Goethe Dichtung und Wahrheit Tradition. This historical sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his own contemporaneity. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new the really new work of art among them.
The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new. He [the poet] must be quite aware of the obvious fact that art never improves, but that the material of art is never quite the same.
He must be aware that the mind of Europe — the mind of his own country —. There is no escape. He shared the same sense of the historical whole that can be found in T. The search for unity of past and present was translated into modern art through various aesthetic principles. Two aspects in particular are worth noting. On the one hand, the creation of the new implied the abandonment or subversion of former conventions and a new form of interaction between multiple past and present references and discourses through fragmentation and the subsequent juxtaposition of contradictory allusions.
On the other hand, the re-equation and re- elaboration of these fragments in new formal arrangements was guided by the attempt to attain the timeless through fundamentals. In this endeavour, the past acquired ontological weight and symbolic dimensions. The focus on form as a bearer of meaning was a means to bring past and present together. This is expressed, for example, in the role attributed to myth, seen as a means to secure transhistorical and cross-cultural ties and to construct a new order through universal values.
Thus we find two complementary aspects of the fundamental involvement of history and tradition in modern art and architecture. On one level, the past provided modern aesthetics with raw material, i. On another level, these processes were informed by a sense of the historical whole which established the basis of the modern narrative—a metanarrative that was humanistic in nature, operating as the lens through which past, present and future could be viewed.
In this process, the new was established with reference to a given tradition, knowledge of which was required in order to interpret its principles. Another kind of displacement consisted of the assimilation into architecture of elements outside this tradition. His modern buildings resulted from fusing fragments from the worlds of engineering, shipbuilding, industrial construction and aircraft. This is markedly so from the s onwards. If, as Francesco Passanti has shown, the ceremonial dimension of architecture in the Villa Savoye aims to re-conceptualize the vernacular relationship between people and their artefacts through the concepts of Sachlichkeit and Typisierung, the skyscrapers in the Montevideo plan openly quote the interplay between the vertical architectural thrust and the horizontal expanse of water at the fortress of Negotin which Le Corbusier photographed on his journey to the East.
Influence is the driving force behind artistic creation, establishing a dialogical relationship with existing works, whether through deformation, completion, rupture, re-appropriation or recreation. The sources of intertextuality extend far beyond architecture, ranging from the client and collaborators to the architectural programme, from folklore to real-world experiences, and from narratives and literature to the visual arts.
In this search for novelty through abstract opposition, Habermas concludes, the modernist consciousness preserves a secret tie to the past. In short, the modernist tie to the past is essentially formalized through abstract aesthetics and principles, through which former conventions are subverted and re-elaborated in new formal arrangements. The second aspect of the fundamental involvement of history and tradition in modern art and architecture—the search for the timeless through fundamentals—lies in the grand narrative of modernity: the belief in historical progress leading to a higher human condition.
Postmodern discourses, rallying around the themes of history and tradition, claimed that architecture should have an allusive quality. A new communicative architectural language could be achieved by incorporating history and tradition into the realms of architecture, thus recovering recognizable forms by and symbolic dimensions broadly accessible to the populace. Reacting against the iconographic postmodernist exploration of architecture which would allegedly solve the semantically mute aesthetics of modernism, some have argued that the communicative dimension of modernist architecture went unnoticed by its critics.
Modern architecture entailed a fundamental message that postmodernism failed to understand, namely that of a modern way of life, made possible by its functionalism and symbolically expressed through the aesthetics of the machine. Modern architecture was not only deemed to be modern functional, mechanically produced, etc. In this regard, it involved the symbolic objectification of past monuments, reducing them to their elemental qualities to create a primal architecture through which the past would literally be reborn.
Modern architects considered modern architecture to be redemptive, and because they believed in a higher human condition, their message would naturally be accessible to the common man. In order to understand this supratemporal, universal meaning, we have to look back at the preceding centuries.
In fact, the modernist historical consciousness can be traced back to a new historical vision that began to take shape in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European thinking and that was consistently formulated in the nineteenth-century intellectual and spiritual revolution in Germany. The classical view of universal values derived from Natural Law was replaced by the idea that values change in different historical and environmental contexts.
The universal ideal of classical art was replaced by the view of art as an expression of a particular people, their morals and life as a whole, and thus dependent on specific features such as climate, political constitution, national character and the spirit of the age. A sense of universal history was nonetheless present in this relativist view of history and art, shaped by a transhistorical ontological idea which bound together the various different organic societies.
The polarity between organic societies and the supranational cause was further developed by the historian Leopold von Ranke who, despite arguing that history should focus on particular societies and their individual innate laws, nevertheless had a sense of the historical whole. The historian therefore had to study each individual society whilst observing the large-scale course of events, examining the facts objectively but also seeking to capture the spirit of each society.
These discourses gave rise to the view of history as something endowed with a purposeful direction. Despite the different variants of this historical reasoning, the essential is that the idealistic faith in a renewed western society that established the basis of the modern metanarrative rested on this sense of the historical whole and the belief in a transcendental, transhistorical idea that would unite individual societies.
The transcendental status of the idea which was to unite societies in a living cultural whole implied an original existence which was to be retrieved to renew life in a unified modern society. Although artistic expression in the various organic societies and cultures differed, they nonetheless shared this ontological idea. In expressing this supratemporal essence, they were all equally valid sources for the creation of a new artistic expression. The machine aesthetics of the s aimed to convey the new historical era of the second machine age through symbolic objectivity.
The layering of fragments and their dialogical juxtaposition remained a characteristic of these works, with their mytho-poetic allegorical qualities still aiming for a primal universal language as much as the machine aesthetics of the s. Le Corbusier Le voyage utile. Herein lies the fundamental meaning of history and tradition for Le Corbusier. The message of the symbolic objectivity of the s and the later infatuation with the primitive, the archaic and the mythical is essentially the same: the renewal of human condition through the search for the timeless.
Le Corbusier remained, in this sense, deeply modern. They explore particular episodes which bring to light both the operative role of the past in his creation of a new abstract synthesis and his modernist historical consciousness. The legacy of nineteenth-century historicism and idealism is particularly explicit in the two opening essays. Klipstein believed that artistic traditions and styles should be juxtaposed, compared and interpreted using philosophical-aesthetic principles rather than in strict historical terms.
His arguments echoed Worringer—under whom he studied—and his view of art as an expression of the psychological needs of a given organic society, which allowed him to assert that figurative and abstract categories are timeless and reflect different psychological worldviews, rather than being forcibly submitted to temporal sequentiality. In short, his friendship with Klipstein helped pave the way for a creative process of abstract synthesis involving judiciously selected fragments, independently of historical sequentiality.
Objects representing different worlds instead find affinities through their aesthetic qualities and meaning. The worlds of primitive, archaic, and vernacular objects, expressing collective memories—some of which collected during the journey to the East—share transhistorical values with contemporary art. The third essay discusses monastic life, another concept displaced by Le Corbusier.
David Leatherbarrow shows how, for Le Corbusier, the belief in a higher human condition underlying the modern metanarrative was reflected in the search for an ideal way of life. Leatherbarrow also reveals the extent to which, for Le Corbusier, utopia was humanist rather than technological in nature.
It is a tradition that is revealed both in sacred and secular terms. This link to the past, the author concludes, is just one of the many ways in which modern architecture built upon history and tradition, as exemplified in the continuity of spatial ordering principles, building techniques, and even adaptation to the historical legacy of building location. Christoph Schnoor approaches the issue of town planning to show how, in this respect, Le Corbusier also instrumentalized history in his attempts to understand urban design.
