For Bernard Rudofsky it is the vernacular as opposed to the individually authored.
In art, the vernacular, the popular, and craft are opposed to the fine, and in nineteenth-century realism, which sought to portray scenes from the everyday life of the common people, the ordinary is opposed to the noble and mythological subjects of history painting. In the twentieth century, deadpan display and pop exaggeration of the ordinary are opposed to abstract expressionism.
In many ways the ordinary is a derivative, even negative category, opposed to positive qualities that it is not—not elite, not exceptional, not interesting, not unique, not extraordinary. The ordinary is common, boring, and banal, irregular and imperfect, whereas the extraordinary—that which is outside of or in excess of the ordinary—is noble, novel, individual, progressive, noteworthy, unexpected, excellent, ideal, even perfect, transcendent, rich, rare, and ornamental.
SECULA VENTURI: The World to Come
Some of the older meanings of ordinary come from the Christian liturgical cycle—ordinary days as opposed to feast days. In this sense, the ordinary is opposed to the sacred, designating that which is not endued with the magic and mystery, the numinous qualities of the eternal, the mystical, and the dream. But the characteristics of the sacred can alter. Whereas in an earlier period the sacred embodies the regular, the regulated, and the perfect, in the twentieth century, according to Henri Lefebvre, the unremarked and unremarkable quotidian has been replaced by the regulated life of a planned society.
He proposes, as an alternative to the planned, the festival, a new, exceptional space, a kind of earthly eternal, in which ordinary, regulated time is replaced by festival time. Here the ordinary enters into a new opposition, becoming that which is not art. And art, in its turn, takes up the job of reforming the ordinary.
All of this casts the ordinary as leftover, comedown, fallen. However, there is another sense of the word that defines the ordinary as something valuable in its own right. Ordinary is an old word, found in classical Latin as ordinarius , derived from ordo , order. Ordinarius means regular, orderly, by right, in the normal course of things. The word comes to mean those things that are unvarying, and also a rule for behavior, as in the Ordinary of the Mass.
Architecture is ordinary in this sense, in that it ordains an ordinance, a way of being and doing, by means of its form. Collins claims that the period from to is distinguished by the fact that the villa or small house becomes, not only a legitimate subject of architectural investigation for the first time, but the paradigm for all of architecture. And with the avant-garde, the ordinary becomes an agent of revolution.
For Adolf Loos, the style for the times—sober, recessive, and interiorized—will reform society as well. Loos subscribes to the traditional opposition between high and low, overlaid by that of revolutionary and conservative:. The work of art is revolutionary; the house is conservative. The work of art shows people new directions and thinks of the future. The house thinks of the present. Does it follow that the house has nothing in common with art and is architecture not to be included in the arts? Only a very small part of architecture belongs to art: the tomb and the monument.
Everything else that fulfills a function is to be excluded from the domain of art. Revolution can be avoided. Thus the ordinary as a new order or rule will reform the fallen, profane ordinary of existing everyday life. The two, in some ways opposite senses of the ordinary that we have defined coexist uneasily in artistic practice, exemplified in architectural modernism on the one hand, which attempts to create a new world by means of design, and deadpan and pop on the other hand, which aim to present the ordinary as extraordinary.
In architecture, the questions posed by deadpan and pop are: Can the ordinary be portrayed as it is? A further question is: Can architecture represent and not propose? Can an activity that intervenes in the ordinary refrain from ordaining? The questions raised by architectural modernism are: Can the common, everyday, banal, and unnoticed be designed at all without destroying its essential nature as unremarkable, unremarked, and unplanned?
Can an architecture that designs the ordinary, in other words, itself be ordinary? Or does it not, by its reform of the ordinary, step outside of that realm into that of the artful, and therefore the extraordinary? We can learn about them from Las Vegas as have other artists from their own profane and stylistic sources. However, by studying Las Vegas, Venturi and Scott Brown approach the ordinary by means of the extraordinary.
The deadpan in art addresses the first definition of the ordinary as the quotidian. A series of photos taken by a camera mounted on a pickup truck display without comment the entire length of both sides of the Las Vegas strip. But what worked for Duchamp and Ruscha does not work as well for architecture. Lacking a special locus removed from everyday life to mark it off from the ordinary, architecture cannot rely on its location to designate it as such.
Thus the difficulty for Venturi and Scott Brown is to translate theory into practice. The essential problem with this project, as far as the competition jury is concerned, is that it is so contextual that there is no way to tell that it is architecture. Following in a long American tradition from Frank Furness to Henry Hobson Richardson, Venturi and Scott Brown eschew the role of the architect who orders and ordains, instead employing the extraordinary to represent the ordinary. Its main ornament is a huge number 9, easy to locate in the flat, featureless, alienated world of telephone wires, sandy paths, and houses that looked alike even though they are all different.
The bored mother and children sitting on the front steps epitomize the banality of everyday life. Yet the house is anything but banal. Flat roofed rather than pitched as are its neighbors, the building forms an outsized object, odd and undecipherable, giving the faintly comic impression of an overinflated balloon or something seen in a fish eye lens. They are seen from only one direction. The top evolves into a spire, which is seen from all sides, spatially and symbolicalIy dominating the skyline of the parish.
In the Bruges Cloth Hall 4 0 the scale of the building relates to the immediate square, while the vio- lently disproportionate scale of the tower above relates to the whole town. For similar reasons the big sign sits on top Soane Soane House and Museuni. The Arc de Triomphe also has contrasting functions. Seen diagonally from the radial approaches other than the Champs Elyskes, it is a sculptural termination.
