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DASH #06 – Living in a New Past

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.

Editorial DASH #06

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…

Plan Documentation Living in a New Past

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…