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010 Publishers


Thil book reR:Is the material discussed in Hertzberger's
lectures on architecture at De/It Technical Uni versily from
1973 on, ancl contains elaborated versia!IS al the lecture
notes previously published as 'Het openbare rijk'
{Public Domain) 1982, 'Rvimle maken, ruimte Iaten'
(Making Space, Leaving SpoceJ 1984, and
'Uitnodigencle vorm' /Inviting Form} 1988.
c.,.,pilari<>n by loilo Gho;t, c VI ijrnen
Tronslotion from rM Dujch by lno Me
Co.,... design by Pool Gerardo, H ... rlen
!look dosi9n by Reinour Melrzet, Rorterdam
Printed by G.J. Thitmt o.
e 1991
Hermon Hertzbe<ger I 01 0 Publishero, 180,
3003 HA Rouerdom, rl>e Nethtrlcnds (Www,OlOpublo;.S..I!.nll
1993 S.Ccnd rovisod
1998 Thild revi .. cl edlh.on
200 I Fo.nh revised edmon
ISBN 90 6450 A6A 4
au tor
FO 0
f ef (hoses ne pos dif idl o faire, ce qui es't
dl d es, c de nous meH - en eto de es foi re. J
(Bronc sil
It is Jn vitobl thot the wor you do as an orchJtect shoufd
serve O$ the po1nt of cleparlure cr your .ancJ
obvjoully e b.$f oy lo explain what you ha lo soy
is o do 5o .on he bosij of prac: icol experie c : at,
indeed, is the common fhte<:Jd of t is boo . Ins d of
pre5en ng each irJdl iduol work separo y and Pploin}ng
ofl #heir clistittc:live fealutas 1n htrn, f e diFFerent Is tuol
componenls hove bt!ten orgonized in sue o woy thot, os
o whole; the offer something i n the way of a th ory; it
is the way olements are organized a ron$ orm1
practice in o theo .
When rov discuss your own work 0 hov to 0$ ycwrs.ff
what you ocqui1ed from whom. evelflhing you
'nd comes fro some The so rce WOJ not r own
m{ d, but upplied by th cultvre you belong A d
t a is hy t or of ol r i so manifestly pre "' e
y way of o context. Yo,u co ld scy t oJ ;n $0 lot os this
boo con ai n I uon , th&y or I e le Jo of Bramonte,
Cerdol Choreo , Le Corbu$;er, Duiker & Bijvoet, Von
E c , Gaud; & Ju;ol. Hortal lobrous , Pollodio, Perozzi,
Rietveld, Von der VI gt & Brinkman, and o aJI the others
who nt m their eye so lhot I could JH ond IKI
precistly w o needed to co ''Y - y ow wor - step
fur.rher. Architec s/ond not only they} ore in the habit of
concealing their sources of in&p;ra ion and even of trying
fo tnem OS rf ol would ver b But
in so doing the clt$ign-ptoces3 s clovded, b
disclo ing w of moved ond $lim yo in th liut
ptace you may succeed in e plainin9 yovrself ancJ
motivot1ng your dedslons.
The ,e omples and ;nHctencs which obotJncl in this book
co J itute e cvlhJrol coni l within which an
wor $, ond .an impress;on ;s 9iven of the ro ge of con
C<tptJ end mer1 ol imogets thot must s.erve as iJ tools {con
a person ts ovtpu, ol ;dffas eve/ be greoter lhan lhf'J
Everything t at ;s obsor d and register d in, yout mind
odds to he coli ctlon of ideos in the memory: a
o of libroty you co consull wh n t o prob m ari&es.
So .. tJ n'iolly, you haves n, rienced ond
absorbed; the more point$ of ttlernce you wilt hove to
help you d ide w ich d;rection o your fro e of
relerence expands.
The capacity to l ;ncJ o fundamentally different solution to
o.probtem, i. e. to create o 'mechomsm', _epertds
entirety on rhe e<Jith of your 6 jus O$ a
so 's e pressi e potential in terms of Jonguoge can ot
l ronsceDJ at ich is expressible ith hi$ vocobuJory.
I!JCipes lor design art impossible o give, as eve ' ne
'nOW$. I ho e ot oH mpted to do sol and t e question
whether ; iJ possible at oil o learn o to esig is not
really a issue ere.
The ai of my '14JJSOns' ho$ olwoys bten to sti vl.o e s
to ;n the on orchifec raJ fro of mind ot
w;U enable em to do own work; my o;m in ;s boo
th& somt.
Hetman H rtzb rger
Pr,e ace to e ovr e Won
In e len years since this boo wos F;rst publi$ ed a hosl
ol new uilt or s by olh@rs ond y myJeff ove s& # e
of doy. hese prov;de mo,ny n m Is for rther
expanding pon the ' emes fifj s.t Forth i 1 99 r . T e
boo could well hov,e be n compl t J t newed os a
uuvJ. That t is as not been the case, tempting thovgh
at propoJition might , has to do wil ' Facr ot in
e meonlime s os o e n ed Space on
arl two is co pi en ry #o pa o e More lhon jus o
$upplement, H _laces tht earlier publicotion in a new
light. Jn this fits' porl the cen'r,ol no ion of 'space' as
mainly o do ir in/1 rpr ring spot1ol ntili s O$ ploces in
5i ua, ions cone rning people. In porl two the accent shifts
o $poce o mor g nero/ sense, o.s o pot nnol and
med;um for inciting ond susfo;ning the con ifioru for
i n I_ the woy o lon9uag does( to e
opplid ogoin and ogoin. Thv.s he !'No ports relo e in
uch rh some oy lhot plac and space relata, os
oncl 'compelen' .
fu her, o greol deal hoJ chonged in tl.oUt ten years in e
opprdafion public domain. There is little left of the
vp1u ge, norobly i n t e and sevent;es, of personal
inRuence on publ;c spo here as rue o alieno ion os
o e.n over wi fh olorm;ng fo ce. As o resul , o , m I of
e amples in hiJ b may ulm ol t y
least naive. Yet frey are still relevant, ;; only O$ re in rs
'we arch;tec $ mus eep eeking ways o combo ing
e oloo ness ol o pvblic domain i in xorobJ decline.
Hetmon ovember 200 l
A Public Domain
1 Public and Private 12
2 Ierritorinl Claims lA
3 Territorial D;Hecenhation 20
4 Territorial Zoning 22
5 From User to Dweller 28
6 The 'lfl: betwecn' 32
7 Private Claims on Public Space 40
8 Public Works Concept 44
9 Ibe Street 48
I 0 The Public Domain 64
l l Public Space os Constructed Environment 68
12 Public Accessibility of Private Space 7 4
I Maklns Spoce, Leavins Spate
1 Structure and lnterprelolion 92
2 form and Interpretation 94
3 Stucture as a Generative Spine: Warp and Weft 108
4 Gridiron 122
5 Building Order 126
6 functionality, Flexibllity and Polyvalence 146
7 Form and Users: the Space of Form 150
8 Making Space, leaving Spoce 152
9 Incentives 164
I 0 form m on ;n, trument 170
C lnvltlns Form
1 The Habitable Space between Things 176
2 Place and Articulation 190
3 View 1 202
4 View II 2 !6
S View Ill 226
6 Equivaleoce 246
Biography and Projects 268
Refersnce< 270

com diettos !:1
10 USSO S FO l SUr S I I.HI I E' U t
Publk and Private 12
Territorial Claims I 4
Streets and Dwellings, Bolr
Public Bur ldings
Village of Morbisch, Austria
BibHotheque Notionole, Paris I H. Lobrouste
Centrool Seheer Office Building, Apeldoorn
T em to ria I Differentiation 20
Territorial Zoning 22
Centrool Beheer OFfice Building, Apeldoorn
Faculty of Architecture M.I.T., Cambridge, U.S.A.
Montessori School, Delft
Vredenburg Music Centre, Utrecht
r o c t ~ User to Dweller 28
Montessori School, Delft
Apollo Schools, Amsterdam
The ' lnbetween' 32
Montessori School. Delft
De Overloop, Home for the Elderly, Almere
De Drie Hoven, Home lor the Elderly. Amsterdam
Documento Urbano Dwellings, Kassel, Germany
Cite Napoleon, Paris I M.H. Veugny
Private Claims on Public Space 40
De Drie Hoven, Horne lor the Elderly. Amsterdam
Diogoon Dwellings. Delft
LiMo Housing, Berlin
Public Works Concept 44
Vroesenloon Housing, Rotterdam I J.H.von den Broek
De Drie Hoven, Home lor the Elderly, Amsterdam
9 The Street 48
Hoorlemmer Houlluinen Housing, Amsterdam
Spongen Housing, RoHerdom I M. Brinkman
Wee$perstrool Student Accommodation, Amsterdam
Sihng Prrnciples
Royal Crescents, Both, England I J. Wood, J. Nosh
Romerstodt, Frankfurt, Germany I E. May
Het Gein, Housing, Amersfoort
Accessibility of Rats
Fomilistere, Guise, france
De Dr ie Hoven, Home for the Elderly, Amsterdam
Montessori School. Delft
Kosboh, Hengelo I P. Blom
10 The Public Domain 64
Polois Royal, Paris
Public Square, Vence, France
Rockefeller Plaza, New York
Piolzo del Compo, Siena, Italy
Plaza Mayor, Chinchon, Spain
Dionne Spring, Tonnerre, france
11 Public Spoce a Contructed Environment 68
Vichy, France
Les Holies, Paris IV. Bohord
CommYnity Centres I f . von Klingeren
The Eillel Tower, Paris I G. Eilfel
Ex.hibition Pavil ions
Deportment Stores, Paris
Roilwoy Stations
Underground Railway Stations
12 Public Acceuibillty of Prlvate Space 14
Passage du Caire, Paris
Shopping Arcades
Ministery of Education and Health, Rio de Janeiro
I Le Corbusier
Centrool Beheer Office Bui lding, Apeldoorn
Vredenburg Music Centre, Utrecht
Cineoc Cinema. Amsterdam I J. Duiker
Hotel Solvay, Brussels I V. Horta
Passage Pommeroye, Nantes, France
' The leHer'. Pieter de Hoogh
The concepts 'pvblk' and 'private' cen be lnr.rpret.d as
the translcrtion into spatial t.rms of 'collective' and
In a mont absolute tet\M you could JGYl
public: an area that l1 acceulble to everyone at all
times; responst'bility fof upkeep is held collectively.
private: an- whose occesslbl11ty i1 d .... r11ined by a
smon group or one with responsibinty for
This extreme opposition between private and public like
the opposition between collective and individual has
resulted in o cliche, and is as unsubrle and false as the
supposed opposition between general and specific,
objedive and subjective. Such oppositions ore symptoms
of the disintegration of primary human relations.
Everyone wonts to be accepted, wants to belong, wants to
have o place of his or her own. All behaviour in society ot
large is indeed role-induced. in which the personality of
each individual is affirmed by what others see in him. In
our world we experience o polarization between
exaggerated individuality on the one hand and
exaggerated collectivity on the otfw. Too much emphasis
is placed on these two poles, while there is not a single
human reloHanship with which we as architects ore
concerned thor focuses exclusively on one individual or on
one group. nor indeed exclusively on everyone else, or
'the outside world' . It is always a question of people and
groups in their interrelationship and mutual commitment,
i.e. it is always a question of collective and individual vis
6 vis each other.
17 LISSOH 101 SJUmllll ll l MIIHlVll
'Wenn ober der nur einen Teil des
Menschen erfout so erfosst der nur den
Menschen ols Teil: zur Gonzheil des Menschen, zvm
Menschen ols Gonzes dringen beide nicht vor. Der
lndividvalismus sieht den Menschen nvr in der
Bezogenheit ouf sich selbst, ober der Kolleklivismus sieht
den Menschen iiberhoupl nicht, er sieht nur die
Gesellschoft, Beide tebensonschauungen sind
Ergebnisse oder Aeussarungen des gleichen menschlichen
Dill$er lusland ist dvrch dos von
kosmischer und sozialer Heimlosigkeil, von Weltongst vnd
Lebensongst. zu einer Doseinsverfossvng der Einsomkeil
gekennzeichnet, wie es sie in diesem Ausman vermutlich
noch nie zvvor gegeben hot. Urn sich <vor der
Verzweiflvng zu rellen, mil der ihn siene Vereinsamvng
bedroht, ergreift der Mensch den Ausweg, diese zv
glorifizieren. Der moderne lndividuoJismus hoi im
wesentlichen eine imaginore Grvndlage. An diesem
Charakter scheitert er, denn die Imagination reicht nichl
zv, die Situation loltisch zu bewaltigen.
Der moderne Kolfektivismus ist die letzte Schranke, die der
Mensch vor der Begegnvng mit sich selbst oufgerichtet hat
... ; im Kolfektivismus gibl sie, mil dem Verzicht auf die
UnmiHelborkeil personlicher Entscheidvng und
Verontwortung, sich selber auf. In belden Fallen ist sie
unfohig, den Dvrchbrvch zvm Ander en zv vollziehen: nur
zwischen echten Personen gibt es echte Beziehvng.
Hier gibt es keinen onderen Avsweg als den Avfstand der
Person vm der Befreiung der Beziehvng willen. lch sehe
om Horizon/, mit der Longsomkeit oilier Vorgiinge der
wohren Menscheogeschichte , eine grosse Unzvfriedenheil
Man wird sich nicht mehr bloss wie bisher gegen eine
bestimmle herrschende Tendenz um onderer Tendenz
willen empiiren, sondern gegen die folsche Reolisieruog
eines grossen Strebens, des Strebens zur Gemeinschoft,
um der echten Reolisierung willen.
Man wird gegen die Verzerrvng vnd liir die reine Gestalt
lompfen. lhr euler Schrilt muss die Zerschlogung einer
folschen Alternative sein, der Alternative tndividiiOiismus
oder Kollektivismvs.'
!Momn e..ber, Ocs Problem <ks Heidelbg 1948, oltc
pub)i$htG In fOtYIO 71959. pp 2A9!
au tor
'If however individualism comprehends only port of
mankind, so collectivism only comprehends mankind as o
whole of man, or man os a whole. Individualism perceives
man only in his self-orientation, but collectivism does not
perceive man at o/1, it relates only to 'society'. Both life
views ore the products or expressions of the some human
This stole of a Hairs is characterized by the confluence of
cosmic and social homelessness, of o world-anxiety and o
life-anxiety which hove probably never existed to this
degree before. In an otlempl lo from the insecurity
brought on by his feelings of isolation, mon seelcs refuge
in their glorification of individualism. Modern
individualism hos on imoginory basis. This is why il is
doomed, for the imagination is unable to deal factually
with a given situation.
Modern collectivism is the lost barrier thai man has
erected lo protect him from his encounter with himself ... in
collectivism it surrenders because it waives the claim ro
immediacy of personal decision and responsibility. In
neither case is it capable of effecting o breakthrough to
the other; only between real people con o real
relationship el(ist.
There is no other alternative here thon the rebellion of the
individual for the sake of the liberation of the
t con see looming on the horizon, slowly like all
of the true human history, o great discontent.
People will no longer rise up they did in the post
against a certain prevailing trend in favour of a different
trend, but against the false realization of a great striving,
the striving after communality, for the sake of the true
People will fig hi against distortion and for pu1ity. The first
step must be the destruction of a Folse alternative, of the
alternative: 'individvolism 01 collectivism'. '
The contepts 'public' ond 'private' may be seen ond
understood in ...Jative terms as o series of spatial
qualities which, differing groduolly, ref.r to
o<cenibility, responsibility, the relation between
private property and supervision of s,-clflc spatial

l I
An open area, room or space may be conceived either
as a more or leu private place or as a public area,
depending on the degree of accessibility, the form of
supervision, who uses it, who takes care of it, and
their respective responsibilltles.
Your own room is private vis a vis the living room and
e.g. the kitchen of the house you live ln. You have a
key to your own roam, which you look after yourself.
Care and maintenance of the living room and kitchen is
basically a responsibility shared by those living in the
house, all of whom have o key to the front door.
In o school each classroom ls private vis a vis the
communal hall. Thi s hall is in turn like the school as a
whole, private vis a vls the street outside.
The rooms of many dwellings on Bol1 ore often separately
constructed little houses, grouped around o sort ollnner
court or yard which may be entered through o gate Once
you hove passed this gale you do not hove the feel1ng thai
you ore entering the octuol dwelling, although this is In
loci the case. The separate dwelling units: kitchen area,
sleepmg quarters, and sometimes o deolh-house and birth
house, hove o lor greater .nhmocy and they ore less
easily occeuible, certainly to o stronger. In this way the
actual home comprises o sequence of distinct gradations
of occeuibility.
Many srreets on Bali constilute the territory ol one
extended family. On this street are situated the homes of



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ftlS!JINl Ct..loUf!'EJII5 fOR tJ.u1E)tfS
2 lo&.'TAA
3 NdYTtl.IPLf


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the different family which together moke up the
extended family. These streets hove on entrance gate,
which is often fttted with o low bamboo fence to keep
small children ond onimob inside, ond although they ore
basically to everyone you still tend to feel like
on Intruder or ot o visitor
Aport from the different nuances in territorial claims, the
Balinese distinguish within the public space, temple
grounds comprising a series of successive enclosures with
clearly marked entrances, lenceopenings or the divided
stone gateways fknown os tjondi bentorJ . This temple oreo
serves os both street ond playground for the children. Also
'lor the visitor it is accessible o"' o street . ot least when
there ore no active religious monifestotion.s going on but
even then the visitor feels some reluctance. As o stranger
to the ploce you feel honoured to be allowed to enter,
All crter the world you encounter gradations of
territorial daims w!tft tfte attendant fHiing of
acceuibility. Sometimes tfte degree of accessibility ia a
maHer of legislation, bvt often it is uclusiftly a
question of convention, which is re.speded by all.
Sa<olled public buildings such os the hoi I of the
centro! post office or roilwoy station moy (ol least
during the hours thol they ore open) be regarded os
streetspoce in tne territorial sense. Other examples of
differentiated degrees of occess to the general public
are glven below, but the list con of course be extended
to include other personol experiences:
college quadrangles in England, os in Oxford and
Cambridge; the woy they ore accessible lor everyone
through the porches, forming a sort of sub-system of
pedestrian routes troven ing the entire city centre.
public buildings, e.g. the holt of a post office.
railway stoflon, etc.
the courtyards of housing blocks in Paris, where o
concierge usually reigns supreme.
'closed' streets, to be found in great variety oil over
the world, sometimes patrolled by security
fUiliC DO lAIN 1 S
Ct,ol Stor,o

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--- -

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, ............ ..

i r !

LI I*l l l

6 1 I
10 II
l u ~ e h wee!
nmt!Hnm cerury
The streets in the Austrian village of Morbisch near the
Hungarian border lpublish!MI in Forum 9-1959) contain Iorge
doors such os those giving access to forms- but here they
give access to side-streets along which dwellings, stables,
barns and gardens ore situated.
These uamples show how inadequate the terms public
and private ore, while the so-called semiprivote or
semi-public orecu which ore often tucked away
inb.tween are too equivocal to accommodate the
subtleties that must be token into account in designing
for every space and every area.
Wherever individuals or groups ore given the oppor
!unity to use ports of the public space in their own
interests, and only indirectly in the interest of others,
the public nature of the space is temporarily or permo
nently put into perspective through that use. Examples
of thili too ore to be found everywhere in the world.
Ort Bah -once again used os on example- the nee 1s
spread out to dry on Iorge ports olthe public roods and
even on the curbs of the mocodomized highway, where it
is left undisturbed by traffic and pedestrians alike, since
everyone is aware of the Importance of the contribution of
each member of the community to the rice harvest. n
Another instance of public merging with private is the
laundry hanging to dry in the narrow streets of the towns
of Southern Europe. o collective expression of
appreciation for the dean washing of each family
hanging from o network of cables spanning the street from
one family nome to its neighbours across the woy
Mal:cnal o
Other examples ore the nets ond ships being repaired on
the quoys tn fishing porh, ond the Dogan:
wool stretched across o village square.
The u&e of public space by residents as if it were
' private' strengthens the u&er's claim to that area in the
eyes of others. The extro dimension given to the public
space by thi& claim in the form of use for ptivote
purpa&e& will be discussed in more detail below, but
first we will look at what the consequences af this are
for the archited.
BtauorHioue N.t.nONAlE, PAl s 1862-68 I H. u
In the main reading room of the Bibliotheque Nohonole in
Paris the individual work-surfaces lacing each other ore
separated by o raised middle 'zone'; the lamps in the
centre of this ledge provide light for the lour duectly
adjoining work-surfaces. This central zone Is obviously
more occesstble than the lower, individual work-surfaces,
and is clearly intended lor shored use by tnose seated on
both sides.
Cf NTRMt 8EHER OFFICE 8UilDI"'G (lllt;
In the early years, before the modern 'clean-desk' trend
hod set in, the desks m the offices were fi tted wilh ledges
which, when the desk.s were placed bock to bock,
provided o raised central zone stmilor to that dividing tne
reading tables in the Bibliotheque Notionale in Paris. By
this articulation o place is reserved lor those objects
snored by several users, such as telephones and potted
plants. The space under the ledges provides more private
storage space lor each Individual user. Articulation in
terms of greater or lesser (public) occenibility con also
prove to be useful in the smallest details.

I! ..
II ll
Gloss doors beiWeen two equally publ1c and therefore
equally accessible spaces for onstonce provode ample
visibo ty on both sodes so that collisions con easily be
ovooded on o stncrly equal basis Doors without
transparent panels will then hove to 9"'8 access to more
private, less occcssobfe spaces When such o code is
consistently adopted throughout o buoldong it woll be
understood rohonolly or intuihve!y by oil the usen of the
prem1ses and con thus conlrtbute to clorifyng the concepts
underlyng the orgonizotoon of occessibo
further clossilicohon con be obtooned by the shape of
glou pones, the type of glou sem1tronsporent or
opaque, and hall-doors
When, in designing each space and each segment, you
are aware of the relevant degree of territorial claim
ond the concomitant forms of 'accessibility' with respect
to the adjoining spaces, then you con e.xpress these
differences in the articulation of form, material, light
and colour, and thereby introduce a certain ordering in
the design as a whole. This con in turn heighten the
awareness of inhabitants and visitors of how the
building is composed of diffarent ambiances os for as
accessibility is concerned, The degree In which places
and spaces ore accessible offers standards for the
design. The choice af architectonic motifs, their
articulation, form and moterlol ore determlnecd, in port,
by the degree of accessibility required for a space.
rnLH eum 19
r I
11 11 n
... \
MooiOUOfl Sc/loo/, O.Jf1
. I
. . 'LIJ !-:1
I , -t. : .
- .... __
,.- ...
/ '\
2 .J
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- ------__ .._.._--
/ // -......
H<Jrel SoNoy, 8rossols I 896/ V Horro
(sot olso p ~ 84/
. ! '
By marking the gradations of public accessibility of the
diHerent areas ond parts of o building on a
groundplan a sort of map showing the 'territorial
diHerentiation' will be obtained. This map will show
clearly which aspects of accessibility exist in the
architecture as such, which claims are laid on specific
areas and by whom, and what kind of division of
responsibilities for care and maintenance of the
diHerent spaces may be expected, so that these forees
may be intensified (or attenuated) in the further
elaboration of the plan.
1S 16
II 21
z2 tmo.s rot morals II Uti rm 11
The character of each area will depend to a large
extent on who determines the furnishing and
arrangement of the space, who is in charge, who takes
core of it and who iJ or feels responsible for it.
The surprisrng eHects obloined by the people who work at
Centrool Beheer in the way they hod arranged and
personalized their office spaces with colours of their own
chorce, potted plonl5 ond objects they ere fond of. is not
merely the logical consequence of the foctlhollhe interior
finishrng was deliberately leh to the users of the buildrng
Although the borenen of the stork. grey inlenor is on
obvious Invi tation ro the users to put the finishing touches
to their space according to their personal Jostes, this in
itself is no guarantee thotthey will do so.
More needed lor this to happen : to start with, the form
of the space itself must offer the opportunities, including
basic fittings and attachments etc. , for the users to fill in
the spaces according to their personal needs and desires.
But beyond that, il is essenliolthotthe liberty to toke
personal initiatives should be embedded in the
organizational structure of the institution concerned, and
this hos much more for-reaching consequences than you
might think ol lint sight. For the fundamental question,
then, is how much responsibility the top is prepared to
delegate, i.e. how much responsibility will be given to the
individual users ot the lower echelons.
It is important to bear in mind that in this case it wos only
because the responsibility for the arrangement and
finishing of the spaces hod been so explicitly leh to the
users that such on exc;eptionol c;ommitment to
and core on their working environment could come oboul.
II was thanks to this that the opportunities offered by the
architect were in foci seized, with such surprisingly
successful results.
While this building was originally erected os o spatial
expression of the need foro more human envi ronment
(although many people suspected thotlhis might be
motivated by staff recruitment considerations), there is at
present o tendency to dehumanize, largely owing lo cub
in expenditure affecting staff in particular. But ot leosl the
building con be said to offer some welcome resistance to
this trend, and with any luck il will succeed in holding its
own. What is disappointing is that what we thought wos o
step towards 0 greater responsibility for the users nos
turned out to be just about the lost step that con be token,
lor the lime being ol leasl.
In 1990, there is not much leh of the imaginative and
colourful decoration of the worlt spaces. The of
personal expressiveness in the 1970s hos given woy to
neatness and arderlines. It seems os if the urge to make o
personal statement has faded, ond that people ore more
incl ined to conform, nowadays. Perhaps due to the score
of rising unemployment in the I 9BOs it is now apparently
considered wiser to toke o less extroverted stand in
general, and the effects of this ore already to be seen in
the cool impersonal atmosphere which pervades mosl
offices today.
WORKSHOP 1967 l31Jll
How much influence users con, in extreme cases, exert on
their living or working environment is clearly demonstra-
ted by the adjustments to the existing architecture that
were mode by students of architecture otthe M.I.T. The
student objected to having to work ol drawing-boards
arranged in long, stiff rows, all facing the some woy.
Using discorded construction materials that were regarded
as left-overs, they constructed the kind of spaces they
wonted in which they could work, eol, sleep, ond receive
their tutors on their own ground.
One would expect each new group ol students to wont to
make their own adjustments, but the situation turned oul
otherwise. The outcome of the fierce dispute with the local
lire prevention authorities that ensued was that a lithe
structures would hove to be dismantled unless o full sprink-
ler system was installed throughout the oreo. Once this
hod been done, the situation ln foci become permanent,
ond the environment, if it still stands today, may be seen
os o monument to the enthusiasm of o group of students of
orchitechJre. But we should not be surprised if everything
is lor will soon be) cleared owoy the bureaucracy of
centralistic management is firmly bock in control.
The influence of users can be stimulated, at least if this
is done in the right places, I.e. where sufficient
involvement may be upeded; and becauae that
depend on accenibility, territorial claims,
organization of maintenance and division of
responaibilities, It is essential for the designer to be
fully aware of these foctors in their proper graclotions.
In cases where the organizational structure precludes
the users from exerting any personal kind of lnRuence
on their aurraundings, or when the nature of a
particular space is so public that no one will feel
inclined to exert any inRuence on it, there is no paint in
the architect trying to make pravi1ions of thi kind.
However, the architect can still toke advantage of the
reorganization that moving into a new building always
necessitcites anyway, to try to exert some inRuence on
the reappraisal of the division of responsibilities, at
least in so far as they concern the physical
environment. One thing can lead to another. Simply by
putting forward arguments which can reanure the top
management that delegating responsibilities for the
environme.nt to the users need not necessan1y result in
chaos, the architect is in a position where he con
contribute to improving matters, and It iJ certainly his
duty to at leatt make an attempt in this direction.
A ledge obove the door, given extra width so thot objects
con be placed on it os in this case between closwoom
ond hall Is more likely to be put to use if it is accessible
from the appropriate side, i.e. from inside the closrroom.
The shelf above it may creole on oesthelicolly pleasing
effect by setting bock the gloss pone, but it is not likely to
be put to use.
Whereas the office spaces in the Centrool Beheer
building, in which each worker has his own private island
to work in, are taken core of by the users, no member of
the office staff feels directly responsible for the central
space of the building. The greenery in this central space
is looked after by a special team (cf. Public Works),
and the pictures on the wells ore hung there by the
ortprovision service.
These employees too do their job with greet dedication
and core, but there is o striking difference in atmosphere
rvauc, topm 2S