Seen perpendicularly from the axis of the Champs Elyskes, it is spatially and symbolically both a termination and a portal. Later I shall analyze some organ- ized contradictions between front and back. But here I shall mention the Karlskirche in Vienna 42 , whose exterior contains elements both of the basilica in its fasade and of the central-type church in its body. A convex form in the back was required by the interior program; the urban space required a larger scale and a straight fagade in front.
The disunity that exists from the point of view of the building itself is contradicted when the building is seen in relation to the scale and the space of the neighborhood. The double meanings inherent in the phenomenon both-and can involve metamorphosis as well as contradic- tion. I have described how the omni-directional spire of the tower of Christ Church, Spitalfields, evolves into a direc- tional pavilion at its base, but a perceptual rather than a formal kind of change in meaning is possible. In equivocal relationships one contradictory meaning usually dominates another, but in complex compositions the relationship is not always constant.
This is especially true as the observer moves through or around a building, and by extension through a city: at one moment one meaning can be per- ceived as dominant; at another moment a different meaning seems paramount. In St. George, Bloomsbury 30 , for instance, the contradictory axes inside become alternatingly dominant or recessive as the observer moves within them, SO that the same space changes meaning.
Here is another dimension of "space, time and architecture" which involves the multiple focus. Christ Church. Cloth Hall and Belfry, Bruges Fischer von Erlach. Contradictory Levels Continued: The Double-Functioning Element The "double-functioningm27 element and "both-and" Le Corbusier's Algerian project, which is an apartment house are related, but there is a distinction: the double-function- and a highway, and Wright's late projects for Pittsburgh ing element pertains more to the particulars of use and Point and Baghdad, correspond to Kahn's viaduct architec- structure, while both-and refers more to the relation of the ture and Fumihiko Maki's "collective form.
Both-and emphasizes double meanings have complex and contradictory hierarchies of scale and over double-functions. But before I talk about the double- movement, structure, and space within a whole. These functioning element, 1 want to mention the multifunction- buildings are buildings and bridges at once. At a larger ing building. By this term I mean the buil4ing which is scale: a dam is also a bridge, the loop in Chicago is a complex in program and form, yet strong as a whole-the boundary as well as a circulation system, and Kahn's street complex unity of Le Corbusier's La Tourette or the Palace "wants to be a building.
A room can have ArmCe du Salut in Paris. The latter approach separates many functions at the same time or at different times. Kahn functions into interlocking wings or connected pavilions. It prefers the gallery because it is directional and nondirec- has been typical of orthodox Modern architecture.
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The tional, a corridor and room at once. And he recognizes the incisive separations of the pavilions in Mies' design for the changing complexities of specific functions by differentiat- urban Illinois Institute of Technology can be understood as ing rooms in a general way through a hierarchy of size and an extreme development of it.
As in his project for the Trenton back , and by using a similar wall pattern camouflages Community Center, these spaces end by paralleling in a the fact that at the top there is a different kind of space more complex way the pre-eighteenth century configura- for mechanical equipment. The idea of corridors and rooms World Trade center New York even more exaggeratedly each with a single function for convenience originated in simplifies the form of an enormous complex. The typical the eighteenth century.
Is not Modern architecture's charac- office skyscrapers of the '20's differentiate, rather than cam- teristic separation and specialization of program functions ouflage, their mechanical equipment space at the top within the building through built-in furniture an extreme through architecturally ornamental forms. While Lever manifestation of this idea? Kahn by implication questions House includes differently-functioning spaces at the bot- such rigid specialization and limited functionalism. In this tom, it exaggeratedly separates them by a spatial shadow context, "form evokes function.
In contrast, one exceptional Modern building, the The multifunctioning room is a possibly truer answer P. The room complexity of its program. It integrates a shop on the first with a generic rather than a specific purpose, and with floor and a big bank on the second with offices above and movable furniture rather than movable partitions, promotes special rooms at the top. These varieties of functions and a perceptual flexibility rather than a physical flexibility, and scales including the enormous advertising sign at the top permits the toughness and permanence still necessary in our work within a compact whole.
Valid ambiguity promotes useful flexibility. Instead, Modern architec- function. At the lower pedestrian level it directs space ture has encouraged separation and specialization at all around the corner. Each contains within the whole - divergence for different materials. Wright's - from his master contrasting scales of movement besides complex functions.
T o Wright, "appropriate designs for one material would not be appro- priate for another material.
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Saarinen overcame the current ob- session against using different materials in the same plane or the same material for two different things. In Robert Rauschenberg's painting, Pilgrim 4 3 , the surface pattern continues from the stretcher canvas to the actual chair in front of it, making ambiguous the distinction between the painting and the furniture, and on another level, the work of art in a room.
A contradiction between levels of func- tion and meaning is recognized in these works, and the medium is strained. But to the structural purist, as well as the organicist, the double-functioning structural form would be abhor- rent because of the nonexact, ambiguous correspondence between form and function, and form and structure. In contrast, in the Katsura Villa 4 4 the bamboo rod in tension and the wood post in compression are similar in form. To the Modern architect, I think, the two would seem sinisterly similar in section and size despite the current inclination toward traditional Japanese design.
The Renais- sance pilaster as well as other structural elements used in a nonstructural way can involve the phenomenon both- and at several levels. It can be at the same time physically structural or not, symbolically structural through associa- tion, and compositionally ornamental by promoting rhythm and also complexity of scale in the giant order.
Modern architecture is never implicit. In promoting the frame and the curtain wall, it has separated structure from shelter. Even the walls of the Johnson Wax Building are enclosing but not supporting. And in detailing, Modern architecture has tended to glory in separation. Even the flush joint is articulated, and the shadow joint predomi- nates.