Schnoor focuses on the period between and , when Le Corbusier acquired the basis for his future urban visions, revealing the operative value that he attributed to history. His research into urban history and theory during this period reveals his interest in principles through which the problems of the contemporary city could be addressed rather than in historical narratives. It was this interest in principles that enabled him to maintain and reconcile arguments pertaining to opposite aesthetic attitudes within the contemporary urban debate to which he was exposed. On the contrary, ambivalences were part of his artistic conception.
With Francesco Passanti the focus shifts to the field of architectural space. One of the key aspects of the debate on urban design that influenced Le Corbusier during his research in Germany in was, as Schnoor shows, the notion of space. Passanti shows how this early attention to architectural space was assimilated and re-elaborated in his architectural explorations in the s. The operative role of history in this process of synthesis through the combination of different references and discourses evolved from the notion of centrality to one of continuity achieved through the play of spatial volumes.
Yet he saw France as a leading culture and, as Linton shows, his early attraction to French culture and the city of Paris soon became a reference point for his theoretical and architectural work. Stanislaus von Moos provides us with a perceptive discussion on the period following World War ii, characterized by the crisis in modern architecture and the emerging debate on the communicative capacity of architecture. With a truly modernist faith in the future—the same faith underlying the tabula rasa proposed in the s—Le Corbusier saw the destructive consequences of World War ii as an opportunity for the rebirth of a new civilization.
On the one hand, Indian tradition played an operative role in his relentless research, as demonstrated by the development of architectural elements such as the brise-soleil, redesigned through Indian tradition in order to adapt to the local climate and way of life. Nevertheless, they illustrate how the past participated in the modernist creative process of abstract art, from the s machine aesthetics to the late infatuation with myth.
They also shed light on the extent to which the operative quality of the past was framed by a comprehensive historical vision that took the form of metanarrative. I am deeply grateful for their enthusiasm and commitment to this publication. I am equally most thankful to all the contributors for accepting to embark on this project. Warm thanks to Nuno Nina from Nozzle for the unconditional support in test prints. See his sketchbook F24, 14 , from , repr. Troy, eds. The literature is too vast to list here, although some key texts in addition to Rowe should be mentioned.
Gli inediti di Charles-Edouard Jeanneret fotografo e scrittore Venice: Marsilio, , and the extensive literature on the journey to the East published in more recent years. Marcus Whiffen Cambridge, Mass. Originally published in French as La condition postmoderne: rapport sur les savoir Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, Yet this was a widespread vision that characterized the turn of the century, which was expressed in different degrees in other sources available to Le Corbusier during his formative years.
Jon R. Snyder Cambridge: Poilty Press, , 1— Rotterdam: Publishers, , , originally published in German as Le Corbusier. Portrait of August Klipstein. Photo attributed to Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, ca. Known as Orient-Reise, it has received some scholarly attention, but it has never been studied as a whole.
In , however, Jeanneret was the junior party. Klipstein was completing a PhD dissertation in art history at the University of Munich. As elder mentor and daily interlocutor to the young and professionally still unsettled Jeanneret, he surely exercised considerable influence on their common journey—even if Le Corbusier had the habit, later in life, of downplaying the influence of those people who helped shape his maturing aesthetic worldview and first forays into writing.
Neither was an experienced writer. Of the two travellers, Jeanneret was the more impulsive and impressionable. Klipstein, two years older than Jeanneret and already a seasoned traveller, was more goal- oriented, professional and academic in his pursuits. His dissertation, under the mentorship of William Worringer, dealt with the influence of Byzantine art on the artist El Greco. There is no indication, for example, that Jeanneret, in his early drafts of an itinerary, ever thought of including the Greek-and-Russian Orthodox enclave of Mount Athos. Klipstein, understandably, was thinking in terms of his doctoral thesis.
He sketched very skilfully, was competent with a camera, and had a keen eye for high art as well as traditional motifs in local culture that had survived in contemporary art. The eye of a visual artist was important to Jeanneret on this journey. August Klipstein. Sketchbook, Tagebuch, Jeanneret was right to see a potentially useful, and perhaps a stern, pedagogue in his friend. As his travel diary makes clear, Klipstein could be opinionated, dismissive, and quick to negative judgment in his writing. By temperament Klipstein was a comparativist.
But lateral comparisons between cultural traditions also revealed careless borrowings and hybrid monsters. This essay focuses on one aspect of the complex, productive, at times sardonic friendship between these two quite different personalities. The two men often describe the same physical item or event. Drawing of Toledo and St. Martin Bridge. Drawing of Toledo near St. He was not easily carried away and always sought to grasp the principles of the artistic whole. In Pera, the European district of Constantinople, Klipstein jotted down the following cautious note, which is very characteristic of his approach: No matter what, the whole of the city is complicated in every way.
You must be able to move from details to the whole here. On the other hand, the whole is too chaotic to take in at a glance. It will take a long time. Overall, he moves from the impression of the whole to its artistically worthy details. What a tragic night! Klipstein was not inclined to record events in this highly-wrought theatrical register, although he did try his own hand at a description, over a full four pages.
Klipstein provides data from an official report as it appeared in some unidentified press release: 2, houses, shops, 16 mosques. Beyond them all you can see a small strip of the Sea of Marmara and then, on the horizon, the high walls of the Asiatic mountains, with the snow-crowned peak of Mt. But he could not himself describe the emotion-charged art of that spectacle.
Or, on the contrary, the continual presence of Klipstein might have prompted Jeanneret to even higher flights of imaginative fantasy. Jeanneret was a creative artist par excellence. Klipstein was an observer, an analyst; what moved him was not the passion of participation but the voice of ironic detachment. Both men often loved the same things, but they internalized them differently.
Unité d'habitation de Firminy-Vert
The potter did not disappoint us. After going through a charming garden, we had to climb up a steep and narrow staircase to get to his loft, where we almost suffocated from the heat, but we discovered a whole mountain of wonderful black-glazed vessels with yellowish and brick- red flowers. Edouard sank into pure ecstasy and began right away to select what to buy.
She shrieked for joy, because for the first time in thirty years she was hearing German words. She came from the Frankfurt region. He had previously visited Spain, Morocco, Italy, France and Belgium, always with an academic agenda and occasionally sketching what he saw. There are also hints that Jeanneret had urged Klipstein to purchase a Kodak Brownie camera; he took many pictures with it, especially of subjects related to his dissertation research.
However Orient-Reise, as it was eventually formatted in typescript, did not include any images. Only in did the original notebook for the diary become available. This Tagebuch records impressions jointly experienced by him and Jeanneret, alongside anecdotal events and historical information that also appears in Orient-Reise Fig. At times in Orient-Reise he addresses a direct identifiable audience, as on his first page, where he seems to be speaking to Jeanneret in a sort of open letter. At other times the addressee is more difficult to determine.
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Upon completing his doctorate in Art History in , he became a professional art dealer in Bern. His widow, Frieda Klipstein, began to take an interest in his travel notes and correspondence between the two friends from almost a half-century before. The distant journey, seemingly forgotten by both sides, began to be revived.
For reasons doubtless connected with her own mourning, Frieda began a nostalgic and respectful correspondence with Le Corbusier, now at the peak of his fame, that might have exercised a certain sentimentalizing pressure on the architect. The available correspondence between Le Corbusier and Frieda Klipstein makes no specific mention of the typescript that August had left behind. Le Corbusier did not. This typescript eventually ended up in various European libraries. He did not modify or soften his immediate reactions.
Jeanneret had larger ambitions. His approach from the start was subjective. He must have felt what every artist feels: that the best way to turn strong, negative, even painful experiences into something positive and inspirational is to turn it into art. This is what Jeanneret did with the peak experiences of his journey—whether it was the Fire of Stamboul, his illness on Mount Athos, or the Grand Bazaar.