ll 31
l! Jl
between that communal onto ond the indiv1dual work
spaces in oil their diversity.
At the refreshment counters in th1s central space you were
served by the some girl every day; the refreshments
department wos organi zed in such a woy thot eoch
attendant was ollocated to o spec1fic counter.
She felt respons1ble for that counter ond m due course
she regarded it os her own domain, and gove it o
personal touch. These coffee counters have since been
removed, and tidy seals ond coffee d1spensers have been
installed in their place. The entire building hos undergone
msos 101 stnws 11 UCkiHCIUH
thorough renovation and cleaning, during which process a
Iorge number of adjustments were mode to comply with
contemporary workplace requirements.
The underlying ideo which proved so successful in
Centraol Beheer does not apply to the refreshment
counters 1n the Music Centre in Utrecht.
The situation there varies considerably from one concert
to the next, with different counters being used ond
different ottendonls serving the public. Since no special
affinity between individual employees and specific work
spaces was to be expected here, there wos every reason
lor the refreshment oreos to be completed and wholly
furnished by the architect.
In both buildings Centrool Beheer os well os the Music
Centre the rear walls ore fitted with mirrors.
In the former, however, they were installed by the stoff,
and in the latter they were designed by the architect
according to the some overall principles throughout the
building. The mirrors on the rear wall enable you to see
who is In front of you, behind you and next to you.
They recall the theatre paintings of Monel '411, who used
mirrors to draw the space into the Rat picture-plane, thus
e ~ n i n g the space by showing the people in il and how
they ore grouped.
The Music Centre hos a competent and dedicated
housekeeping staff to look alter the place
r I
This cannot be said of, lOy, the refreshment cars of the
Dutch railways: the attendants constantly switch trains.
The only commitment thot these attendants ever hove
with respett to the cor i n which they work is that they
ore under orders to leove the ptoce clean and tidy lor
the next shif1. Imagine how different things would be if
the some ollendont always worked on the some train.
While the reslouronl-cor hos disappeared from Dutch
trains ol any role a new form of catering has emerged
in air trovel. But the meob served on planes ore more
like on imposition on the traveller than o service; they
ore served at times thol suit the airline rather than the
passenger (os well os being much too expensive, since
they ore included in the already high price of the airline
Front luhhonJO
8ordb1.1Ch, 6/88
fUll( I O U I ~ 27
r I 1
The ll'anslarion af the concepts 'public' and 'private' in
terms of differentiated responsibilities thus makes it
easier for the architect to decide in which areas
provisions should be made for users/Inhabitants to
make their awn contributions to the design of the
environment and where this is less relevant.
In the organization of a plan, aJ you design it in terms
of groundplans and sections and also in the principle of
the installations, you can create the conditions for a
greater sense of responsibility, and consequently also
greater Involvement in the anangement and furnishing
of on areo, Thus users become inhabitants.
The classrooms of this school ore conceived os
autonomous units, lillie homes os it were, oil situated
along the school hall, as a communal street. The teacher,
' mother', of each house decides, together with the
children, what the place will look like, ond therefore what
kind of atmosphere it will hove.
Each classroom also has its own small cloakroom, instead
of the usual communal .space for the whole school, which
usually means thot all the wollspoce is Ioken up by rows
of pegs so that it cannot be used for anything else. And if
each classroom would hove its own toilet this too would
contribute lo improving the children's sense of
responsibility (this proposal was turned down by the
educational authorities on the groundl thot seporote toilets
were needed lor boys ond girls os if they hove them at
home too which would require install ing twice os mony) .
It is quite conceivable lor the children in each doss to
keep their 'home' clean, like birds their nest, thereby
giving expression to the emotional bond with their doily
The Montessori ideo, indeed, comprises so-coiled
housekeeping duties lor oil children os port of the doily
programme. Thus much emphasis is placed on looking
alter the environment, whereby the children's emotional
affinity with their surroundings is strengthened.
Each child, too, con bring along his own plont to the
clawoom, which he or she has to core for. {The
awareness of the environment ond the need to look ~ e r It
figures prominently in the Monte,ori concept. Typicol
examples are the tradition of working an the floor on
special rugs smolltemporory work areas which ore
respected by the others and the importance that is
attached to tidying things owoy in open cupboards). A
further step towards o more personal approach to the
children's doily surroundings would be to make it possible
to regulate the central healing per dowaom. Thi s would
heighten the children's awareness of the phenomenon of
warmth ond the core that goes into keeping worm, os well
os making them more a wore of the uses of energy.
A 'safe neJt' familiar surroundings where you know
that your thingt are tafe ond where you can concen
ll'ote without being disturbed by others is something
that each individual nuds os much as each group.
Without this there can be no collaboration with others.
If you don't have a place that you can col/ your own
you don't lcnow where you stand/
There ' on be no adventure without o homebose to
return to: everyone nuds some klnd of to fall
bock on.
The domain of o particular group of people should be
respected os much os possible by 'outsiders'. That is why
there ore certain rish attached to scxalled multifunctional
usage. Toke a schoolroom: if it is used lor other purposes
outside school hours, e.g. lor neighbourhood activities, all
the furniture has to be pushed aside temporarily, and it is
evidently not olwoys put bock into its proper place. Under
such circumstances ligures modelled in cloy which ore felt
out to dry, for instance, con easily be 'accidentally'
broken or someone's pencil sharpener turns out to hove
vanished into thin air.
!UtiiC OOA\Air 29
.I I
It is important for children to be able to di1ploy the things
they hove mode in, soy, the handwork lesson without fear
of their things being destroyed, ond they should be able
to leove unfinished work exposed without there being the
danger of it being moved or 'tidied owoy' by 'strangers'.
After oil, even o thorough deoning job done by someone
else con leave you feeling quite lost in your own space the
next morning.
A schoolroom, conceived os the domain of a group, con
show its own ident ity to the rest of the school if it is given
the opportunity to rnoke o display of the things jthot the
children hove mode or work they hove done in dou) that
the group is especially involved in. This con be done
informally by using the partition between hall and
classroom os display space, and by making plenty of
windows with generous sills in the partition.
A small showcase lin this case even ill uminated) is o
challenge to the group to present itself in o more formal
way. The exterior of the clo$$room can then function as o
sort of 'shop window' which shows what the group has to
'offer' .
In this way each class con present o picture which the
others con relate to, ond which morh the transition
between each classroom ond the communal hall space.
Al'OliO ScllOO\S tHO
lithe spoce beween closstooms has been used to create
porch11ke oreos as'" the Amsterdam Monlessou school,
these oreos con as proper workplaces where you
con study on your own, 1 e not m rne c owoom but not
shut out ether. These places consist of o work-surface w1th
liS own hghhng and a bench enclosed by a low wall In
order to regulate the contact between classroom and hall
as subtly os possible half-doors have been mstolled hole,
whose ombiguly con generate the right degree ol
openness towards the hall who e offering the requ11ed
seclusron from rt, both at the some lme, in each stuoton
Here we f,nd (os in the Delft school) the gloss
showcase contanrng the c ossroom's own
museum ond dsploy

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41 ,,
The wider significance of the conce19t of inbelween
was introduced In Forum 7, 19.59 (Lo plus grande
realite du seull) crnd Forum 8, 19.59 (Das Gestalt
gewordene Zwischen: the concretization of the in
The threshold provides the key to the transition and
connection between areas with diverpnt territorial
claims and, as a place in its own right, it constitutes,
essentially, the spatial condition for the meeting and
dialogue belween areas of different orders.

32 ussos rot moms ~ uutt wm
The value af this concept is most explicit in the
threshold 'par excellence', the entnJnce to a home.
We are concerned here with the encounter and
reconciliation between the flreet on the one hand and
a private domain on the other.
The child silting on the step in front of his house is
sufficiently for away from his mother to feel independent,
to sense the excitement and adventure of the great
Yet ot the some time, silting there on the step which is
port ol the street os well os of the home, he feels secure
in the knowledge that his mother is nearby. The child
feels ol home and otthe some lime in the outside world.
This duality exists thanks to the spatial quality of the
threshold os o platform in its own right, o place where
two worlds overlap, rather than a sharp demarcation.


The entrance to o primary should be more than o
mere opening through which the children ore swallowed
up when the lessons begin ond spot out ogoin when they
end. It should be o place that oilers some l ind of
welcome to the children who come early ond to pupils
who don't wont to go straight home offer schooL
Children, too, hove their meetings ond appointments.
Low walls that con be sol on ore the least you con offer,
o sheltered corner is better, and the best of oil would be
o roofed oreo for when it rains.
The entrance to o kindergarten is frequented by parents -
they soy goodbye to their children there, and wait lor
them when school is over for the day. Parents waiting for
their children thus hove o opportunity to get to know
each other, and to arrange for the children to play of
each others' homes, in short this public space, as o
meeting ground lor people with common interests, serves
on important social function. As o result of the
conversion in 1981 this entrance no longer exists.
A sheltered area at the front door, the beginning of the
'threshold', the place where you hello or goodbye
to your visi tors, where you stomp the snow off your
boots or put up your umbrella.
The sheltered entrances to the op011ments that belong to
the nursing home De Overloop in Almere ore fitted with
benches next to the front doors. The front doors ore
located two by two to form o combined porch which,
however, is still divided into seporote entrances by o
vertical partition projecting from the The hall-
doors enable whoever is sitting to keep contact
with the interior of the apartment, so that you con at
least hear the phone ring. This entrance zone is
evidently regarded as on extension of the home, os is
shown by the mots that hove been laid outside. Thanks
to the overhang you do not hove to wait in the rain for
the door to be opened, while the welcoming gesture of
the place gives you the feeling that you hove almost
been let in already.
You could soy that the bench by the front door is o
typically Dutch motif it con be seen on many old
paintings, but in our own century Rietveld, lor instance,
created the some arrangement, complete with o hall
door, in his famous Schroder house. Utrecht 1924 tltt.
In situations where there might be o need for conlocl
between inside and out, for Instance in o home for the
elderly where 50me of the residents spend o lot of their
lime in the solitude of their own rooms due to diminished
mobility, wailing for 50meone to visit them, while other
residents outside would also welcome some contact, it is
o good ideo to install doors with two sections, so that
the upper port con be kepi open while the lower half is
dosed. Such ' hoiP doors constitute o distinctly inviting
gesture: when half open the door is both open and
closed, i.e. it is closed enough to ovoid making the
Intentions of those Inside oil too explicit, yet open
enough to facilitate casual conversations with passers
by, which moy lead to closer contact.
Conc...tization of the threJhold os an inbetwMn
means, first and foremost, creating o Mttlng for
welcomes ond farewells, ond is therefore the
translation Into orchitedonic terms of hospltolity.
lesldes, the threshold os o lxlilt focility is just os
lmpot1ont for sodol contocts os thick walls are for

Condition for privacy and conclltionl for maintaini ng
social contacts with others are equally neceuary.
Entrance, porches, and many atfter forms of in
betw.e.n spaces provide on opportunity for
'accommodation' between od'tolning worlds. This ldnd
of provision give rise to a certoin articulation of the
building concerned, which requires both space ond
money, without its function being easily
demonstrable let alone quantifiable and which Is
therefore often very diHicult to o<eomplilh, and
requires constont effort ond persuasion during the
planning phose.
The meander-shaped housing block which was termed
'snake' consists of segments, each designed by different
architects. The communal staircases were placed in a
fully-lit situation rather than in the more usual residual,
generally dimly-lit spoce.
In o house the emphasis should not lie
exclusively on the architectural provisions to prevent
excess noise and inconvenience from neighbours;
special attention must be paid in particular to the spatial
disposition, which may be conducive to the social
contacts that may be expected to exist between the
various occupants of o building. Therefore we hove
given the staircases more prominence than usual.
Communal staircases should not only be o source of
aggravation where accumulation of dirt and cleaning
ore concerned- they should also serve, for instance, as
a playground lor the small children of neighbouring
families. They hove therefore been designed with o
maximum of light and openness in mind, like gloss
roofed streets, and con be overlooked from the kitchens.
The open entrance porches with two front doors, one
oher the other, show to the communal territory o little
more of their inhabitants than traditional closed doors
usually do.
Although core has naturally been token to ensure
adequate privacy on the terraces, neighbouring families
ore not fully isolated from one another. We hove aimed
ot designing the exterior spaces in such o way that the
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necessary screening detracts as little as possible from
the spotiol conditions for contact between
Incidentally, such expansion of the minimum space
required lor 'circulation purposes' proves to attract not
only children it also serves os o place for neighbours to
Bv.ldiflg or 0. SteidJe, architect
sit and talk. Indeed, in this case the residents also
provided the furnishings.
In addition to on ordinary front door the dwellings hove
o second gloss door which con also be locked and
which leads to the ocluol staircase, so that on open
entrance-space is obtained. Since this intermediary
space between staircase ond front door is interpreted
by different people i.e. not exclusively as
pori of the stairs but equally os on extension of the
dwelling it is used by some os on open hallway, into
which the atmosphere of the home is allowed to
penetrate. In this woy, depending on which of the two
doors is regarded os the real front door, the residents
con display their individuality which normally remains
concealed in the privacy of the home, while at the some
lime the staircase loses some ol the usual no-mon's-land
feeling and may even acquire o truly communal
atmosphere. The principle of the vertical pedestrian
walkway as applied in the Kassel housing project was
further elaborated in the LiMo housing estate in Berl in.
The staircases of this complex lead up to communal roof
terraces. It was eventually decided that it would not be
necessary to incorporate the ploy-balconies that were
featured in the Kassel project, as the secluded courtyard
in itself offers adequate ploy-space lor the youngest
children in particular.
Cite Napoleon in Poris, one of the first otlempls, and
certainly the most remorkoble, to arrive ot o reasonable
solution to the problem of distance between the street
ond front door in o multistorey resldentiol building. This
interior space, with oil its stairs ond overpasses, reminds
one of the multistoreyed buildings in a mountain village.
A reasonable amount of light reaches the top floors
through the gloss roof. The residents of the upper floors
do actually open their windows onto this interior space,
ond the presence of polled plants ot least shows that the
people core. Even while it did not prove possible in
spite of the builders' best intentions to make this interior
space [closed off os it is from the street outside! into o
truly functional interior street by our standards, when you
think of all those gloomy useless stairways that hove
been built since 1849 this is indeed o shining example.
~ 4 @ g
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0 s 10
ruu I C DOIIU 39
If 12
I ~
The inbetwHn concept is the key to ellminating the
sharp betwHn a"1!S with diHerent territorial
claims. The point is therefore to create intermediary
spa<es which, on the administrative level
belonging to either the private or the public domain,
are equally accessible to both sides, that is to say that
it ia wholly acceptable to both that the 'other' makes
use of them.
The hallways sel'le os streets in o building which must
function os a city lor its disabled inhabitants,
because they ore mostly incapable of leaving the premises
without ouistonce. The dwelling units situated along this
'street' oil hove, in pairs, porch-like oreos which on the
one hand belong to the dwellings, but on the other hand
ore still port of the 'street oreo'. The residents put their
own things there, they look alter that space end often
II grow plants and flowers there os if it were port of their
own home, as o sort of veranda ot street level. Yet the
16 II porch-like area remains completely accessible to passers-
by, it remains port of the street.
It is extremely difficult to reserve the few square metres
that ore needed for such o purpose within the endless
network of regulations end norms concerning minimum
ond maximum dimensions which govern every conceivable
aspect of architectural de$ign.
In the case of social housing it is regarded on the
odministrotive level os on impermissible reduction of the
size of the dwelli ng unit, or os on unnecessary expons1on
of the corridor: the functionality of each square metre is,
after all, measured according to quontifloble utllity.The
love and core that the residents invest in this space, which
is not, speaking, port of their apartment, hinges on
on apparently minor detail. namely the window which
allows them to keep on eye on the objects that hove been
placed outside, not only as a precaution against theft but
also simply because it's nice to be able to see your own
things or to see how your plants ore doing. The architect
needs on Inordinate amount of ingenuity to get this ideo
post the watchful eye of the fire prevention authority.
The lighting fixtures in 'De Drie Hoven' next to the Irani
doors were installed in small projecting walls, in such o
way thor a mot con easily be placed underneath. Using
their leftover bits of carpet, the residents appropriate and
furnish th.e little space thus created, thereby extending the
limits of their home ground beyond the Iron I door .
"' "'
Provided we incorporote the proper spotiol suggestions
into our design, the inhobitonts will be more inclined to
expand their sphere of Influence outwords to the publk
oreo, Even o minor odjustment by way of spotiol
articulation of the entronce con be enough to
enco.uroge expansion of the personal sphere of
Influence, ond thus the quality of public space will be
considMObly increosed in the common interet.!.
What could be done with the pavements in 'living-streets',
if the inhabitants were to be given responsibility lor the
space, may be imagined on the basis of the experiment
with the pavement in front of the Oiogoon dwellings in
Delft . The oreo in front of the dwellings has not been laid
out as a front garden; it has simply been paved like on
ordinary sidewalk, and hence os pori of the public
domain although, strictly speaking, it is not.
The areas belonging to the different houses hove not been
marked, nor does the layout contain any suggestion of
private claims. The paving moleriol consists of the usual
concrete tiles, which automatically evoke associations with
o public rood because sidewolh ore usually paved with
' -
exactly the some tiles. The inhabitants then start removing
some of the tiles to put plants there instead. 'Dessous les
paves lo ploge'. The rest of the tiles are left in place
wherever o poth to the front door is wonted, or o space to
pork the family cor close to the house. Each resident uses
the oreo in front of his house according to his own needs
ond wishes, taking up os much of the oreo os he requires
and leaving the rest as publicly accessible.
lithe layout hod started out from the ideo of separate,
private oreos, then no doubt everyon/ would hove mode
the best of it for his own benefit, but then there would
hove been on Irreversibly abrupt division between private
and public space, instead of the intermediary zone that
hos now evolved: o merging of the strictly private territory
of the houses and the public oreo of the In this oreo
in-between public and privole, individual and collective
claims con overlap, ond resulling conflicts must be
resolved in mutual agreement. It is here that every
inhabitant ploys the roles that eJCpress what sort of person
he wonls to be, ond therefo re how he wonls others Ia see
him. Here, too, it is decided what individual and
collective hove to offer eoch other.
II 80
II 12
LIMA HOUSING l l ~ t l
The liMo housing estate is located at one end of o
triangular area, the corner of which il marked by o
church. The volumes of this church ore very loosely related
to the general orchlteclurol alignment. The compl etion of
building on this triangular island entails leaving the
church to stand aport as o detached self.conloined
structure. The courtyard i t ~ l f is quite unlike the often
depressing traditional Berlin courtyard, and is conceived
as o public space with six pedestrian access routes,
including connections with both the street and the
neighbouring courtyard. These pedestrian routes
constitute port of the communal open staircases. The
c.entre of the courtyard is marked by the Iorge
segmented sondpil, which wol decorated with mosaics
along the curved sides by the resident families
It was not difficult to rouse the enthusiasm of the
residents for this project who were keenly interested in
the design of the courtyard as it was especially after
they hod seen photographs of Goudi 's pork and the
Walls Towers. Technical and organizational ossistonce
was provided by Akelei Hertzberger, who has
undertaken various similar projeds in the post with
equally suc.cessful results.
At first it was especially the children who contributed
their 'tiles', but soon also the adults joined in bringing
along every piece of crockery they could loy their
hands on.
No architect nowadays would be able to lavish so much
allenlion on a sondpil, nor would thai be necessary,
because it con just as well be left to the inhabitants
themselves. A beller way of responding to the offered
incentive is hard to imagine. But more important still is
that it has become their own sand-pit and their own
concern: if a fragment of the mosaic lolls off or proves to
be too sharp, for instance, something will be done about
it without if being necessary to hold special meetings,
write official letters, or to sue the architect.
A street area with which the inhabitants themselves
are involved and where individual marks ore put down
for themselves and for each other Is appropriated
jointly, and is thus turned into a communal space.
81 u
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8ijlmermetr Estore,
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44 l i S S O ~ S fOI momS IM U ( KIIHIUII
The point is to give public spaces form in such a way
that the local community will feel personally
responsible for them, so that each member of the
community will contribute in his or her own way to
an environment that he or she can relate to and can
identify with.
It is the great paradox of the collective welfare
concept, as it has developed hand in hand with the
ideals of socialism, that actually makes people
subordinate to the very system that has been set up
to li.berate them.
The services rendered by the Municipal Public Works
departments are felt, by those for whose benefit
those departments were created, as an overwhelming
abstraction; it is as if the activities of Public Works
are an imposition from above, the man in the street
feels that they 'have nothing to do with himj and so
the system produces a widespread feel ing of
The public gardens and green belts around the blocks of
flats in the new urban neighbourhoods ore the
responsibility of the Public Works departments, which do
olllhey con Ia make these areas os oHroclive as possible
-within the limits of the allocated budgets- on behalf of
the community_
Bul lhe results that ore achieved in this way cannot help
being stark, impersonal and uneconomical, compared
with what could have been achieved if all the flat-
dwellers hod been offered the opportunity of using o
small plot of land (even if no bigger than o parking
space) lor their own purposes.
What has now been collectively denied them could hove
become the contribution of each inhabitant Ia the
community, while the space itself could hove been used
for more intensively if all that per;onollove and core
hod been lavished on il.
An example of this is to be seen ollhe Fomilistere in
Guise, France: o housing project which wos set up on
behalf of the Godin stove factory: o working and
dwelling community modelled alter the ideas of Fourier.
Although it dotes from the nineteenth century, as on
example of what con be done it is still of topical interest
VROESENlAAN HousiNG, R o m ~ o M 1931-34 I
lH. VAN DEN 8ROEK i!J,tll
Communal amenities con blossom only through the
communal elforl on the port of the users_ That must hove
been the ideo underlying the communal interior spaces-
without fences and partitions that were designed in the
twenties and thirties.
PUBltC DOMm 45
The fenced-in fi eld with animals, which owes its
existence to the initiative of a staff member of ' De Drie
Hoven', has gradually developed into a miniature zoo,
with a pheasant, a peacock, chickens, goats, plenty of
ducks in a pond Ieeming with fish. For the elderly
residents of the home the animals ore a pleasant and
interesting sight, and the rooms with o view of the
'menagerie' ore the most sought-after.
Home-made sheds for the animals to spend the night in
had been provided by enthusiasts, but by the lime this
popular scheme hod proved a succeu and expansion
become necessary, the Deportment of Housing
Inspection decided that things could not go on like this:
they stipulated that a professional construction plan
would have to be submitted, and would hove to be
approved by all the proper authorities and commitlees.
For the local population the 'menagerie' represents o
standing invitation to get involved in taking core of the
animals or simply to stroll over and see how they ore
doing. When do city children gel to see animals? The
only animals most of them ever see in thei r home
environment ore privately owned pets, dogs kept on
leashes, because farms of shored ownership and
responsibility for animals appear to be impossible Ia
organize. The ideo of doing so doesn't even arise local
inhabitants, alter all, do not normally hove any inRuence
on how their communal spaces ore laid out and used.
But then Public Works can hardly be expected to look
alter animals all over town. For that o whole new
department with a specialized staff would be needed,
not to mention thousands of notices saying 'Do Not feed
the Animals'.
The allotments and the animals at ' De Drie Hoven' are o
natural inducement lor social contact belween the
elderly residents and the local population both groups
being deprived in c different way. The residents of the
home ore forced by circumstance to be outsiders in the
city, but thanks to 'their' garden they con offer some
compensation for what the others lock outs iders as
they, too, are in the grounds of ' De Drie Hoven'.
These uamples serve to Illustrate how the best
intentions can lead to disillusionment and
indifference. Things start to go wrong when the 1cale
become too big, when the upkeep and management
of a communal area can no longer be left to those
directly involved, and a special organlz.atlon becomes
necessary, with its own specialized staff, with its own
interests and concerns regarding continuity and,
possibly, expansion. When the point has b.en
reached that an organization' prime concern
becomes to ensure its own c,ontinued existence
retardleu of the aims for which it was established,
I. e. to do for others what they can no longer be
expected to do for themselves at that point
bureouc.rCKy rears Its head. lutes become a
straitjacket of regulations. The sense of personal
responsibility is lost in a stifling hlet'Grchy of
answet'Cibility to one's superiors. While there is
nothing wrong with the intentions of the Individual
link in this Interminable chain of lnterdependendes,
they are rendered virtually irrelevant because they
are too far removed from those far whose benefrt the
whole ayatem was invented in the place.
The rea-n why dty dwellers become outsiders in
their own living environment is either that the
potential of collective Initiative has been grossly
overestimated, or that partkipotion and involvement
have been underestimated. The occupants of a house
are not really concerned with the space outside their
homes, but nor can they really ignore it. Thia
opposition leach to alienation from your environment
and in 10 far aa your relations with others are
influenced by the environment alsa to alienation
from your t.llow residents.
The mounting degree of control imposed fnlm above
is making the world around us increasingly
inexorable: and this elicits agreuion, which in tum
leads to further tightening of the web of regulations.
A vicious circle Is the reault, the lac,k of commitment
and the exaggerated fear of chaos have a mutually
eualating effed.
The incredible deatruction of public property which
ia on the rise In the world's major cities can
probably particularly be blamed on alienation from
the living environment. The fact thot public transport
1helters and public telephones are completely
destroyed week In week out Is a truly alarming
indichnent of our society as a whole.
What is almost as alarming, however, is thcrt this
trend and its HCalation is dealt with as if it w- a
mere problem of organacrtion: by undertaking
perioclical repairs as If they were a question of
routine maintenance, and by applying extra
relnfarcemenb ('vandalproofing'), the Jituation
to be accepted as 'just one of those things'.
The whole suppreulve aystem of the establiJhed
order is geared to avoiding conflicts; to protecting the
indlviducrl of the community from incursions
by other members of the some community, without
the direct involvement of the individuals concerned.
This explains why there is such a deep fear of
disorder, chaos crnd the unexpected, and why
impersonal, 'objective' regulations are always
preferred to personal involvement. It seem as if
everything must be regulated and q-ntiflable, 10 01
to permit total control; to create the conditionJ in
which the suppNulve 1y1tem of order can make us
all into lessees instead of coownen, into
JUbordinates Instead of portl<lpants. Thua the system
itself aeates the alienation and, by claiming to
represent the people, obstructs the development of
conditions that could lead to a more hospitable
The architect can contribute to creating CJn
environment whith oHera far more opportunities far
people to make their personal markings and
ldentlficCJtiona, in auch a way that it can be
appropriated and annexed by all as a place that truly
' belongs' to them. The wortd that Is controlled and
managed by everyone as well as far everyone will
have to be built up of small scale, workable entities,
no larger than what one person can cope with and
look CJfter on his own terms.
Each spatial component will thus be more intensively
used (whereby the space is enhanced), while it is crlsa
mare fair to the users to demonstrate their intentions.
More emancipgtion generates more motivation, and
in this way enervy can be released which iJ
otherwise suppressed by centralized decision-making.
This amounts to a plea far decentralization, for
devolution wherever at all paulble, and for the
handing over of responsibilities to where they belong
ln order to toke eHective measuNs to solve the
problems of the inevitable alienCJtian from the 'urban
Amllerdom, wotlets
dlwfcr, lheellrle in
lhe t 9111 cenrury:
quite different from
lodoy, bul remember
how etomped OJ>d
lnodequOit l.wsrtog
wos In those days.
Gioggio, holy. living lfnH!I.
looH'Vl for a place
in the M>ode.
Beyond our front door or garden gate begins a world
we have little to do with, a world upon which we can
exert hardly any influence. There is a growing feeling
that the world beyond the front door is a hostile world
of vandalism and ogress ion, where we feel threatened
rather than at hame.Yet to take this widespread
feeling as the point of departure for urban planning
would be fatal.
Surely it iJ for better to go bock to the optimistic and
utopian concept of the ' reconquered street', which we
could see so clearly before us less than two decodes
ago. In this view, inspired by the postwor existentio
listie zest fo.r life (espedolly Provo os for os Holland is
concerned) the street is again conceived as what it
must have been originally, namely as the place where
social contact between local can be
estobli1hed: as o communol livingroom, os it were.
And the concept that social relations con even be
stimulated by on efficacious application of the
architectonic meoM is already to be found in Team X
and especially in ' Forum', where, os o central theme,
this issue was repeatedly raised.
The devaluation of this street concept may be due to
the following foctors:
the increcue in motoriud trcrHic and the priority that
it is given;
the inconsiderate organisation of the acceu areas to
the dwellings, in particular that of the fTont doors vis ci
vis -h other owing to indire<t and impersonal occess
routes such as galleries, elevators, covered passages
(the Inevitable byproducts of highrise constrvctions)
which diminish contact with the street level;
the effacement of the street as communal space
owing to block sltlng;
de<nand densities of housing, while also the
number of inhabitants per dwelling has greatly
d.creand. So the decrease in the population density is
accompanied by an Increase in dwelling space per
inhabitant and in the width of the streets. The
consequence is inevitably that today's streets are for
emptier than those of the past: besides, the
improvement in siu and quality of housing means that
people spend more time indoors and less in the street;
the better the economic circumstances of people the
leu they need each other as neighbours ond the less
they tend to do things together.
The increased prosperity seems on the one hand to
have encouraged lndividuallsm while on the other
allowing collectivism to auume proportions quite
beyond anyone's gTGsp.
We must try to deal with these foctors even if the
architect is unable to do more than exert an incidental
influence on the aforementioned rather fundamental
aspects of social change by creating the conditions for
a more viable street area wherever possible. And this
means that it mu1t be done on the level of spatial
organisation, i.e. by architectonic means.
Situations where the street serves as a communal
eJttension of the dwellings are familiar to us all.
Dependlng on the climate, either the sunny parts or
the shaded areas are the most papular, but motoriud
traffic is always absent or at least for away enough
as not to prevent the residents fTom seeing each other
and making themselves heard.
livingstreets which no longer serve exclusively as o
traffic route and which ore organized in such a way
that there Is also room for children to ploy are
becoming an increasingly familiar sight both in new
Sponge Hollslng.
lloffrdom 1919/
M. 8rinlmon.
Troffk-free living srreer.
loo.llng /01 o place
In th svn.
rum toam 49
100 101
housirtt estates ond in renovation projects ot leolf In
Holland. The lnteresb of the pedestrian ore being
token Into of and with the 'woonerf'
{residential oreo with severe traffic restrictions and
priority ot oil times for pedestrians) deslgnotion os a
legol basis he is slowly regaining his rightful place or
at least he is no longer treated cu an outlaw. However
once the motorists hove been tom.d to behove in a
more disciplined fashion, their vehicles ore still sa
cumbersome, so Iorge, ond especially 10 numerous,
that they toke up more ond more of the publi< space.
The central theme in the Hoorlemmer Houlluinen the
street as living space, as elaborated in association with
Von Herk and Nagelkerke, the architects ol the other side
of the street. The decision which hod more Ia do with
politics than with lawn-planning - Ia reserve on area of
27 metres up to the railway for 'traffic purposes' obliged
us to build ol leosl up lo this imposed limit of alignment;
as a result !here was no room there for bock gardens
(which would in foci hove been permanently in the shade
In sum these unfavourable circumstances- i.e.
undesirable orientation and traffic noise . meant that
north side should definitely accommodate the rear wall,
ond so automatically all come to lie on the
living-street facing This 'living-street' is accessible
only to the residents' own motorcars ond delivery
vehicles; due lo the foctlhol it is therefore closed to
general motorized troJfic and to its width of 7 metres
on unusually narrow profile by modern standards - o
situation reminiscent of the old city is created. The
necessary street fittings such as bicycle rocks, law

fencing and public benches ore dispersed in such o way
that only o few parked cars ore enough to obstrucl the
posse ge of further traffic Trees ore to be planted to form
o centre hallway between the two street sections.
The structures projecting from the f o ~ o e ~ the exterior
staircases and balconies orltculote the
prohfe of the street, moki11g it seem less wrde than the
7 metres il meoMes from hous&-lront to house-front.
The conseqvence is o zone that provides space for the
street-level terraces of the ground-floor dwellings. These
pavement gardens with their low surrounding walls ore

no bigger than the lorst-lloor balconies, they could
certainly not be any smaller, but the question rises
whether they would hove been better if larger As they
offer lor less privacy than the livrng-room bolcome.s. one
could osk oneself whether the ground-level reSidents ore
at o disadvantage but on the other hand the immediate
contact with pouers-by and ganerol street activity seems
to ba attractive to many people, espeCially when the
street regains some of its former communal quality.
Strops hove been left open odtormng the pnvote outdoor
spaces; the organization of slrips has deliberately
been lefl undecided The public works deportment could
not resist loyi ng down paving stones in these spaces
The inhabitants lor their port ore now already pulling
plants there, thus successively oppropriotong th1s
basically public oreo.Outch hous1ng construction has
troditionolly devoted much oflention to the problems of
access to upper storeys, and a greal variety ol solutions
hove bl!en developed rn the Netherlands oil aimed ot
giving eoch dwelling 1ls own individual front door wtlh
maximum actessibility from the street wherever possible.
Indeed the solution we hove adopted s srmply another
voriohon on this essentially ancient theme the iron
RtJ"'" v l.,."odt.
.. 1924/
JC. von Eptrt
IG! 1071 lOt
exterior sloirC0$8$ leod too firsi-Roor landing with the
front door of the upper$lorey dwelling; from there the
continue$ inside the building, leoding through
the sleeping quarters of the ground-floor dwelling to the
dwelling above.
The entrances to the upper dwellings, located on 'public
balconies' overlooking the street, do not constitute on
obstruction Ia the groundfloor dwellings, but provide the
latter with some degree of shelter lor their own
entrances. Because the stairs themselves are light ond
tronsporent the space underneath is fully utilizable for
mai lboxes, bicycles and children's ploy. Considerable
effort went into separating the access areas to the upper
dwellings from the garden spaces in front of the ground
floor dwellings. This is reflected in the clear definition of
residents' responsibilities O$ for os keeping their own
access areos clean. The absence of such distinct
definihon would undoubtedly result in for leu intensive
utilization of the available spoce by the respective
S2 IISSOIS 101 StUINIS II U(llll(llll


Fltsl R001


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0 0 0

---.: .. .1 ......
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.. .