The versatile element which does several things at once is equally rare in Modern architecture. Significantly the column is favored over the pier. Maria in Cosme- din's nave 4 5 the column form results from its domi- nant, precise function as a point support. But the alternating piers in the same nave are intrinsically double-functioning. They enclose and direct space as much as they support structure. The Baroque piers in the chapel at FrPsnes 46 , residual as form and redundant as struc- ture, are extreme examples of double-functioning elements which are structural and spatial at once.
Le Corbusier's and Kahn's double-functioning ele- ments may be rare in our architecture. Are they wall segments, piers, or columns? Kahn's clusters of columns and his open piers "harbor" space for equipment, and can manipu- late natural light as well, like the rhythmically complex columns and pilasters of Baroque architecture.
Like the open beams in the Richards Medical Center 47 , these elements are neither structurally pure nor elegantly mini- mum in section. Instead, they are structural fragments in- separable from a greater spatial whole. It is valid to sense stresses in forms which are not purely structural, and a structural member can be more than incidentally spatial. However, the columns and the stair towers in this build- ing are separated and articulated in an orthodox manner. Flat plate construction consists of concrete slabs of constant depth and varied reinforcement, with irregularly placed columns without beams or caps.
To maintain a constant depth, the number of reinforcing bars changes to accommodate the more concentrated structural loads in the constant, beamless section. This permits, in apartment 46 Mansart Chapel. Flat plates are structurally impure: their section is not minimum. The demands of structural forces are compromised because of the demands of architectural space. Form follows function here in a contradictory way; substance follows structural function; profile follows spatial function. In some Mannerist and Baroaue masonrv construction I J the pier, pilaster, and relieving arch about evenly make up a facade, and the resultant structure, like that of the Palazzo Valrnarana 48 , is bearing wall and frame at once.
The relieving arches in the Pantheon 49 , in this case not originaliy part of the visual expression, similarly generate a wall structurally double-functioning. Palazzo Valrnarana. Church of the Sagrada Farnilia, Barcelona. Section I I Redentore. Venice Perspective In contrast to the segregated flying buttress, the Roman countervault spans as well as but- tresses, and Gaudi's subtle invention of the tilted pier- buttress supports the weight of the vault as well as buttresses the thrust in one continuous form.
Palladio's but- tresses are also broken pediments on the fagade. A flying buttress at S. Chiara in Assisi forms a portal for the piazza as well as a support for the building. The double-functioning element can be a detail. Man- nerist and Baroque buildings abound in drip mouldings which become sills, windows which become niches, cornice ornaments which accommodate windows, quoin strips which are also pilasters, and architraves which make arches The pilasters of Michelangelo's niches in the en- trance of the Laurentian Library 54 also look like brack- ets.
Borromini's mouldings in the rear facades of the Propa- ganda Fide 55 are both window frames and pediments. Lutyens' chimneys at Grey Walls 56 are literally sculp- tural entrance markers as well, a dado at Gledstone Hall 57 is an extension of a stair riser in the same room, and the stair landing at Nashdom is also a room. The balloon frame, which has been traced by Siegfried Giedion, becomes on all levels. Structurally and visually it evolves from a separate frame to a skin which is both structural and sheltering: to the extent that it is made up of 2 x 4's, it is frame; to the extent that the 2 x 4's are small, close together, and braced and meshed by diagonal siding, it becomes skin.
These intricate characteristics are evident in the way penetrations are made in it and in the way it is terminated. The balloon frame is another element in archi- tecture which is several things at once. It represents a method between two pure extremes, which has evolved Conventional elements in architecture represent one stage in an evolutionary development, and they contain in their changed use and expression some of their past meaning as well as their new meaning. What can be called a the vestigial element parallels the double-functioning ele- ment.
It is distinct from a superfluous element because it contains a double meaning. This is the result of a more or less ambiguous combination of the old meaning, called up by associations, with a new meaning created by the modi- fied or new function, structural or programmatic, and the new context. The vestigial element discourages clarity of meaning; it promotes richness of meaning instead. Project for a Gateway. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire basis for change and growth in the city as manifest in enriches meaning by underscoring. In the project for a remodeling which involves old buildings with new uses gateway at Bourneville by Ledoux 58 , the columns in the both programmatic and symbolic like palazzi which be- arch are structurally rhetorical if not redundant.
Expres- come museums or embassies , and old street patterns with sively, however, they underscore the abstractness of the new uses and scales of movement. The paths of medieval opening as a semicircle more than an arch, and they further fortification walls in European cities became boulevards in define the opening as a gateway. As I have said, the stair- the nineteenth century; a section of Broadway is a piazza way at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts by and a symbol rather than an artery to upper New York Furness is too big in its immediate context, but appropriate state.
The ghost of Dock Street in Philadelphia's Society as a gesture towards the outside scale and a sense of entry. Hill, however, is a meaningless vestige rather than a work- The Classical portico is a rhetorical entrance. The stairs, ing element resulting from a valid transition between the columns, and pediment a e juxtaposed upon the other-scale, old and the new. I shall later refer to the vestigial element real entrance behind.
Paul Rudolph's entrance in the Art as it appears in Michelangelo's architecture and in what and Architecture Building at Yale is at the scale of the city; might be called Pop architecture. The rhetorical element, like the double-functioning Much of the function of ornament is rhetorical-like element, is infrequent in recent architecture. If the latter the use of Baroque pilasters for rhythm, and Vanbrugh's offends through its inherent ambiguity, rhetoric offends disengaged pilasters at the entrance to the kitchen court at orthodox Modern architecture's cult of the minimum.
But Blenheim 59 which are an architectural fanfare. The the rhetorical element is justified as a valid if outmoded rhetorical element which is also structural is rare in Modern means of expression. An element can seem rhetorical from architecture, although Mies has used the rhetorical I-beam one point of view, but if it is valid, at another level it with an assurance that would make Bernini envious. When I - circumstances defy order, order should bend or break: anomalies and uncertainties give validity to architecture.