He aestheticized the experience. He does add irony and irritation. If Jeanneret represents the essential artist as transfigurer of reality, then Klipstein is the traveller-chronicler. For six months, they mutually shaped each other in their daily rituals, dialogues, and observations. Often the mix of voices and worldviews is only implicit: both men were curious about other cultures and respond eagerly to the same stimulus. At times the interaction is more explicit: the same event is written up in the two diaries.
Overall Klipstein is serious, as befits a PhD candidate in search of academically useful information. Jeanneret, on the other hand, can be very jocular, especially when describing Klip—perhaps to amuse his friends at La Chaux-de-Fonds, perhaps to gain some distance on his own sentimental tone and provide comic relief, perhaps even to play off his friend as a sort of alter-ego.
Here is his portrait. Ancestry: Flemish, but crazy about modern Paris. As to his personality: a decent fellow. And here are a few small revealing details about him. They drink, laugh, eat! He nearly died when all we could fill our drinking glasses and coffee cup with was water! They drink a lot of this ruby-red wine to overcome their uneasiness; they want either to feel happy on a day designated as festive, or simply to sink into a reassuring torpor. I also drank my part of the good little wine of Negotin, and was lost in a reverie. Auguste continued to extract the ruby-red wine from the little vials.
He eats with the conviction of a sleeping cat and the seriousness of a drinking cow! Jordaens, Brouwer! Auguste, when I send these articles to the editor of this little journal, I will beg him to omit this defamatory information! Auguste listens to my complaints; smoking his pipe, he philosophizes, and, philosophizing, he puffs on his pipe.
He gets all excited in pursuit of these mean little vermin, who burrow under his long fingernails because he has style, this art historian, this theoretician! He taps his fingernails on the marble table top, and the tiny beasts drop out; he runs them through with his writing pen, then fries them; the cadavers drown in the hot wax, next day forming a nougat, conspicuously Turkish. He goes back to sleep, the pacifier in his mouth, happy about the carnage, and complacent with his smoke!
Auguste, who is preparing for his doctorate in Art History, suddenly felt overcome by the birth of a revelatory theory [ Jeanneret writes in his Journey to the East]. Auguste, I swear to you, never was able to finish it. Nor could I have helped him. But in his Orient-Reise, Klipstein is not in the least embarrassed to take seriously his own gift for formal theorizing, extending his occasional insight into a theory about the psychology of the applied arts. A telling example from the journey, one focused on a single artwork, comes from their visit to the Valide Mosque in Istanbul. Jeanneret took the time to draw in detail a small decorative tile Fig.
Le Corbusier. Valide Mosque, Istanbul. Drawing with a note referring to Klipstein. It seeks pure abstraction as the only way of establishing coherence in the confusion and obscurity of the world picture, and it creates out of itself, from pure, instinctive necessity, a geometric abstraction. Mimetic art stimulates sympathy and empathy. It fosters a sense of community, domesticity, and comfort. Abstract art, such as is often produced by non-Western cultures, represents a different relationship of the soul to reality and to higher powers.
It is more severe, less empirical and self-explanatory. What rules this type of art is not freedom but necessity. Everything has ended in an awesome geometry. As an art historian, Klipstein displayed a special interest in painting in his diary. In his travels through Spain, he focused on El Greco. In his Journey to the East, Jeanneret composed a short chapter in the conventional literary-sentimental form of a letter to an unidentified lady, who expressed her admiration for Carmen Sylva, Queen of Romania. We saw only one El Greco, and I got so involved in it that I hardly noticed any of the rest of the paintings.
They have allowed themselves to be assassinated by Europe! We had to put up with entire walls of Munich academicism. They visited ethnographic museums, and in their diaries they describe folk objects and methods of their production. They also amassed a collection of peasant pottery, which they pack up and send back home.
In the last five years, Transylvanian ceramics have undergone a substantial change in the area of colour. Still decorative, but no longer with its distinctive elegance and sophisticated use of space. Both travellers were interested in cities as architectural ensembles—in city planning, loosely conceived—and the urban stops throughout their travels provided exemplary raw material.
His interest in urbanism, however, continued throughout his life, leading to the publication of The City of Tomorrow and in to his most elaborate and authoritative statement, The Radiant City. Klipstein does not shy away from critical forays into the architectural field and even into urbanism.
Many of his descriptions remain no more than a jotting-down of his immediate impressions, saturated with his colourful personal biases. He also made comments at the other stylistic extreme, in the style of a neutral narration reminiscent of a guide-book. Sketch of Pisa, October He was not very familiar with Turkish art, however. After Istanbul, the two companions travelled by sea to Mount Athos, where they arrived on August They stayed for two weeks, visiting various monasteries on the Holy Mountain. Jeanneret was sick through most of it, which could have been a serious matter, since cholera was sweeping the East at this time.
Klipstein observes that just a few days after they left Istanbul, this region was closed and quarantined off by the military. He did, however, make a series of sketches in his notebook. In contrast, during this peak spiritual pilgrimage, Klipstein was profoundly active and writing continually, sustained by his passion for Byzantine art.
His commentary about Mount Athos takes up over eight pages of Orient-Reise. Prominent among these were icons, iconostases, miniatures, frescos, and illuminated books on the Life of the Virgin Mary, to whom the entire peninsula and mountain of Athos is devoted it is for her chaste sake that all other female humans or animals are denied access to the Mountain.
But even an adoration of art had its limits. Interspersed among length descriptions of artworks and Biblical references, Klipstein cannot refrain from noting the painful prosaic details of their daily physical survival. Special attention is given to the meals offered them by the monks. In a piece of skin, sausage-shaped, boiled fish eyes. As a historian, he was clearly more comfortable among the relics of the past than the necessities of the present. The monastery, and also the few people there, made a wretched, miserable, unfriendly, almost hostile impression on us.
I was glad to be outside again the next morning. God knows, here on Athos you learn what hunger is. You can have these idiotic monasteries any time you want them. In contrast, Jeanneret, writing about the Athos experience three years later from his comfortable home in La Chaux-de-Fonds, was far more reflective and appreciative. Sketches and notes. Ever since , when he spent some time at the Carthusian Monastery of Ema near Florence and been powerfully inspired by it, very possibly he had dreamed of visiting others, such as those on Mount Athos.
The invitation to an ascetic life—outside the context of any religious conversion—attracted Le Corbusier to the end of his days. He recalls the two weeks, even weakened by illness, with admiration, respect, perhaps even envy. After Mount Athos, the two friends travelled through Salonika on the way to Athens. Despite their short stay for one day, both were serious students of the local landmarks. Klipstein records his impressions, and sketches among other buildings Hagia Sophia, St.
Demetrius Church, the Arch of Galerius, St.
Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations
Parasceva Church being restored at this time , and the St. George Rotunda. Jeanneret jots down a few descriptive notes and draws in his sketchbook no. Before reaching Athens, however, they were taken into quarantine. Along with all the passengers on their point, they are held on the island of St. Both were anticipating, with great impatience, their visit to the Parthenon Fig.
Klipstein did not feel well. His body was weak; he had been reduced to a skeleton by this journey, weighing in at English pounds 94 German. He had also developed gall-bladder problems. After spending a few days in bed, he concludes that he must try to return home as soon as possible. At this point the two part company. Klipstein set off from the port of Piareus toward Brindisi on September 27, What was the enduring legacy of this journey in the minds of these two friends? Le Corbusier in Athens, September August At this stage in his life, if we are to trust his ecstatic and pathos-laden travel letters home, Jeanneret was seeking above all artistic freedom; he was open to empathy, spontaneity, creative response.