110 Ill
The concept of the living-sheet is based on the Ideo
that its inhabitants have something in common, that
they expe<t fOmething of eoch other even if only
because they are aware that they need each other.
This feeling, however, seems to be disappearing
rapidly from our lives. The affinity betwHn
Inhabitants seems ta diminish as the independence
that comes with greater prosperity Increases. This
anonymity is even praiHCI by believers in
collectivism/ centralization: if people have toa much to
do with each other, there is the danger of too much
' soc.ial control', they argue.
Indeed, the more isolated and alienated people
become in their everyday environment, the easier it is
to control them by ded slons taken over their heads.
Even though ' socia l control' need not by definition be
negative, It does of course exist and its negative
effects are Indeed felt when one cannot do anything
without being judged and spied upon by others, as In
an ctll too doseknit village community.
We must grasp every opportunity of avoiding too
rigid separation between dwellings, and of
stimulating what is left of the feeling of belonging
In the fi rst place this feeling of belonging together
revolves around everyday social Interaction, such as
children playing together out in the street, bctby
sitting for each other, kHping in touch concerning
each other' s health, in short all those cores and joys
that perhaps seem so selfevident that one tends to
underestimate their importance.
Dwelling units function better If the streets on which
they are sited function well as a living-street, and
that in tum depends especially on how receptive they
are, i.e. upon whether the atmosphere inside the
homes can blend with the communal atmosphere of
the street outside. This is largely determined by the
planning and detailing of the layout of the
(110, 1111
The access galleries in the Rotterdam Spcngen housing
scheme (191911 ore still unequalled in whet they offer
the residents. Since lhere ore only front doors on one
side of this type of 'livingstreet' the residents hove only
their next-door neighbours for company. This is o
disodvcntoge compared with o normal slreel, where
there ore of course neighbours across the way, too.
Nonetheless, here in Spongen social contact between
neighbours is exceptionally intense, which goes lo show
how important the absence of traffic is. Yetlhe social
interaction that tokes place on the occeu gallery is
inevitably shut oH from the slreet below, to which the
dwellings in loci turn their bocks. You cannot be in two
places at once.

-I l
II( '




= """" - '-""
The dwelling units for married students on the fourth
floor were on inducement to build o gallery-street, which
could be seen os o prototype foro livingstreet, free from
traffic and with a view of the roohops of the old cily. It
is sole there for even the youngest toddlers to ploy out of
doors, while their parents con also sit in front of their
homes. The example this design was based on was in
loci the Spongen complex of 45 years ogo.
One of the problems in gallery-streets is the placement of
bedroom windows: if they open onto the gallery there is
the disadvantage of insufficient privacy. This situation
con be improved by raising the floor of the bedroom, so
that those inside can look out of the window over the
heads of the people outside, while the window is too
high for those oubide to be able to look into the room.

' .

The building as a whole has since become much less
open; and consequently the gallery street is no longer
publicly accessible.
114 11S
11/ Ill lit
. -
I '

J l

- J
r.:,' :'j!
.; . .
How this works is to be seen, in on elementary form, in
the siting principles adopted in some form or other in oil
newly constructed housing projects.
The demand for more openness ond better sunlight
conditions for all dwelling units led, in twentieth-century
urban planning, to the abandonment of the hitherto
customary perimeter siting.
That resulted in the loss of the contrast between the quiet
seclusion olthe enclosed courtyards ond the bustle and
traffic noise of the street outside. The giving onto
the streets were the fronts (and so the architects
concentrated their efforts on them) while the more informal
rear with their balconies ond clothes-lines- some
favoured by their orientation, others quite the opposite
was the so-colled living side. This arrangement was
superseded by strip siting, with two-fronted dwellings,
which created the possibility of positioning all the gardens
on the side (diagram a). It is important to reali ze, though,
that with this type of layout oil the front doors of one row
of houses out onto the gardens of the next row. So
everyone lives on o half-street, os it were, with the spaces
between the bloch oil essentially the some instead of
alternating between garden space ond street space.
lncidenlolly, lhe strip siting principle allows for the some
form of allotment so long as the orientation is suitable
(diagram b) but even if that is not the case it is worth
making every eHort to ensure that the fronts of the bloch
(i.e. where the front doors ore located) face each other
(diagram c). If the entrances of the dwellings face each
other everyone looks onto the some communal space you
con see the neighbours' children hurrying off to school in
the morning (is our clock slow again?).
But o full view of your neighbours also
encourages inquisitiveness, and so with this type of siting
it is even more important than with type c to position
windows and front doors vis o vis each other carefully, in
such o way that some privacy at least is oHered at each
entrance to protect against too much prying. In the case
of the traditional so-called dosed housing block scheme,
all the gardens and oil the entronces face each other. The
garden areas ore therefore different in nature from the
street areas.
Although certainly not designed with o view to neighbourly
interaction, the curved street-walls of the 'crescents' in
Both ore particularly interesting in this respect.
Due to the concavity of the curve the houses hove o view
of one another. It is the some effect as when you ore
' .
.""""" , ___;
sitfing in o train and the tracks describe o curve: you con
suddenly see o str ing other carriages full of fellow-
passengers, whose presence you hod not been owore of.
A curved street-wall with the houses in the row
overlooking the some oreo thus contributes to the
communal nature olthot oreo.
While the concave side of o curved wall con encourage
the feeling of belonging together, the convex side ot the
bock sees to it that the houses turn owoy from each other
O$ it were, and this con contribute to the privacy of the
gardens. The crescent solution therefore works both
E. MAY 1111> mt
Ernst May, like his more famous fellow architect Bruno
Tout, was among the leading pioneers of German
housing construction. The numerous housing schemes he
built in Frankfurt in the period 1926-1930 show how
keen May's eye was lor the urban details thol con
improve living conditions. The lesson he leaches is that
the rather dull allotment plans thai usually result from the
limited budgets lor social housing con actually be
transformed into on excellent living environment in spite
of the restricted means, so long os the plans ore worked
out with the proper sense of orienlotion and proportion.
Of course it is important to realize that the architecture
of the dwellings and the design of the surroundings were
the responsibility of the some man, who moreover did
not make a distinction between architecture and urban
planning and therefore succeeded in olluning dwellings
and environment to each other is such o way that they
bocome complementary ports of a single whole.
The Romerstodt housing scheme is situated on o gentle
slope by the river Nidda. The parallel streets follow the
direction of the valley, end although it might hove been
espociolly obvious here, with the terraced streets, to
pion the garden consistently on the volley side, it wos
docided to make the front doors of the row-houses on
either side of the rood face each other. The inequality of
the two entrance sides, resulting fr om the orientation and
the (slight) diHerence in level, was compensated for by
organizing the street space in such o way that the
houses on the side with leu favourably sited gardens
would hove o green zone ot the front.
A characteristic detail is that the pavement stops short of
the leaving o narrow strip bore directly
adjoining the north wall. Thi; is on obvious place for
plants, and creepers grown up all over the thus
softening its starkness.



'"' - 1-
Ill Ill
IU 118
HET GE1N, HOUSING 1124 1181
The layout of the housing estate ' Hel Gein' in Amersfoorl
is such thollhe emphasis come to lie especially on the
quality of the livingstreets. The terrai n was divided as
much as possible into long straight blocks and parallel
streets. AI first sight this yields less rolher than more
variety than the conventionolloyoul, but the ideo is that
quiet straight streets provide a beHer slarlingpoinl for
variations within the allotments. II is like a sytem of warp
and weh, as the warp !streets] in a woven piece of cloth
constitute a strong Ieven colourless If necessary) structure,
while the weft gives the weave its colour. An important
requirement, though, is thol the livingslreets be kept as
trofficfree as possible. Much attention hos also been paid
to the street they ore not only essential for the
quality of each individual dwelling, but also for the woy
they interrelate. The fronts, and hence also the front doors
of the dwellings, foce each other two by two on either
side of the street. The streets hove a south-eosl lo north
west orientation, which meons that one side catches more
51 IIHOMS lOt IIUD!m IN uctii(IUI
t I 0
....._ j
h .

-''lt r-.'

sunlight than the other. That is why the streets ore
asymmetrically organized: the parki ng spaces hove been
moved to one side of the street the shady side. The other,
sunnier side, is largely filled with greenery. The dwellings
with f-ront doors on the sunny side and consequently with
gardens on the shadier side hove been compensated for
this with on extra space j1 .80 m wide) along the front,
which con be used to install covered porches, conserva.
tories, awnings, or ather individual conveniences. These
additions were already supplied by us from the outset in
the case of a number of dwellings, which might well serve
to stimulate occupants of similar dwellings to follow these
examples if they con afford to do so. How this zone is
eventually used by everyone concerned will constitute the
main source of diversity not as o product of design but
rather as on expression of individual choices. Some of the
dwell ings, loa, hove roof extensions, and assurances hove
also been given that more addi tions will be permitted in o
specially appointed zone in the future. The garden sheds
ore located either close to the house or in the garden,
depending on sunlight conditions. In the partially shaded
gardens, this still mode it possible to create o sunny spot
with some shelter. The allotments with a more favourable
orientation hove their shed close to the house so that It
becomes attractive to construct some kind of connection in
the spoce between the two.
pwellings should be as accessible as possible directly from
the street, and preferably not too for removed from it, as is
ohen the case in multistorey buildings. Whenever, as in
the case of Rots, you con only reach your own home
indirectly by way of communal halls, elevators, staircases,
galleries or arcades, there is the risk of these communal
spaces being so anonymous that they discourage informal
contacts between residents, and degenerate into a vast no-
Even if the need foro certain amount of privo
cy for eoc:h unit in multistory buildings hos been token into
account, people who live neltldoor, above, or under each
other, do hove lot to do which each other, while the spoHol
conditions for this ore locking. Also in a block of flats it is
diffic ult to know where to welcome friends and where to
soy goodbye. Do you accompany them to your front door
and leave them to go down the stairs alone, or do you
walk them all the way down to where their cor is parked in
the parking lot? And what a lot of dragging around with
luggage you hove to do to pock the cor when you go on
holiday! If your children ore still too small to play outside
on their own, the situation is really problematical.
'The fun beg1ns,
getting tit. cor onJ
lroilor r.arly '
From ANWB Tourist
In residefltial neighbourhoods we must give the 1treet
a llvingroom quality nat only for daytoday inter
action but al.10 for more 1pe<ial occasions, 10 that both
communal activities and activities of impot1ance to the
local community con toke place there.
The street can also be the setting for community activi
tMs, such cu the celebration of special occasions that
concern oil the local inhabitants. It is impouible to de
sign the street area in such a way that people suddenly
toke to having their meals out of doors together.
llvingslreel, England 1887. 'CelebroJing Outen
Vic!Otlo's JuMee. By the lote 1880stl>. OIIHo's po(>llloflly hod
surmounted me eorll woveJ of oltd col'le lo o clomo(
fn the Jubilees ol I 887 ond I 891, by wltkh lime '"" wo; o much
loved ond revered os any In 8rftol1t before ond since. Not<ee
that o poiiGman, In /I.e cenlre o! th. pldvre. with (119 in h11 t'9ftl
hood, ft among ffte olfidcJ peiJOfiJ who Ofl bolpJng to .. lYe lfte
populace, 71te doy Is worm e1t011gb lor mony olrhelocfies ot the toblo
Olt the tighl to howw opened tl>eir poro.ols to ptot:t lhem ggomstrhe
A sunb..rnlloce fn o womon wos, of couue, o thing to be ovorded
ol oil com if she would maintain ony sorl o/ social poilion.'
IGoldlll'l Wiltler, A counlry CQmeto 1844 J 914, Peroguin London/
Hombug bei,.Hit
lllW1Msl7o/Je and
folhorled, Germony
m 131
rut rc S9
I ll
Yet it would be o good idea to keep rills kind of imoge
at the bodt of your mind as a sort of standard that
your design must in principle be capable of meeting.
Althouth people in northern countries are not in the
habit of taking their meals out of doors, it does happen
every now and again, and sa we should see to it that
rills is not rendered impossible a priori by the spatial
of the Perhaps people will even be
more inclined to put the public space to new uses if the
opportunities for doing so are explicitly offered to
Just as important as the disposition of the residential
units vis ci vis eoch other is the fenestration, the place
ment of boy windows, bakonies, terraces, landings,
doorsteps, porches whether they hove the corred
dimensions and how they are spatially organized, i.e.
adequately separated but certainly not too much so.
It is always a questian of finding the right balance to
enable the residents to withdraw into privacy when
they want to but also to seek contod with others.
Of crucial importance in rills respect is the space
around the front door, the piau where the house ends
and the living Jtreet b-s.lns. It is what the dwelling and
the living-street hove to offer each othe.r tt.ot
determines how well or how badly they will batt. be
able to function.

FAMJUSTUE, GUISE, fRANCE I 859-83 fl33 136)
The Fomilislere in Guise in the north of France constitutes
a dwelling community established by the Godin stove foe
lory a her the utopian ideas of Fourier. The complex com-
prises 47 5 dwelling units, divided into three adjoining
blocks with inner courtyards, as well as extensive facilities
such as o creche, school and laundry. In the Iorge cover-
ed courtyards of the Fomilistere in Guise lhe surrounding
dwellings literally constitute the walls. Although the shape
of lhe courtyard and the prison-like manner in which the
front doors ore situated along the galleries slrikes us
today as somewhat primitive, this early 'block of Hots' is
still o pre-eminent example of how slreet and dwellings
con be complemen-tary. The foci, moreover, that these
courtyards ore roofed makes them extra Inviting for
communal oclivilies such os those which were apparently
held there in the old days, when the housing complex still
functioned as o truly collective form of habitation.
'Every attempt to reform work relatioM is doomed to
failure unless It is accompanied by the reform of building
for the purpose of creating o comfortable environment
for the workers, which i5 fully attuned lo their practical
need5 as well as to providing acceB to the pleasures
of community living which every human being deserves
to enjoy.'
lA God.n, Soh,hons Sodales, POfis 18941
In hospitals, homes for the elderly and similar Iorge living
communities the restricted mobility of the residents makes
it imperative to conceive the pion olmost lilerolly as a
city. In the case of De Drie Hoven everything
hod to be accessible within a relatively short distance
under the some roof, because hardly anyone is capable of
leaving the premises without assistance. And thanks to the
Iorge size of the home it was possible to realize such o
comprehensive programme of amenities that the institution
could indeed approximate the nature of o city in that
sense, too. The residents accommodate themselves to their
environment as if it were o village community.
Strongly influenced by the notion of devolution in the
organization, the complex has been divided up into o
number ol 'wings', each with its own 'centre'. The differ
ent departments come together in the central 'common
room'. This disposition of the spaces has resulted in o
sequence of open areas which, from a spatial point of
view, reflect the sequence: neighbourhood centre,
community centre, city centre o composite whole within
which each 'clearing' or open area serves o specific
fundion. Yet this pattern is dominated as it were by the
centrol'courlyord', which the residents themselves call the
'village square'.
This 'village square' is not, strictly speaking, bordered by
dwelling units, as is literally the case with the roofed
courtyards of the Fomilistere in Guise, but as for os usage
and social relations ore con-cerned it does constitute the
focus of the complex. This is where all activities that are
organized lor and by the resident community toke place:
parties, concerts, theatre and dance performances,
fashion shows, markets, choir performances, cord-game
evenings, exhibitions and festive meals for special
occasions! Something special goes on there almost every
doy. This 'village square' is o very free interprelotion of
the usual auditorium for special events, which would be
unused half the time if it were o separate, less centrally
located hall .
rullt( DOMlll 61
131 138
tU 142
143 111
In the Montessori School the communal hall has been con
ceived in sud1 o way thor the hall relates to the classrooms
as o street relates to the housel. The spotiol relation be-
tween cion-rooms and hall and the shape of the hall were
conceived os the 'communollivingroom' ol the schooi.The
experience of how this functions in the school con, in turn,
serve as a model for what could be realized in o street.
KASBAH, HeNGELO 1973 I P. 6LOM tw.wt
No one has been more actively engaged in researching
the reciprocity of dwelli ng ond street-space than Piet Blom.
Whereas the Kosboh scheme [..,.Forum 7, 19S9 and F0111m 5,
1960-61) was concerned especially with what the
disposition of the dwellings themselves could generate, in
the 'urban oreo' created in Hengelo the dwellings do not
constitute the walls of the street but rather the 'roof of the
62 l !SSOJS 101 StlOUIS ~ H!flfTHIUtl
city', leaving the Iorge ground.level space underneath for
oil communal odivities ond events.However, only
incidental use is mode of the exceptional opportunities in
terms of space that ore offered here.
There is quite o lesson to be learnt here. The dwellings ore
too isolated hom the street below they ore, so to speak,
turned owoy from it, they lace upwards, and not much of
the street con be seen from the windows, while even the
entrances ore Indirectly positioned vis 6 vis the street. In
that respect the form of the street space, os counterlorm to
the dwellings, does not creole the conditions for everyday
usage. Besides, this space is probably too Iorge to be
filled, because there ore not enough amenities amenities
which would hove existed os o matter of course in a self-
contained village of the some size.
Bul just try to imagine this scheme in lhe hearl of
Amsterdam, with o busy mo1ket in the street below!
Thot must hove been the kind of situation thot Piel Blom
envi saged when he conceived his design.
Having departed from the h'aditlonal blodt siting
principle, archJt.cts have endeavoured, lnspll"td
especially by Team X and forum, to invent a stream of
new dwelling forms. This ott.n gave rise to spectacular
rHults, but whether they fvnction properly is only
partiolly dependent on the quality of the dwellings
themselves. What is at least as impartont is whether
the archJt.ct can find a -y, using the dwellings as his
construction material, to form o str..t that functions
adequately. The quality of each Is dependent on that of
the other: house and str..b ore complementoryl
That the conJtrvcted result Is so often disappointing Is
because architects all too often hove a mistoken idea
of the way In which the actual street space will be
experienced and u1ed in their scheme. Apart from the
fact that they tend to rely too heavily on the
effectiveness of 1pedfk pravislana (which all too often
tum out to be far leu viable than envisaged) the mast
common error li11 in the miacalculatian of the ratio
between the size of the public space and the number of
people that may be expected to use lt.
If the street area is too large, too little happens in too
few places, and in spite of all the good Intentions to
the conh'ary, the consequence is vast 1paces which
osaume the nature of a ' desert' simply because they
are too empty. Too many proies however well
designed would function satisfactorily if only a
market were to be held on a sunny Saturday: the klnd
of market you con easily conjure up in your
imagiiiOiion, but of which in reality there is only-
per 100,000 cfwellings.
You should really have to test your pion continually for
' population density' by roughly Indicating the number
of people on your blue-print that may be expected to
make use of the different areas In varying aituations.
ly doing that you will at least get some idea about
whether there Is perhaps a surfeit of 1pace far
recreation, far inatonce. While vast spaces often appeal
to the archltect'a imagination as having a certoin air of
serenity, it is often doubtful whether the local
papulation will feel the same way. For dwellings and
buildings In general a wide variety of forms can be
devised, so long as the streetspace Is farmed in such a
-y that it can serve os a catotydng ogent between
the local inhabitants in everyday situations, so that at
least the distonce betwHn the indivlduallnhabitanb of
the all too often hermetically sealed dwellings is not
Increased, but rather that the spatial organi1atian may
serve to stim.ulate social interaction and cohesion.
, . .
. . . . . ..

Yer011o, lloly
rnuc 101111 63
4 ~
Srud.,tmoreh '" Goltro Vi110tro Emonul.
Mllon 'With 1/te stu0101 reol educoreon
rerurned to Clly and ro tile Jltuls ood
lo.ind o 1/eld of rich and dtverJifri
UPfJtoc '' fofmotli>on
ict oHe<.d by rhe old Khool syslllm
Perl>ops we ore hmd..J toWOfrl an era n "'h cb
ed.x:ot.on and toto/ tpettnce w U "11"'"
corncrdt, tn Nl.lch tile Jci>ool OJ on estobiJirtrl
Q/ld' codlod inthruloon no foos ony
t&ason lor
I ftoiT! on ortlcle 'Acholtefll ond.ducolton'
by Gioocorlo dt Corio 'n 'Honrotrl Educohon
le>rew' 1969}
t48 14J
If tiM houses are private domains, then the street is the
public domain. Paying equal attention to housing ond
strMt alike means treating the street not merely as the
residual space between housing blocks, but rvther as a
fundomentolly complementary element, spatially
organized with just as much care so that a situation is
created in which the street can serve more purposes
besides motorized traffic. If the street as a collection of
building blocks is basically the expression of the
plurality of individual, mostly private, components, the
sequence of streets ond squoru as o whole potentially
constitutes the space where it should be possible for o
dialogue between inhabitants to take place.
The street was, originally, the space for actions,
revolutions, cele-brations, and throughout history you
ca:n follow from one period to the next how architects
designed the public space on behalf of the community
which they in fact served.
So this is a plea for more emphasis on the
enhancement of the public domain in order that it
might better serve bath to nurture and to reflect social
Interaction. With respect to every urban space we
should ask ourselves how it functions: for whom, by
whom and for what purpose.
Are we merely impressed by its sound proportions or
does it perhaps serve to stimulate improved
relations betwHn people?
When a street or square strikes us as beautiful it is not because the dimensions and proportions a re
pleasing but also because of the way it functions
within the city as a whole. This need not depend
exclusively on the 1patial conditions, although they
often help, and obviously these case1 a re interesting as
examples for the architect and urban planner.
PAI.AIS ROYAL, PARIS 1780/ J.V. LOUIS 1118, 141,1SOl
In 1780 rows of houses with shopping orcodes under
neolh were erected on three sides of what wos originally
I he garden of the Po lois Royol ln Pori s.T odoy il is one of
the most ' sheltered' public spaces in the city, while ot the
H ;
I I J"(jl II
< ,

j 'r
some time serving os on important short-cui from the
louvre oreo to the Biblioth6que Notionole. The small
oblong pork derives its spotiol quality ond its pleasant
atmosphere not only from the sound proportions of the
regularly articulated surrounding buildings, but also from
the variegated layout with oreos of gross, choirs,
benches, sand-pits and on open-oir cole lor the city
dwellers to choose from.
In countries with o worm climate the street naturally
figures much more prominently in the lives of the people
than in countries with o cold climate. Public squares like
those in Vence ore to be found in every village and every
town in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean. In
many places tourism has severely eroded the trodltionol
woy of life, and hence the original function of public
spoces, but nevertheless these spaces ore still eminently
suited to communal activities ond perhaps even more so
in these changed times, os lor Instance openolr concerts
organized lor tourists prove.
Rockefeller Plozo in the heart of New York functions even
in winter os o sort of urban livingroom, when people from
oil over go there to skote on the temporary ic.rink. The
skaters show off their prowess to the onlookers, and
although there is not ollthot much going on, it con
happen that the passers-by experience o certain feeling of
togetherness, the kind of feeling which you might expect
in o theatre, o church, or in some other place where
people gather together, ond which arises here
. spontaneously thanks portly to the spotiol conditions thol
hove been created.
m 154
If there is any public space whose enclosed form and
exceptional location evokes the impression of on urban
living-room it is the Piazza del Compo in Siena. Althougll
it is rather inward-looking, with Its somewhat stern
buildings dominated by the Poloz.zo Communole, its
saucer-like hollow with sleep alleys radiating from it stnl
unmistakably creates on atmosphere of openness ond
light. The sunny side of the pioz:zo is lined with open-air
coles which ore full oil year round, especially with
66 l!H4.S I 01 SIIOUI5 I* U ( HIIHIUll
The situation changes completely wllen the Polio dell
Controde is held, and all the different neighbourhoods
compete with each other in horse races. This annual event,
which is both o ceremony and o proper contest, costs o
spell on the entire town and its population, and the lovely
space overflows with crowds of people who,

standing along the raised edges, oil hove o good view of
the race taking place in the centre.At such times the open-
air cafes make way for grandstands, and the windows of
every single house with o view of the piazza ore filled to
capacity, either with paying spectators. or with friends of
the families. And of the eve of the contest 15,000 people
dine out in the streets of oil the neighbourhoods.
In Chinchon, o small town south of Madrid, the central
market square is transformed into on arena when the
annual corrida is held. This plaza, shaped like a Greek
amphitheatre situated in o hollow on the hillside, Is
entirely surrounded by buildings, with shops and coles
under the arcades below ond dwellings above. All these
dwellings hove wooden balconies running from one end of
the fot;ode to the other, joinrng up to form o continuous
tiered circle facing the square. Whenever o corrido is held
the balconies become grandstands, with rows of seals
which the residents sell to make some e:dro money. In this
way privole dwellings, located in such prominenl and
strotegic places in the life of the community, temporarily
toke on o public stolus.
The way these balconies ore oil constructed along the
some principles os on open additional wooden zone
cantilevered from the relatively closed
obviously with this extra publ ic function in mind they
draw the spoce together to form o Iorge whole
resembling the clonicolltolion theatre with its vertically
tiered rows of boxes.
Communal wosh-ploces (or the centrally located water
pumps or tops in small rural communities) hove olwoys
been o popular meeting-ground lor local inhabitants,
where the latest news and gossip is exchanged. Running
water and washing-machines hove put on end to
this.'Women hove more time lor themselves now', is on
argument often heard in defense of modernization. At
the famous spring of Tonnerre the place where the water
wells up from deep down in the earth was enclosed by o
simple circular dam. This solution Intensifies the
grandeur of this natural phenomenon, while ot the some
time erecting the simple conditions lor o communal
wosh-ploce for the people who hoppen to live in the
We don't make wosh-ploces anymore (cor-washing
instollctions don't count). Are there in foci still places
where everyday activities give rise to the need to creole
communal focilities in the public oreo, sudt os those that
ore still to be found in less prosperous ports of the

PUll( 101111 67
Untlllfle nineteenth century few buildings w.,.
public, and even tben not COII\pl.tely JO, The public
acceulbility of such buildings OJ chur<hel, temples,
masques, spas, ba.zaars (amphi)lfleatres,
universities, etc. is subject to certain restrictions
lmpoted by those in charge or by the -ners. Truly
public spaces were nearly always out of doors.
The nineteenth century w01 the golden age of tbe
public building, constructed in principle with funds
provided by the community. The types of buildings that
were developed in that period constituted the building
blacks far lfle city, and we can still learn from those
examples which architectvral and spatial means can
best be used to make a builcling mare inviting a.nd
The incluttrial (r)evolutlon opened up a new mas
market. The acceleration and massiflcotlon of
production and distribution systems led to lfle creation
of department (world) uhibitions, covered
marketpkKes and of course to the construction of
public transport networks, with railway stations and
metra, and to the rise of tourism.
VICKY, fRANCE ClS9, 160l
A particularly interesting example is the 'watering-place'
with natural springs, such os Vichy in france. The hopes
ond expectations concerning the heolthiJivlng properties
of the water ore o welcome subject of conversation for
oil visitors. The cures that hove been prescribed for them
toke some time, which means that their paths cross
regularly in the park in the centre of the town where the
springs ore located. The main walks through the pork
ore roofed with lightweight metal structures, which gives
the stroller the feeling of being both inside and out of
doors at the some time.
The general atmosphere is that of on endless open-<lir
cole, with countless benches ond choirs where those
seeking to be cured of their ailments con sit and toke the
local health-giving water. The permanent stream of
visitors is o determining foetor of the urban life as o
whole: there ore many shops, restaurants, a casino and
all manner of facilities for the visitors, which provide the
local inhabitants with on important source of income.
Thus on early form of tourist industry developed here.
The mo1t basic reaJOn for social intercourse has always
been trade, which in all forms of community life takes
pl.ace to a certain extent in the 1treets. Town and
country meet when the individual farmer goes to town
to sell his wares, and to spend tbe proceeds on other
goods. Meanwhile news i.s uchanged.
lis HAUES, PARIS 1854-66 I v. 6AUARO ti6H6ct
The market halls in Paris constituted on indispensable
link in the chain ol distribution of goods in the city. o
relay-station as it were in o mammoth system, where
producer and consumer no longer maintain direct
contact with one another. The market halls consisted of
vast oreos with spoMools ond o sheltered oreo for
loading and unloading. This hub of activity did not foil
to leave ils mark on the surrounding neighbourhood:
there were, for instance, many ollnight restaurants,
some of which still exist, as o reminder of the old d!lys.
The continuing expansion of scale, especially in
transportation of food-stuffs, mode it necessary to move
the entire centre elsewhere {to Rungis). The vast steel
framed pavilions, once vacated, were demolished in
1971 , in spite of intensive campaigns to prevent this
from happening. It is always difficult to fi nd premises to
accommodate theatre performances, sports
manifestations and other events that ollroct lorge
audiences, and these halls would hove served very well
for this purpose. The demolition of these halls ond what
they hove been replaced by con indeed be seen as o
symbol of the destruction of the public {streell space as
on 'arena' of urban life.
~ I
161 "'
162 f6C

The community centres designed by Von Klingeren (he
coiled them agoras) such as those in Dronten and
Eindhoven were ol1empts to assemble under one roof all
the activities that toke place in o city centre. It is this kind
of setting that generates new social roles and new
exchanges which cannot evolve in the new urban areas
and neighbourhoods because no one has thought of
making the necessary provisions.
Due to planning in terms of separately situated bo.xes with
separate entrances, rather than in terms of on integrated
urban fabric, the ' boxes' tend to hove on adverse effect
on the viability of lhe environment as o whole and,
porodoxicolly, the beller they fvnclion, the more they
detract from the quality of life in the streel. Thus they ore,
really, no more than 'artificial' urban centres which owe
their existence to the inadequacy of urban provisions and
the lock of on oil-encompassing view of the necenory
correlation between newly-built residential
neighbourhoods and the existing urban core.
However interesting these community centres may hove
been os o social experiment in the 1960's, it is not
surprising that, under the present social conditions with so
much less tolerance and community spirit, they ore no
longer in use today. hpeciolly the noise of the activities
going on in adjoining spaces was felt to be disturbing,
and soon people started to erect walls and other kinds of
partitions, thereby undermining the spatial unity that was
fvndomentol to the design.
The Ei ffel Tower, which was erected lor the World
Exhibition. is not only the tourists' symbol of Paris, but
also, os originally intended, o monument to the new ideas
that hod emerged in the course of the ninsteenth csntury.
Here we see, in o more suggestive form than ever before,
the concrete expression of social change os manifested
in the expansion of scale and the centralization of power,
A construction such as the Eillel Tower demonstrates that
which becomes possible when innumerable small
components, each with its specially assigned function and
place, ore combined in such o way as to form a centrally
conceived entity, of which the whole for exc:eeds the sum
of the ports. The of this feat of engineering
becomes comprehensible when you realize that o scale
model of the structure 30 em. high would weigh o mere
7 grams (Guide Michelin). The greater the control of the
active forces the greater the expansion that could be
achieved. The Eillel Tower is on embodiment of the
principle of centralization which can produce such on
oweinspiring force out of so many tiny subordinate
forces . It is o demonstration of the proud accomplishment
of on audacious pion undertaken in all with no
thought of the monstrous and forces that
would ultimately be unleashed. The 'tour de force' of the
distribution system, whereby the goods produced by o
moss of individuals ore distributed through a maze of
intermediary channels among o moss of consumers, is
based on a sophisticated structure of division of labour,
specialization, and efficacious contracts. And ills
undoubtedly this kind of organizational technique thai
feeds the self-propagating Moloch of scale-expansion and
the diminution of the individual's influence on the
os a whole.
The world exhibitions those international showcases of
moss production, for which new markets hod to be found
or created necessitated the construction of enormous
exhibition holts such as the Crystal Poloce in london
II 85 1) 1161, 1681, and the Grand Polo is P 900) H"l and Petit
Polois in Paris, both of which ore still standing. These vast
hall$ of steel and glon were the first palaces for the
consumer, who rules ond is ruled by the consumer st>clety
(consumers both consume and are themselves consumed in
o consumer society).