A valid order accommodates the circumstantial contra- Meaning can be enhanced by breaking the order; the dictions of a complex reality. It accommodates as well as exception points up the rule. A building with no "imper- imposes. It thereby admits "control afid spontaneity," "cor- fect" part can have no perfect part, because contrast sup- rectness and easew-improvisation within the whole. It tol- ports meaning. An artful discord gives vitality to architec- erates qualifications and compromise. There are no fixed ture. You can allow for contingencies all over, but they laws in architecture, but not everything will work in a cannot prevail all over.
If order without expediency breeds building or a city. The architect must decide, and these formalism, expediency without order, of course, means subtle evaluations are among his principal functions. He chaos. Order must exist before it can be broken. No artist must determine what must be made to work and what it is can belittle the role of order as a way of seeing a whole possible to compromise with, what will give in, and where relevant to its own characteristics and context. He does not ignore or exclude inconsistencies of no work of art without a system" is Le Corbusier's dictum.
Indeed a propensity to break the order can justify I have emphasized that aspect of complexity and con- exaggerating it. A valid formalism, or a kind of paper Palazzo Tarugi. Montepulciano tradiction which grows out of the medium more than the architecture in this context, compensates for distortions, program of the building. Now I shall emphasize the com- expediencies, and exceptions in the circumstantial parts of plexity and contradiction that develops from the program the composition, or for violent superimpositions in juxta- and reflects the inherent complexities and contradictions of posed contradictions.
In recent architecture Le Corbusier in living. It is obvious that in actual practice the two must be the Villa Savoye, for example, accommodates the excep- interrelated. Contradictions can represent the exceptional tional circumstantial inconsistencies in an otherwise rigid, inconsistency that modifies the otherwise consistent order, dominant order.
But Aalto, in contrast to Le Corbusier, or they can represent inconsistencies throughout the order seems almost to create the order out of the inconsistencies, as a whole. In the first case, the relationship between as can be seen in the Cultural Center at Wolfsburg. An inconsistency and order accommodates circumstantial ex- historical example will perhaps help to illustrate this rela- ceptions to the order, or it juxtaposes particular with gen- tion of order and exception.
The applique of arches and eral elements of order. Here you build an order up and then pilasters on the Palazzo Tarugi 60 maintains itself break it down, but break it from strength rather than from against the sudden impositions of "whimsical" windows weakness.
I have described this relationship as "contradic- and asymmetrical voids. The exaggerated order, and there- tion accommodated. The cir- Mies refers to a need to "create order out of the cumstantial oppositions in their compositions, however, are desperate confusion of our time. Although Aalto's order is not bemoaning confusion? Should we not look for meaning in quite so easily grasped at first glance, it involves similar the complexities and contradictions of our times and ac- relationships of order and the circumstantial. These, I think, are In engineering it is the bridge 61 that vividly ex- the two justifications for breaking order: the recognition of presses the play of exaggeratedly pure order against cir- variety and confusion inside and outside, in program and cumstantial inconsistencies.
The direct, geometric order of environment, indeed, at all levels of experience; and the the upper structure, derived from the sole, simple function of conveying vehicles on an even span, strongly contrasts David Jones, Efioch and Artist, Chilmark Press, New York, with the exceptional accommodation of the structural order I aql lnq 'l!
A pal! Buoas aq anur rapro 1eu! M Kay1 JO. M u Xaql mq 'may1 qs! M pale! M pal3aUUOs asnpord pau8! Are we today proclaiming ad- Kohler, which even Wright was unable to avoid using, read vanced technology, while excluding the immediate, vital if as unfortunate compromises within the particular order of vulgar elements which are common to our architecture and his buildings, which is otherwise consistent. The architect should accept the methods and Gropius in his early work, however, employed forms the elements he already has.
He often fails when he and elements based on a consistent industrial vocabulary. Technical inno- chine aesthetic. The inspiration for windows and stairways, vations require investments in time and skills and money for instance, came from current factory architecture, and beyond the architect's reach, at least in our kind of society.
Latter-day Mies employs The trouble with nineteenth century architects was not so the structural elements of vernacular American industrial much that they left innovation to the engineers as that they architecture and also those of Albert Kahn with uncon- ignored the technical revolution developed by others. Pres- scious irony: the elegant frame members are derived from ent-day architects, in their visionary compulsion to invent standard steel manufacturers' catalogues; they are expressed new techniques, have neglected their obligation to be ex- as exposed structure but they are ornament on a fire-resist- perts in existing conventions.
The architect, of course, is ant frame; and they make up complex, closed spaces rather responsible for the how as well as the what in his building, than the simple industrial spaces they were originally de- but his innovating role is primarily in the what; his experi- signed for. The architect selects as much commonplace elements, such as the Thonet chair, the offi- as creates.
The nineteenth century statue of the Virgin The architect's main work is the organization of a unique within the window of the east wall of the Chapel at whole through conventional parts and the judicious intro- Ronchamp is a vestige from the former church which stood duction of new parts when the old won't do. Gestalt psy- on the spot. Besides its symbolic value, it represents a banal chology maintains that context contributes meaning to a object of sculpture vividly enhanced by its new setting.
The Bernard Maybeck is the unique architect in recent times to architect thereby, through the organization of parts, creates employ contradictory combinations of vernacular industrial meaningful contexts for them within the whole. Through elements and eclectic stylistic elements for example, in- unconventional organization of conventional parts he is dustrial sash and Gothic tracery in the same building. If he uses Using convention unconventionally is otherwise almost un- convention unconventiobally, if he organizes familiar things known in our recent architecture.