Klipstein, from the beginning, had been more interested in necessity: in abstract geometry, repetition, stylization and constraint. As a parallel study of their two travel diaries attests, elements of both these psychological responses to the world of art are interwoven in their stories Fig. Why precisely Le Corbusier chose to return to this early text in is a matter of scholarly speculation. This thesis is discussed only briefly in the present article. See Marie-Jeanne Dumont, ed. It seeks pure abstraction as the only way of establishing coherence in the confusion and obscurity of the world picture, and it creates out of itself, from pure, instinctive necessity, a geometric abstraction from Worringer, Empathy and Abstraction.
The only thing is that it will be awkward with the language. They only speak Modern Greek and Russian there. I would particularly like to get a close look at the Byzantine miniatures. Their mutual reactions, recorded in their separate accounts, reinforce a single reaction, although Jeanneret is the more irritable, Klipstein more philosophical. I found only two pieces that I really liked. One costs at least , the other , although the dealer was asking thousands.
I saw some very nice Persian brocade with gold, marvellous pieces. I did buy two scraps of that, and also two carpets from Anatolia. The antiquities dealer swindled him; he hung up in front of him a galvanized plastic instead of something handmade from Cambodia … he is incensed. The biography is speculative and contains several inaccuracies. Spanische Erinnerungen , herausgegeben und kommentiert von Rolf Haaser Litblockin, : A brief biography of brother August is included in the Commentary to the volume, We can only assume that the promise to delete was a stylistic deceit.
Worringer was very smart to guide your research toward that theme. An abundance of facts and tendencies will be explained, and a tighter connection made between architecture and painting during those periods. See also H. I am grateful to Dr. It was this milieu. Editha also showed interest in Carmen Sylva. All the public works, undertaken at huge financial cost, are only half-finished or not finished at all.
Belgrade seems to have united in itself all possible negative characteristics. George Island? In the final version of his studies, he proposed meandering high-rise ribbons where workers might live high up in the fresh air, surrounded by sunlit green spaces, and far away from their workplace. Their transformable living units of only 14 square meters per occupant were to be artificially ventilated, according to the most recent knowledge of the respiration exacte. At certain times I need solitude.
He had settled there in early after his move from La Chaux-de-Fonds. It was in this austere historical building that the young Charles-Edouard Jeanneret his legal name lived, wrote, and painted until , giving little heed to his own radical postulates for all of 17 years.
Le Corbusier lived in the attic and second floor of the courtyard building left 3. Here he began to work on establishing a new identity, for which he invented the pseudonym Le Corbusier in Le Corbusier was now living on the second floor of the same house, having already assumed the rental contract in October of He was no longer living alone; in he had married his girlfriend of many years, Yvonne Victorine Gallis, and his cousin and business partner Pierre Jeanneret had also moved into the courtyard building.
His desk is almost completely covered with papers and an issue of the monthly Plans—his new mouthpiece, where the articles on the Ville Radieuse project appeared. The photographer positions the protagonist to one side of the picture, thereby drawing attention to the objects that surround him. The research for a plastic order. Charles-Edouard Jeanneret.
The mantlepiece at 20, rue Jacob, ca. The setting itself is not arranged. I even wondered whether the old apartment had a bathroom. She loved the rustic shutters that opened onto a tiny tree-filled garden in which the birds began to chirp at dawn. At that time it was empty, except for a small ancient figure on the mantelpiece. Next to this stringent Purist painting, the only objects to be seen were a wooden oval table recovered from La Chaux-de-Fonds14 and a pair of anonymous straw armchairs like the ones the young architect had purchased for his parents in around Jealously protected asssemblages of meaningful objects.
Yet he evidently found stimulation in that initially irritating jumble of iconographic references, and in the simultaneousness and equality of their presence—not unlike the bourgeois citizen of the nineteenth century. The nonchalance of the assemblage, however, is not at all typical of a bourgeois interior. Quite early on, Jeanneret had savvily begun to engage his customers in the expansion of his visual repertoire. He combined his interior decorating commissions with customer credit, which not only made it necessary to systematically browse through galleries, antique shops and furniture stores, but also gave internal and external legitimacy to this activity.
However, this obsessive acquisitiveness also reflected the complex, sometimes contradictory nature of his research and explorations. Take the furniture, for example. After the catharsis of his German experience in , Jeanneret showed little interest in reinventing objects of everyday use. This search for a product form deeply rooted in the collective memory was part of a program which had its origin in his triage and refinement of elegant classicist French furniture types from the end of the 18th century.
Once installed in his Paris home at rue Jacob 20, he bought a few of those rush-seat chairs and a two-seater sofa, which were still in production at that time, and kept them in use for the rest of his life, perhaps as a reminder of this important find. It alsocautions against falling into the trap of finding fault with architects and urbanists so as toleave intact the commissioning, professional, and political systems which gave power totheir position and presence.
He was, Iam sure, someone full of good intentions or what he did was in factdedicated to liberating effects. Perhaps the means that he proposed were inthe end less liberating than he thought, but, once again, I think that it cannever be inherent in the structure of things to guarantee the exercise offreedom. The guarantee of freedom is freedom. It is no more a matter of tracing influences and continuities, or ofdelineatinga canon, corpus or oeuvre, but rather ofcalculating the conditions andconstraints under which certain productions ofmeaning can, or cannot,emerge, take effect, and have consequencesfor the overlapping fields ofpractices and relations across which they erupt.
John Tagg. Art History. Although poetry andpoetics are not synonymous, they share, if distantly and rather ambiguously, in bothetymology and common parlance, a concern with the demarcation of an imaginative realmfrom that of instrumental reason, or the transcendent from the prosaic, the universal andessential truth or authority from the transitory. Linda Hutcheon, A Poetics of Postmodemism. Fiction NewYork: Routledge, ix, xii. Poetics is a term whose modern meaning has been transposed from literarycriticism where it refers to the quest for, or analysis of, the universals and general laws of the variousliterary genres with an aim to establish a general theory of literature to less specific and varied concerns.
Itexpresses a concern to identify the general properties which make literature possible; it is related toquestions of style. Others have alsofashioned their own meaning for the term. Heidegger defines poiesis with a constellation ofsignifications. Because theessence of technology is another technological, essential reflection upon technology anddecisive confrontation with it must happen in a realm that is, on the one hand akin to theessence of technology and, on the other, fundamentally different from it The poetics of colonial representation and a pragmatic dispersal of power defined bothAlgeria and Algiers.
Poetics and power were strands of the same colonial material; thepoetic gave efficacy to power while power bestowed an aptness on the poetic. Theintention in plotting their interrelationship is to establish the basis from which Le Corbusierbegan his conceptualization of Algiers through his particular design for spaces that werecultural and economic as well as formal expressions. The topographical views, landscapesketches, references to a Mediterranean ethos and images of the female figure were stockitems of military stratagems, voyages, film, literature and journalism, to name just a few Figure Each represented a genre which Le Corbusier employed in the presentations ofhis Algiers projects Figure These were fragments of pre-existing, culturally embedded and mythic constructionsof Algiers that served very specific functions in the relationship of the colony to theMetropole.
He was at thistime casting himself as the poet in contradistinction to the intractable functionalists of NeueSachleitkeit, thus the poetic and imaginary realms were useful to Le Corbusier in hisarticulation of what constituted Modern architecture and urbanism. As the requirements of power altered over the periodfrom to , so too did the representations given to Algiers and Algeria; alternativedefinitions and images also coexisted, accumulations through time that would serve thedifferent interest groups involved in the colony.