This age of new production methods and systems also
gave birth to new construction methods: the introduction
of steel os o building material mode it possible to erect
roof structures with on enormous span within a very short
lime. Besides, gloss pones could now be inserted in the
steel roof-frames, ond the resulting transparency gave the
vast holt on airy, light atmosphere. Indeed, the new
structures were more like bell-jars enclosing o space
offering basic shelter from the exterior weather conditions,
and therefore resembled gigantic glonhouses (such as
those still standing in Loken near Brussels ond in london's
Kew Gardens) rather than the usual solid buildings.
(Incidentally, the Crystal Palace itself was o direct product
of troditionolgloss-house construction). The Iorge spans,
too, undoubtedly, contribute to the feeling of not being
inside o building in the conventional sense. While the use
of steel structures mode such wide spans possible, and the
new possibilities offered by the new construction methods
were eagerly exploited, the question rises whether they
were truly fvnclionol. Perhaps not, because even though
the vast gloss roofs undeniably provided excellent
illumination for hvge spaces, o lew colvmns more would
not hove mode that much difference from o functional
point of view. Once again, the sheer feasibility seems to
hove created the need as much os the need called for new
techniques and possibilities. Just as the Eiffel Tower
clearly demonstroled a way of thinking, so that way of
thinking was undoubtedly inspired by the new possibilities
of construction: thus demand generates supply and vice
verso (which come first: the chicken or the egg?). It is in
loci very difficult not to associate the vast spoMoofs and
the woy in which they evolved os well os the minimal
spatial articulation that they entailed with the emergence
of o way of thinking which has led to the vast e)(ponsion
of scale and the attendant centralization ol t9doy.
w '"
Mogo11n dv Av Son Morcbi, P(lru
PMiemps, Porls 1876/l.C. o ~ o a u
f . Sed.ll.
111 The expansion of the scale of consumption ond market
which found expression in the steelondgloss exhibition
halls of the lost century also monilested itself, on o local
level, In the Iorge deportment stores.
Unlike the bazaars and other kinds of covered street
markets where Iorge numbers of individual vendors
come together under the some roof to sell their wares,
the deportment store is a single, centrally managed
enterprise that claims to run a shop that is so Iorge that
everything can be bought there. It is actually a sort of
general store, but blown up to gigantic proportions, and
with on exceptionally variegated stock.
Whereas the merchandise in the general store is kept
behind the counter on shelves reaching from Aoor to
ceiling, accessible only to the salesman, in the
deportment store it is the many storeys that ore visible on
all sides of a Iorge central hall like the shelves in the
general store, with the important difference that they are
wholly accessible to the buying public.
The gloss roof which is to be found In nearly all the
traditional deportment stores (e.g. les Grands Mogoslns
in Paris) produces the some spatial effect, basically, as a
single, Iorge shop, even though the surrounding spaces
are divided into separate departments for different
The central hall of Golerie Lafayette offers the public a
royal welcome, the majestic freestondlng staircase
being especially inviting (the staircase was eventually
dismantled to obtain a few extra square metres of soles
The construction of on expanding railway network opened
up the world to travel and to the interchange of products,
thereby making the world both smaller and larger. The
stations that were erected in the towns ond villages, like
so mony gatebuildings, constituted the cornerstones of the
system. Not only did the railway stations introduce o new
type of building into the towns, usually situated in o
promi nent place in the centre, they also brought with them
o whole new range of related urban facilities and
activities, such os hotels, places to eat ond drink, and
invariably shops. And quite often they developed quite
independently into businesses in their own right,
depending only portly on the custom of train passengers.
The halls of mony roilwtTy stations hove gradually
developed into public spaces, roofed ports of the city,
where you con still buy articles when oil the other shops
ore dosed, where you con change money, use the
telephone, buy magazines, go to the toilet, hove your
photograph token ln o booth, get inlormolion, lind o taxi,
or hove o quick meal {or on elaborate one quite o
number of railway stations ore renowned for their
restaurants). This concentration continues in the direct
vicinity, with cafes, restaurants and hotels. In Great
Britain the hotels are often actually port of the station. In Central SrotJon, Glosg,w, Groot 8ntom
short, the bustle and activity surrounding the arrival and
departure of the trains leads to o greater concentration of
facilities in the oreo around o railway station than
anywhere else in the city.
The entrances and exits of underground urban transport
networh like the Paris metro and the london
underground hove the some impact, on o smaller scale
and in many different locations in the city, os the main
railway stations. Especially the Paris metro, with iis
distinctive forms is, os it were, one vast construction
which emerges above ground in oil the different
neighbourhoods oil over the city, as o lomilior and
instantly recognizable landmark. What the railway
station is to the city, the metro entrance is to a
neighbourhood: o place which aHracls local tTmenities
and business. The labyrinthine halls and passages of the
main intersections ore o favourite haunt of street
musicians, especially in winter, when they seek shelter in
this subterranean port of the city.
Porls metro srofion l o a ~ Oovphine
J 898-190 1/H. Gvmorcl
Ill Ill
Altttouth the larte buildings which ore intended to be
ocfesslble to os mony people os possible o,. not
permanently o,.n and although the o,.ning hourt
or. In fod imposed from above, such buildings do
imply o fundamental and considenlble expansion of
tM public world.
The most characteristic examples of this shift of
emphasis a,. undoubtedly the arcades1 glossroofed
1hoppinv street such 01 those that we,. constrvcted
In 1M nineteenth century, and of which 11141ny
imp,.ulve exomple1 1till 1urvive oil over the world.
The orcade1 served In 1M first place to exploit the
o,.n interior 1poceJ, and th.y were therefo,.
commercial undertoking1 e.ntirely in keeping with the
trend towards opening up sales oreos for o new
buying public. In this way pedestrian circuits emerged
in the nucleus of shopping oreos. The absence of
troffi< permits the route to be narrow enough OJ to
aHord the potential buye.r a goad view of the hop-
windows on either side.
74 llSSU S lOt SIDDUI S ~ lf(HIIH101!
An interesling example of lhe arcade concepl is Ia be
seen, in on elementary form, in lhe Passage du Caire in
Paris. The complele building-up of the exceptionally
shaped interior space was conceived together with the

outer shell according to o rotionol principle of ordering
which, too certain extent ond subject to certain rules,
permiHed o free disposition of the architectonic elements.
Many of the businesses located here ore connected with
the premises situated on the periphery, so that on informal
network of passages c'Ould develop In ond between the
soles points in addition to the official entrances.
In Paris, where the shopping orcode wos invented ond
where if flourished (mony arcades still exist, especially In
the first and second 'Arrondissements') there ore three
consecutive blocks with connecting interior passages:
Possoge Verdeou, Possoge Jouflroy, ond Pouoge des
Panoramas. Together they form o brief chain crouing the
Boulevard Montmartre, and, if continued, it is easy to
imagine how o network of covered pedestrian routes
could hove developed quite independently of the
surrounding street pottern.
Shopping orcodes exist oil over the world, in diverse
forms and dimensions depending on the local conditions
often they hove lost their original glamour os expensive
shoppi11g districts although in many ploce5 they still
Poris, 2nd
Possoge dtJ
Ponoromos, Paris
Golerle Vivienne,
ruauc ooam 7S
l1f Ill
110 If!
Sttood Arcodo,

tl3 IU
accommodate the more luxurious stores. such os the
Golerie St. Hubert in Brussels and the Goleria Vittorio
Emanuele in Milan, which ore felt by everyone to be the
heart of the city.
I for o 1urvey, analysis and history ol the arcade see: J.f. Geist,
Possagen, ein Boulyp des 19Johrhunderts, Miinchen 1969)
The principle of the arcade regained topical relevance
when the traffic burden in the streets of city centres
become so heavy that the need arose lor areas exclusively
lor pedestrians, i.e. a separate 'system' lor pedestrians
alongside the existing street pattern. The nineteenth-
century types of arcade ron through the bloch, like sborl
circuits, and their primary purpose was lo put the interior
areas to use.
But although the buildings were traversed by these
passages, their outward appearance was not affected: the
exlerior, the periphery, continued to function separately
and as o in its own right. In the
case ol many covered pedestrian routes of contemporary
design the exterior of the complex within which the
activity is concentrated resembles the unhospitoble rear
walls of a building. This reversal - turning the building
moss inside-out, as it were is no less than the sheer
perversion of the principle underlying the arcade.
The hiJh, pcusatef, Illuminated from above
thanlu to glau roofing, give you the feeling af an
interiar: thus they are 'inside' and 'autsicle' at the same
time. Inside and outside are so strongly relatlvized vis
ci vis each other that you cannot tell whether you are
intide one building or in the 1pace connecting two
separate buildings. In so far at the opposition betwHn
building mane and strHt space terves to distlnguith
broadly, at any rate betwHn the private worfd and
the public, the enclosed private domain is transcended
by the Inclusion of arcades. 'llle inner tpace it made
more acceuible, while the fabric of streeb becomes
more close-knit. 'llle city is turned intide out, both
spatially and also as far as the principle of Its
acce11ibility is concerned,
'llle concept of the etrcade contains the principle of a
new system of acceJJibility with which the borderline
betwHn public etnd private is thifted and hence
partially erased, whereby spatially at any rote the
private domain becomes mare publicly accenible.
The break away from the doted perimeter block
siting in twentieth-century urbanism, meant the
of the clear-cut spatial definition given
by the street pattern. As the autonomy of the
buildings grew, their interrelationship diminished, so
that they now stand devoid of alignment as it
like an irregular scattering of megaliths far away
from each other in an exce11ively large open space.
The ' rue e:orridor' has degenerated into an 'espace
This new open type of siting, so Innovative far the
'physical' condition of housing construction in
particular, has had a disastrous eHect on the cohesion
of the whole a fate that has befallen most cities. The
more buildings stand apart as autonomous volumes
with individualized and private entrances the
le11 cohesion there is, but also and especially the
left: Goferlt
SJ. Hul.ert, 8runels
Goflerio c!ell'lnd.rslrio
Subolplno, Turin
111 no
187 ' "
184, I 88:
fmmonue/e, Ml1on
fofon c.nJer,
.,. ltl
greater the opposition betwHn public and prhrate
space, even though the housing blocks may be
deJigned with ac.cen galleries or interior covered
strHts or indeed with surrounding private space.
UrbaniJm with buildings OJ autonomous freely
diJpersed monuments has given rise to a huge
exterior environment at best a pleaJant park
landscape where you always feel 'outside'.
While modem architects and town planners already
started breaking open the city before the Se<ond
World War, the demolition work was continued by
the war; later on the traffic monia dealt thla
fragmentation the 'coup de grace' wherever it could.
5o aU of us ore by now convinced of the need for
reconstruction of the interior of the city and for a
revival of interest and concem for the street area,
and hence for the exterior of the buildings. lut that
:r ~ I l l II l3 ~ till IJIIEJ
I ~
muat not be ollo-d to lead to an orchlt.cture of
street walla with the actual dwellings as mere
punctuation morka or prop to support the dkor.
We must not forget that the Modem Movement aimed
specifically at the improvement of buildings, and
notably at the improvement of the dwelling by
mean of be"er 1iting to ensure more 1unlight, wider
view1, more satilfactory exterior spoces etc.
1fte lace of o city i hall tfle trutfl JOtislactary
ltoutirtt i tfle otfler, complementary hall.
The mony example of open urbonl1m, OJ designed In
the 1920s and 1930s, ore ind"d atill of great
relevance, at least if each Is judged according to its
own specific qualities.
In his conceptle Corbusier did not odopt himself to lhe
order of traditional building blocks, as envisaged in the
urban pion. Instead of a solid moss with majestic
f o ~ e s surrounding the site on oil sides, Le Corbusier
designed his building in a free form, os a high-rise
construction on columns, so that you don't hove to walk
around the block but that you con, instead, cross the
distance diagonally underneath.
The height of the columns and the distance between
them were selected In such o way that the resulting
space has o liberating effect. The feeling of liberation is
oil the more striking because one doesn't expect o
situation like this in the surroundings, and it is therefore
a sped ol and stimulating sensation to find oneself there.
le Corbusier's most important statement in this context
is, that o Iorge space which would in the normal run of
things hove been inaccessible as port of the private
domain, by virtue of its accessibility is o contribution to
the city os o whole.
It is importont to beor in mind, however, thotthis solution
would hove lost much of its quality if the surrounding
blocks hod been designed according to the same
principle. In that case the area os a whole would hove
presented the usual picture of on overage modern city.
It is precisely the surprise of the contrast that makes the
principle so clear in this case.
We must consider the quality of 111 Mlspoce and of
buildings In relation to each other. A mosaic of
interrelations:hips as we imagine urban life to be
calls for a spatial organiaation in whidl built form
and exterior space (which - coli street) are not only
comple-ntory In the spatial HftM and therefore
reciprocate in forming each other, but also and
.. pecially for that Is what we are primarily concemed
wltfl here in which built form ond exterior space offer
maximal acceulblllty to penetrate each other In such a
way that not onJy the borderlines between ovttlde and
intide become leu explicit, but also that the sharp
division betwMn private and public domain Ia
softened. If you enter a place gradually, the front door
Ia divested of Its significance as a slntle and abrvpt
moment; it is eJdendecl, cu it were, to form a step by
step sequence of areas which are not yet explicitly
inside but also t .. s explicitly public. The mast obvious
u.preuian of auch a mechanism of acceulbllity was to
be sMn In the anodes, and It is Indeed not surprising
therefore that the arcade idea still Mrvea as an
example todoy.
l!S l!i
"' 191
The urban plan, wholly in keepi ng with the 'traditional'
open construction of the half of thi s century, i.e.
without o strict alignment of the buildings and without
street walls within which the building hod to be
10 l!SSORS 101 SIIO! t tS IN U(Mli CIUII
situated, therefore coiled for o self-conta ined
architectural design with no references to the buildings
in the direct vicinity. Instead of o single, colossal
constructed volume, o more transparent conglomerate of
numerous smaller components was achieved, thanks to
the diHerentiotion into more or less independent small
bloch separated by arcade-like pouoges (i.e.
esse ntiolly public:ly accessible space).
And since there ore exits and entrances throughout the
complex it looks more like o piece of o city than li ke o
single building - most of all it resembles o kind of
Not only is the design conceived in such o way that
members of the staff leave their work-spaces to toke o
break, talk and hove coffee ot one of the many counten
in the central space of the complex - as if they were
taking o stroll in the this a reo con moreover
be literally public.
This opportunity for public accessibility would hove been
fully exploited if the original plan hod been carried out:
namely to situate the new railway station of Apeldoorn
directly adjoining the complex, so thot you could reach
the platforms by way of Centrool Beheer (plans were
even worked aut in consultation with the Dutch railways
to install soles points for train tickets inside the complex).
While the building, as on autonomous entity, is put into
penpeclive on the formal level by its articulation in terms
of o Iorge number of smaller orchitecturolcomponents,
on the practical level o similar articulation is achieved
by the adopted principle of accessibility - that is, that
you con enter the building from all directions, gradually
and in stages.
Under the inAuence of the growing security risk in public
spaces, Centrool Beheer, too, has imposed certain
restrictions on public accessibility. All entrances ore
nowadays guarded with tv cameros, and the need is
being felt more and more strongly lor o single central
entrance to the complex as o whole, which moreover has
become less straight forwardly legible since the
contraction of two of the bui ldings into one volume.
An attempt was mode to ovoid the traditional form of a
concert hall in the sense of o ' temple of music' and
instead to arrive ot o less formal, less owe-inspiring and
therefore hopefully on atmosphere that is more inviting
to the uninitiated. Besides revolutionizing the overall
'image', also the 'mechanism' of accessibility hos ~ n
drastically altered. You do not enter by way of on
imposing main entrance, you enter step by step. first
you ore in o covered possoge, which leads to the many
entrances (as if you were going into a deportment
store!. then you lind yourself in the foyers of the Music
Centre, from where you proceed to the octuol
auditorium. The Iorge number of entrances along the
panoge (or arcade} and also directly on the square
when they ore all open make the buildi ng as a whole
temporarily port of the street. And indeed, that is how
201 1(1]
the building luncltons during the weekly free concerb 1n
the lunchhour On those days you see shoppers strolling
into the bu.ldlng, often surprised, often listening oltenti-
vely although they hove not come to hear the concert,
ond sometimes 1ust taking o short cut to the next street

---- -------
CINEAC CiNEMA, AMSTUOAM 1933/ J. OUim w u ~ ~ ~
Ouiker not only succeeded wonderfully in fitting the enhre
architectural programme diagonally into the tiny building
site (each cenhmetre ol which hod to be put to use), he also
monoged to leave the corner where the entrance is loco ted
open, so that the street<orner con continue to function a
public space In this way one cuts the comer behind the toll
column, and, being guided by the curved gloss owning,
might be tempted to buy a ticket to the nonslop lilm-
show.(This ownmg was laced with wood in 1980; also the
illuminated sign was removed, thus disfiguring this, the lost
of Duiker's major works.)The space that wos restored to the
street as on mtegrol por1 of the orchitedure, portly because
of the specific location on o corner, and portly because of
the materials thor were employed (the some kind of tiles on
the floor os in the rest of the building, and the glen
owning). It is therefore equivocal private yet public.
While the expreuion of the relativity of the concepts
of Interior and exterior Is first and foremost a
quettion of s.patictl organisation, whether an area
tends more towards a street-like atmosphere or more
towards an interior depends especially an the spatial
And besides, whether people will recognise the area
concerned as interior or as exterior, or as some
Intermediary form, depends to a large extent on the
dimensions, the form and the choice of materials.
In the case of both Centrool Beheer t ? ~ ond Vredenburg
Music Centre (lOll the spaces in the ports which ore
intended os semi-street oreos ore extra high and narrow,
with illumination from above as in the lroditionol shop-
ping arcade. This type of cross,se<:tion evokes the alleys
of old cities, and this evocation is further intensified by
the application of the kind of materials lor floors ond
walls tho! we ore accustomed to seeing out of dOOI$. As
you penetrate further into the Music Centre this feeling is
underscored by the use of wood for the floors and walls.
The adjoining shopping precinct Hoog Cothorijne is
paved with marble, the spaces there ore much wider and

only incidentally illuminated from above. The horizontal
character, with predominantly ortificiol lighling, and the
shiny, gfomorous.Jooking marble makes Hoog Cothorijne
resemble a vost deportment store rather than the public
space that it emnlially Is.
ro 110
Hom SOtvAY, BRussm 1896/ V. HORTA
Although the doors in the f a ~ o d e ore unmistakably the
main entrance of the building, when you enter them you
find that they do not give onto o conventional hall but
that they give access to a pouoge leading straight
through the house to another poir of doors opening onto
o courtyard ot the bock
This possoge wos Intended to allow carriages to enter so
that people could alight in front of the real door to the
house without getting wet .
The reol front door is therefore s1tuoted ot right angles to
the f o ~ o d e and in itself marks the beginning of o spotiol
sequence comprising entrance hall ond staircase leading
to the first Roor with the main rooms located along the
entire front ond rear walls, w1th Horta's characteristic
use of gloss partitions to creole on open connection with
the stairwell.
The pouoge traversing the building gives the impression
of being port of the street, even though it is in fact o
strictly private and space and port of the house. This
impression is strengthened by the streellike materials
that hove been applied in this space, especially the
paving stones and the raised stone border.
A characteristic Horta detail is the fluent transition
between f o ~ o d e end pavement, so that the borderl ine
between building end street ond likewise between
private property ond public space lodes, indeed does
not seem lo exist at oil anymore since the materiels of
f o ~ o d e ond pavement ore the same. It is almost
impossible to imagine how this could hove been
arranged with the local outho11ties, because they always
adhere to o strict separation of private end publ ic
PASSAGE POMMERAYE, NAr-tll:S, fRANCE, 1840-43 (21HI41
Ahhough lhe construction materials and lhe forms lhol
ore applied in mosl arcades ore of the lype lhot'belong'
oulside, sometimes the opposite is the case, as in lhe
Pouoge Pommeroye in Nantes. This connection culling
across a block between two slreels on dilferenl levels is
one of lhe most beautiful arcades still in existence,
especially because of ils different levels whfch ore bolh
visible from the central space and connected by o Iorge
wooden staircase.
The use oF wood, which you would not expecl to lind in
such o situolion, emphasizes the feeling of being indoors
not only visually, bul also audibly. Inside and outside
ore lhus doubly relolivized here, which makes this
arcade the example par excellence of how lhe
opposition between interior and exterior con be
m tt < oum as
t I
'THE Lrna' I PtETER oe HOOGH 11629-1684) tltSJ
Pieter de Hoogh's painting demonstrates the relativity of
the notions of outside and inside, in the way it is evoked
not only by means of the spatial distinctions but also and
especially by lne expression of the materials and their
temperatures in the varying degrees of light.
The interior, witn its cool shiny tiles and the severe
windows in the background, has an outside temperature
in which contrasts with the warm glow of the exterior
in the sunlight. The open front door without o
doorstep makes o smooth transition between the living
quarters ond the street with its carpet-like surface. The
roles of the inside and outside appear to be reversed,
creating o spotialty cohesive ensemble whicn expresses,
above oil, accessibili ty.
Just os the application indoors of the kind of spatial
organi%ation and material that refer to the outdoor
world make the inside seem leu intimate, so spatial
references to the indoor world make the ouhide seem
more intimate; it is therefore the bringing into
perspective of Inside and outside and the ambiguity
that this gives rise to that intensifies both the sense of
spatial occeuibility and the sense of Intimacy.
A stepbystep sequence of indications by
mearu ensures a gradual entrance and
exit. The entire complex of experiences elicited by the
architectonic means contributes to this proceu:
gradations of height, width, degree of illumination
(natural and ortifkiol), materials, different floor-
leveiJ. The different sensations within this sequence
evoke o variety of ouociotions, each corresponding
with a diHerent gradation of 'iruideneu and outside
ness' on the bo1is of of previous, similor
Not only does each sen1otion refer to a specific
gradation of insideness and outsideneu, by
extension it also refers to corresponding usove.
In the fofe901ng t hove posited that the use mode of
an area, the s.ense of responsibility for that area, and
the care lavished on it, are all connected with the
territorial claims and management, but architecture
has by virtue of the evocative qu.olities of oil
explic.itly 1patiol images, form1 and materials, the
capacity to stimulate o certain kind of usage.
Conceph such as public and private thu1 Jhrink to
mere administrative entities.
ly selecting the appropriate architectonic meoru the
private domain con thu become tess fortress-like and
more acce.uible, while the public domain can, once it
become& more responsive to personal repon1lbllities
and the personal care of those directly concerned, be
for intensively used and thus be enriched.
While the trend at the end of the sixties seeme.d to be
towards a greater openness of society in generol and
of buildings in, as well os the revival of the
street the public domain por excellence there is
currently a growing movement towards restricting
that accessibility, and towards retreating into one' s
own 'fortress' out of fear of aggression and the wish
to feel secure on one' s own ground. lut in so for as
the balance between openneu and closednen is a
reflection af our fairly open society, we in the
Netherlands, with our solid tradition, may have the
most favourable conditions imaginable for the
realization of buildings that are fundomentally more
accenible crnd streets that are fundamentally more