Familiar things alteration of language, words perpetually juxtaposed in new seen in an unfamiliar context become perceptually new as and sudden combinations. If they have not totally rejected should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect. But they have seldom used the gruity. The Pop way. Wright, for instance, almost always employed unique painter gives uncommon meaning to common elements by elements and unique forms, which represented his personal 'changing their context or increasing their scale.
Through and innovating approach to architecture. Architects and planners who pee- meanings which are ambiguously both old and new, banal vishly denounce the conventional townscape for its vulgar- and vivid. But they largely fail either to enhance or to architecture, the so-called Spolium architecture in which provide a substitute for the existing scene because they column capitals are used as bases, for instance, to the attempt the impossible.
By attempting too much they flaunt Renaissance style itself, where the old Classical Roman their impotence and risk their continuing influence as sup- vocabulary was employed in new combinations. And James posed experts. Cannot the architect and planner, by slight Ackerman has described Michelangelo as "rarely adopting a adjustments to the conventional elements of the townscape, motif [in his architecture] without giving it a new form or existing or proposed, promote significant effects? By modi- a new meaning.
Yet he invariably retained essential fea- fying or adding conventional elements to still other conven- tures from ancient models in order to force the observer to tional elements they can, by a twist of context, gain a recollect the source while enjoying the innovations. They can Ironic convention is relevant both for the individual make us see the same things in a different way.
It recognizes the real condition Finally, standardization, like convention, can be another of our architecture and its status in our culture. Industry manifestation of the strong order. But unlike convention it promotes expensive industrial and electronic research but has been accepted in Modern architecture as an enriching not architectural experiments, and the Federal government product of our technology, yet dreaded for its potential diverts subsidies toward air transportation, communication, domination and brutality. But is it not standardization that and the vast enterprises of war or, as they call it, national is without circumstantial accommodation and without a security, rather than toward the forces for the direct en- creative use of context that is to be feared more than hancement of life.
The practicing architect must admit this. The ideas of order and circumstance, In simple terms, the budgets, techniques, and programs for convention and context--of employing standardization in his buildings must relate more to than Archi- an unstandard way-apply to our continuing problem of tects should accept their modest role rather than disguise it standardization versus variety.
Giedion has written of and risk what might be called an electronic expressionism, Aalto's unique "combination of standardization with irra- which might parallel the industrial expressionism of early tionality so that standardization is no longer master but Modern architecture. The architect who would accept his servant.
I have alluded to the reasons why honky-tonk elements in our architecture and townscape are here to stay, espe- cially in the important short-term view, and why such a fate should be acceptable. Pop Art has demonstrated that these commonplace elements are often the main source of the occasional variety and vitality of our cities, and that it is not their banality or vulgarity as elements which make for the banality or vulgarity of the whole scene, but rather their contextual relationships of space and scale.
Contradiction Adapted The fagades of two eighteenth century Neapolitan villas express two kinds, or two manifestations, of contra- diction. In the Villa Pignatelli 62 the mouldings, which dip, become string courses and window heads at once. In the Villa Palomba 6 3 the windows, which disregard the bay system and puncture the exterior panels, are by interior needs.
The mouldings in the first villa adapt easilv to their contradictory functions. The windows of the second villa clash violently with the panel configurations Villa Pignatelli, S. Giorgio a Cremano. Elevation and pilaster rhythm: the inside order and the outside order are in an uncompromisingly contradictory relation.
In the first facade contradiction is adapted by accom- modating and compromising its elements- in the second fagade contradiction is juxtaposed by using contrasting su- perimposed or adjacent elements. Contradiction adapted is tolerant and pliable. It admits improvisation. It involves the disintegration of a prototypeand it ends in approxima- Villa Palomba. Torre del Greco. On the other hand, contradiction juxtaposed is unbending. It contains violent contrasts and uncompromising oppositions.
Contradiction adapted ends in a whole which is perhaps impure. Contradiction jwta- posed ends in a whole which is perhaps unresolved. These types of contradiction occur in the work of Le Corbusier. Contrasts in the plans of the Villa Savoye 5 and the Assembly Building in Chandigarh 6 4 correspond to those in the elevations of the Villa Pignatelli and the Villa Palomba. In the Villa Savoye the positions of some of the columns in the rectangular bay system adjust slightly to accommodate to articular spatial I 1 needs--one column is moved and another removed.
In the Assembly Building" although the grid of columns also adjusts to the exceptional plastic form of the assembly hall, in the juxtaposition of the hall itself and the grid, they do not adapt-the juxtaposi- tion is violent and uncompromising not only in plan but also in sections, where it appears to have been thrust violently into the grid Le Corbusier. Assembly Building. Plan Kahn has said: "It is the role of design to adjust to the circumstantial. The resultant tensions give a vitality to the buildings not appar- ent in their ideal counterparts illustrated in the Qaattro Libri.
House, Domegge nineteenth century. In the typical gambrel roof the need to accommodate living space within a roof angle essentially determined by drainage and structural functions results in an eloquent distortion of the original gable. These ex- amples are distinguishable from the expressionistic distor- tions of Rococo or of German Expressionism where the distorted is not contrasted with the undistorted.
Besides circumstantial distortion, there are other tech- niques of adaptation. The expedient device is an element in all anonymous architecture that is dependent on a strong conventional order. It is used to adjust the order to circum- stances which are contradictory to it: such circumstances are often topographical. The bracket on the house at Do- megge 67 is a device that expedites the tense transition from symmetrical faqade to symmetrical gable and at the same time accommodates the asymmetrical overhang on the right side.