In terms of cultural urban representation Algiers was, symbolically at least, already aFrench city when Le Corbusier arrived in Philip P. The European population, which had dominated the city,began to diminish sharply. The proportion of Moslems to Europeans would contineto grow throughout the decade. Moslem Algerians also added to the increasing numbers ofthe educated elite and military veterans who sought positions in the city. What wasalarming to the colons was that, with political promises of assimilation, these MoslemAlgerians could, in the not too distant future, overwhelm them in those democraticinstitutions which had once protected colon privileges.
Histories of the city by J. These new immigrants to the city,overcrowding the Casbah, deforming its original functions, were perceived as a threat tothe social structure of the settler city of Algiers.
Prochaska identifies Algiers as a settler colonial city. As theEuropean sector grew, with increasing population and economic expansion, an articulation and elaborationof the social structure of the city was necessary. With the greater complexity of the city, parallel structuresfor the separation of ethnic and racial groups were required. He asserts that a panopiy of settlerpolitical organs with or against official government developed. Both postcard and demographicrepresentations are abstractions, culturally muted masks for the social and economic systemthat produced them.
Yet it was to such constructions that Le Corbusier turned in hisanalysis of the problems confronting urban planning in Algiers. Between and Le Corbusier gave expression to his impressions of North Africaand Algiers through an array of media: postcards, sketches, film, among others. LeCorbusier used postcards, often of nineteenth-century vintage, as one basis for his imagingof the city. His personal archive contained over one hundred postcards of North Africa;those depicting women far out-numbered those of a purely architectural interest.
Only onepostcard presented men, and no doubt its architectural setting, a Moorish bath, was itsattraction. Among his collection were scenes et types postcards which portrayed non-European ethnic groups in primitive non-industrial occupations Figure 14 , and womenwere shown in sexually revealing poses Figure 15 and as accessories to forbidden spaces Figure Its spaces were seemingly bereft ofmen.
Postcards of Algiers are predominately of women. Almost all were purchased byLe Corbusier. Jane 0. Newman and John H. He also asserts that women are commodified as sexobjects, shown as implicitly inferior to men and that this representation was meant to recapitulate a moregeneral inferiority of the Algerian to the European. These postcards are an example of specific discursivepractices where the construct of mental types and the strategies of the picturesque are combined. Such postcards offeredsubtle forms of possession. They exoticized while they distanced politically, culturally andtemporally the non-European occupants of the city.
Women were a chief focus ofpostcard production in Algiers. From the VieQuotidienne series there were Moorish women on the terrace, women dressing, dancing,cooking Figure He passionately and persuasively conveys the effects suffered by MoslemAlgerians due to these seemingly benign tourist mementos and fantastic photographicdocuments. Alloula reveals these postcards to be a deeply felt provocation to Moslemcultural honour. The models for the postcards, usually posed and dressed according toWestern fantasies of traditional life, functioned as symbols for all Algerian women; theirvisual capture, by the Western photographer or tourist, a metaphor for the possession ofthe city and the land.
Such postcards, with all thedeception and French longing that they incorporated and reflected, would become part ofthe documentary legitimation for his designs Figure Le Corbusier, thusunconsciously or consciously, accepted the representation of the city by its simulacra ofAlgerian women and their absent men, and constructed his avant-garde city accordingly. Alloula writes specifically about Algerian postcards and as anAlgerian male. The significance of this will be returned to in chapter four. Its subject matter and theme mark the confluence of postcard images, personalexperience and high art.
As the postcards directed, Le Corbusier went to the Casbah insearch of exotic subject matter. He continued to work on this themeuntil his death in Neither author is concerned with the political or socialaspects of the works. This initial titlesuggests that Le Corbusier believed the mythic representation of the postcards, and readilyperceived the city in terms of the seduction and subduing of women. As Le Corbusier retraced his images he divested themof their specificity, standardized their forms, reduced them to contour lines and overlappingshapes, while he captured them within a centralized and closed space.
For many Moslem Algerians the veil was not just a prop for Orientalist reverie, it was anopaque border, a screen between public and private space, traditional and modern life,retained by the Moslems. It played complex symbolic roles in both the relations betweenEuropeans and Moslems and within Moslem society itself. Frantz Fanon, A Dvin Colonialism, trans. Haakon Chevalier; intro. As Octave Dupont wrote on the eve of the centenary celebrations:As long as We canattempt rapprochement and fusion, but these efforts are liable to weaken, ifnot shatter, at the feet of this woman, unyielding and faithful guardian of thehome, its traditions and, in a word, the preservation and conservation of therace.
The postcard views, like Le Corbusie? However, as Frantz Fanon, David C. Gordon and Winifred Woodhull haveexplained, the veiling of women in Moslem culture was also an act of defiance against theWest and a unifying symbol for the East. Contrastingly, the Femmes dAlger are modern women, although only within the limits thatLe Corbusier allowed.
They are representatives of nature and the irrational, rather than ofculture and the rational, and they unified a Western audience around them. And since postcards form partof the growing tourist industry and the everyday correspondence betweenFrance and its colony, they also forge ideologically loaded bonds betweenthe French in Algeria and those in the metropolitan center.
Instead, therepresentations, and the act which precipitated them, would be understood by this public asa contravention of the Moslem code of honor. Such images of unveiled Moslem womenwould however, contribute to the catalogue of images by which a nation degraded byFrance was identified and in contradistinction to which the Algerian nation came to defineitself.
It should be noted that more recent feminist discussion identifies the danger inherentin casting veiled women as the symbol of not just tradition but also the nation, and whichmust thereby serve as the containment of significant changes Veiled, these women might beread as actors within a vital tradition unsubjected to the West and its modernism; unveiledthey might be understood as trophies taken from a subjugated Moslem world. She quotes Peter R. Knauss, Persistence of Patriarchy:Class. Thisissue will be returned to in chapter four.
Monstrous figures with mountainous limbs are often threatened bytool-like objects and pieces of cord cordage , a sense of demonic masquerade revels in their ecstatic gestures:parody and pathos, despair and strength. They do not record the Moslem laws which determinedwindow dispositions and size, for example, or the social processes facilitated by theseapertures. With such an easy transference of imageryfrom the popular realm of tourist memento to theoretical construct and then into built form,it is clearly important to understand something of the way in which such images may havefunctioned in the cultures for which Le Corbusier designed.
None of these images can bedivorced from the colonial context and structure that produced them; they are not innocent. In his sketchbook recording his trip across North Africa, Mozabite wasdistinguished from Arab and more significantly, the former was elevated above the latter according to thehierarchy imposed by colonial discourse. For a discussion of the different ethnic groups residing in Algeriasee Pierre Bourdieu, trans. Ross, The Algerians , rev. Boston: Beacon Press, Consisting primarily of articles about or by Le Corbusier and a few on competing projectsand recent construction in Algiers, they provided highly edited references to architectureand urban issues in the city.
He seems to have relied little on sociological reports. Nor isthere anything to indicate an interest in the cultural or political aspirations of the MoslemAlgerians as they themselves conceived them in the s; nothing remains concerning thedebates on colonialism then occurring.
None of the critiques against colonial policy in4lj. Such critiques would have identified theorigins of the poverty that he saw in North Africa not with a racial predilection for thesimple life, as Le Corbusier appears to have thought, but with the colonial system itself. LeCorbusier relied instead on his own, albeit brief, foray into the Casbah, a topographicalrelief model and photographs of the site. He used postcards produced for tourists andothers requiring recognizable signposts of the social and varied characteristics of the non-European encountered in the streets of the city.
He drew upon the highly selective array offacts pertinent to the development of the city extracted from newspaper reports and wonfrom informers within the Municipal Council. Instead, his sources were largely popular; they were rarelyscientific in the sense of objective studies of health and education requirements forexample, and the celebrated financial assessments of his proposals were produced byothers.
