notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

Architecture without Architects

Passing through a Raoul Hausmann exhibition of photographs, it was pleasing to see the period of his life when he escaped Berlin in 1933 and went to Ibiza. Here the photographs celebrate the vernacular forms of houses built and lived in by the people themselves, made with a purity and simplicity of form that evades and avoids the separable process of ‘design’ as an intermediary. Hausmann thought these Ibiza houses were the apex of the reduction of form of localised building, more so than in Greece, Italy and Portugal, and other Mediterraean places.

I have been banging on for years about the superfluousness of design to an intrinsic process, the way that letterpress printing contains its own structure of layout, the way, hopefully, a folded piece of paper or a pamphlet can be too simple to have been ‘designed’. It applies to all materials that begin to develop a history of usage, recognising function, but still leaving them in their purest state.

Hausmann’s photographs in Ibiza go much further into philosophical ideas of anthropology and habitat, vegetation and organics, but I take from it the phrase pasted up on one of the display boards in the exhibition : you alone should construct the limits of your universe.              SC


One comment on “Architecture without Architects

  1. Vince Bruns
    February 20, 2018

    I remember you “banging on” about some of the local architecture in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, while I had a more forgiving opinion. I do love the clean, austere buildings in the picture, but perhaps we will renew our discussion concerning denser, more populous areas needing some variation with so many buildings cheek by jowl. Will we have the opportunity during this year’s book fair?
    PS Yelp still currently describes un regard moderne as “stacked to the ceiling with an insane assortment of illustration and art related titles, weird little zines and indie publications…”

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2018 by .
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