A vivid play of order and the circumstantial is, in fact, a characteristic of all Italian architecture, with its bold contradictions of monumentality and expediency. The ornamented post in the center of the inner portal at Vkzelay 68 , which is a shore for the lunette, interrupts the axis to the altar. It is an expedient device made eventful. Kahn's uniquely deep beams over the great span of the gymnasium in the project for the Trenton Community Center are exceptional devices to maintain the consistency of the domes of the roof.
They are made manifest in plan by the filled-in-columns that support them Lutyens' work abounds in devices: the split at the side of the house called The Salutation in Sandwich 70 ,is an expedient device which is spatial. By introducing natural illumination at the Ste Madeleine, Vezelay Mount Vernon. Fairfax County.
In some of Jasper complexities of its domestic program. The very subtly dis- Johns' painting the device is similarly made explicit by torted relationships of the windows in H. Richardson's arrows and notation. He breaks the they maintained the regularity and symmetry demanded by order of the bays in the ground floor of the Villa Savoye the public function of a monumental building on Lafayette 5 by moving one column and removing another, as I Square. Here the subtle compromise between order and have shown, to accommodate exceptional circumstances in- circumstance, outside and inside, and private and public volving space and circulation.
In this eloquent compromise functions, produced ambiguous rhythms and vibrant ten- Le Corbusier makes the dominant regularity of the compo- sions in the fagade. The varied openings in the Palaao Tarugi 6 0 , The exceptional location of windows, like the eventful exceptional in form and position, break the dominant pi- exception in columns, usually produces an altered sym- laster order of the outside in typical Italian fashion. Lewis metry. For example, the windows at Mount Vernon 71 Mumford, in a seminar at the University of Pennsylvania do not follow an exact symmetrical pattern.
Instead, the in , compared the exceptional window positions in window pattern is the result of earlier renovations, and it the south fagade of the Doges' Palace with Eero Saarinen's breaks the dominant order of the central pediment and windowed fasade of the American Embassy in London.
The symmetrical wings. Adams House. The chapel wing at Versailles is an eventful exception beyond the scale of columns or windows. Through its posi- tion, form, and height it contributes a vitality and validity to the dominant symmetrical order of the whole, a vitality conspicuously lacking at Caserta, for example, where the exterior order of the enormous and complex palace is en- tirely consistent.
In Modern architecture we have operated too long under the restrictions of unbending rectangular forms sup- posed to have grown out of the technical requirements of the frame and the mass-produced curtain wall. In contrast- ing Mies' and Johnson's Seagram Building 74 with Kahn's project for an office tower in Philadelphia 75 it can be seen that Mies and Johnson reject all contradictions of diagonal wind-bracing in favor of an expression of a rectilinear frame.
Kahn once said that the Seagram Build- ing was like a beautiful lady with hidden corsets. Kahn, in contrast, expresses the wind-bracing-but at the expense of such vertical elements as the elevator and, indeed of the spaces for people. In many works of Le Corbusier and Aalto, however, a balance, or perhaps a tension, is achieved between the rectilinearity of standard techniques, and the diagonal which expresses exceptional conditions.
In his apartments at Bremen 76 , Aalto has taken the rectangular order of Le Corbusier's basic dwelling unit, which makes up his high-rise " apartment slabs Mles van der Rohe and Johnson. New York Model for light and for the view. The north-facing stairs and circulation areas remain strictly rectilinear in plan. Even in the most extreme units an essential rectilinearity and regu- larity of space is maintained. And in Aalto's Wolfsburg Cultural Center 78 the rectangular configuration of the whole composition is barely maintained as he organizes the necessarily diagonal shapes of the auditoriums.
This is different from Kahn's Goldenberg House pro- ject 79 where the exceptional diagonal is in part an ele- ment of the structural pattern and partially spatial, to make a series of spaces that go around the corners of the building continuously, rather than one side overlapping the other. Mies allows nothing to get in the way of the consist- ency of his order, of the point, line, and plane of his always complete pavilions. If Wright camouflages his circumstan- tial exceptions, Mies excludes them: less is more.
Apartment Building. Apartment Bullding. Project for the Goldenberg House. Mies van der Rohe. Proiect for a Court House. Cultural Center. Because the diagonal is dominant rather than exceptional and loosely contained in its rectan- gular frame, there is little tension between the diagonals and the rectangles. The diagonal chords of the trusses in Mies' large-span buildings are, of course, not circumstantial exceptions. In the Villa Savoye, again, the exceptional diagonal of the ramp is clearly expedient in section and elevation 12 and allows Le Corbusier to create a strong opposition to the regular order of column bays and envelope.
This attitude contrasts greatly with that of Wright, whose insistence on horizontal continuity at the expense of all else is well known. Even in the unusually exposed stair at Fallingwater 81 Wright suppresses all diagonals: there are no strings or railings, but only the horizontal planes of the treads and the vertical lines of the rods from which the stair is hung.
Sim- ilarly, in the interior 82 Wright hides the stairs between walls as he does in virtually all his houses , while Le Corbusier glories in the expressed diagonals of the ramp and the continuous diagonal of the spiral stair 5, We have already seen how Le Corbusier accommodates archi- tecture intimately to the exceptional needs of the automo- bile in the Villa Savoye But Wright's order allows no inconsistencies: the bridge is perpendicular and analogous to the order of the house and the curving path of the auto- mobile is not recognized.
The driveway is like a path in the woods begrudgingly dotted in plan 82, That the car can turn is almost fortuitous. The diagonal, when suggested by circumstances inside or out, is seldom discordant. It hides within the order or else it dominates the composition as a motif. In the Vigo Schmidt House project the diagonal becomes part of the : overall triangular module.