'Der Gegenpad von Zwong isl nicht Fr11iheit, SQndern
Verbundenheit. lwang isteine nogotivo Wiri:lichkeil, und
Verbundenheil ist die positive; Freiheit ist eine Meglichleit, die
wiedergewonnene Mi)g/icl;leil. Vom SchickSQ/, von der Notur,
von den Menschen gezwungen wetden: der Gegenpol ls nicht,
vom Sehidsal, van der Notur, von Menschen lr11i, sondern
mit lhm, mil ihr, mil ihnen verbunden und ver/Wndet sein; um dies
zu werden, muu man Freilich erst unobhiingig gewarden stin,
ober die UnobhOngigkeit i$1 ein Steg und .kein Wohnraum.'
'The antipode of compulsion is not liberty, but alliance.
Compulsion is o nogotive reality, and alliance o positive one;
liberty is on oplion, o regained option. CompuiJion al the hands
of fote, of nolure, of its antipode Is not liberation from
fate, from nature ond from piiOple, but aUionce with them. To
achieve tlris bo11d, however, f*>Pie musl (irsJ become
indepertclent, but independence signifies o narrow path, not
(Marlin Suber, Reden iiber f rzlehung, 19531
au tor
I Strv<tvre and Interpretation 92
2 Form ond lnterpretotion 94
Canals, Amsterdam
Mexcaltiton, Mexico
Estagel, france
Oude Groch!, Utrecht
Viaduct Rue Rambauillet, Paris
Palace of Oiocl etian, Split, Croatia
The Amphitheotres of Aries and lu"a
Rockefell er Plaza, New York
Temples, Bali
Columbia Universily, New York
3 Structure os o Generative Spine: Warp and Weft 108
Fori I' Empereur Projeci, Algiers I le Corbusiet
'The Bearers and the People; the End of Moss
Housi ng' I N.J. o b r o ~ e n
Houseboats Project
Oeventer-Steenbrugge Housing Proj ect
Project for a Neighbourhood Centre, Oeventer-Borgele
Project for o Pedestrian Underpass, Apeldoorn
Housing, Wesrbroek
Free University, Berlin I Condilis, Josie &. Woods
Project for o Residential Area, Berlin I S. Wewerko
Villa Sovoye, Poissy, France /le Corbusier
4 Gridiron I 2 2
Ensonche, Barcelona I I. Cerda
Monhollon, New York
5 Building Order 126
Orphanage, Amsterdam I A. von Eyck
linMij, Amslerdom
De Orie Hoven, Home lor the Elderly, Amsterdam
Centrool Beheer Office Building, Apeldoorn
Vredenburg Music Centre, Utrecht
Ministry of Social Affairs, The Hague
Apollo Schools, Amsterdam
6 Functionality, Flexibility and Polyvalence 146
1 Form and Users: the Spoce of Form 150
8 Making Space, Leaving Space /52
Weesperstroot Student Accommodation, Amsterdam
Montessori School, Delh
Vredenburg Square, Utrecht
Diagoon Dwell ings, Delft
9 tncentiveJ 164
Col umn$
Housing, Berli n I B. Tout
Perforated Building Blocb
10 Form as on Instrument 170
au tor
Port A of this study daolt with the reclprocity of public
and private 1pheres of influence, and what the
archltad con do to contribute to that balctnce at '-ott
if he is oware in each situation of which spe<ific
responsibtTtties apply and how they con be lnterpret.d.
Port two will deal with the reciprocity of form and
usage, in the sense that form not only detennines bath
usage and experience, but that It is Itself equally
determined by them in sa for a1 it Is interpretable and
can be lnffuenced. In 10 for as something Is
designed for everyone, that iJ aa a collective starting-
point, we must concern ournfves with aU conteiOble
lndividuallnterprelarions thereof and not only at o
1peclfk moment in time, but also as they change In
The relation betwHn a collective given and Individual
Interpretation as It exists between fonn and u1age a1
well as the experieflce thereof moy be compcrred to the
relation between language and speech.
l.allguage it o coledive lnstrvment, the common
property of a group of people capable of using that
lnstrvment to shape their thouvhts and to convey them
to each other, 10 long as they absefve the conventions
of grammar and syntax, and .a long as they use
recognlxable words i.e. words that mean somethin9
to the llstentf. The remartcable thing Is that each
individual can be understood by another, even when
he or she very personal and
concerns In a highly way.
Moreover, speech Is not only consistently on
interpretation of language, but lafttuoge is In tum olso
influenced by what is often spoken, and ln due course
the language changes under that staody Influence. So
you might say that language not only detennines
speech, but that longoaee Itself is at the same time
determined by speech. lAinguage and 1peech relate to
one another dialectlcolly.
The concept of strvcture tends to obiCIIre rather than
clarify. Anything tflot has been put togethet, howevet
shodcllly, soan tends to be described as o strvcture.
(And then there ore the netative osso<lotlons with so-
coRed strvcturol thfnking in lnmtutlons and business
orgonbatlons, and of course In pollticJ.) Here
'structure' refers to new form of oppression by new
wielders af po-. Eveqthingln architecture, good or
92 lfiSOkl fOt SIUOWS ll U( ft iiHIUtl
bad, in which the constructive aspect occupies a
visually prominent position, and which has to do with
repetition of prefobricoMd components (whether of
concrete or of some othet material), with grids or
frames, rigid or shaky or bath It is a ll labelled
structuralism. The anginal and by no means empty
meaning of structure and structuralism Indeed appaors
to have been submerged by loads of architectural
jargon. Strvcturollsm denoted, Initially, a way of
thinking originating from cultural anthropology, which
rose to prominence in Poris during the sixties and
which, especially in the fonn developed by Claude Levi
Strauss, exerted a strong influence on the various
social sciences. The term is closely bound up with Levi
Strauss: his ideas especially where they daolt with
the oforementioned relationship betwHn the collective
pattern and individual interpretations were
porticularly inspiring for architecture.
Levi Strauss, for his port, was inspired by the linguist
Ferdinand'de Sauuure (1857 1913), who was the first
to study the distinction between 'lafttue' and ' porole',
between language and 1peech. lofttuoge is structure
par excelleMe, a structure that, in principle, contains
the possibilities to express everything that con be
communicated vetbally. It Is indeed a prerequisite for
the ability to think. For on idea con only be said to
exist in so for as it permits formulation in words; we
use language not only to convey our ideas, language
actually shapes tho11 ideas os we express them.
For"""latlng and thinking go hand in hand: we
formulate at we think, but we also think as we
Wlthln this system a coherent exponse of values the
different inten'elotionships are laid down in rules, but
th- is still o lat of freedom of oction within the some
system thanks, parodoxicctlly, to the vety some fixed
niles that delimit this freedom.
In the philosophy of strvcturollsm this ideo Is extended
to encompou on image of man whose pouibilities are
constant and fixed, like a pock of cards with which
you con play games depencllng on the -y
they have been dealt.
levi Strauss (Lo PenH. Sauvoge, 1962) explains that
diHerent cultures, whether socalled primitive or so
called dviliud, play o transformation of the sa me
game, as It were; the main directions are flJied while
the interpretation diHers continually.
Hoving studied and compored the myths and legends
of diverse cultures Levi Strauss observed that the some
themes recvr, and thu1 come to the <OMiusion that,
through application of transiormotionrules, there was
Mat I COI'T' d
a high of corresponnc in structure. All
pattems of behaviour within cliffeNnt cuttvr.s, he
mafntained, were tTGnsforl'ltations of -h other;
howewr different, the relation vis o vis thelr own
system within whidl they perform a function would, in
principle, be constant.
'In "'- HIM YHI'f, if you compare a piN>tofropll and Its
MfGtlve even tftouth file ,_ images are dlffwent
yov wiU find tfiOt flte relatlotubips between flte
romponent parts rwmaln lite Hme' jM. fO<lCovltj.
'To put It In more popular terms, when you pt dawn to
the euentiab, different people under difment
dmmutances do the same things in woys and
-nt things in the 1ome wrsy.
'Man I tbe woy lte is mode, IJvt tfte paint I wftat dou
lte mob ol tfte way lt. ;, made' !J.P. Some(, meaning the
clepee of f1 eedom he succeecb in creating within the
restriction of hb -n poulbUJtlu.
The most aimplified wmmory of the Jtructure-idea can
be given on the bods of, srsy, the gem .. of chess.
Within an esseatlally cltlldlshly limple set of rvlfl
governing rile freedom of movement of each piece In
tfte game, goad play.n sucued in creating an Infinite
range of panibilities. The better the player i1 the richer
the game, oncl within the official set of rules other,
unofficial subrvles arise on the bosls of eJqMrience,
which velop Intel official the hands of
experienced playen whose experience in their
oppllcatlon in tum imluences the original given, and
who thus, by eJ&tension, contrlllute to NfUioting the
system. M-ver, cheu Is an ouflfvndlng example of
how a fixed set of rules doe not restrict freedom but
rcrther cream freedom. Noom Chomsky, the American
Bntuist (who happen to be remembered espedally for
his oppotitlon to the United States inferfentlon in
VIetnam), compored languages In a wrsy similar to
haw IAvi Strauu compared myths and concluded that
there had to be a li"'uistk Witity -logous in all
men. He took as his Jtortingpolnt a 'g-ratlve
grammar', o sot1 of underlying pattern to which all
languGtes can be tTGced funclamentolly and for which
an i-te oiMiity exists. So in thit tenn different
languages, like ci! fount of behclviour, could be
seen as transformations of each other. GeneroOy
tpeoklng oil ttlls does not seem to be for removed from
lung's 'on:hetypes'. This leadt to the fMIIng that also
the creation of form ond spatial organlaotion on
ground could be tntced bock to on innoM
obJiity of oU men in the most diverse cuftvte to arrive
at ever dlffetent interpretotloM of euentlolly the some
'orchfomu'. Moreover Chomsky introduced rile
conwpta 'competence' and 'performance'. Competence
il the knowledge tflot o penon has of his or her
lanfUOte, while perlonnance refers to rile UM he
makes of that knowledge In concrete dtvotlons. And it
Is with this mare genentf re-formulation of the terms
'langue' etnd ' parole' tflot a link can indeed be
estalttished with orchitlldure. In archlhKiural terms you
could srsy tflot 'competence' Is form's capacity to be
interpreted, and ' performance' is tfte wrsy in whkh
form is/- Interpreted In a speclflc situation.
lUliNG mu, SPICE 93
1 autor
lroodly speakint, 'stnlcture' stands for the collective,
generol, (more) objectrte, and permib interpretation in
terms of what Is expected and demanded of it in a
specific situation. One ~ l d also speak of stnlcture in
connection with a building or an urban plan: a Iorge
form which, changlnt little or not ot all, Is suitable and
adequate for accommodating cllfferent situations
because it often fresh opportunities time and again for
new uses.
The pollern of the canol beltl in Amsterdam gives the city-
centre its distinctive layout and makes it easy to lind one's
way. Not only do the successive concentric semi-circles
enable one to find one's bearings throughout the centre,
they also indicate the passage of time - much like the year-
rings of o tree. It is obvious that their original function as

defensive structures con now be seen merely as the motive
underlying their specific layout, which hod and still has,
potentially, so much more to offer. Besides serving
purposes of defence, the canals were used mainly fo r the
transport of the incoming ond outgoing goods to which
the city owed much of its wealth; and in the days before
public sewage systems they served os open drains lor the
city's waste. Today the canals constitute the principal
green of the centre, and the boot-tours offer mosses
of tourists on opportunity of appreciating the beauty of ils
orchiteclure from on exclusive viewpoint. But they also
represented o possibility of gaining quite o lot of extto
space o possibility that hod on especially strong appeal
in the days when urban expansion was o lop priority, for
they were seen os providing a solution to the traffic
problems which assumed such gigantic proportions in the
1950s and 1960s. Many canals in Holland were filled in
at that lime, which meant that irreparable damage was
done to many Dutch towns and cities. In Amsterdam the
damage was restricted to o number of radial canals
fortunately the unique semi-circular layout of the main
canals was not tampered with. House-boots ore still
tolerated in some of the canals because the authorities ore
owore of their importance os substitute dwell ings in o time
of severe housing shortage. But they would like to gel rid
of them altogether os soon os possible, because they hove
no conception of how this informal and constantly
changing variety contributes Ia the liveliness of tne city
especially where the general appearance of the city is
dominated by formal, dignified architecture, os along
Amsterdam's canals.
However, when we look at old photographs, we see that
the canals presented o much busier and untidier picture in
the lost century due to the trading business that took place
there: the city centre was not only shaped by beautiful
architecture, but equally by the lively and colourful bustle
of activity around the many boots carrying their cargoes
right into the heart of the city.
The cityscape changes fastest of all with the seasons,
especially along the canals where the trees creole o
completely different spatial effect in summer than in
winter, when they ore bore. Then the different ore
sharply silhouetted against the sky, forming on almost
graphic delimitation of the urban space. And fin ally there
is of course the dramatic change of appearance when the
canals freeze and the emphasis shifts from the streets
lining the canals to the icy centre dotted with skaters. On
those relatively rare occasions both the otmospnere and
the sense of space changes completely for a while.
'The desire to create on environment that con be put to
various uses con sometimes be stimulated by specific local
circumstances. In Mexcoltiton, o village situated in the
Son Pedro river, Mexico, the periodical changes in the
water level due to the heavy rainfall in late summer
transform the street temporarily into canals, so that the
whole place undergoes a veritable metamorphosis.
Anuterdom 1672/
G. von Betl:heyde
m uo
life in the village is wholly determined by these natural
conditions. The streets continue lo serve lor troHic ond
transportation equally eHiciently, albeit in dillerent
'aggregate' stoles, with eoch fully exploiting the specific
usage potential' .(4)
112 l1l ESTAGEt, fiANCE (llVlS)
nl m 'Many rivers flowing into the Mediterranean change
considerably In volume over the year, depending on the
season. In Estogel near Perpignan it is the Agly river thot
appears ond vanishel depending on the season: either it
is non-existent or it rushes post along the river-
bed. But even when it is dry the river dominates the small
town. During dry periods tne river-bed in the town - o
cement trench - becomes port of the public space and
oHers the local children o special playground of their
own. A gutter running in the centre of the river-bed
96 lOt SIDO!ItS ll U !HitHIUl!
collects the rainwater from the streets: this drain is to the
river what the river is to the town, it is o miniature version,
both in terms of size and in terms of lime, with periods of
dryness alternating with the flow of water. To the children
it is an enhancement of their playground - to them it is o
river in ih own right, with all the excitement and
sometimes problems that o river brings with it.' [4)
0UDE GtACHT, UTRECHT (11t.llll
In Utrecht the natural difference in level between street
and canol has yielded on extraordinary and very effective
profi le. Already in the fourteenth century goods used to be
transported in barges over the conols; they were loaded
and unloaded on the quay-sides in front of the storage
spoces below street level. These storage spaces, or
warehouses, continue under the street to form the
basement of the shops situated on the street above. The
merchandise could thus quite easily be raised or lowered
via o simple vertical connection with the quay-side. At one

spot there w ~ a sloping tunnel through which horse-
drown carts could get from the street to the quay ond vice
verso, for transportation to locations elsewhere in the
When the old practice of tronsportotions over water was
!fr- ' - -
discontinued, these quays lost their original function, until
in recent years they started to serve as terraces for coles
ond restaurants located in the former warehouses, the
Iotter having been lor the most port sectioned off from ,the
shops obove when the transportation of merchandise
ceased to go over water, leaving the quay-sides largely
So nowadays the old quays hove been put to use again,
albeit differently, and when the weather is fine they ore
once again crowded with people. They ore indeed
exceptionally well situated, along the conols where shelter
from wind and traffic noise is provided by the storey-high
quay walls. Also the distance between these walls on
either side of the canol, with the quay-sides below street
level along the water, is very favourable lor o pleasantly
proportioned location. The bend in the canol at this point
only enhances the space, giving ito pleasing
enclosedness without obstructing the view.
finally (and who could hove designed this) there ore
lovely trees growing on this lower level, which naturally
contribute more than onylhing else to the unique ond
pleosont atmosphere of this port of the old city centre.
Although this profile wos thus created lor specifically
urbon purposes, it hos now, o century later, been
transformed, without ony fundamental changes being
necessary, into on entirely different kind of place. It is
easy to imagine the scene when the water in the canals
freezes over, providing a natural skating rink. The quay-
sides then become the perfect place to tie on one' s skates,
while the street above becomes the domain of spectators.
This transformation provides yet more proof of just how
much this type of urban form con accommodate, in such o
way as to be appropriate to each situation os it arises.
And although the scale is much forger, the bonks of the
Seine in Paris offer comparable conditions. The clochords
ll .. l m
m 210 llt
231 m 238
hove hod to give up their troditionol haunts under the
bridges: o traffic artery has now claimed this marginal
zone by the
The viaduct was built for the railway, os in so many cities
where traffic arteries enter on urban agglomeration. The
72 arches were filled with whatever come in handy. The
vioducl served os o sort of framework, o stri ng of clearly
defined comportments, that could be filled in ot will.
The viaduct itself remains largely unchanged, much as it
always was and as il con remain o permanent structure
always ready to accommodate new purposes which in
their turn odd new meanings to the surroundings. It is
quite remarkable how little notice the fillings seem to toke
. . '
of the semi-circular shape of the frame hardly a
convenient shape for buildings ond apparently oHering no
incentive to create o specific counter.form. As if it were
the most obvious thing in the world, all the arches were
filled in with buildings which were constructed on the
some principles as o free-standing house. The viaduct
itself did not serve os a starting-point or source of
inspiration, but nor was it apparently felt as o hindrance;
even the narrow side-streets were able to pursue their
course straight through the long stone obstacle, which
itself both penetrates and is penetrated by the urban
fabric. Now that it is no longer used for trains it has been
designated os a promenade, leading to the new opera
building on the site of the former Gore de Vincennes.
These days the arches sport identical fronts, in perfect
ottunement with the current civilized and conventional
ideas on order and orderliness. And so o unique urban
monument has hod to cede to a standard solution.
. '
- .. j
. . '
V'- of viaaud Of>
the ~ Rombouillel
with Fotmtr
Gore de lo 8osHUe
{1859}; lfle now
~ r o now sloMis





-. -



.. ,. .
. . ....._
, .
;.._-- !-"-
"' J jr." .
6 ._. D .. -... ... -

. r

r: f '
J _________ _. _._ --- .--....----!--.. 1
. ' .

. ...
.._ ..
. .. .. . . . ... .. .

Under the heading 'An emperor's home becomes a lawn
lor 3000 people in Split' the architect Bakemo wrote
about the ruins of this Roman palace, which still
constitutes the nucleus ol Split today lfotVm, 219621
What were once ports of the poloce structure now serve
os walls lor dwellings. What were once niches ore now
rooms, and what were once holts of the palace ore now
dwellings, and everywhere you con still see fragments that
recoil the original function of the structures. This enormous
building, being wholly absorbed by the surrounding city,
was capable of serving o new and different purpose, with
the city being able to accommodate itsell lully to the given
form. What we see here is o metamorphosis the original
structure is still present inside, but the way the old hos
been swallowed up by the new makes one wonder what
- ~
would be l e ~ struclurolly speaking, if one were to
subtract the later fillings. The process is irreversible the
palace is there all right, inside, but it cannot be recolledl
Nor Is II conceivable that, under different circumstances, a
completely different way of adopting to what is left of the
original structure will ever be realized; at any rote what is
left of the structure does not offer the slightest suggestion
of that ever happening.
The example of Split is especially interesting in thot II
demonstrates the divorcement of form ond function so
dearly, and it is worth mentioning here because, already
in 1962, it was o source of inspiration lor our way of
thinking about orchitecturoJ forms such os omphitheotres
although the Iotter, unlike the palace in Split, not only
permitted new forms of usage but even evoked such new
applications by virtue of their specific shape and structure.
749 lSO
'The amphitheatre of Aries wos used os a fortress in the
Middle Ages; then it was filled in with bui ldings ond wos
inhabited os o town until the nineteenth century.
The amphitheatre of Lucca was absorbed by the town and
at the some lime kept open os o public square. Within the
nameless urban fabric the oval space is a landmark, it
lends its nome and identification to the surroundings.
The two omphitheolres, constructed for the some purpose,
assumed different roles under changed circumstances.
Each took on the colour of the new environment which
oreJ>Cs ol Nimes ond Aries, lronsformed
/,"f., homlen, wnll tho remains ol
tho ,...., Golfo.Romon ll>wns - abandoned 10
!he lizards ond the snohs- thor 91-.s us o good
icl1>0 of u.bon cloleriD<OhDII olter rho faN of
Rome. At Nimes lho Wislgoths lronsfortnecllho jnfn o mi m-4own of two t11o11.sond
inllobitonll, which one enr.rod throogh ltwr
gales ot lht four cardinol points were CO<lslrucsoci insiclelhe orono
The 1<1me was lruo ol Ar/oJ, lite oronos become
/Michel Ro9on quoting lrom Pierre lovedon,
'Hiskli11 de /'urbonismo, onliquill- rnoyon Ago',
Paris 1926}
absorbed it and which was absorbed by it, the
environment in its turn also being coloured by the ancient
structure in its centre. Not only were they thus token lor
granted in their new form as on integral port olthe urban
fabric, they also provided that urban fabric with on
identity. The oval structure and the surroundings proved,
in both cases, capable of transforming each other. These
ovals represent on orchetypol form in this case that of
the enclosed space, on interior, a Iorge room whidt con
serve os work-place, playground, public square ond place
to live. The originollunclion is forgotten, but the omphi
theatre-shape retains its relevance because it is so sugges-
tive os to offer opportunities lor constant renewal.' 11)
These omphitheotres succeed in maintaining their identity
os enclosed spaces, while their content is subject to
change. The some form could therefore temporari ly
assume different oppeoronces under changing
circumstances, without the structure itself essentially
changing. Besides, the Aries example now that this
arena hos been restored to its original state- shows that
this kind of process of transformation is basically
reversible. A more convincing instance of 'competence'
and ' performance' in architecture is hard to imagine. And
the fact that these two omphitheotres ore not identical only
underscores the polemic quality of the situation: lor just as
the autonomy of the oval form is emphasized by the
proceu ol tronslormotion, so the form as 'archetype'
imposes itself almost inescapably.
The examples, and that will be given
in the following, give rise to a number of conclusions:
In all these examples the multiple purposes that
the original structure allowed for were not
deliberately or intentionally built into the structure. It
is, rather, their intrinsic 'competence' that enables
them to different functions under different
circumstances, and thus to play a different role
within the city as a whole.
It is certainly not tnle that there is always one
specific form that fits one specific purpose. So there
are fot ms which not only various
interpretations, but which can actually evoke these
interpretations under chonging circumstances. So you
could "'Y that the variety of solutions must hove
bHn contained in the form as inherent propositions.
Matenal com dt ei au tor
In none of these cases does the actual structure
change under the lnfluence of its new function and
thiJ is a crucial point: the form is capable of adoptlft9
itself to a variety of functions and af auuming a
variety of appearances, while remaini ng es.sentiolly
t he aame.
The degree in which a form accommodates
different lnterpretation1 passively or evokes those
interpretations actively because it is in itself
suggestive (as in the case of the arenaJ) varies from
one situation to another.
The main form which we called structure is
collective by nature, it is usually controlled by o
governing body, ond is essentially public. Control
aver the uses to which it Is put ranges from mare
public to more private, depending on the commercial
interesn involved.
Situations which ore more or leu permanent are
utuoUy accompanied by the construction of
extension or further subdivisions in themselves
often whole edifices In their own right. Chang .. of
function can take place in the course of very long
periods, of a few years, a -n, a week, or they take place daily.
The thorter the duration of a particular situation the
leu permanent the nature of the extensions or
adjustment will be, and in the cote af doily usage
they may even disappear completely from one day to
the next. There is an important distinction therefore
between cases In which adjustments or e.xtensions
are octucdly canstruded, and case in which the
'filling' relates exclusively to temporary usage, which
are therefore more like ' software' . In the following
examples the emphaais is on mare temporary
adjustments, such as those which daily usage calls
Amphlth110tre Weco,
Amphirh.otro Alles,
TEMPLES, BAll .m m
Unlike the centrohstic emphom on o single, dominating
monument as m the Christian world. Hinduism, as
practised on Boli, is chorocleri:ted by multiple centres of
otlenhon, wh1cn lmds express1on n what you might coli o
decenlroP;:oHon of ceremonial sites There ore thousands
of temples spread out all over the slond, alone ond in
There ore multiple levels of oUenhon both .n terms of
spoce and an terms of hme, depending on the nature of
the celebration the veneration of on ancestor, ceremonies
relohng to o good harvest and so on. The use of the
different temples is bound up with specific occasions, so
that not oil the temples ore used otthe some time but
there is olwoys somethmg going on in some of them. The
temples, whach vary '" s1ze from small pieces of furniture
to small houses, ore sometimes mode ol stone, but usually
104 li550KS 101 51101115 ~ UCHII!IIIt!
they consist of o sort of open stall with o sophisticated
wooden construction and lhotdaed roofs on o stone bose.
They ore, essentially, rather like lree-slondong covered
oltors ;O the open oir, dotting the landscape. You come
across disused temples, of which lillie more than the
skeleton sionds empty stalls one or more of which ore
then, suddenly, furnished and decorated with beautiful
dropenes with objects mode of bamboo ond palm leavel,
and other attributes belongong Ia specific occasions, and
always with offerings Eoch mdlvtduoltemple therefore
functions as o sort of framework which is elaborated and
furntshed, whenever neceuory, woth the proper elements
lo specify the porticulor occasion thai requires
observance So eoch temple permals temporary
oppropriotion to o specifiC end, it is dressed up as il
were, to assume o certain role, oher which It is allowed
lo revert to its orrgmol, posstve slate
Of course this is o simplification of the octuol situation,
because you also find temples thot contain several smaller
temples, which in turn contain even smaller ones -
structures within structures - which might well indicate
differences In the relation to o specific ancestor between
individuals vis ci vis the community.
And os if oil this is not enough, long rows of wome11
suddenly oppeor, coming from oil sides and bearing toll
multi-(oloured burdens on their heads: offerings of rice,
coconut and sugar in on incredible var iety of shapes and
coloun. All the offerings ore placed in the lillfe temples by
way of o fini shing and edible touch: the most transient
and softest component in a sequence of attributes ranging
from 'hardware' to 'software' .
When the ceremony is over and the gods hove received
the offerings, the edible offerings ore token home again,
where they ore consumed, and any leftovers ot the temple
ore eaten by dogs. This rnoy strike the western, rational
mind os somewhat contradictory alter oil, you either
give food to the gods or you eo! it yourself bui in o less
literal and perhaps more intelligent sense it is possible to
do both: once the religious transaction has been effected
the offering is just o tasty tidbit lor the people and the
dogs. So one and the some object con evidently perform
several roles, in this case ot different limes when, os here,
It is given o ritual interpretation on certain occasions only
to be divested of that content when the occasion has
passed, and thus to return from the extraordinary to the
lll 118
ordinary. In Christian churches oil the religious
appurtenances retain their sacred importance ot oil times,
even when the church is not in use. In the western world it
is inconceivable that o house of worship should become o
place where children ploy hide-and-seek, os in Bali where
the children regularly turn Jhe temples into their
playground. An oltor lor o climbing-frame it is hard to
imagine. People in the West ore perhaps not imaginative
enough, and it is not very efficient either, to hove to
construct climbing-frames os well os oilers, os if God
would object to children climbing over his altars no, in
this port of the world we wont to keep everything neat
and tidy and in its proper place, so there must be no
confusion concerning meanings.
Rockefeller Plozo, the small sunken public square in the
middle of Rockefeller Centre in Monhollen tokes on o
completely different appearance in summer and in winter.
In the winter there ore the skaters, and in the summer
months the lee makes way foro terrace with plenty of
seats among plonh and parasols. This clearly defined
space offers every opportunity lor exploiting the changing
circumstances of the different seasons to the lull.
COlUMBIA UNtvusrrr, NEw YORK 12611
Monumental fli ghts of steps ore o staple feature of
buildings which ore intended to emanate o sense of
importance, and thus to evoke on attendant sense of
respect and owe from oil who enter. In this case the
building is o library, the nerve-centre of o university, o
temple where knowledge is stored. And here the owe-
inspiring entrance does not in any way invite o casual
ond spontaneous visit, while anyone who hos difficulty
106 I I S S ~ 5 fOi mDUIS IX U(HIIICml
walking is firmly discouraged. So it is by no means o
welcoming library!
It is as if anyone wishing to partake of that knowledge
must be mode to feel that something is expected of him in
return. But however imposing the steps were intended to
be, the photograph shows thotthey con be used quite
Informally, too, rather like o grandstand, il the occasion
arises, e.g. when o speech is delivered. So here the
architecture proves to function quite differently than
expected, and even, os in this case with the students
turning their bocks to the library, to serve o completely
contrary purpose.
On the level of form these steps derive their importance
wholly from the uses to which they ore put, and that some
importance con, under the influence of the specific use
that is mode of the steps, turn into its opposite, as we see
It would not be diHicult to cite mora examples of how
a larg.eK-ole form can, quite unintentionally, permit
diHerent Interpretations, but what we are concerned
with here are the potential applica.tions of the
established principle. If an architect is capable of fvlly
grasping the implications of the distinction between
structure and fllllng, or in other words between
'competence' and ' performance', he can arTive at
solutions with a grecrter potential value as regards
applicability I.e. with more space for interpretation.
And because the time foetor Is incorporated in hia
solutions: with more space for time. While on the one
hand structure stands for what is collective, the way in
which it m-oy be interpreted, on the other hand,
represents individual requirements, thu1 r.c:onclling
individual and collective.
awu mu. IIH115 mu 107
Unlike in the previou1 exomple1, we are now
concerned not in the first place with the
interpretation over time, but with the diversity of
individual interpretations which will be able ta coincide
in time, thereby con1tituting one whole, thanks ta a
structure that, as a common denominator so ta speak,
reconciles the diversity af individual forms of
'147 'lo ,;tfe
Rodieose', Paris
1933/ le Corbvsltt
.. -t
................... !
....... ___ ,......
, ........ - ............... _..,.. __ "- ......
__ ............... .... ._.,.__
................ _,......_,. __
.............. ....... , .................... , ........ r.
_._,. __ .. ...... .......... .,... _.......
-- -s.. ...a.- I .. - -" ... -......,_
..-..-t.. ....,........., __ .. ................... ....
:l -:1 Sl . J
The ordering mechanism contained in the following
examples brings a variety of images to mind. Let us
take the image of a fabric such as that constituted by
warp and weft. You could say that the warp
establishe.s the basic ordering of the fabric, and in
doing so creates the opportunity to achieve the
greate1t possible variety a nd colourfulness with the
The warp must and foremost be strong and of the
correct tension, but as regards colour it needs merely
ta serve as a base. It is the weft that gives colour,
pattern and texture ta the fabric, depending on the
imagination of the weaver. Warp and weft make up an
indivilible whole, the one cannot exist without the
other, they give each other their purpose,
The ideo underlying this elongated megoslructure which
follows the coostline like o ribbon, is to combine o
molorwoy and living occommodolion. Above and
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Matertal com d1 e110s autor
underneath the motorwoy there ore stocked Floors
constituting ortiliciol building-sites. Dwelling units con be
constructed on these sites by individual owners in any
You could coli this construction of 'sols ortificiels' o bearer
(le Corbusler himself used the term superstrucluret, and it
would obviously hove lo be built in o single operotion os
port of the molorwoy, and by the stole. The drawing
shows that le Corbusler envisaged, on paper ol any role,
the greatest variety imaginable. And certainly in 1930, in
the heyday of the Modern Movement and Functionalism in
architecture, this was absolutely revolutionary, even if he
hod somewhat noive notions obout troflic, os some later
commenlolors hove contended. Buill was o most
extroordinory vision, which even today, more thon fifty
years loter, inspires more orchiteds than ore prepared to
admit ill
a.. Corbusier' s plan for Algiers is the key to our trai n of
thought, inasmuch as it proposes, explicitty, thot the
individual Oupanh are offered the opportunity, by
virtue of the strength of the megcutructure itself, to
creote their homes exa<tly as they themselves wish, or
according to the ideas of 'their own' architects. While
the colledive strvcture in fact only indicates the spatial
Umits of each individual dweiUng, the d-ltings
together determine the appearance of the whole.
Such a 'superstructure' creates the conditions, on the
collectlw level, for a n exceptional freedom on the part
of the individual inhabitants.
The drawing which is, incldentolly, one of the most
evocative that a.. Corbusler ever mode shows that the
most divergent designs and construction methods con
coexist harmoniously, and that it is the megastructure
thot nat only makes this diversity possible, but

