What are the reasons for architects in different times, regions and circumstances harking back to images, forms or construction methods from the past? And what means do architects employ in order to achieve the intended effect? These are the pivotal questions in this sixth issue of DASH. Reverting to the architectural past is hardly a new phenomenon. Old forms have served as inspiration at many junctures in the history of architecture: as a protest against dominant views, as a means to bring about renewal or purely because of nostalgia for times past. Rarely has this reversion remained undisputed. In particular, attempts to bring back old forms in modern-day materials have often roused the derision of the profession, whether these involved the early nineteenth-century Gothic Revival, or the work of the twentieth-century Delft School or ‘new traditionalism’.
In the opening article Dick van Gameren traces the parallels between several historical approaches from the previous century, which are also explored in the project documentation. This is followed by a number of essays that take a closer look at various periods from that architectural past. Wolfgang Voigt, for example, describes the work of the ‘traditional modernist’ Paul Schmitthenner in pre-WWII Germany, while Cor Wagenaar argues that both the traditionalists of the Delft School and the early modernists saw themselves as an inevitable product of history. In a comparative study of Italian Neo-Realism and the working methods of Alvaro Siza, Nelson Mota examines the relevance of critical re(gion)alism in this era. An interview with two generations of Bedaux architects and a critical analysis by Dirk Baalman of the nineteenthcentury concept of ‘character’ in architecture mark the transition to the plan documentation, featuring work by
architects as Baillie Scott, Schmitthenner, Ridolfi, Spoerry, Mecanoo, Krier, Bedaux De Brouwer and West8/AWG.
The lion’s share of both social and commercial housing is produced without the ambition to be innovative. This is nothing new, but as more and more commissioning is done by market parties and nearly everyone is paying lip service to the ‘articulate consumer’, attempts to reflect what is deemed to be familiar and recognizable, be […]
At many moments in history architects have turned to the built past to arrive at new architectural solutions. The opening essay of this issue of DASH takes us on a journey past some distinctive examples from over a century of recent history.
Paul Schmitthenner propagated an alternative new architecture in the Germany of the 1920s, one based on ratio and Typisierung, or standardization, yet retaining some of the core values of the German
house. Later maligned as a Nazi sympathizer, it is easy to forget his great influence on both building practices and the renowned Stuttgarter Schule. Besides, were his solutions really less effective?
We know there were architectural movements in the twentieth century that actually invoked the past, such as M.J. Granpré Molière and the Delft School in the Netherlands. This article makes the case that even early ‘modernists’ such as J.J.P. Oud took inspiration from and evaluated their innovations in the light of the architectural past.
With the help of two examples Nelson Mota examines whether the concepts of ‘critical regionalism’ and ‘critical realism’ could be relevant in this day and age as a happy medium between ‘tradition’ and ‘innovation’.
Contemporary analyses of ‘traditional architecture’ offer the architect and client no firm foundation for a professional agenda, according to Dirk Baalman. A plea for more depth in both the design and its appraisal.
The work of Bedaux De Brouwer Architecten is traditional and contemporary at the same time. An interview with the two latest generations about individual traditions in style, floor plan and working method as the common features of their work.
The plan documentation of the sixth issue of DASH features a series of historic and more recent projects that provide a panorama of the way in which, over the past 100 years, traditional housing forms have been used as the basis for new projects. Each project is illustrated with new analytical drawings and with photographs […]
The English Arts and Crafts movement modelled itself on an idealized view of society in pre-industrial England. Its adherents were inspired by buildings from this period to develop a new, ‘free’ architecture. Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, a third generation Arts and Crafts architect, persisted in a nondescript, neo-Tudor idiom that was skilfully executed, yet far […]
Kleinhaus und Kleinsiedlung (1918) by Hermann Muthesius can be read as a manual for the design of garden cities or suburbs. In the introduction, Muthesius, an architect who chiefly owes his fame to studies into innovations in English housing, describes how the Garden City development emerged in Germany during the First World War as a […]
In 1918 a retired teacher and an ex-professional soldier founded a ‘middle-class housing association’, which they named Frisia. Their aim was to introduce a new form of living, whereby likeminded people were housed in compact, yet comfortable and relatively low-cost dwellings. The target group was ‘educated and cultured, including retirees, who wished to continue to […]
Merelhof was designed in 1949 by the Bergen local authority architect J.H. Roggeveen (1888-1955). It exemplifies the principles of the Delft School, a traditionalist movement based on the presumption of an inseparable connection between past and present, which stressed the ‘timeless values’ of architecture. In the sphere of housing design adherents of the Delft School […]
Among the grid of housing blocks on the fringes of Rome, bordering the Via Tiburtina, is a small neighbourhood with a radically different layout. Strips of three- to five-storey blocks in earthy shades of yellow, orange, red and pink form enclosed, informal urban spaces, with here and there some green spaces and parking. Triangular seven-storey […]
During the post-war years French architect François Spoerry fiercely rejected modernism in general and the work of Corbusier in particular. He confronted the ‘myth’ of modernism, which he believed produced unliveable cities lacking consent and social cohesion, and produced an alternative architecture douce, based on traditional building forms and residential communities, where concepts such as […]
Since the 1980s, Prince Charles of Great Britten has been making prominent and controversial contributions to the debate about urban design and architecture. His explicit and occasionally aggressive attacks on the legacy of modernism and on new developments have caused quite a stir. He expressed his vision in 1989 in a BBC documentary and in […]
In the early 1990s Mecanoo architects created a residential neighbourhood in the Prinsenland expansion zone to the east of Rotterdam. By this time Mecanoo had rapidly evolved into the most significant representative of ‘neomodernism’. This architectural reorientation towards the formal and typological models from the heyday of modern architecture in the interwar years offered an […]
The ‘Groenplaats Bosrijk’ (literally ‘green place’ Bosrijk) is part of the Eindhoven district Meerhoven, situated on former army land. The park-like terrain derives its name from the monumental array of trees. The trees and open green spaces form the backbone of the urban design scheme by Karres en Brands: various housing clusters have been slotted […]
The finishing touches are currently being added to Cronenburgh, a new expansion development in the village of Loenen, which enjoys an idyllic situation on the River Vecht. The plan, designed by West 8, aims to create a strong connection with the existing village and the open landscape. The monumental access avenue is oriented towards the […]