In the David Wright House the whole building becomes a diagonal ramp. In the Guggen- heim Museum, where the diagonal spiral is the dominant motival order in a more complex program, the rectangular perpendicular form does express exceptional circumstances. Inside, the vertical order of the structure, and particularly of the shaft containing toilets is expressed in order to provide stable measure for the converging spiral ramp. Aalto, then, adapts the order to the circumstantial exception symbolized by the diagonal. So does Kahn in the examples given, although in the early schemes for the Kaufmann House Fallingwater , Bear Run.
Kaufrnann House Fallingwater. Bear Run. Le Corbusier juxtaposes the exceptional diagonal. Mies excludes it. Wright hides it or surrenders his whole order to it: the ex- ception becomes the rule. These ideas are applicable to the design and percep- tion of cities, which have more extensive and complex programs, of course, than individual buildings. The consist- ent spatial order of the Piazza S. Marco, for example 86 , is not without its violent contradictions in scale, rhythm, and textures, not to mention the varying heights and styles of the surrounding buildings.
Is there not a similar validity to the vitality of Times Square 87 in which the jarring inconsistencies of buildings and billboards are contained within the consistent order of the space itself? It is when honky-tonk spills out beyond spatial boundaries to the no- man's land of roadtown, that it becomes chaos and blight. If in God's Own Jankyard Peter Blake had chosen exam- ples of roadside landscape for his book which were less extremely "bad," his point, at least involving the banality of roadside architecture, would ironically have been stronger.
Piazza S. Marco, Venice It seems our fate now to be faced with either the endless inconsistencies of roadtown 88 , which is chaos, or the infinite consistency of Levittown or the ubiquitous Levit- town-like scene illustrated in figure 89 , which is bore- dom. In roadtown we have a false complexity; in Levittown a false simplicity. One thing is clear-from such false consistency real cities will never grow. Cities, like archi- tecture, are complex and contradictory. Highway, U. Developers' Houses, U. Contradiction Juxtaposed The party moved on, but deviated a little from the straight way, in order to glance at the ponderous remains of the temple of Mars Ultor, within which a convent of nuns is now established,--a dove-cote, in the war-god's mansion.
Within this edifice of an antique sanctity, a baker's shop was now established, with an entrance on one side; for, everywhere, the remnants of old grandeur and divinity have been made available for the meanest necessities of our day. If "contradiction adapted" corresponds to the kid glove treatment, "contradiction juxtaposed involves the shock treatment. The Villa Pignatelli 6 2 adapts uaria- tions, but the Villa Palomba 6 3 juxtaposes contrasts: its contradictory relationships become manifest in discordant rhythms, directions, adjacencies, and especially in what I shall call superadjacencies-the superimpositions of various elements.
Le Corbusier supplies a rare modern example of juxta- posed contradictions in the Millowners' Building in Ahmed- abad From the important approach from the south, the repetitive pattern of the brise-soleil invokes rhythms which are violently broken by the entrance void, the ramp, and the stairs. These latter elements, consisting of varying diagonals, create violent adjacencies from the side and violent superadjacencies from the front, in relation to the rectangular static floor divisions within the boxlike form.
The juxtapositions of diagonals and perpendiculars also create contradictory directions: the meeting of the ramp and stairs is only slightly softened by the exceptionally large void and by the modified rhythm of the elements at that part of the fasade. But these contradictions in the visual experience are even richer when you move closer and penetrate the building. Clearing House. In Le Corbusier's Palace of the Two Assemb- lies at Chandigarh 6 5 the conical assembly hall jammed into the rectangular grid represents a more three-dimen- sional superadjacency of a very violent kind.
The city street fagade can provide a type of juxtaposed contradiction that is essentially two-dimensional. Frank Furness' Clearing House 91 , now demolished like many of his best works in Philadelphia, contained an array of violent pressures within a rigid frame. The half-segmental arch, blocked by the submerged tower which, in turn, bisects the fagade into a near duality, and the violent adjacencies of rectangles, squares, lunettes, and diagonals of contrasting sizes, compose a building seemingly held up by the buildings next door: it is an almost insane short story of a castle on a city street.
All these relationships of structure and pattern contradict the severe limitations associated with a fagade, a street line, and contiguous row houses. The rectangular face of the Palazzo del Popolo in Palazzo d e l Popolo, Ascoli Piceno This fagade teems with the violent adjacencies and superadjacencies of open and closed arcades, continuous and interrupted string courses, big and little windows, "porte" and "portone," and clocks, cartouches, balconies, and store fronts.
All of these produce broken rhythms and reflect the contradictory duali- ties of public and private, ordered and circumstantial scales. The unflinching wings and striped patterns of Butterfield's All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London 93 , clash when they come together. The relative independence of the form of the parts, despite their closeness, is a most signifi- cant example of contradiction juxtaposed as distinct from contradiction adapted. It is the texture of Mannerist rustication which clashes in the same way when it abuts the precise detail of the classical orders in a Renaissance faqade.
But Michelangelo's loggia in the center of the upper floor of the rear fagade of the Palazzo Farnese in relation to the walls adjacent to it reflects a more ambiguous kind of contradiction 9 4. Giacomo della Porta's exceptional central elements on the floor below-pilasters, arches and architrave-vary only slightly in rhythm and not at all in scale, and the transition from the typical window bays on each side to the middle bays is consistent in detail and scale.
The openings of The pilasters also, because of their elevation and height, vio- lently break the frieze below the cornice; and the cornice itself recedes rather than advances to match the projections and boldness of the elements below it. The scale of this cornice is smaller because of the increased rhythm of the modillions, yet the modillions themselves lions' heads are identical to those on the other cornice and the mouldings are continuous throughout.
Similarly ambiguous combina- tions of contradictions both juxtaposed and adapted, occur in the intermediate bavs within the niche. Florence the almost furniture-like scale of ornament of the marble elements within the bays abuts the very big scale of the giant order of pilasters. Classical orders make for another kind of contrasting adjacency when the giant order is juxtaposed on the minor order and the proportion is con- stant regardless of size.