moreover makes the complu as a whole infinitely
richer than any one architect, however Ingenious, could
ever make it. But that is not aU the drawing shows
that, with such a structure, the greater the diversity in
the parts, the better the quality of the whole! So choos
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and order do seem to need one a nother.
n.. drawing ai.JO shows .JOme run-of-the-mill
dwellings, popular housing (I) of the type thcrt crlwcrys
appecrrs in a 5yst.m in which the people themselves
have no soy in the design and construction of the
houses they live ln. In Le Corbusler's drawing these
dwellings do not occupy a prominent position vis a vis
the exuberance around them, and they seem to be no
more than a curious reminder of days gone by. But this
type of mau housing Is the reality that we encounter
time and again, and Indeed It is one of the most basic
problems that confront us. People todcry do not seem
to have a ny idea how to give expression to their own
way of living.
But there Is no reason to auume that the capadty to
express oneself In a per.JOna l way in form is essential
ly any diHerent from the capacity to expreu oneself
personally In language. And if we do not seem to be
capable of this any more, then we mcry reasonably
assume thot the Impotence of architecture today is
ccrused by a very serious disruption of social relations.
Man housing, which is superficially In actordance with
our industrial circumstances, derives its dominant
position from the mechanism af mono-cultural
behaviour which governs our society. The lea st an
architect can do In a situation like this is to provide the
outlines of images that will show ways of rousing the
people from this condition of numbness.
As close a s Le Corbusier' s proposal ( 1932) brings us to
on apparently obvious solution, so far ore we removed
from it today. Even the smallest steps in that direction
soon prove to conflict fundamentally with the
consequences of our institutiona liud centralized
society, and we do not get much neorer to the
realiza tion of our plans. But those few times that we
do succeed ot least give us an opportunity of
demonstrating the principle, albeit in a more
theoretical than practical wcry.
I .,.
I would like to mention Habraken's contribution in this
context, which in o sense fits in with whot le Corbusier
hod in mind when he made his plan for Algiers. Hobraken
tried, in theory otleast, to arrive at a basis on which,
using the industrial apparatus that is at our disposal,
people can be offered much more freedom in their choice
ol haw they wont lo live. The bearers, specially designed
skeletal units provided by the state complete with the
basic tednicol neceHities, con serve as construclion sites
on which people con build prefabricated houses or port ol
houses which ore marketed by any number of firms.
Since the inhabitant con pick the type of house that he
likes out of o ronge of possibilities, and since he con hove
certain adjustments mode to suit his taste, he is thus again
actively involved in the process, in the result of which he
currently has no soy.
But problems immediately arise because here too the
houses soon become wholly commercialized, and
therefore subject to the vicissitudes of competition ond
marketing mechanisms. And that means that they will be
attuned to the lowest common denominator that of
mediocrity and so we ore right bock where we started.
What makes the proposal interesting is the attempt to
create the conditions for o more sensible and efficacious
exploitation ol the industrial potential that our society has
so much of. Every one of us asks himself from time to time
why houses cannot be produced like cars, and, from a
technological viewpoint, it is very hard to understand why
we all hove such o problem with houses.
The answer is less simple that the question, but one thing
is cleor: it is especially the problem of siting with its
infinite diversity of requirements and rules thot conflict
with all repetition, which is the mainstay of modern
technology. II only you could divorce the house itself os a
problem from thot of the ' building site', which the stote
could provide as a sophisticated urban framework, then in
theory at leost one ol the twentieth century's dreoms could
come true. But the very lew oHempts that hove been made
to realize thot dreom hove not succeeded in producing a
autor" s
fraction of the poetic image thotle Corbusier conjured up
for us more than fifty years ago.
Houseboats, usually moored dose to each other in dusters
ot the order of the authorities, ore in Holland the most
conspicuous example of (odmitledly permonentl
accommodation in which the inhabitants still hove o Iorge
soy and this has resulted, especially in terms of ex1ernol
oppeoronce, in o richly diversified situation.
This freedom of expression is undoubtedly due to the
absence of o traditional, official form and appearance of
houseboats. from the outset the nature of this
phenomenon wos established by home-mode s o u t ~ o n s to
the housing problem.
That this did not really lead to chaotic situations and the
general untidiness that authorities ore so afraid of is, no
doubt, because the overall shape and size of houseboats
is based on the barges on lop of which they ore built, and
which do not vary much. Besides, they ore oil moored
lengtnwise too quay-side, from which they get their
water, gos ond electricity. So these houseboats represent
free and personal interpretations of essentially standard
elements which ore connected with the public amenities ol
permanent moorings.
In places where conglomerations of houseboats constitute
entire floating neighbourhoods, usually on the outskirts of
the cities, jetties hove often been built by way of public
facility: o minimal spine which provides boslc necessities
such os access and energy. It is this 'publ ic spine' that
aligns the diversity, so to speak, and thus introduces o
certain order.
You could imagine plonnmg Rooting residential
neighbourhoods in oreo.s with o lot of water, even entire
cities on the water, with o network of boordwolh instead
- -
of streets providing the infrastructure. The dwelling units in
such o settlement on the water would then be for more
varied in appearance than would ever be possible in our
ordinary towns ond cities on land. And whot o sense of
freedom, to know that you con now ond then move your
houseboat to o diHerent spot, for instance when you wonl
to be in o specific neighbourhood for one reason or
another. (This ideo arose in connection with o pion for
urban renewal in the centre of Amsterdam in 1970, so
that people who hod to vocate their homes temporarily for
renovation could move too houseboat in o canol nearby
and therefore not hove to leave thei r familiar environment
ogoinsl their wi ll.)
IUU6 Hl(!, l1 Uil6 SUH
' t::l
Only an open grid has been designed, no more than a
street pattern and the basic parcell ing. The houses border,
essentially, on lwo streets, and con therefore hove lwo
front doors: the danger of excessive social control is thus
avoided (should it hove arisen ogoin through the
emphasis on community spirit).
So the expectation i s that the different street, each derive
their own specific character from the inhabitants and from
their activi ties, so that o wide variety of solutions will
manifest themselves within a pattern of identically laid<Jut
Front and bock of the parcel ore made suitable for
construction, by the i nhabitants themselves, of extensions
to the house such as a garage, shed, workspace, an extra
room, a garden room, or a small shop. To make this
easier low walls ore erected at either end on the
borderline between the parcels, as an encouragement and
reminder to the inhabitants of what they con undertake
The street space is constituted by the whole to which each
inhabitant makes his or her contribution: the space that
the inhabitants leave and make for each other. In the
street the mutual dependency that already governed the
delimitation of the private areas becomes the prime factor,
and indeed it should be possible lor the inhabitants
themselves to take any decisions that concern them
collectively as inhabitants of the some street. (4)
112 l i S S ~ S lOt SIUO!W 1 HUtiHIUt l
Since the Interaction belween people manifests itself in the
street, one con conceive of the neighbourhood centre as o
street capable of accommodating o variety of potential
accretions, depending on the specific needs that ari se and
on the available resources. The neighbourhood centre
should be planned in such a way that it can evolve over the
years, by virtue of its adaptability to specific needs; in
other words it should always be possible to add new
elements and to alter or even demolish them in accordance
wi th changing needs.
We therefore started out from what one might call a spine,
a street with a transparent roof and at right angles to a
number of walls marking off intermedi-ate zones belween
the central $treet and future accretions. However chaotic
the complex of components moy be, the spinal street must
transform the whole into a permanently ordered chaos. If
l llllllil
1 11111111
Mat nal c-om d 1 1 autor" s
space is required foro speciol occasion (i.e. temporarily!
sucn OS celebrations, fairs, exhibitions, it h often much
beMer to improvise with installations such os marquees,
shelters, hongors, stalls and the like. These offer many more
possibilities than permanent structures, which tend to be
either just too small or for too big, ond which eliminate the
element of surprise. For more permanent accommodation
use con be mode of prefabricated constructions readily
available on the market, such os those lor building-site
sheds, offices or hangars. The point is then for the
inhabitonb to creole their environment themselves, ond in
thi1 process architects cannot do otherwise than to hand the
inhabitants the oppropriole tools. This project, o typical
product of the early seventies, raises quite o few quedions
now that the result hos turned out to be not completely
solisfoctory. II Is evidentlhotthe usen were unable to live
up to what we hod expected of them. They proved unable
to do very much more than order complete prefobrlcoted
building components, hove them put up ond do some
pointing. h ~ 'light-street' has developed into o shapeless
moss. Apparently the street with wolfs as o formal motif
was not strong enough to withstand the impact of the cross
structures (the 'weft'), let alone to generate them as was
originally intended.
Although this project certainly combined a Iorge variety of
elements and may well in many respecls be lermed a
succen from the viewpoint of o group venture in the neigh
bourhood itself, this is by no means manifest ot the level of
formal unity. What individuals achieve in their private
surroundings is not necessarily achieved by a group in o
communal space. The project is on illustration of what
happens, if too much freedom is given to the user. The
result is disappointing compared with the greater spatial
possibilities that on architect might hove offered them.
I t '
111 111 no
An underpass running beneath a wide traffic artery
constituted on important port of the sunken pedestrian
network which was to link the city-centre with the railway
This, at any rote, was what the Apeldoorn planner hod in
mind at the time when the Centrool Seheer building was
being designed, and there was every reason then to
connect this future pedestrian route to the building. The
ideo arose to make the underpass extra wide, so that it
could be used for more than just pedestrian traffic. In this
way it would be possible not only to ovoid the desolation
which so often characterizes such tunnels, but moreover
this construction, as o public amenity, could provide
accommodation for institutions requiring space but unable
to pay commercial rents, such as youth activity centres,
rehearsal space for theatre groups, etc., as well as for
marginal sell ing. But why not also consider the possibility
of o covered m arkell
The experience with covered public spoces shows that this
ideo is not real istic, and like the urban plan, it hinges on
overestimation of what is feasible.
In sum the plan amounted to the following: rather than

114 l! SSOMS 101 StUDU IS ll lHHIII<IUIE
using the wide spans that ore commonly featured in
underpasses with o view to restricting the number of
necessary points of support, a Iorge number of columns
were to be used relatively Iorge columns, so that they
might serve, without further adjustment, as the
demarcation of more or less enclosed spatial units,
corners, niches, in short of such compartmentalization as
might be required. lEach column actually consists of two
separate smaller columns enclosed by o wall, which in
turn con accommodate additional niches or display
windows). The ideo was to demonstrate that by adopting
the straightforward disposition of massive 'adhesive'
columns, aligned with the walking direction, the
suggestion would emanate from them that they should be
put to use in other words, that the construction material
should be ordered in such a way as to ensure a maximum
of competence.
- -
- -=j --- -=
-----;;:-- - 1
1at n I com dt auo
The structural design of this residential neighbourhood,
smell in scale end only portly built os yet, is not based on
principles of construction but on the nature of the actual
building site. Centuries ego the oreo was ortificiolly
divided by o parcelling system consisting of long parallel
ditches o traditional chorocleristic of the local
landscape, which was to be preserved at all costs.
It is common practice in the Netherlands to prepare
unsuitable construction sites lor building by first depositing
o bed of sand several metres thick to serve os the
foundation for roods. drains, etc.; this naturally erases
every trace olthe underlying landscape, thereby
providing o dean slate, upon which on entirely abstracted
pion con be realized regardless of the nature of the
terrain. But in this cose, grateful use was mode of the
'notutol' orticulotion of the site upon which to bose the
urban pion.
The main outline of the plan wos to build on the narrow
strips between the ditches, and because ihe strips were
not wide enough to accommodate o street lined on both
sides with dwellings end gardens, the buildings were
slotted together, which yielded o profile of very narrow
streets threading partially overlapping structures.
Thonb to this solution It was possible to keep the space
required for the sond foundation and the infrastructure of
streets and drains down to the barest minimvn, i.e. as for
removed os pouible from the ditches [or rather little
conob) in order to prevent transgression of the bonks due
to lateral pressure. This specific layout was thus wholly
engendered by the restrictions and possibilities of the
original site.
The ditches or little conols were thus retained in the plan;
the bonh were reinforced according to varying methods,
and where they mark the end of private gardens they
hove token on o variegated appearance under the
influence of their new function. Not only did the existing
articulation end parcelling of the landscape yield o highly
specific layout in this case, the resulting orchitedure in
turn gave the ditches o new look.
Thus the basic structure played o crucial role in the
disposition of the buildings, and vice verso: basic
structure and buildings reciprocate on the level of form.
In retrospect, one could argue that the plan as il was
realized does not sufficiently manifest the underlying
urbonistic intentions. The main reason for this is aport
114 liS
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from the foctthot the pion hos not reached completion,
that it wos not carried out by more than one architect.
The scale of the project wos too small to permit engaging
more architects, ond unfortunately the truly generative
potential of the basic motif which is ot least manifest in
the ditch embankments was thus not fully uploited with
regard to the buildings themselves.
During the 1960s o number of pions were drown up,
notably in the circles of Teom X, in which the principle of
distinction between structure ond complement wos already
emphatically included. These pions, in which the rigidity
of e .. clusive functions and the ensuing disintegration hos
successfully been eliminated, con indeed be seen os
anticipating and inspiring what we might now coli
structuralism in architecture.
This project, In the original version, proposed o formula
for the woy o modern university could be spatially
organized as o network of interrelationships ond
opportunities lor communicolion. Instead of starting out
from the usual division into faculties, each os o stronghold
in its own building, with its own library etc., the point of
departure in this building was o single continuous
structure functioning li ke o roofed academic
agglomeration, in which oil the component ports could be
positioned in the most logical relation vis ci vis each other.
And because ideas change over li me also the
interrelationships will change, and with them the different
components; it wos therefore proposed to creole spaces
thol con be erected or dismantled within o fixed ond
permanent network of interior streets.
This is explained in the following statements by Shodroch
Our intention in this pion, is to choose o minimum
organization which provides maximum opportunities lor
lhe kind of contocl, exchange and feed-bock thor is the
real raison d'etre of the university, without compromising
the tranquility of individual work.
We were convinced that it wos necessary to go beyond
the analytic study of dlfferentloculties or activities in
different buildings; we Imagined a synthesis of functions
ond departments where all disciplines could he associated
and where the psychological and administrative barriers
which separate one from the other would not he
reinlormed through architectural orliculolion or the
frogmenlory identification of the ports otthe e .. pense of
the whole .
The web of primary ond secondary circulation and
servicing retains the pouibiliry of modification so that it
con be used efficiently. In the first planning stage il exists
only os on approximate network of rights-of-way. It is built
only os and when if is required to provide circulation and
service. It is not o megostructure but rather o minimum
struchlring organization. This organization keeps its
potential for growth and change, within the limits olthe
technological and economic milieu.
No one of the stems has been given greater importance
than the others, either in dimension or through the
intensiry of activities along it. It is inherent in this plan that
it should begin by being non<entric through use. The
arbitrary decision of on architect as lo the nature and
location of 'centres'wos replaced by the reo/ choice of the
people who use the system'.
JShodroch Woods, World Architecture, london 1965, pp. 113.1141
Woods was certainly addicted Ia 'change and grawtn', to
the ideo that change and growth (and apparently never
diminution, by the way) should be treated os the most
imporlont constants - and tnis is the exact reverse of what
we ore advocating but he has received his due in that
the Free University, as it was eventually built, turned out to
be on ordinary rigid structure oher all.
But there is still every reason to at least toke into
consideration the still relevant and hence undeniably
important basic ideo of o minimal ordering, in this case o
spatial orgonizolion necessary lor optimal interchange
which, on principle, generates freedom of choice In the
way the basic structure is to be fi lled in.

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S. Woods
191 l l3
IIAII!& SP!C!. SPiel 117
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'The street con be regarded os more or leH the oldest
element of urban planning. The street hod always been
the 'living room' of the people. The ideo of pulling the
familiar urban space to use again resulted in this design.
The public space mus/ once more become the selling, with
on Improved spatial organization, foro// the activities il
has been used for since time Immemorial.
Unlike the soc:olled building plan, the proposed zoning
scheme indicates only destinations and accessibilities, but
not the form of the buildings and so on. In this way o
variety of differentiated dwelling Forms ond street spaces
could arise.
The specific Functions of certain oreos might well change
in the future, necessitating certain adjustments which,
however, need not spoil the unity or organization of the
whole. After all there ore, scollerec throughovt the plan,
pedestrian bridges over the motorwoy as well as covered
cross<onnections lor both pedestrians and cars
(depending on the specific demands of different
The built-up area as o whole (consisting of dwelling
structures and street structures etc.} could be viewed as o
great container in whkh the entire age-old gomul of urban
existence con be permitted to take its lomilior, lively
Serious attempts were mode to give the motorcar a filling
role, instead of starling oul from what is best lor the
vehicle. Throughtrollic has been eliminated From the area,
which has already done o lot lo simplify the problem. The
inhabitants of this place will at lost be able Ia walk, ploy,
drive and pork wherever they like, and they will always
know where they belong.' (Stefan Wewerko, 196AI
'This project is, in essence, simply on intensive kind of
plotting of the building site by means of wolllike building
blocks, o grid thot must still be ~ l i e in within o range of
possibilities defined by cerfoin 'rules of the game' .
Openings con be mode in the wolls, they con be inter
rupted altogether to create public spaces or squares, the
heights of the blocks con vary, pedestrian overpossel. con
be mode to link the blocks together, ond so forth. On
confrontolion with this grid a world of possibilities opens
up before the architect' s eyes, in other words the grid is
capable olgeneroting or even of provoking solutions.
WolfS r_,,
197l..S4/S lodio
The constraints of working with the proposed theme
evidently do not hove o reltricting effect but, os
catalyzing agents, octuolly hove o stimulating effect.
So the constraints of the theme in foci result in more
freedom lis it o porodox that freedom and restraint
generate eoch otherf).
Different designers working independently con use the
grid os o ' master pion', which they con complement with
their own specific solutions. In the some woy o greot
variety of programmes con be implemented. Within the
layout, the components con develop according to their
own criteria. The pion as such permits such o variety of
Interpretations that, regardless of whotls substituted end
by whom, the complex os o whole will olwoys hove o
certain order.
The euence is thot the grid con be interpreted on all
levels it merely provides the objective pottem, the
underlying current os it were, the proto-form, which
acquires its true identity by virtue of those very
interpretations that ore given to it, notably by the
programmes that are filled in end the specific woy in
which that is done. Whatever is filled in, it will olwoys be
directed ordered, thot is to soy not ordered in the sense of
'subservience' but rather In the sense of 'inclination' .
The grid functions os o generative framework which
contains within it the basic inclination thot it transmitted to
each solution. And because the grid vests the individual
components with the common inclinotion, not only will the
ports determine the identity of the whole, but conversely
the whole will contribute to the identity of the ports. The
identity of the ports end of the whole will be reciprocally
generative.' (3J
Aport from the uceptional quality of the plam of
Woods and Wewerka as idecu, whcrt - can learn in
particular from them Is thcrt we ahould not concentrate
our attention to the exclusion of all else on change aa
such, but on the structu,. which, in its constancy, is
capable of absortMng change.
In the example given above, the imate of warp and
weft, the collective strvctu,. is therefof. the warp,
into which lndivldual lnterpr.tations cr,. woven as
the weft. tt is the collective structv,., In itself meaning
I Pofols ld4ol,
1879 1912/
foeleut Cloe.ol
MAll" SUCI, liUIMi SPAll 119
little or nothing that evoked the individual
interpre!Gtions, which would not have arisen If the
had not been there. Mot.over it iJ the
strudure that indicate the coh.,.nce without which
th.,. woold only be on mass of
expl'8ftions whk h we call chaos.
The awareness of the ,.,.ssive effects of the
equating of dwelling units In apartment buildings as
large-scale storage systems reached a peak in the
siatles. The consequence was o rGdicol repudiation of
everything that merely referred to systems and order
imposed from abovw. At the same time much
emphoais wo1 ploced on the wealth that iJ the
product of individualexr-saion. Thi11k of Sam
Roclia'a 'Watts Towers', 01 the postman Cheval's
'Palals Ideal', and all the fantastic arch.itecture that
people driven by an extreme commitment aucceeded
in creating with their bore hands! And yet the ideal of
the victory of individual creativity and dedication
over everything that is lmpoaed by the powen that
be is an ovenimplification.
Just as language is necessary to be able to express
ourselves calledively In terms of structure, sa a
collecttv. formal atructure it neceuary to be able to
elQ)rfls oneself in one' s environment.
If there is anything thai comes to the fore out of all
these exetmples it Is surely the paradox that the
restriction of a structuring principle (worp, tpine,
grid) apparently 1'8fultJ not In a diminution but In an
expontion of the possibilitiet of adaptation ond
the,.Jore of the Individual possibilities of expression.
The corred structural theme does nat 1'8ftrict lrudom
but is octuolly >nducive to lreedDml
So the way the structure is filled In Is no more
subservient to the structure tflon the other way round
120 101 HfJmJI ll U!HIIICIUU
I om still thinking In tei'IM of warp and weft: the
warp may welt servw to keep the whole fabric
together, but the ap,.ar-ce of the endproduct is
stif1 determined by the weft.
But not only ore strvctvre and infill equivaleltt, they
ore also and so h.,. the warp and weft
idea no longer appiies in the SGme way that speech
also makH language oncl not only the reverse, they
therefore generate eoth otfler, and the be"er the
quality of each, the less lmportaltt the diatlnction
between the two categories.
VIllA SAVOY, POISSY 192932 / lE (0-8liSIEi rm-lOS)
II is difficult to lind o better example of o 'pion fibre'
than le Corbusier' s Villa Savoye in Poissy: 'Les Heures
Cloires' .
The 'plan fibre' demonstrate$ a consistent of
the new possibilities offered by the application of the
concrete frame.
Characteristic of these early ellamples of free pions
were, besides the free-standing columM, the often
curved walls which almost ostentatiously proclaimed
their liberation from a load-bearing function. When
confronted with such a concrete framework you
inevitably expect the columns to be dispersed according
lo some regular arrangement governed by constructive
criteria. and at first sight you ore inclined to think that
they are arranged as indicated in lig.a, but this is not
the case ot all.
It is possible thotle Corbusier did indeed start out from
such o regular system, but that in the process of his
design he must hove felt the urge not only to adopt the
walls to the positions of the columns, but conversely also
to shill the columns vis a vis the wolfs, in order thus to
obtain the correct configuration. By virtue of the
Mat t COrT' d

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r --...

condi tions that the walls and column$ offer, both systems
allow room lor each othe1, and so they neote the
conditions of freedom in each other. The building, like o
white machine, o spaceship from another plonetlonded
in the midst of nature, represents like no other the
mechanism of twentieth-century architecture.
- - - - ~ - - ,
1111111111 1.1 -
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301 301
Pion, Tlmgod, Algeria
T11e principle of minimal ordering of the city by a grid
such as the gridiron has been known ever since town
planning was invented. In towns that did not evolve
thanks to a suc"uion of events in a gradual process
of growth, but developed oc:cording to a preconceived,
fixed pion, the need - felt time and again,
wflenever the locol circumstances did not automatically
provide self .. vident incentive for tome kind of
ordering, for tomething in the -y of a grid: o
'blueprint' for what was to be done next. Whatever the
primary point of departure in eoc:h spec.ific cate, there
ore variations on the tame theme to be found
throughout history which guorontee in a single formula
the conditions of land distribution, alto on o larger
tcale or in a longer term, and the accessibility of each
plot of land. The stortingpoint is nearly always
rectangular or square plots: streets encloting blocks
whoM dimensions correspond with the constrvction
method which is envisaged, although they could in
principle be filled in o variety of ways, the nature of
the filling depending on the nature of the period in
which it Is required.
lldefonso Cerda' s pion for Barcelona in the ~ o n hall of
the neneteenth century was aimed ot ensuring o higher
quality than that offered by a primary ordering of streeb
and blocks within which one could do pretty much os one
pleased. The size of the square$ wos e$toblished by him
in relation to certain heights of construction in order thus
to guarantee adequate living conditions everywhere. He
also proposed thor port of the blocks should be kept free
from buildings.
Nothing come of this in the plan as it was realized
because, os is so often the case, the exigencies of living
conditions were no match for the for greater power of the
landowners and exploiters. Cerd6's proposal foro
building principle consisti ng of strips that could alternate
in direction per block, simple as it may seem, created
virtually inexhaustible possibil ities for variation, which
would lead to on inc redibly rich pattern of urban space.
And this not only applies to the volumes on the abstract
level, there is also the alternation with greenery which in
itself constitutes on organizing foetor in defining ond
varying the space. And we hove not even referred to the
further elaboration of the bloch by dillerent orchitecl$,
' ' . " . ..
. .
.... . . ' ..
. .. . : '
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. ' . . . . . ' .
: 0 0
. . .. . .
0 '.
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each with his own signature, which would outomoticolly
ensure that no two places within this lucid, coherent
system would be identical.
The most ingenious aspect of this pion is that the corners
ore always well-defined, and that these 'cornerstone'
buildings consistently loce the intersecting streets with o
The lour diagonals widen each
intersection to form o small square, which thus provide o
welcome relief from the monotony ol the long streets.
Even in the form in which this pion was ultimately
realized, with closed block siting ond much toller
buildings than originally intended, the eRect of this corner
arrangement on the layout os o whole h sti ll noticeoble,
suggestive as it wos for architects - and not least lor
Goudi to deport from the rigidity of the most obvious

. . .
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Coso Milo, 1906- I 0/ A. Go !XII
MUtW' mu. llUI4 123
l tt m
In the rapidly developed Iorge American cities we find the
gridiron applied in ils most elementary form and will! the
most characteristic results. II is hard to imagine a better
way to tome the wild collection of architectural forms
ranging from flat structures to skyscrapers whicn is
almost impossible to curb in this world of inexorable free
Manhattan is undeniably tile most exciting example of all.
Not only does one see the most fascinati ng range of
architectural solutions pass before one' s eyes like a
greatly varied landscape, but due to the curiously
elongated shape of the peninsula one is constantly aware
of two contradictory features: on the one hand the wide
streets along the longitudinal axis whicn ore so long that
you con see tile vonlsning point on the horizon, and on
the other, the narrower lateral streets covering the
relatively short distance from one end by the water to the
other. Wnile one experiences the vastness ol the city In
Monhollen, each side-street still affords a view of the
woler beyond. So in this case the grid contributes in a
very special way to the woy the urban space is
One of the first things to strike tile visitor to Monhollon is
the coldblooded consistency with which the grid has been
applied, until it simply cannot be continued ony furt her, so
that the somewhat frayed edges not only appear to be
random but also to some extent insensitive. But
remarkably enough it is also in those places that the most
interesting solutions were devised. One would expect,
within such o severe rectangular system, thai the
extremities would be allowed to terminate in o way
befitting lhe possibilities offered by the grid.
But, as so often happens, it is the confrontation between
one principle and another that reveals lhe nature of each
This is most evident perhaps where the regular
longitudinal poHern is cut ocrou by Broadway, the old
country rood which was left virtually unchanged as if it
were inherent in the landscape. Broadway was
incorporated into the grid as on inevitable given foetor,
and wherever it meets the grid it disrupts fl , thereby
challenging architects to find on imaginative solution to
the irregularity. One celebrated example of such a
solution is the Flotlron building on Madison Square.
It is in these places that the nature of the grid manifests
itself most convincingly.
The biggelt misconception revarding the gridiron
system is that it must inevitably lead to monotony, and
that its eHed Is r&pressive. Those dangers do
admittedly exist, but here are enough great e.xamples
to prove that, in a gigantic expanse of buildings, the
negative aspetts actually recede Into the background.
Whether the ordering of the gridiron will ind"d
expand the possibilities of variation instead of
reducing them depends fi rst and foremost on whether
the proper balance has been found between
revulations and fr .. dom of choice.
The grid is like o hand operating on extremely simple
principles it admittedly sets down the overall rules,
but is oil the more flexible when it come.s to the
detailing of each site. As on objective basis II plots the
loyout of the urban space, and this layout brings the
Inevitably chaotic effect of myriad seporole decisions
down to acceptable propositions. In its simplidty the
grid is a more effective mean.s of obtaining some form
of regulation than many o finermeshed system of
rules which, although o.stensibly more flexible and
open, tend to suffocate the imaginative spirit. A.s far os
its economy of means Is concerned it is very like a
cheuboard and who can think of a wider range of
pouibilities ari5ing from such simple and
straightforward rules than that of a cheuplayer?
In simple temu, you could say that building orcler is
the unity that arises in a building when the parts token
together clet.nnlne the whole, and conversely, when
the separat. parts derive from that whole in an
equally logical way. The unity resulting from design
that consistently employs this reciprocity parts
cletermining the whole and determined by it may in a
sense be retarded as a structure. The material (the
informationl is cleliberately chosen, adapted to auit the
requirements of the task in question, and, in principle,
the solutions of the various design situation (i.e. how
the building is interrelated from place to place I are
permutations of or at least directly derived from one
another. As o result thll\"e will be a distinct, one could
say family, relationship between the various parts.
Following this troin of thau9ht, one '"s that there is
an obvious comparison with that outstanding ellample
of structure: language.
311 116 Each sentence derive.s its meaning from the words of
which it is composed, while at the some time each
word derives its meaning from the sentence as a
Of course, every well-designed building has a
consistent idea with a distinct themcrtic unity behind it,
a unity of vocabulary, material, and building method.
lut here the essential thing is design based on o
consistent stra.fe9Y, Starting out from the components
you have to go through the whole building again and
again to check whether all the utremities can be
brought together under the denominator of o common
theme (hence putting the hypothesis to the That
exploration in tum leads to adjustment of the
hypothesis or theme.
This working method implies, in fact, filling In one.'s
own design structure, as it were and, by feeding back
126 IISSUS ~ l moms IW U{HI!HIUR!
the result, one eventually arr'JVes at an ordering in
which the conditions far all conceivabl.e infills are
already present in other words, a structure which
may be sold to be programmed to accommodate all
expected infilts. In this way it is possible to ajm
conKiously at a unity of tpatiallty, components,
materiols and colours, in such a way that a maJdmum
of variety of uses can be accommodated.
This thought process, inspired by structuralism,
attemplt to aquare accounts with the somewhat
contradictory functionalistic strivint to find a specific
form and a specific spatial orvanlxation for each
Design that '"ks the largest common denominator, the
'set' of all the requirements under discussion In a
particular task (i.e. the programme in its widest sense),
employs a different strategy and demands a
fundamentally different outlook from the architect.
ORPHANAGE, AMsTElD.a.M 1955-60 I A. VAN EYCK 1311-3111
'The fi rst exe<uled Wuclllring with o building order, in the
sense of o unity in which ports and whole determine eoch
other reciprocally, is the orphanage of Aida von Eyclt.
The orgonizolion of this building, with its 'streets' and
'squares' and independent building units, is like o small
sell-contained city. It evokes these associations even if one
is not familiar with Von Eyck's exhortation 'Make of each
o place, o bunch of places of each house and each city,
lor o house is o tiny city, o cily o huge house' .
This identification with o ' small city' is perhaps In ilself the
most creolive step, and o highly significant breoklhrough.
In the design phose, once this 'connection' has been
mode, o lroin of furt her associations is released, adding o
new dimension to the quality of the communal, 'public' ,
places. Corridors become 'streets', interior lighling
becomes 'street lighting' and so on. Although o bui lding
con never be o city nor anything between the two, it con
still become city-like and thus be<ome o beHer house. This
reciprocal house-city imoge leods to o consistent
articulation of Iorge and small both inside and outside in
sequences of conlingent units which interlock without
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stress or effort. When this articulation is carried through to
the smallest dimension, not only buildings and ci ties
acquire reciprocal meaning, but buildings and furniture
also, because Iorge scole pieces of 'built' furniture ore
like small houses in which one feels yet more Interiorized
than in o Iorge room. Thus each port is given the
dimension which suits its purpose best, i. e. the right size
through which it comes into its own.
All this has become common knowledge by now, so I
wonder if there is anybody who believes not to hove been
influenced by it. But what I always found most omoting is
that no molter how absorbing the elaboration down to the
smallest port may be, the essence of the larger whole
remains os powerful os ever. The whole radiates the calm
of on equilibrium which encompasses on extraordinary
intricacy of form and space in one single image. It seems
to me thot the secret lies in the inexorable unity of
material, form, scale and consJruclion combined in a
buildi ng order of such clarity that I hove always
associated it more with classical order than with the
casbah. (I know, Aldo wonts both; clarity, but
lobyrinthion, and casbah, but organized. Neither one nor
the other, but both ot once, which coils for o more
inclusive mechanism. Sy now we should be in o position
to achieve this, with oil the means ot our disposal in the
twentieth century.}
Perhaps the lintels hove something to do with it ofso,
marked os they ore by the horizontal openings placed in
such o way as to give the impression of o widening of the