There were four questionnaires which merely repeated the questions withslightly different emphases. Le Corbusier also based his knowledge of the site on popularrepresentations of Algiers offered by pied noir writers such as Edmond Brua with whom hecorresponded in the early s, and occasionally the facts and statistics offered by Frenchinstitutions. This will be discussed in chapter two. Choisy establishes that Moslem architecture, while developing in parallel with Byzantine, and from thesame Persian sources is completely foreign to Greek architecture.
He then goes on to include the familiarstereotypes about Islamic architecture, although less blatantly racist than one of his sources, Sir BannisterFletcher. Although theyhave an ingenious elegance in vaulting, their predominant concern is decorative He points out the lackof concern for maintenance of monuments among Arabs The plan is identified as inspired by Roman, Persian and nomadic life. The Casbah, he identifies as a citadel, oftortuous streets, mosques hidden among hovels, monuments in ruins. Ingersoll, responding to Bozdogan, also remarks that Le Corbusier derived his brise soleil from themoucharabieh of Algiers, gallicizing an Algerian form, and that he never intended to reverse the dominantposition, although he may have been sympathetic to the culture.
This recreated for its European viewers the route by which the French had conqueredAlgeria a century before. The Mozabite inhabit a very inhospitable landscape in the North Sahara. He had suggested the film maker Chenel, with whom he had in the past made filmsincluding those on his own works. Le Corbusier, letter to Ponsich 21 Feb. The filmdescribed above was proposed for the La Cite Moderne Exhibition.
After views of the existing city andprevious French construction, the camera swept past the nineteenth-century buildings anddense urban fabric, drawing the eye forward in space and through time, to focus on hisurban project for the Marine Distirct. In doing so he insinuated his Obus project into thehistory of French endeavours in Algiers. I have been unable to locate any copies of this film. The description of the film exists in letters from LeCorbusier and Emery.
Both had their specificconventions and uses, however, the fictional film had the most influence on popular opinion. As fictitious or fantastic asthese films might appear, recent Algerian cinema critic Abdeighani Megherbi has pointedout their underlying ideological content. Le Corbusier did not employ the easily recogniable themes of the fiction films on thecolonies--the denigration of the colonized, inter-racial sexual relationships, the colonizedwoman and European deviants. There were no cunning Arab men or eroticizedMoslem women to convey immorality, no ruined aqueducts or churches to evoke aprosperous Latin or Christian past and thereby legitmate French claims to occupation.
Hedepicted no marauding desert tribes by which to call up an irrational foe or suggestions ofinter-tribal warfare to justify the presence of the French military. Nor were there illiterateand destitute children in need of the mission civilisatrice. See Megherbi, cinema colonial As he cinematically added his westernizing project to the lineage of Frenchintervention in Algiers, Le Corbusier also assumed the morality of the French occupation.
In focussing attention on the Marine District and the Casbah his fantastic architecture andradical urban surgery might resonate with the heroism of solutions profferred to theseemingly irresolvable problems called up by these sites in other cinematic presentations ofthem. What the film conveyed clearly was the necessity to protect the French moral orderfrom any contamination from the Casbah or those choosing to live within it.
These motifs depicted not only progress via the technological mastery of the land and itspeople, they were also key signifiers of westernization. It, like the tractor in the film Le Bled, highlightedWestern technology as the means to French domination. It extolled the colonialinfrastructure, the harmony of Moslem Algerians and Europeans, the peaceful andcivilizing presence of French institutions and technology. Conquest and aggressivity werereduced to a seemingly benign symbol, the tractor, set within a spectacular landscapelinking Algeria with the myth of the promised land.
Although a eulogy to agriculture wasdesirable and workable at the time of Le Bled, by when Le Corbusier came to makehis film agriculture no longer offered the assurance of European predominance in NorthAfrica. The superior technology demonstratedin the film was intended to impress upon its audience the futility of insurrection and thecertainty of French sovereignity. M62jhad been noted by that, regrettably, agricultural settlement of Algeria by Europeans wasunsuccessful and most were gravitating toward the city.
Les Hommes nouveaux avoided any cricism or comment on howcolonization was established. The bellions of local tribes were never shown as legitimate politicalopposition but rather as irrational violence directed against the French and their promised enlightenedgovernment. It also portrays a conflict between an older generation of successful but violent Europeancolonists and a younger generation promising a more humane prosperity enabled by machines andmechanization.
It was about Charles de Foucauld. In fiction films about the colonies themesand narrative structure were revised according to the anxieties which they sought tosublimate or manage. Produced in the context of the Rif war, the film spoke assuringly ofFrench military and moral victory via the defeat of the insurgents and the destruction offamily bonds and hence Islamic social codes of honour which were attached to the Moslemwoman.
In , assimilation would not have the calming effect it did in andthe Moslem Algerian woman, although Western-educated, was re-scripted to return to herhome and culture. The civilizing mission could no longer find justification for its programin westernization, nor did its public feel secure with assimilation proposals. In the fictionfilms, as in the postcards, women played a significant part in articulating the relationshipbetween metropolitan policies and public opinion.
They were the tokens by which Westerndominance was judged and French morality confirmed. What appears to have been centralto the ideological structure of the fiction film was that French culture, pure anduncorrupted, was portrayed such that colons would recognize their duty to France andMoslems would understand their difference. For this reason the promise of equality waspermanently withheld and fears of inter-racial alliances allayed. Although recalcitrant indigenous people and primitive cultural practices wereabsent from his film, they were evoked by the dense, overcrowded and archaic segments ofAlgiers which were the antagonists of his film.
Pierre Sorlin has argued that the popularityof the colonies was due to the cinema which established France as superior to the backwardcivilizations of its Empire, and to the need of colonial populations for the impending war. However, the relaxing of those barriers that had protected French citizens from nativepopulations and other civilizations for pragmatic and national interests would produce newstresses also requiring inventive resolution. The cultural difference between France and itscolonies as portrayed on the screen therefore maintained the sense of peril, not alwaysexplicit, of French cultural dilution; it remained a haunting apprehension among those ofthe Metropole.
The fiction films about the colonies reveal something of the profoundapprehension about French identity which existed while Le Corbusier tried to design a cityand its cinematic representation which would accommodate those fears. Cinema not only served to construct imaginatively the social and cultural relations withinthe city, it was also envisioned as a lucrative industry for the colony; Le Corbusier wouldinclude a cite cinema in his Plan Directeur for Algiers in acknowledging theimportance of film to the orderly administration of the colony.
The industry itself, as wellas the representations which its technology afforded, were understood by the architect andplanner to constitute an element of the modernity of Algiers. However, the forms by whichto articulate that modernity appear to have not been forthcoming in the films Le Corbusierhimself proposed. Rather, preexisting images and old plot lines were merely revamped. Colonizing Egypt. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, Fundamental to the configuration of thetraditional city was the separate roles and spaces assigned to men and women such thatpublic space was considered a male prerogative to be avoided by women, who wereassigned to the domestic realm.
This had degrees of severity according to sect,interpretations, degree of urbanization and customs. The accommodation of horma, orfeminine space, was a powerful environmental determinant which resulted in a densenetwork of filtered spaces in streets and houses. Generally, cohesive neighborhoodsprovided protected semi-public spaces and a succession of progressively sequestered andmore restricted spaces in the interest of privacy and female modesty.
A network of majorstreets, configured by the houses of the differentiated neighborhoods, led to the gates andcommercial center around which all but the more noisome activities were gathered;secondary streets led to other public functions such as the Friday prayer mosques, schools,public baths and lesser markets. In contradistinction to Western concepts of the city, largecollective or civic spaces with the exception of the mosque and the open square around acastle or palace were deemed relatively unimportant Figure Abdulaziz Y.
