfully.” Asked about new architecture being built, Harris describes his discomfort with megaprojects and vast urban plans. He characterizes his architecture as a means of discovering what can be.