columns ot the top, copitollike. The continuous lintel zone
fotms o horizon throughout the entire building, both inside
ond outside.
What thus become clear to me wos that the way o
landscape is set free by its hori zon is okin to the woy the
cohesive potential of o building order con give o building
a horizon from which strange paradox it likewise draws
its freedom.
It is the domelike roof units, the round columns and above
all the lintel chain which make the penetrability of the
building's perimeter from both outside and inside
reciprocally possible. They invite, os it were, o ploy of
walls around them, letting outdoor oreos in ond interior
areas out. Ouiker's open air school comes to mind. There
the gloss skin around the class-room' s outer edge, by
tutning inwards away from il, leaves space lor the ample
loggias (outdoor clonrooms), whilst the concrete frame
continues to allow you to 'read' the entire building moss.
Through cantilevering, the woy only Duiker knew how, the
corners ore rendered even lighter ond more transparent.
In the Orphanage the outer skin also turns inwards to form
either porch, loggia or veranda within the periphery, but
the opposite occurs as well: the interior breaks out in
3tl 311 lit
310 311
three places, doing away with the internal corners which
otherwise would hove constricted both movement and
view of the5e porliculor places. Solutions of this kind ore
certainly astonishing.
My very first cursory confrontation with the Orphonoge,
still under construction ot the time, was enough to
convince me thot this wonderful new building was going
to be of on entirely new kind, based on o different
mechanism and heralding another kind of orchilecture' .fBI
lJNMu (321-3311
The workspace that was constructed on the roof of o
laundering factory doting from the beginning of this
century was intended os the first step in the pions to
extend the premises. The expectation was otthot ti me that
successive extensions would become necessary os the
different departments expanded:
the impossibility of predicting which departments would
require expansion ot which times;
the nature ond investment potential of the company
permilled only o limited number of building units to be
121 l! SSO s 101 SIIOfUS Iii U(HIII (IUII
realized simultaneously;
the quality of the existing premises wos good enough to
warrant preservation ond, olthough somewhat gloomy and
Inefficiently laid out, the building would still be
serviceable oher incidental alterations.
In order to channel the expected growth in the future ond
to guard against the eventual emergence of a haphazard
patchwork of extensions, it was decided to design
building units based on o number of interrelated motifs. In
this way it would be possible to use different combi nations
to creole o variety of larger spaces. The fundamental
principles for the design were as follows:
to occommodote the constant changes within the business,
eoch building unit hod to meet o wide range of industrial
requirements i.e. it should not be too strictly oHuned to o
specific programme, but flexi ble enough to accommodate
varying functions without adjustment to the unit itself being

the premises should be complete ond whole after each
extension, regardless of the subsequent stoge in
construction; each new addition should therefore
constitute o finished whole.
The building unit should therefore hove on identity of its
own strong enough to be copoble of asserting itself
regardless of the specific milieu ond moreover to
contribute to the identity of the lorge1 whole of which it is
o constituent. The rather demonstrative use of
prefabricated components is in this cose not o
consequence of the need for repetition but ocluolly ond
this seems paradoxical the consequence of the desire to
individualize each component. The components must be
autonomous in order to serve multiple functions, while the
form must be chosen in such o way that the different
building ore constantly attuned to one another.
The original premises were so constructed os to allow for
another floor to be added on top, and were therefore
sturdy enough to serve os the bose for the step-bystep
extensions that would eventually cover this artificial rock
formation. The new structures enhance the colour of the
old, while conversely the old contributes to the creation
and formation ol the new. Old and new retai n their own
identity while confirming each other's.
The extension was never completed. Woue still, the entire
complex wos demolished ollhe beginning olthe ni neties.


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m n 129
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33l 314
. pt
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these very different categories of accommodation was
aimed ot maximum inlerchongeobility, so that re1idents
whose condition improved or worsened would need to be
moved from one section to another as liNie os possible, it
wos obvious thot the complex wos to be conceived not m
o conglomerate of separate buildings but os on urban
area, o miniature city in which all amenities would, in
principle, be available and accessible to ollrMidenls.
These considerations led lo the ideo to creole one
continuous structural framework, based on the some
modular unit, to meet the requiremenl5 of the highly varied
and complex programme. The smallest unit capable of
r---------o------... serving os the basic component lor rooms of any size was
Because this complex for elderly and disabled people
consists of o combination of o nursing home section, o
section where some core is provided, and o section with
independent dwellings and central amenities, end
because different ministries eoch with their own rules and
regulations hove responsibil ity for the various sections, the
overall design hod to accommodate a considerable
diversity of dimensions as far os the maximum and
minimum heights and widths of corridors, rooms and
storeys were concerned. And because the combination of
- ...
... 8 EJ D:-::
- s, -('olil._-
calculated Ia be 92 em. The programmes of requirements
of the respective categories were subsequently filled into
on overall building order, consisting structurally of a
system of column-, beam- ond floor-elements, i.e. on order
conditioned o priori by the selected unit of measurement
of 92 em. and thus receptive to a wide range of specific
Synchronization and stondordizotion of dimensions
throughout the complex wos not only important for
Interchangeable usage, but also to arrive ot the most
rational and rapid construction method, and thus to keep
the costs down to o minimum ond to stay within the
In order to keep the number of construction elements down
lo o minimum, three lintel sizes were chosen, which yield
three different boys: 2 x 92 & 184 em; 3 x 92 & 27 6 em;
4 x 92 368 em. Adding up these boys produces
standard measurements ol5 x 92, 6 x 92 etc., like o coin
system l5<ent, 1 0--cent and 25-ceni coins).
With the resulting 'construction kit' mode up of different
elements, spaces and building moues can be combined ot
will. The initiolloyout of this complex consisted of units
grouped around three courtyards of successive sizes,
whereby the contrast in spatial effect was further
intensified by having two- and three-storey structures
surrounding the largest of the three courtyards, three end
lour storeys surrounding the middle-sized courtyard, and
five and six storeys surrounding the smallest courtyard .
The progression from two to six storeys reaches its
architectonic culmination-point in the centre of the
complex, expressed in o spatially extroverted window
above the auditorium jto which I attached greet
importance as indeed to the loctlhot the diagonals of the
three courtyards form right angles). A greol deal of
energy was spent on these features, fully confident as we
were about the programme of requirements. The Iotter,
however, soon changed under the influence of o rather
sudden development in the ideas about ond approaches
to the core lor the elderly.
While quite o lot of the new proposals could initially be
adapted by means of a number of modifications that did
not entail fundamental alterations to the original plan, it
become evident oher o while that the closed circuit
according to which the plan hod been organized was too
rigid and hermetic to adopt itself to all the changes that
hod become necessary in the meantime, ond in the end
the pion hod to be abandoned altogether. The lesson that
we learned from this experience was thot if you adhere so
strictly to such o specific ond explicit organization of the
main form, your pion is doomed to failure, and that it
would in foci be for beHer to start out from o more open
and more Aexible basic structure tho! is capable ol
accommodating adjustments os they become necessary.
After this failure, o new concept wos developed,
according to which the project could finally be realized.
The first step, this time, was to establish which general
facilities were relevant to the entire premises, such as

. r'

staircases, lifts, switchboards, conduit shafts, oir duels
and maintenance closets. These were all concentrated in
ver tical shafts located ot rational and regular distances
from one another throughout the complex. This resulted in
o constellation of lowers which, on the construclionol
level, serve o stabili zing fu nction within the complex as a
The programme of requirements, translated into o spatial
scheme, was superimposed on this 'objective' grid marked
by the lowers, ond adjusted to the dimensions of the
building site. The fixed points of support, the towers,
consequently serve to bri ng o certain ordering into the
space as o whole, whi le the 'construction kit' of
(prefabricated) concrete elements guarantees the ultimate
coherence and unity of the various components which ore
formed 'from within' .
The building structure of De Drie Hoven, formed as it is by
identical beams and columns throughout, is manifestly
present in the entire building, although the way it is fi lled
in varies from place to place. The design-concept of such
a structure is that o great diversity of fillings is possible,
as the reflection of o differentiated usage, without
detracting from the visual and orgonizolionol coherence
l36 lllob
lll l lt

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poulble .. .,,

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132 FOI SlV0-'5 "UC"IfH' ll
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of the whole. Besides, conversions that become necessary
as a result of new insights con be fairly easily undertaken
within lhe fra mework of the structure which continues to
perform itslooc:J.beoring function and which itself is not or
hardly affected by olterotion olthe walls, doors ond
ceilings, etc.
Although it is in o sense painful for the architect on the
one hand to see how the components he has designed
with so much core eventually disappear or ore altered
beyond recognition by others and without prior
consultation, if is on the other hand also a kind of triumph
that his ideo as lor os the overall concept is concerned
remains standing. You could compare the struci\Jre too
tree which loses its leaves every year. The tree remains
the some, but the leaves are renewed each spring. The
usage varies over time and the users demand of the
building that it adopts itself properly to their Insights os
they evolve. Sometimes this entails o step backwards in
the spatial quality, but sometimes, too, it means a step
forward, on improvement on the original situation.

The ideo which was proposed previously in lwo
competition projec1s for town halls in Valkenswaard ll1H44J
and Amsterdam ll4S.l46J respectively, and which finally
materialised in the CentrooiBeheer office building, is that
of o building os a sort of selllement, consisting of a larger
number of equal spatial units, like so many islands strung
together. These spatial units constitute the basic building
blocks; they ore comparatively small and con
accommodate the different programme components (or
'fundions' if you prefer). because their dimensions as well
os their form and spatial organization are geared to that
purpose. They ore therefore polyvalent.
Whereas De Drie Hoven involved a programme with o
very high diversity of spatial dimensions and spatial
requirements which necessarily resulted in a single
building order that would allow for a great variety in the
case of this office building, analogous to the uhimate
chosen basic principle of the square spatial unit, however
simple in the elementary sense, proved capable of
meeting vir tually all spatial requirements. Thanks to their
polyvalence the different spatial units con, however, if
necessary toke over each other's roles and that is o key
to the capacity to absorb change.
Designing on office building may well be simple enough
in principle, but il was this very necessity of adoptability
that led to the assignment . Constant changes occur within
the organization, thereby requiring frequent adjustments
to the size of the different departments. The building must
be capable of accommodating these internal forces, while
the building as o whole must continue to function in every
respect and ot oil times. This means that permanent
adoptability is a precondition of the design. In each new
situation, to ensure the equilibrium of the system os o
whole, i.e. that it continues to function, the components
must be able to serve dff/erent pwposes.
The building hos been designed as on ordered expanse,
consisting of o basic structure which manifests itself as an
essentially fixed and permanent zone throughout the
building, and o complementary variable and inlerpretoble
The basic structure is the bearer of the entire complex, as
it were. II is the main construction, it comprises the duct
system and coincides with the principal ' traffic routes'
inside the complex. The basic structure manifests itself in
lwo ways, notably as a continuous structure (spine) , ond
umG SPA(!, 133

343 :U4
!IS lU
:UI 348
:Ut 310
134 liSSOM$ FOf SIUO!US IN lttMIIf(lUU
with regular interruptions along the periphery of the
complex in the form of small towers (cl. the vertebrae).
The interpretable zones ore geared to performing all
foreseeable functi ons, which make speci fic demands on
the space and which therefore give rise to divergent
'complementary' solutions. It is this interpretable zone thot
con be filled in with the primary ingredients of the
different component ports. The bosic structure and
interpretable zone i n ils entirety thus owoits
complementary filling in, while remaining essentially the
some: the building as o whole derives its identity from the
complex of different interpretations.
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311 353
3S4 311 lSI
From the outside the complex os o whole looks like o
random form, and does not exoclly live up to one's
expectations concerning a self-contained building. The
point of departure in the design- i.e. to ovoid the effect of
o ' temple' of music by integrating the structure as much os
possible in the surroundings ond the ensuing principle of
occes.sibility resulted in o peripharol arrangement
composed of multiple facets. And because all these facets
hove been constituted of the same materials they
represent, in elfecl, simply different facets of the some
whole. In other words, more attention has been paid to
the legibility of the pons than to the coherence of the
whole, while the whole is represented in those ports.
This meons that the whole con be viewed from many
different sides. The constructional elements become more
independent, they are emancipated as it were, and by

.J ' L



.( .

virtue of the different ways in which these elements ore
'assembled' ot the corners the relationships that ore
established vis o vis each other also differ constantly.
So in spite of its differentiated periphery, the uniformity of
materials ond constructional elements as well as the way
in which these elements ore joined together make the
complex as o whole speak one architectonic language
(although the wooden lacings in the interior ore on
additional feature). By the appl ication of the some basic
materials inside and out, inter ior ond exterior ore put into
perspective, thereby reinforcing the overall expression of
An important role within the building order is played by
the recurrent use of columns, with their emphatic and
clearly recognizable form-language. They stand in grid-
formation with equal distances between them, thus
marking off equal areas throughout the entire building.
They represent the cadence of the building, and set the
rhythm of the space, just as the bars indicate the type of
intervals ond beals in o musical score.
The arrangement of the columns constitutes a minimal
ordering system which allows for o very Rexible filling in
of the different ports, and which hos o regulating effect on
the great diversity of constituent elements arising from the
complexity of the programme.
While serving to unify the whole, this column system is on
inducement to design each space according Ia its specific
requirements and location. This principle does not
euentiolly diverge from the 'pion li bre' thai was
developed in the early years of this century as a new way
of the full possibilities offered by the
opplicolion of o concrete skeleton consisting of columns
and platforms UICI. Among the characteristic features of
the early examples of the free plan were the often
demonstratively curved walls and also the free-standing
columns with their own spaces; these features contrast
with the way the free plan is usually applied nowadays,
with the columns serving as the starling-point for the walls.
In a structure comprising o proportionately greater number
of rooms or enclosed spaces, the Iotter 'method' is
obviously more suitable.
When the columns ore free-standing, round columns ore
undeniably preferable, if only because they adopt
themselves in o so much friendlier ond gentler way to the
presence of crowds of people in their midst.
Standing 'in the way' everywhere yet without ever being
on obstacle, the columns manifest themselves strongly,
their strong personality being further reinforced by the
square capitals, on 'overstatement' of the form required
for the construction. The main function of these aligned
capitols, is to coordinate the connections with the ceilings
coming towards them from different directions and at
different heights. In addition their extra width keep the
odioining wall ot o distance, and so helps to creole a
certain spaciousness around each column. The columns in
the frontages seNe Ia keep the walls at o greater or
smaller distance aport, depending on the amount of glass
that is required in a specific location. The openings in the
frontages ore on the whole always located in the 'column
zone', only very rarely do they occur as 'holes' in the
wall. The columns standing freely in the spaces
enveloping them constitute o motif which recurs In
different variations throughout the building, and which
therefore yield a recognizable and characteristic image.
Indeed the column was designed to enable each ploce to
evoke different spatial experiences, while the bore column
remains the some whatever the specific location it is in.
Depending on the derived openneu or closedneu it
appears In o different guise, you could soy: dressed lor o
different port. So the column determines the aspect of o
place, while at the some time its own image is determined
by that ploce in return. The column structure may be seen
as a system that generates freedom: a 'competence' that
provides on incentive for the 'performance' belonging to o
specific situation, and therefore an instrument thai yielded
a coherent building order despite the absence of repetitive
- --<I>- ----
/I" I
/ I )</
A .. _t _.."
Ins lead of a building volume with on endless succession of
office floors the building has been articulated into
segments; the building volume is thus divided up into
several ostensibly more or less separate buildings,
grouped next to and opposite each other along on
elongated central zone: i.e. several small oflice buildings
together forming one complex. Each of these more or less
separate 'office blocks' consisting of o number of
interconnected octagons, con accommodate one or more
each of which is directly accessible from the
central zone.
The office units consist of one or more successive or
superimposed octagonal islands of t 420m2, in which
the spaces con be arranged in many different ways. Each
spatial unit accommodates on overage of 32 people in
rooms with I, 2, or 3 work-oreos. Although the building
was designed primarily os o cell-oflice, it lends itself in
principle also to more open orgonizotionol forms where
end when the need crises.
The building appears to consist of o conglomerate of
octagons strung together at least, that is the
impression of the periphery from both outside and inside.
Also the subdivision into office units follows o pattern of
From o constructive viewpoint the building is o regularly
constituted skeleton mode up of o Iorge number of
identical prefabricated concrete elements, which ore
assembled on site. These elements hove been combined in
such a way that o repetition of similarly identical spatial
units is obtained.
The main beams, oil diagonally positioned, form o
continuous conduit zone across all floors. The pattern hos
been chosen with o view to creating square
spaces as secondary zones outside the primary zone of
the main structure; these secondary zones could be left
open in places between the Roor-ponels terminated by
secondary edging beams.
It is the selected diagonal form of terminating these
secondary zones that cuts out the octagonal shapes from
the Roar as o whole, as it were, ond it is also here that
the desired rhythmical articulation is achieved.
The chosen bui lding structure thus makes it possible to 'fill
in' the different ports of the programme according to the
desired organization. The regular 'objective' disposition
of columns offers much scope lor variation in fillings ond
readjustments, so that the building will prove to be
relatively adoptable to future needs.
The building structure serves throughout to introduce
order, and will not in eflect restrict the freedom of filling
in but will enlarge it. The structure is the architectural
common thread running through the entire complell:,
making the different components legible and thus ordering
Matertal com dt eitos autor
them. Aport from the spatial division and organization,
the structure also generates the stortlngpoint for the
technical installations, in o pattern of similar conduit
shafts throughout the building, wholty integrated into the
The main direction of the office units and that is the
direction of the main beams thus constituting the primary
structure is diagonal with respect to the
direction of the building as a whole.
The way the central hall as o spatial main artery cuts
through the entire length of the building is therefore
followed by the direction of the secondary beams which,
although of o lighter calibre than the main beams,
perform o function that is at least as important from o
spatial point of view.
One of the most intriguing design themes of this building
was the integration of these two del iberately chosen
primary directions. The problem boiled down to making
tht:. constructive main beams and the diagonal secondary
beams come together in such o way that the Iotter would
ensure o convincing and continuous lengthwise definition
of the space. The solution to the support of beams coming
from 8 directions wos provided by the square column
heads, which, forming table-tops of 1 square metre and
divided into 8 zones, con in principia accommodate
beams from all directions. The intersection points, twenty
of which were needed to be able to meet oil the spatial
demands of the building, were individually and
collectively designed os a single plastic theme. The heavy
main beams coming together from different directions and
the lighter secondary beams were attuned to each other
by profiling the higher beams in such o way thotthey
unite the dimensions of both types; in addition the col umn
heads were not oriented to the main beams but rather to
the secondary ones (which become edging-beams in the


.. ,
., .

. .., .
lUll ' srm, liUIU $rlCI 139
voids). The consequence of this choice of di rection is thot
the direction of the central hall is just as strongly manifest
as that of the moin beoms of the building. The
intersections created thus sum up the entire structural
pri nciple, ond so, as 1 cubic metre-point where everythi ng
comes together, they represent the structural and
constructive concept of the building as o whole and, by
virtue of the diversity within their unity, they ore the most
i mportant elements of the building order.
Thanks to the large-scale repetition of constructi ve
elements and the possibi lity of extending Floors wholly or
partially at will, the building was eminently suited to
execution with prefabricated concrete elements. An
advantage was that the quality of the finish that could be
obtained was high enough for the elements to serve as
bore concrete. The bearing structure is essentially built up
of four constructive elements: columns, beams, shafts and
floors. The beams resting on the columnheods were
furnished on one side with a projecting ridge which
served at a later stoge os o simple attachment lor the
'void Roorponels' . The requi red degree of accuracy here
was provi ded by prefabrication of the beams. The
structure was given stability by the conduit shafts, which
J '
~ ~ ~



J ~ -

1 .
" ; ~
' ~
ll.lmG VAt, I U I ~ G SU([ )41
Jll m m m
were poured on site. For the floors between the beams
either prefab units or on-site poured concrete could be
used. The parking space beneath the front of the building
wos executed with the some column distribution os in the
office floors. The decision to adopt a system whereby pre-
pobricoted components con be assembled on the building
site represented a considerable reduction of the cost, ond
this In turn mode II feasible to erect such o complex
structure withi n a limited budget.
APollO SC.HOOlS (SIG-384)
Both of these schools resulted from the some spatial pro-
gramme of requirements set by the Ministry of Education
and, having been developed from the some building order,
os o common design, there ore many similarities between
them. But there ore also o number of Important differences
between the two buildings owing to the different siting
and the consequently orientated boy windows
of the doss-rooms, but also os o result of the divergent
principles underlying the two school communities .

However, the some architectural means hove been used to
solve the specific problems posed by eoch building, which
hos resulted in o strong coherence between the elemants
making up the two units. Not only do we find o common
orchileclurol vocabulary here, but olso o common orchf.
lecturol grammar in the sense that eoch individual sol ution
represents o different declension of o common root.
The underlying structural principle con be summed up in
some 20 points which con be cloHified according to how
they ore interpreted, e.g. insid&-Outside; skeleton or the.
consistent application of bricks, sills, steel components;


r, (

normal or oversized; crossed beams or T-jundions. All the
elements ore linked by o sort of family kinship, which hos
resulted from the consideration at the design stage of the
implications of each point lor oil the other points, so thai
each subsequent step refers bock to the fi rst.
144 IISSONS lOt SIUDiNIS IW lt(fliiEUUti
The unity of means Inherent in a building order may
well remind you of clauifkotion into architectural
styles, according to which the ubiquitous clanicist style
also, ostensibly, meets the criteria that we set for o
building order.
In an architectural style each element has its fixed
tosk., and allows itself to be combined with others
according to specific rules. In this sense an architecturaJ
style thus represents o sort of formal language by
means of which you can express some things and not
others, in the sense that each element and each
combination of elements inevitably refers to o certain
fixed meaning thereby leavlngliHie or no room for
interpretotion. But in addition, and this has more far
reoching consequences, the technicollimitotions of the
'construction kit' determine lh spotictl potential. For
instance, you cannot make cantilever when applying
clcusicistic principles, and therefore no open comers
without a column (as in the buildings of Duiker and
Rietveld) for the means to do so ore t imply not
provided in the construction kit.
At o maHer of foct, If the history of architecture has
anything to do with orchitecturaJ styles it is "pe<iolly
thot they hove tucceeded in throwing oH its yoke. The
architect cl.rives his ' raison d'itre' from the continuout
efforts to break away from the conventional pattern,
which he must do because what he hot to soy con.not
be toid wlth the means that ore available.
The building order of o project is the outcome of a
more profound realization of the uses to which it will
be put, now and in the future.
The building order thus anticipates the ' performance'
that may presumably be expected of it. And from this a
'competence' is (re)construded through on inductive
In fact, therefore, each architectural assignment
contains an incentive to develop o new order, i.e. an
order emanating from the specific nature of that
assignment. Just as each order repruents a specific
mechanism, it also lends to be exclusive to that
mechanjsm. DiHerent aims a re emphasized in diHerent
instances, but the central issue with structure is the
paradox of an ordering creating freedom a horizon
throughout your plan.
Mon loymg O<JIIish lo dry, Senegal
In fvnctionaUtt archtt.cture lh. fonn _, deriv.d from
the of efficiency (which did not
automatically mean that atl fvnctionollst architectuN
equally efficacious). In tfle 'functional city' and
'functional building' It - lh. diffe,._ tflat _,.
particularly manifest. This amounted to on extreme
sp4Kification of requirements and type of utility, which
inevitably resulted In more fragmentation than
integration, and if there - anytfling to which these
concepti w.,. not it wa time.
AduaOy, lh. good functionalistJ, pNCKcupiecl and
lndMd obteued as they ott.n -r by their
'lntematlonal style', managed ro avolcllh. usual
pitfalb, and mast of their airy, white cubic buildings
ON in fact tuited to multiple purpo llut upecially
the socalled functional urt>anism gives a very clear
demonstration of tfle e.xtent to which tfltnklng about
solutions to orchtt.ctural problems has been hampered
by segregalion of functlons instead of integration. The
rapid obsolescence of all roo 1pecific solvtioM leads
not only to dtsfunctionality but also to seriovs
Ju.t think of the partdng proges wltfl sloping fl oors,
which are stlO belng built on a Iorge scale. This may
well be an inexpensive and easy-to-coMtruct 1ystem,
but )'041 con never use tfle building for onytfling else, if
thinsJs change in a period when far fewer people own
cars, for Instance.

