par Van Acker, Wouter
Référence (8-9 October 2020: Gent: KULeuven Faculty of Architecture), The Practice of Architectural Research. Perspectives on Design and its Relation to History and Theory International Symposium., page (24-25)
Publication Publié, 2020-10-08
Publication dans des actes
Résumé : The question to what extent history can serve as a toolbox for architectural design was an important question in the late 1970s, as illustrated by the 1980 symposium on “History in Architectural Education” in Cincinatti. Here John E. Hancock noted how contextualism, the new historicism and the loss of faith in Modernism’s anti-historical stance had radically changed the way architects and their students viewed the instrumentality of architectural history. Among the diverse approaches, he distinguished three directions: a comeback of history in architecture with Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction (1966), a flourishment of the history of architecture—here Tafuri’s Theories and History of Architecture (1968) is an evident candidate—, and history for architecture. The latter type he described as an educational experience for future architects and mentioned Vincent Scully, Colin Rowe, and Bruno Zevi, but a number of people contributing to the conference, such as Christian Norberg-Schulz. A notable example of history for architecture with a direct impact on design pedagogy is Colin Rowe’s essay “Mathematics of the Ideal Villa” (1947) that directly informed John Hejduk’s nine-square grid studio exercise. Rooted in a pedigree of art history that goes back to Wittkower and Riegl, the nine-square grid approaches the architectural project not as a solution to a problem defined by site and program, but introduces architecture to students as a process of acquiring knowledge and design skills about form, aesthetics and art. The “kit-of-parts problem” could only to be resolved through drawing, by getting familiar with the basic elements of architecture. In 1971 the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture organized at MoMa an exhibition of students’ work showcasing various space manipulations, often both in plan and axonometry, based on the spatial language of Cubism and Futurism. The nine-square grid exercise has been copied in many architecture schools over the world as a first-year’s studio project initiating the novice student in stakes of architectural composition. In 1988 bOb van Reeth decided to use it as the assignment for the first year’s studio at the newly founded Department of Architecture at Ghent University. By the 1990s, the apparent formalism, and the absence of material, urban and social concerns made the neo-avant-garde approach rather untimely. Yet, the 9-square grid—a diagrammatic recurring figure from Alberti and Palladio to Le Corbusier— was made to return not only in the work of bOb van Reeth but more recently in the villa Buggenhout (2012) of Kersten Geers and David van Severen, who made the exercise during their studies under Van Reeth. With this project the architects clearly reread in an inter-medial approach the issue of Greenberg’s autonomy of the arts, and the concurring issue of opticality, flatness and minimalist theatricality. This paper questions the relational model of art and architectural history to practice in the nine-square grid exercise, and proposes a reading of the survival and return of this diagrammatic figure in studio pedagogy and villa architecture in the late 20th century through a dynamic of reckoning with the history of its self-referentiality and a continuous ambition to restore a temporality of lateness.