Jefferson's combinations of column sizes at the University of Virginia 96 contradict the maxim that every magnitude requires its own structure. But the juxtapositions of elements contrasting in size yet pro- portional in shape, like the pyramids of Gizeh, characterize a primary technique of monumentality. The guest house which stood behind the Low House by McKim, Mead and White was a miniature imitation of that house in its distinctive overall form.
Besides these violent adajcencies there are contrasts of direction within the whole. The Church of the Holy Sepul- chre in Jerusalem , much renovated, and Aalto's Cultural Center at Wolfsburg 78 , pre-renovated, so to speak, contain walls and series of columns with contradic- tory directions of almost equal intensity. The wings and projections of the Shingle Style house called Kragsyde in Manchester-by-the-Sea are less contained within a dominant perimeter, but nevertheless include a multiplicity of directions, especially in elevation.
Granada Cathedral Eastbury, Dorset. Elevation P I Johns. Three Flags Peabody and Stearns. Black House Kragsyde , Manchester-by-the-Sea. Foligno Cathedral Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Empire-style Chalr. Palazzo Reale. Figure illustrates a chair at Caserta that contains violently contrasting curvilinear and rectangu- lar rhythms. At another scale, the interior of Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium has juxtapositions of swoop- ing curves and diverse repetitions.
In some anonymous Italian architecture adjacent contrasting arcades con- tain contrapuntal rhythms. Superadjacency is inclusive rather than exclusive. It can relate contrasting and otherwise irreconcilable ele- ments;' it can contain opposites within a whole; it can accommodate the valid non sequitur; and it can allow a multiplicity of levels of meaning, since it involves changing contexts-seeing familiar things in an unfamiliar way and from unexpected points of view. Superadjacency can be considered a variation of the idea of simultaneity expressed in Cubism and in certain orthodox Modern architecture, which employed transparency.
But it is in contrast to the perpendicular interpenetration of space and form character- istic of the work of Wright. Superadjacency can result in a real richness as opposed to the surface richness of the screen which is typical of "serene" architecture. Its manifestations, as we shall see, are as diverse as Bramante's layered walls in the Belvedere Court in the Vatican Palace and Kahn's "ruins.
Brarnante, Belvedere Court. Vatican, Rome Gloucester Cathedral Superadjacency can exist between distant elements, such as the propylon before a Greek temple, which frames the composition and ties the foreground to the background. Such superimpositions change as one moves in space.
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Super- adjacency can also occur where the superimposed elements actually touch instead of being related only visually. This is the method in Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The nave walls of Gothic cathedrals contain arcades of varying orders and scales. The shafts and ribs, band courses, and arches which make up these arcades penetrate and are super- imposed upon each other.
At Gloucester Cathedral the superadjacency is contradictory in scale and direction: the enormous diagonal buttress crosses the plane of the delicate order of arcades in the transept's wall. All Man- nerist and Baroque faqades involve superadjacencies and interpenetrations on the same plane. Giant orders in rela- tion to minor orders express contradictions in scale in the same building, and the series of superimposed pilasters in Project for a Meeting House, Salk Institute for Baroque architecture implies spatial depth in a flat wall.
Biological Studies, La Jolla. The multiple layers of columns--engaged and disengaged, large and small, directly and indirectly superimposed-and the profusion of superimposed openings, architraves, and hori- zontal and diagonal balustrades create contrasts and contra- dictions in scale, direction, size, and shape.
They make a wall containing spaces inside itself. I shall return to this kind of valid redundancy in the next chapter concerning the difference between the inside and the outside. The diverse structural elements that surround the great door in the Porta Pia , are superimposed for ornament as well as structure. It abounds in redundant and rhetorical superadjacencies of a kind of ornament that is "about" structure.
The vulnerable edges of the opening are protected by rusticated trim at the sides. Superimposed on the trim are pilasters that further define the sides of the door and support, together with the scrolled brackets above, the heavy complex of the pediment. This important open- ing is made eventful in the bearing wall by additional juxtapositions. The arch is at the head of a series of redundant structural spanning elements, including the horizontal lintel, which in turn relieves the flat arch, which is a continuation of the rusticated trim.
Brackets or corbeling, which decrease the span, are suggested by the diagonals of the top corners of the opening. The exagger- ated keystone is superimposed on the flat-arch, the lintel, and the tympanum of the arch. In their complex relationships these elements are in varying degrees both structural and ornamental, frequently redundant, and sometimes vestigial. In the almost equal combination of horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and curve they correspond to Sullivan's violently superimposed frames around the bull's-eye window of the boxlike Merchants' National Bank in Grinnell, Iowa Model The pliable pattern of little windows accommodates service areas required for up- keep of the building and creates human scale that contrasts with the rigid monumentality.
In Philadelphia the gridiron street pattern of the local scale of circulation is superim- posed upon the resultant diagonal avenues which-corre- spond to the regional scale of circulation in the city because they originally connected the center with the outlying towns. These juxtapositions create unique, residual, triangu- lar blocks containing unusually shaped buildings, which give the city visual variety and quality. The "squares" in Manhattan formed by the unique diagonal intersections of Broadway-for instance, Madison, Union, Herald, and Times Squares-became events each with its individual character.
The almost inevitable contradictory diagonal of the railroad tracks in the typical American gridiron town of the plains also vividly implies the con- trasting scale of the whole region. The nineteeenth century American "elevated" which was juxtaposed above the street anticipated the multi-level city like Sigmond's plan for Berlin which proposed a multi-level city with large-scale circulation elevated above the local traffic.