Galantay, in The Middle East City A late nineteenth-century map of Algiers Figure 25 indicatesa large Esplanade in the vacinity of the old Turksih citadel which may be a vestige of the pre-conquest city. Where wealth did not allow the elaborate duplicationof spaces within the residence and servants to traverse the outside public world, signs andcodes were substituted: dress, the use of shared space according to regulated times and theextension of family rules to the immediate neighborhood.
Demands forArabic schools and medersas, control of the mosques and separate cemeteries werepredicated on this alternative vision of the city. By the former Turkish city, its fortress quaba or Casbah and its walled city, ormedina, had been significantly altered. The great Souk el Kebir, which had once stretched fromthe Gate of Azoun to that of El Oued, had been dismembered by a system of enlargedstreets and open parade spaces; palaces and mosques had been demolished or mutilated soas to serve European institutions, the walls of the city had been dismantled, the citadelrendered inoperative.
In one hundred and twenty-two mosques had been recorded,thirteen of which were large mosques responsible for the Friday prayer. Thirty two smallfunerary monuments and thirteen confraternities offering accommodation for travelers werealso noted. By the earlytwentieth century the term Casbah, a North African Arab dialect word, kas a ba or quaba,meaning fortress, had come to refer to an Arab quarter surrounding a castle or fortress in aNorth African town.
Its use clearly signified the functional impoverishment of the morecomplex city designated by the term medina and the presence of a European center to whichit now functioned as a district. Throughout the nineteenth-century theMoslem population crowded into the upper Casbah, abandoning the lower city and theMarine District to European settlers and a well established Jewish population. Although thepopulation of Algiers had been a mixed one since the sixteenth century when Turks,Andalusian Moors, Arabs, Berbers, Mozabites, Jews and transients cohabited, they hadbeen organized into disthcts according to occupation and origin.
An extension ofthe Kasbab began on adjoining land which culminated in a new fortified enclosure around the Kasbah. Mostof the old port area was pulled down Thetraditional endeavors of the Islamic city--business, handicraft, the practice of law andscholarship suffered from the competition from an industrial economy and the influx ofnew techniques and values. Moors predominating inthe upper city and old city of the Turks, had begun to move from these congested areas toSt.
Eugene and Hamma. They replaced Europeans moving even further southtowards the newer, more expansive areas of the city, to Isly, Agha and Lower Mustapha. Spaces reconfigured by industrialization also produced new ethnic intermingling, Kabylesattracted to factory jobs mixed with Moors and Europeans in Hamma, while Spanish,Jewish and French were mixed at Bab el Oued to the north, and Belcourt to the south. Thevery poorest, usually new arrivals from rural areas settled in makeshift villages atMahieddine, El Kettar, Ouchaya, Oued and Harrach. The Europeans effected the most profound changes to the historical fabric of Algiers.
Incontradistinction to the Islamic model of the modem city, and with varying degrees ofcommitment, the colonists evidently regarded the city as chiefly a place of optimaleconomic exploitation accommodated and legitimated by references to modernization,75Bourclieu, The Algerians This was based on a perception of the city as astructure where goods, capital and people could move efficiently and unimpeded with aminimum of cost and time. Hence wide boulevards, large public squares and institutions,spacious commercial precincts, and extensive port installations had been built in a separatecity development to the south of the former Turkish garrison town Figure Here thetopography was flatter and more amenable to western techniques of laying out straightstreets bounded by easily marketed regularized building plots.
By the s the culturally fragmented and erratically laid out city could no longeraccommodate the new levels of capital accumulation, greater State intervention and visionsof a more comprehensive organization of Empire in which Algiers could play a major role. The uncoordinated array of roads, boulevards, new subdivisions, and public institutionsprovided an inadequate framework around which the processes of industrial, commercialand Imperial development could take place. The European institutions established in theearly years of French occupation continued to be housed in the former palaces of the Turksalong the southern limits of the old city, and at ever greater distance from the majority ofEuropeans now living in the southern extension.
Here were broad boulevards and largeblocks that stretched parallel to the harbor along the Rue disly and rue Magador andwestward along the Boulevard Gambetta which carried European culture from the port,through the Square Bresson to the heights of the city. Along the waters edge stretched theusual accoutrements of modern port installations--the railway station, customs house andvarious seafront boulevards Figure The narrow streets of the MarineDistrict restricted traffic between the newly developing industrial sector of Bab el Oued tothe north and the port to its south.
Private automobile traffic and commercial transport was70hampered by a chaotic system of narrow streets. Population dislocation within Algeria and the city had produced a housing crisiscomplicated by concerns for cultural differentiation in spatial and siting matters. TheCasbah had become over built and overcrowded, reaching a population density by of per hectare while the Marine District had a density of per hectare.
And, despite aspeculative boom in construction, the demands for housing could not be met. The sbegan to experience the ill-effects of a chaotic and an uncoordinated speculative building ofthe previous decade. Between and twenty-five new subdivisions were createdand numerous administrative offices were constructed, the General Government Building,the Agricultural Building, a new City Hall. Discussions through the s would befocused on the infrastructure needs occasioned by this development. A metro service,airport, multi-purpose station linking sea, rail and truck transit and highway constructionbecame key points of discussion within the municipal council.
There were new levels of State and private involvement in the city. Bureaucratic urbanismhad been introduced by the laws of which made a Directive plan for all cites over, mandatory. Algiers complied with this law in , and completed its firstDirective plan in It viewed the city as an organization of functionally determinedzones--commercial, residential, pleasure and industrial, coordinated by extensive transitsystems. Commercial traffic had increased in great part due to expanding agriculturalproduction achieved via extensive irrigation and other improvements.
The private sector had established the financialinstitutions and banks which provided increased investment funds. The colonial authoritiesdeemed that a city commensurate with these financial, State and professional visionsrequired certain interventions: an enlarged communications network which facilitated thedistribution of goods through and beyond the city, an efficient port, elite zones ofcommerce and leisure. The Statealso initiated a program of school, clinic and government building.
While these forces of modernization were not new to the twentieth-century the scale ofintervention--permitted by available technology, financing, bureaucratic and culturalinstitutions and legislation--was greatly enlarged. Also part of this urbanization of the citywere the conflicting responses to modernization. Although many among the wealthy of theMoslem Algerian population embraced Western culture, educating their sons and daughtersin France, adopting western dress, participating in established French institutions anddemanding the conveniences of modern technology and housing construction, they alsowished to conserve their faith, culture and language.
Through the s their demands forsegregated housing designed according to their cultural specifications would be pressedforward. The modernization of cities also affected gender relations and conceptions of spatialrelations. This was particularly complicated in Algiers where notions of cultural superiorityand identity were intricately interwoven with issues of gender.
The modem city in Westernindustrial societies is generally identified with the growth and increasing separation of72public and private spheres. Business organizations, political andfinancial establishments, social and cultural institutions, which were invariably male,accentuated this division. The issue ofgendered spatial demarcations have been documented in the western architectural theoriesof Alberti in the fifteenth century, Germain Boffrand in the eighteenth and Le Corbusier inthe twentieth. However, inAlgiers the representation of Western women as modern, rather than traditional orsequestered, was essential to maintaining the superiority of French over Moslem Algeriancultures.
London: Routledge, It should remarked that this descriptionis informed by the ideology of modernity. Women did work and were present in the public sphere but withcertain prescriptions applied. The colonization and modernization of Algeria had propelled many poor from ruralareas into the coastal cities where traditional customs could not be followed.
Themodernization of the city which had broken apart existing communal entities, introducedstrangers into the midst of once kin-related neighborhoods, or reorganized the ethnic-specific trades and locales into industrial workers and zones resulted in an ethnic mixingthat also disturbed established customs of gender relations. The industrialization initiated in the city also produced demands for female laborwhich threatened notions of family honor, sharaf 81For both European and Moslem Algeroise, the effects of modernization produced certainambivalence and paradoxes while it often strained the limits of cultural identity.
Education,industrialization, and administrative convenience admitted Moslem Algerians into themodern world of the French, just as military and then legal and entrepreneurial interests hadpropelled the French and European into that of the Moslem Algeria. The changes describedfor Algiers can be understood as products of a more universal modernization. However,what is overlooked in so doing is the cultural and national anxieties produced whenmodernization was forced to confront the cultural specificity of its representations.
Although the kinds of changes discussed for Algiers also occurred in non-colonizedcountries, such as Turkey and Iran, the violence done to the established Moslem culturewas perhaps nowhere so destructive; much more than modernization was at stake. Algeria was a place of refuge from the alienating modernism of theMetropole and it was the extension of the nation.
They also forged links between French North and West Africa. Often prominentlyfeatured on the front page of Algerian newspapers, the contestants or participantspositioned the activity within both a poetic construction of the crusader or explorer as wellas mapping out, in an efficacious manner, the extent of French power in the region and theopportunities for safe investment.
The Sahara was defined by a series of oppositionalimages that contributed to the definition of Algiers and its diverse populations within acontemporary world view. Whereas Algiers was imaged as a dense urban city, French andmodern; the Sahara was an infinite, spiritual space, distanced in time, its aristocratic and84Salinas, Vovaes et Vovageurs The Touring Club ofFrance was a large lobby group in France, their interests were for the maintenance of the Sahara as an exoticretreat, leaving the coastal cities to offer modem amenities.
Ownership by virtue of the access and sense of possession signaled in the auto routeshelped legitimate the priority given to French as opposed to Algerian land uses. Le Corbusier, a wellknown advocate of the automobile as a paradigm of modernity and rationale for his utopian city plans also,as did other government officials, saw the automobile as a useful tool by which the colony could be unifiedand connected to France. In these ways ideas going backto Enlightenment hierarchical classificatory systems of cultures based upon the norms ofEuropean Christian society still circulated and were confirmed by the modem, seeminglypersonal, technologies of automobile transport.
The oppositions defining Algeria and Algiers also included issues of architecture andplanning. The Orient was designated by the Casbah, the Douar rural districts and sinuousnarrow alleys; the West was recognized by its cities, villages and orthogonal streets. Oneevoked the unordered, rural and foreign, the other ordonnance, the bourgeois andEuropean. Throughout the s, buildings and spaces designed forMoslem Algeria often retained their decorative features and archaic spatial configurations Figure This contrasted with the European city.
The interplay ofa modern Algiers, port city, gateway to a lucrative hinterland and viable investmentopportunity with that of an exotic Algiers distanced in time and place from the Metropolewas useful to the colonizing enterprise. Modern Algiers could be evoked to legitimizeFrench presence by the progress that had been achieved. The contributions presented here draw an overview of this vision. However we chose to focus specifically on the case of large-scale housing developments and working-class neighborhoods in French cities.
This angle emerged from the contributions we received, which all reflected the chronological, categorical and spatial expansion undergone by the notion of heritage since the s Choay, , Heinich, Finally, beyond the fact that these spaces bring into focus some of the general issues that affect the French banlieues and their residents Desponds, Bergel, , our interest in the heritage status of suburban working-class housing is also to do with a question that has become particularly sensitive over the past fifteen years, both in academic research and in public debate: the future of high-rise housing developments and that of their residents Dufaux, Fourcaut, ; Pouvreau, ; Veschambre, We do not aim to provide an exhaustive account of the diversity of suburban territories and types of heritage.
This might explain why many researchers have explored this notion and attempted to define it more precisely Merlin, ; Vieillard-Baron, On an economic and social level, de-industrialization has left a deep mark on existing activities and socio-economical equilibriums. These reconfigurations have created a very clear differentiation between neighborhoods: some of them saw an influx of foreign-born populations along with growing poverty and stigmatization, while others on the contrary were becoming gentrified, with an influx of affluent classes that drove out other more disadvantaged groups Authier, Bidou-Zahariansen, ; Collet, Conceptually speaking, the authors have adopted different approaches.
The contributions measure the respective weight and place of each population group, examine which urban objects and projects are rejected or on the contrary accepted, and question the new scales on which these conflicts are occurring. Current urban planning agendas urban renewal policies, eco-districts… and the growing weight of some economic stakeholders in spatial transformations promoters, large industrial groups settling in tax-free zones or disaffected areas… have transformed the equilibriums between players.
Several articles thus highlight the exclusion or marginalization of some groups, for the benefit of other categories of actors who have imposed their vision of the city and its future. The contributions remind us that heritage-making is the cultural, social, political and sensory expression 5 of a relation to time and space, to the Other and the Self.
Le Corbusier, negotiating modernity: representing Algiers, - UBC Library Open Collections
Making heritage means creating categories museums and setting boundaries preserved areas , but also positioning oneself with respect to an alterity. In the case of the peripheries or banlieues , this position — which can sometimes be militant — with respect to a dominant center is one of the main challenges posed by territorial heritage-making. This sense of cohesion results from action and expression modalities that systematically embrace a departure from the conventional social and territorial frameworks set by art, heritage and culture.
This process calls for a new definition of heritage which has been an emerging trend over the last few decades , just like its development involves new categories of actors and practices that are seen as alternative. These processes can create a sense of indifference and even rejection in the population towards their neighborhood or their city. In some cities, artistic, cultural and heritage-based projects have been used to support rehabilitation processes. Research has evidenced the part played by culture in the development of urban territories Bruston, ; Kahn, ; Ba, Zentelin, and the specific role of cultural projects in the social transformation of disadvantaged areas Chaudoir, De Maillard, ; Auclair, Brunet, Heritage-making involves selection and development processes that bring to light the underlying symbolic hierarchies at play in urban representations as perceived by residents, political representatives, developers, etc.
Various pieces of research have highlighted the gap between discourses that promote resident participation, and the reality where populations are hardly ever involved in the projects that affect them Desponds et al. Resident participation is equally valued in urban planning, environment and sustainable development, where numerous mechanisms and tools have been created: development councils for local authorities, compulsory consultations to design land use plans, compulsory participatory actions for the local Agenda 21 program More recently, new debates appeared around resident participation in cultural life with many research projects analyzing these recent evolutions Bordeaux, Liot, ; Gazeau, Those include for instance the right to take part in cultural life in any way possible Fribourg Declaration, This conception of resident participation opens up new perspectives while raising a number of issues Auclair, c.
Social housing, tenements and high-rise estates have been labeled as heritage sites by these categories of stakeholders, who are often outsiders to these territories, without any involvement from the local population and in some cases, against their action. The rise of social and political demand in the population has raised new questions amongst heritage professionals on the role that residents should be allowed in the definition of urban heritage Delarge, and in the methods used to identify and list it Auduc, , ; Auduc, Faure, Hertzog, Auclair, Working from the analysis of the community-based tourism program in Plaine Commune, the author shows how a differentiated use of the notion of resident has blurred the line between residents and tourists.
These institutional practices, which are now systematically applied in urban renewal projects, have raised a number of questions and critiques Foret, The author distinguishes between two types of heritage-making activities, with unequal levels of output. For the residents who take part in such projects, stories, drawings and other outlets can provide a medium for important experiences, with opportunities to both express and feel emotions. Anquetin V. Sociologie politique de la demande sociale.
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