Flexibility became tfle CGtcltword, it - to be tfle
panaceo ro cure a ll the ills of archtt.cture. So long as
the design of buildings woJ nevtral, it was thought,
tfley could be put to different - ond tfley could
therefore, in tfleary at least, absorb and accommodate
tfle of changing timet and situations. That at
would be one point gained, but Mutrolity in fact
consists of tlte absence of identity, in otfler words, tfle
lack of distinctive The problem of
changeability, theft, Is not so much o matter of having
to adopt ond modify distinctive featuNJ, but of having
tflose distinctive features in lite fint plocel
'Flexibility aince tltere is no single solution
thcrt is preferable to all otlten tfle obaolute denial of
a fixed, cleorcut standpoint. The flexible pion st011s out
ffom lite certainty that the correct solution does not
exist, because tfle problem requiring solution is in o
permanent state of flux, i.e. it ia always temporary.
Flexibility is ostensibly inherent in relativity, but in
actual fact it only has ro do witlt uncertainty; with no
daring to commit oneuH, ond theNfore with Nfuslng
to accept tfle Nsponsibility that is inevitably bound up
witlt each and every action that one tokes. Altflovgh a
flexible set-up admittedly adopts itself to each change
as It presents itleff,lt con never be tlte best and most
suitable solution to any oM problem; it can at any
given moment provide any solution but the most
appropriate one. Flexibility tflerefore represents the aet
of all unsuitable solutions to a problem.
On tflese grounds o system which is kept fleAible for
the sake of the changing objects tflat are to be
accommodated within that system would indeed yield
the most neutral solution to specific problems, but
never the best, tfle most appropriate solvtion-.
Mat I COI'T' d
The only constrvctive Gflpr-ch to a situation that Is
subject to change is a form that .tarts out from this
changefulneu as o P" manent that is, essentially o
stotk given fador: a form which is polyvalent. In
other words, a form that can be put to diHerent use1
without having to undergo changes its.lf, so that a
minimal flexibility can still produce an optimal solution.
In our cities of todoy we are confronted with large
numbers of dwellings, the construdion of which entails
production methods whereby enormous quantitiea of
components can be supplied which, however, ore
uniform. By equating the uniformity of dwelling units
the reault of those production methods with the
equality of the inhabitants, we have come to the point
where uniform dwellings are assembled in
monotonous, uniform building blocks.
The uniform urban plan and the uniform floor-plan are
based on the setregation of functions, and it Is the
blind obedience to the dictates of thea. functions that

has resulted in taking the distinctions between living
and working, eating and sleeping etc. as the Jtarting
point for concefving the spaces fM diHerent purposes in
cftfferen.t ways, on the ground that different Clctivities
make diHerent apecific demands on the spocea in which
they are to toke plo<e. This is what we have been told
for the past twentyflve but even if living and
working or ecrling and sleeping could justifiably be
tenned activities, that still does not that they
make specific demands on the space in which they are
to toke plClce it is the people who make specific
demands because they wish to interpret one and the
same function in their -n specific ways, according to
their own specific taste..
If, in the functional city and the functional Roor plan
the identity of those wha conceived the idea in the first
place is lost without trace, that cannot be blamed on
the uniformity of the dwelling units, but on the woy in
which they are uniform, namely in such a way that
they tolerate one particular function exclusively in one
preacribed and strictly standardized concept. The
houses and cities that are being built nowadays do not
and will not permit ony fundomentol changes at olll
By collectively preacribing where people will have to
put their tables and their beds generation after
generation we are actually causing that uniformity.
This collective coagulation of individual freedom of
action has a.slgned o pre-determined pwpoH to every
place in the home ond in the city allke and has done
so in such an uninspired way that all the variations
that make up ld.ntlty are radi<ally nipped In the bud.
What makes the old canal houSeJ so livabl. is that you
can work, relax or sleep in every room, that each roam
kindles the inhabitonrs imaginotlon as to haw he
would most like to use it. The greater diversity in the
old city-<entre of Amstwdam, for instonce, is definitely
not caused by richer or more diverse underlying
principle (the principles underlying twentleth-<entury
buildings are certainly more complex I, but by
sequences of spaces in which, although they are not
usually very diffe,.nt from one another, the potential
for individual interpretation is inherent due to their
greater polyvalence.
Collective interpretation of individual living partems
must be abandoned. What we need is a diversity of
space In which the different functions can be
sublimated to become al'dletypol farms, which make
individual interpretation of the communal living
pottern pouibt. by virtue of their abili1y to
o<commodote and absorb, and Indeed to induce every
d.sired function and alteration thereof.'(l )
au tor

110 m
What the foregolnv, and all the examples that have
been cit.d, boil down ta is a plea ta de1ign in such a
way that buildings and cities possess the ability to
adapt thenuelves ta diversity and change while
retaining their identity.
What we are looking for Is a way of thinking and
acting that can lead ta a different ' mechanism' (In
linguistic term you would say a paradigm) which it
less fixed, leu tali<, and which it thuefore better
equipped to meet the challenge that twentieth century
society in all ib complexity pub to the architect. The
point therefore i1 ta arrive at an architecture that,
when the users decide to put it to different uses than
thou originaiJy envi1aged by the architect, doe1 nat
get upset and confuled and consequently loses its
identity. To put it even more strongly: architecture
should offer an incentive ta it users ta influence it
wherever possible, nat merely to reinforce its identity,
but mare especially ta enhance and affirm the identity
of ih users.
Structuralism ha 1hown how effective thi proces i in
language, and my persistent reference to this is
becauJe it thus indicates a direction for architecture.
Even though architecture Is 1till so often conceived as a
system of communication, It is not merely a language,
although there are a number of analagies, such as the
concepts of 'competence' and 'performance', which do
not relate to language exclusively b.ut which are just as
appropriate ta the use of form and from which we
148 10! II II(HJII(fUII
must, In principle, a lso be able ta derive form.
It 9"' without saying that efficacy m.ust always come
first and foremost, since that is the only criterion that is
beyond all dispute although it is of the utmost
importance ta establish what exactly i meant by the
term. Certainly, there are objects and form that have
hardly mare than one single purpose usually technical
appliancet, and these must indeed simply function,
they must just do their job, no more and no less.
lut most objects and forms have, besides that single
purpose for which they are designed and ta whkh they
generally owe their nam.e at the most, an added value
and potential and hence great efficacy. This greater
efficacy, which we call polyvalence and which comes
closest ta ' competence', is the characteristic I want ta
emphasize as a criterion of design.
The following excerpt of a text hom 1963 deals with
the same basic principles. It also as an
inti oductlon ta the next chapter.
'The reciprocity of lonn ond
The most important cltcrrocr.ritic ol o city ;., perllapr,
the conthwou$ dtonge in.Mrltftt In on urfton
environment, which we experi.nce o o nonrtfll,
fiYerydoy Jitvfltion. Tfle city i1 subject fo constont
chonp, the city ltcrs neYM complied GMI Jtill doe not
comply with the rufa of CWJCinic powt#l ond lunctiollfll
evolution, occording to wftkh man hers tried to give it
lotm. fYery dfly, eYery HCUon, ond in the long term,
fempotGry ond lostlng, lnciclentol ond regulor cltcrnges
tcrlce ploce: people move from one house to onotlter
find bullcllnt tue oltered, with the NJult fiKit sllllt
occur in the foci of rite of re/Gtioruhipt which in
""" five rise fo other milts in intentity. Thus eh
lntwvention In loct brillfl crbout o chonge In rite
itllilicGnce of the other built forms fo o f'"'-' or
In order fiKit every dtlun ond tvtl)thlnf of the city
retcrln It identity ot oil times, it ;. IIHSOI) for the
JituGtion fo be compl.te In it1elf ot every moment in
time ..
The pnKHf of chflne- mun consto11tly oppeor fo u a
a pevmoMnt situGtion, tllot if why the chongecr&ility must come flm and foremost os o consfont foetor,
wflkh contri&ufes to the slfniRcorw:e of eotlt Individual
fonrt. In ordv to wlti!Jtond chongH built forms muJt
be mod. ;, 1uch Cl woy ti!Cit lfley permit multiple
lntetprefotloru, I.e. tllot tftey con llotft absorft and
exud. multipN meaning, witllout, losing
lfleir identity in the
Any Ulliform dwellillfl, therefore, must in the same
periof1 of time, like any plocn In tfte city in tliHerent
period of rime, be copabht of accommodating
ahemoting meonillfJ.
rh11 analofy make if chtar tftCII ploce and time can be
eliminated and wlufitvted by Cl Jingle, f.CJI point of
departure, i.e. thot ore copa&le of chCJnglllf
It ;. cleor fiKit neltfter neutrality, wft/ch Is the
re1ult of flelO&ility (tolero&le kw oil, just
right kw no -one}, IHH' 1pedficity whklt Is the
conseqwnce of roo much IUCpltilion (j111t right &ut
for wftom1}, con yield on odfuat.IGiution. It Is not
ber-en the .. two e.xtreme of the lode of
commhrnent ami roo much tftCit the
poJibllity of o solution lies, but quite Glide from litem:
nomely In o stondpolnt ti!Cit everyone con relote to in
hi or Iter own way, o sfondpoint therefore tllot con
rake on fl different oncl hence divergent mecrning kw
each tndlviduol.
In orcl.r to be a&le to hcrw eoth
form must be lnterprefo&le in the serue tftot it mun be
copoble of roklng on rot ... And it con only
folre on tftose diffeTWif niles il the different meanint
are conta.ined In the euence of the form, 10 tftot they
ore on implicit provocation tltCJn on eiCplicit
A form divemd of the meonint tftot are ottGched to it,
wftlle poiiH.sing &ecouse each meaning can
&e derived from it, Is reduced fo its most primary
II we we111t fo rtipond to the multiplicity in wftich
IOCiety monilesb itsttl- mun libeofelotm from the
hfltkt.s ol coagulahtd meonillfl. We mun
contlnuausly fHrdl for archetypal kwm1 wftich,
becauM tftey can be OlfOCiahtd with multiple
meonings, toll not only ob10rft o twotromme but con
al10 pnerote -
form ond programme evoke one another.' [3}
UIIH SWI , H1Y1Wf SUC! 1411
In the foNSjotft8 the notion of structure was uH<I as a
fron-Oiic' (of constant Nlationsftips) with the
potential ability to evoke freedom of lnmpretotlon
and hence scope per lncllvldual sltuatlon.
Up to now - have dealt malmy with urban forms that
were interpt"eted by tevercll people simultaneou.ty,
and consequently in collldln situations, aJ>PCINfttly
collective assodatlons -relnvolved.
In twms of the slnlcture and of its designer ovr main
concern was the relation between designer and
structure, with the UMJS In effect playing a subservient
role, more of object than of subject for whUe - can
establish that a forn1 has been interpreted a s ttructure,
that does nat explain what Induced people to do so in
the first ploce.
Now by taking form in a general sense to be a sort of
llnldure, the relotionthip between foun and users
becomes conceivable, once more, when the users are
Individuals, ond thus the notion of form can throw off
the yoke of abstroction. This shift in the attention to
what a form can mean to those whom it concern (and
who enter into relotionshlpt with It) Indirectly raiMs
the question of the relotion.hip between the creator of
the fotm, the designer and the users.
Starring ovt ftom Interpretability as an Inherent
chorocteristlc of form, - come to the question of what
makes a fann at atfvdure interpretable.
The answer must ~ the accommodating capocity of
the form, tholl- say ib ' competence', which allowt it
to be AUed with auodGtiotu and thus brings about a
mutual dependence with the users.
5o what - are concerned with here is the space of the
form, In the tame way that a muskal instrument offers
its P a ~ freedom of action.
In earlier examples, e.g. the arenas, we also dealt with
accommodatint capacity In the literal sense, but what
we have now termed 'competence' namely the
lmpllcation of accommodating capacity for meanings
sheds a clifhtrent light on all forms in which
architecture i1 involved.
' .. , to here we are not talking about a notion of form
that presuppaMs and maintains a formal and
unalterable relotlon between object and viewer. We
are not h- C,oncerned with 0 viJuof appearance OJ 0
shell arovnd the object, but with form in the sense of
ac<ommodatlng capacity and potential bearer of
meoni119o Form con be vested with meaning, but can
also be divested of It by the use to which the form is
put and by the values that are attributed and added to
it, or Indeed remaved from it a ll depending on the
way in whith users and form interoct.
What - -nt to state it that it Is this copcxity to
absorb and c.ommunicate meaning that determines the
effect form can hove on users, and, conversely, the
effect of users on form. For the central issue here il the
interaction between form and users, what they da to
each other, and how they appropriate each other.
Mat I COI'T' d
Deaignlng should be a matNr of Of9ClNzlng material in
l4ICh a _,., that its potential is fully exploited.
Everything that hos bMI'I deliberately shaped should
fvndion bettw, i.e. it should be better geared to cloing
what b upected of It, by different pellfll In cfiffereat
situationa and at diffeNJtt In whcrte...., we set
out to mob - must tty to DOt only _ _. the
requirements of the function in the strict HIIH, but also
tflat more than - purpose may be serwd, so that it
can ploy 01 many d ~ t roles as postlble for tfle
benefit of the indivicluol utt. fodl user wiJI
ttlell be oble to read to It In his or her own way, to
in..,.... It personally so that it may be integrated into
his fonliiiGr IUn"'UUIdinp.
Just lib words and forms cfetlend on how
they - read and whkh images they ore able to
confure up for the "read.,.. A form can eDb dlffeNnt
lmot" In dlffwent people and in situations,
and tflus toke on a diffeNilt -ing, and It It the
phe-n of tflis tflat is the key to on
oJterecl OWOI'eMU of f.rm, which will -ble UJ to
-ke tflinp that ore better suited to more lifucltions.
l1le ability to obsotb meonlnp and also to abandon
them again without essentially chontint ltMif moll ..
f9rm a poteMial bearer of significance in short,
algnlfloble ' (4)
aut or
m ltl
We should go about designing in such a way that th
result does not refer too ou_tspokenly to an unequivocal
goal, but that it still permits interpretation, sa that it
will toke on its identity through usage. What we moke
must constitute an offer, it must have the capocity to
elicit, time and again, specific reactions befitting
specific 1ituationa; so it mulf not be merely neutral and
flexible and hence nonspeciflc but it must possess
that wict.r efficaciousness that we caJI polyvalence.
The living-street on the fourth floor is illuminated by meons
of large concrete light-blocks. These blocks ore close Ia
the ground so that the light does not bother the inhabitants
while their view from the high windows is not obstructed
either. The primary function of these blocks is illumination,
but by virtue of their form and placement they offer
opportunities for a variety of other uses.
'As for as shape and siting ore concerned these blocks
were conditioned, os it were, to ploy o variety ol roles,
and they ore in fact interpreted as benches, work-surfaces,
and in worm weather as picnic tables. These light-
bloch hove been placed so centrally that they oct as focal
points in oil saris of circumstances. They o r ~ ~ l i ~ e magnets,
to which things that happen in the communal walkway
enoch themselves, and so they con become on incentive
for street-life, that multicoloured blend of manifestations ol
individual and collective interests.
Nol making any provisions means, in theory olleasl, thai
plenty of opportunities exist for spontaneous improvisation
with the space and certainly for the architect plenty of
scope for dreaming. 8111 then we feor that so long os
the environment is organized according to fixed meanings
and the concomitant form-symbols in the sense of 'what is
right' and 'who I is not right', the inhabitants themselves
will not be capable of doing very much of thei r own
accord.' (4]
MoNtessOill ScHool, DeLFT m"1'
The pones with extra wide ledges over the doors, between
clossrooms and hallway in the Montessori School in Delfl
con be used for placing potted plants, books, models,
cloy figures, and to put owoy assorted odds and ends.
These open 'cabinets' thus constitute o framework that con
be filled in according to the specific needs and wishes of
each group in its own particular way.
The central point of the school hall is the brick podium
block, which is used for both formal onemblies and
spontaneous gatherings. At fi rst sight it would seem that
the polenliol of the space would be greater if the block
could be moved auf of the way from time to time and, os
was to be expected this was indeed o point of lengthy
discussions. It is the permanence, the immobility, and the
'being in the way' that is the central issue, because it is
indeed that inescapable presence as o focal poinlthot
conto1ns the suggest1ons and Incentives for response in
each situation as it arises. The block becomes a
' touchstone', ond contributes to the articulation of the
space in such o woy thotthe range of possibilities of
usage increases.
In each situation the raised platform evokes o particular
image, and since it permits o variety of interpretations, it
con ploy o variety of different roles, but conversely also
the children themselves ore stimulated to toke on o greater
variety of roles in the space. The children use it to sit on
or to loy out materials during handwork classes, music
lessons and all the other activities which toke place In the
school hall. Incidentally, the platform con be extended in
oil directions with o set of wooden sections, which con be
drown out from the interior of the block to turn it into o
real stage for proper theatrical donee and music
performances. The children con pul lhe different ports
l ~
........... ,_
... ,...-....
m m lt7
398 41>l

r l
...... ~
together and toke them aport ogoin themselves, without
help from the teacher. During the lunch breaks the
children ploy games on it and around it, or they huddle
together there to look at their picture books, while there is
in foci plenty of space oil around them. To them It is on
island in o sea of shiny lloorspoce.
The floor in the hall of the kindergarten section has o
square depression in the middle which is filled with loose
wood blocks. They con be token out and placed around
the square to form o self-contained sealing arrangement.
The blocks ore constructed os low stools, which con easily
be moved by the children oil around the hall , or they con
be piled up to form o tower. The children also use them to
make trains. In many respects the square is the opposite
of the brick platform in the other hoi I. Just os the block
evokes images ond associations with climbing o hill to get
o better view, so the square hollow gives o feeling of
seclusion, o retreat, ond evokes ouociotions with
4DI ~ ~ descending into o volley or hollow. If the platform-block is
411 on island in the sea, the hollow square is o lake, which
44& ~ the children hove turned into o swimming pool by adding
* &01 401 o diving board.

The spoce behind the Khool building is articulated ond
divided inlo a number of separate oblong spaces by low
wolli. The siTips between the parallel walls ore intended
primarily lor gardens and sondpits, but they could also
be used lor other purposes. like each separate
comportment, this walled oreo os o whole may be seen as
a framework, that con be filled in, In different situations .
This ordering constitutes o fixed frame of reference, for
individual ond collective initiatives.
The material that hos been used for the low walls to mark
oH the separate comportments consists of perforated
building blocks, which in turn provide smaller openings or
comportments that con be used in diHerent ways. Some ot
them, lor instance, become Rower ports surrounding o
smollgorden plot, while others, around o sandpil, lor
instance, turn into containers sunk into o counter for the
sole of 'ice cream' . Or sticks con be put in the holes and
there you hove the beginnings of o lent ... In short, the
handy formal of the perforations themselves offer endless
opportunities lor informal usage. These low walls were
demolished not so long ago and replaced by the kind of
ploy equipment that leaves nothing to the imagination.
MUll' srm, l U115 srw
m nom
111 m
111 m m
When the decision hod been Ioken to re-organize the
space of Vredenburg square in Utrecht to accommodate
the market which hod lrodilionolly been held there, it was
proposed to plant trees on the square.
Trees go well with market places, and they make the oreo
less bore ond desolate on the days when no market is
being held. Since there was already o cor-pork under the
square raised boxes of bricks were constructed to hold the
minimum amount of soil needed lor the trees to grow in.
The size of these boxes ond the distances between them
were determined on the basis of the market-stalls, so that
the trees would serve as fixed points for the positioning of
the rows of stalls with suffident space in front and behind
eoch row.
The market vendors who were allocated, or who chose,
spaces next to the tree-boxes, use them for extra, informal
display-space. As a result, the boxes often lake on quite
on exotic appearance, which even, in a way, recoils the
temples of Bali.
The construction of the tree-boxes served as a good
opportunity to install the necessary electricollocilities lor
the market as well as for street lighting in the some
operation. The tree-boxes hove been designed in such o
woy lhot they provide seating in the shade on days when
there is no market the principle of multipurpose design
that, os for os we ore concerned, should underlie
everything we do to the urban environment.
The e.xamples cited in the fon190ing centred on the
applkation of components which function temporarily
in certain 'usoge situations', after which they reYert to
their original state, only to undltlJO new
metamorphoses later, as the need ari You could
ay that the relationship between those feotvres and
the Ulers is temporary, with the appropriation by those
users being imilarly temporary and therefore casual.
In a context of area thot r.quirelooking after, you
could go o step further by lecMng quite a lot of the
component in an unfinithed 1tate, 10 01 to offer the
users the opportunity of finishing them In the way most
suited to their particular need and preferences.
'The ideo underlying the skeleton houses, eight prototypes
of which hove been built in Delft, is that they ore in
principle unfinished. The pion is, to some e)(tent,
indefinilive, so thai the occupants themselves will be able
to decide how to divide their living space where they
wont to sleep, where to eat and so on. If the family
circumslonces change the dwelling con be adjusted
accordingly to meet new needs, and even to some extent
enlarged. The actual design should be seen as o
provisional framework lhot must still be filled in. The
- IJ

( '

- A
- -
..... --
skeleton is o hoff-product, which everyone con complete
according to his own needs and desires.
The house consists basically of two fixed cores, with
several split levels constituting the dwelling units which
con occommodote a variety of functions : living, sleeping,
study, ploy, relaxing, dining, elc. In each unit, i.e. level, a
section con be partitioned oFf to make o room, the
remaining area forming on indoor balcony running along
the entire living-hall (voidl. These 'balconies', which con
be furnished according to the tastes of the individual
members of the family, constitute the living oreo for the
family as o community of people. There is no stricl
between living and sleeping areas (with the
imposition of 'going upstoirs'l. Each member of the family
hos his own pori of the house the Iorge communal living
room.' (4J
.fr. ..

r;.f ,


MUll& SUCI. SUCI 151

..... _
' Architects should not merely demonstrate what is
possible, they should also and especially indicate the
tha.t are iRherent in the design and within
every-' s reach. It is of the utmost importance to
reoliz.e that there is a lot to be learned from how
occupa.nts respond individually to the suggestions
c.ontained in the design. Housing is still design.d
according ta what local government bodies, investors,
soclologists a nd architects think people want. And
wha.t they think cannot be other than stereotyped: such
aolutions ma.y well be roughly adequate, but they can
never be wholly satisfactory. They are the collective
interpretation by a few of the individual wi1hes of a
muJtitude. What do we really know about everyone's
individual wishes, and how should we set out to
discover what they are? The stu.dy of human
behaviour, however painstaking and thorough, can


...:C..!."""t -
-- -
' '
-- .. ..
---- -
.. ,
.... --

never penetrate the thick skin of conditioning which
has formed that behaviour and which suppresses a
truly personal exercise of the will. leca.use we ca.n
never learn what each penon r-lly wants for himself,
no one wUI ever be capable of Inventing for others the
perfect dwelling. In the da.ys when people still built
their own homes they were not free either, because
every society is, by defi nition, no mare than a bosic
pattern to which its members are subservient. Everyone
is doomed to be as he wants others ta see him that is
the price the individual must pa.y to society in orcler to


belong, and sa he i both po:u euor of and possessed
by collective pattern of behaviour. Even if people build
their own houHs they cannot escape from this but,
everyone should at leoat be free to give his personal
interpretation to the colledive pattern,' [4)
How much one has to do with one's neighbours depends
to o great extent on the type of boundary there is between
the gardens. A fence is euentiolly o means of obtaining
maximum isolation from each other. Absence of oil
boundaries, on the other hand, means being seen
constantly by one' s neighbours, being unable to ovoid
one another. Simply providing the rudiments of o partition
between adjacent premises, by woy of on invitation to
which everyone can respond os he wishes, provides on
incentive ond legitimates the measures which everyone
would like to take, but which they would otherwise
hesitate to toke on their own.
A low base of perforated blocks provides the foundation
lor a brick wall, but it con also serve as the support for a
wooden fence.' [4)
The raised terrace at the bock created possibilities for
personal interpretation. firstly the stairs, which were
restricted to the absolute minimum during construction,
could be replaced by alternative arrangements for access
to the garden.
Secondly there is the open space under the small terrace,
deliberately left unenclosed in spite of the usual decison
to shut off such areas - a decision that architects tend to
toke in order to ovoid duller ond untidiness, without their
realizing the potential advantages of such an extra,
sheltered little place. Finally, this small terrace, bounded
by walls on three sides, is m i n n ~ y suitable for o lateral
extension to the living-room.
'Adjacent roof-terraces facing each other are in this case
separated by o metal bar structure, by way of o summary
demarcation between the two areas. Railings and bars
invite one to hong things from them or to ottoch things,
especially lightweight, temporary materials such as canvas
MUl l ' HI.Ct. umu swr IS9
r 1
m 4JJ
4ll m or reed moiling. Here ogoin, we lind the bose of
m perforated blocks, which can very well be used lo put
m plants in them.' [4]
m m The challenge offered by these unfinished roofter10ces
yielded o great variety of solutions one inhabitant even
used his to build o complete greenhouse (which resulted in
o pitched rool after all!). This particular ideo hod not
occurred to the architect himself. The structure wos
dismantled after a few years to make space lor on extra
penthouse-room the important thing being not so much
the ingenuity of the construction as the actual fact that

alterations of this kind and on this scale ore indeed

Atlhe front, nexlto lhe entrances, o tiny 'yard' was
suggested architecturally by the presence of o vertical
concrete beam. Because the beam itself serves to support
the balcony oboe ond the space behind the beam is
open, there is not on actual sheltered portico, although il
would be quite easy to construct one by, soy, installing o
gloss roof. And depending on the indiiduol inhabitant' s
needs and tastes, and on what the situation inspires in his
or her imagination, the space con even be closed off
completely to serve as o bicycle shed, but it con oho be
used to make on exlension (odmilledly o very small one!
to the entrance hallway inside.
Viewed from the living-room above, the concrete beam
morh o space that could, in principle, be turned into on
outdoor living space to which access is provided by the
'window' deliberately positioned and proportioned in
such o way that, depending on personal interpretation, it
con be used either os o Iorge window or as a small door.
Garages were not formally provided for in the plan,
although this would not hove been unusual in this type of
housing. But the carport-like space of street level con be
used as such, and even garage-doors con quite easily be
installed but this space con equally well be used to
creole on extra room: on office, study or workshop which
con be mode directly occes.sible from outside if necessary.
So many people leave their cars out of doors anyway,
ond o great many people attach more importance to the
luxury of on extra room than to prolonging the life of their
cor by o few years.
'Windows con be designed os o framework that con be
filled in according to the chaise of the occupants with
either gloss or closed panels. The framework itself is
o constant foetor, and represents, you might soy, the
context and order within which each individual 's liberty
and oil liberties together con be token os on integral port
ol the whole. The framework is devised to accommodate
all conceivable inlills within the limits of certain
regulations, in the sense that the sum of oil the different
infills will olwoys amount too coherent whole.' [4l
'One could draw the condusion from all this that all we
have to do is deviM bare cartridtes, as unemphatic
and neutral 01 possible, so as to allow the inhabitant.
optimal freedom to realize their spec:lflc Hsires.
However paradoxical this may Mem, it is highly
questionable whether such a degree of freedom would
nat result in a sort of paralysis, because while so very
many alternatives present themselves, it is still
extremely difficult to make the choice that will prove to
be the best one for you. It is rather like those huge
menu that offer such on infinite variety of dishes that
one' s appetite is d.ulled ratite, thon whetted. When
there ore too many pouibilities to choose from It con
become virtually impossible to reach a decision, let
alone the best one too much con be just as bad 01 too
Not only is it a prerequisite for every choice that the
range of pouibilities con be grasped, (and is therefore
limited), but also the ch-Mr must be able to vlsuolize
the alternatives one by one in terms of his own way of
thinking, he must be able to conceive of them in terms
of his own expen.nce, in other words, they must elicit
auociotion, sa thot he con compare them mentally
with propositions of which he w01 already conscious or
which can be raised from his tubconscious elllperience.
ly comparison of the lmot evoked by the new
stimulus with the images already collected in previou1
expen.nce, itt potential can be asMued and can
become an e.xtension of his fomiliar
wOIId, and thus of his personality. 5o if the mKhaniam
of MIKtion neceuitates recognition or idetltificotion of
images already stored in experience, it i of the utmost
importance that everything that is offered should
evoke 01 many ouociotioM as pouible. The m-
auociotions con be evoked the mare individuola will
be able to respond to them that it, the more chance
there is that the auociotions evoked will be of sp eclflc
relevance to the user in a given situation. Eoch form
therefore, rather than being neutral, should contain the
greatest possible variety of propotitions which, without
imposing any one specific direction, thus constantly
bring about 01sociotions. An incitement Is necessary to
motivate ond ttimulate man to adapt his environment
to his own needs and to make It his own. And sa -
must confront him with stimuli that will elicit
interpretations and utoges in the woy best suited to his
own purposes.
These ' stimuli' must be so deaigned as to evoke images
in weryone's mind; images which, through being
prajKted into his experiential world, will result in
ouoclation that encourage ind'rvldual use, that is to
say, the very uM that is most appropriate for hit
tituation at that particular time.
The focal point in this whole story, and the examples
cited here ore intended to emphasize this, that
people in their dependence on themselves and on each
other, and the fundamental rettrictioM this impoMS,
ore unable to liberate themselves from the tystemt of
signification and the underlying system of values and
valuation which confine them, without ,_ help from
outs.ide. freedom may well hold great potential for
many but there must be a park to get the engine
Toke, for instance, a dark space or niche for most
people It will suggest a seduded and 1afe comer, but
for each individual it hat 0 arfferent significance, a
relevance to his particular circumstances: it con be
o secluded comer to relcut in, for quiet study, for aleep,
for use as a darkroom, or just 01 storage for foocl or
other private belonging.
tf a houM is to hove the capacity to evoke aJI these
different kinds of 0110Ciotions and be able to
accommodate them, it mutt have such a secluded
corner 1omewhere and in the same -y, small
rooms, to-r rooms, attla, tellors, and windows
under eaves induce other kinds of osaociotiaM. The
richer the variety of what is offered, the great.r the
copocity of the houM to meet the most richly
variegated Hsiret of the inhabitants.
The starkness and poverty of most new housing
manifests itself in this respect, sadly contrasting with
what on old house has to offer possibly in
contravention of the building regulations. One need
only think of the infinite pouibillties tho! old houses
offer for converting and furnishing in as many ways as
there ore people. Even if, as In a new building, they
are based an a stereotype, they still have much more
to offer because of the greater richneu of stimuli for
new auociaJions, whkh make it panible for its
inhabitants to truly appropriate the space.' (4)
Design IJIICired 10 maximum 'incentive' quaflfy calls for
o n- ond diHerent apprvoch on the port of the
ard\INct. What Is required Is a shift In the lows of
attention: the architect must switch his habitual
concentration from the building pi"CCf'GGIl'M, wltkh
uwally reflecta only a collective interpretation, 10 the
multiple situation, lndlvlduol or colledlve, os It arises In
tfte everyday reality of nerythlng that we build.
To bring this variegated assortment of dato to the
surface the architect hos only one means at his
disposal: his imagination. He must use his imogination
10 the fuiiiO be able to identify himself with the uaers
and thus to undermmd how his design will come
ocroas 10 them and what they will expect from it. Tkh
s,.cifk Imaginative copoclty, which moy be IMn as an
Indispensable port of the architect's normal competence
and which should as such be acquired Bke any other
sklll, Is the o ~ means of getting thl"'Ugh to what-an
in fact basic facts: the programme behind the (buildlt\gl
How one should go about presslng all these facts,
which must ultimately result in a design that will
lnd1ed be capoble of Inducing auoclatlons among the
uaers, is a d'tfferent story, but some of the more
cona.te aapects of ttUs process, which pertain to the
'anatomy' of a builcllng, con help 10 explain directly or
lncllredly the 'inducement' or 'Incentive' quaUty of the
architectural feotures dealt with In the exGmpl.s gien
in the previoua chapter.
Certainly In thate cas .. where - cletiberotely leave
something unfinished because we expect the users to
be capable of doing a better loll at flniahlng It than -
would, the botic farm that ia employed mutt, on the
technical and proctlcallevel, lend Itself 10 such
purpas ...
Anatomically speaking all mcomplete porta must nat
only be rec..,tlve to odapiOtion and addition, they
must oliO, to a certoin extent, be ,c&.slgned 10
accommodate various sotut1ona, and $hould moreover
~ :JO
Hoou al S.rlin
s.ildl"'l fxllibifi011
/ MieJ von a., iolte


'plonlibre'( ., _____ ],..

It Corhvsle,



_l l
clamour 10 be completed, 10 to 'fMOk. Porta that are
not uplicitty Mlf-contalned but rather exist in
relationship with other components, must be foo med In
such a way that they con indeed be fitted together or
combined, in other wonb that they induce the user to
toke such action. In the moat litet ol sense, too, the
semi-finished product must consist in an incluc>ement
and that is something which con only be achieved If
that was your ideo from the very Jfart
The mast elemeDtary principia, e.g. that it b o ~ i r 10
ocld onto something straight than onto a lonfint or
curved plone, play a major role here, espedaly when
you con reasonably cusume that ttMtte will be no
architect around to help when the decision must
actually be token.
Mat I COI'T' d
for the erection of l l ~ or partitions rectangular columns
ore not necessarily beller os o starting-point, but they ere
certainly eos1er Ia work with than round ones, end it is 1m
portont to beer that in mind, especially In cows where the
columns c011stitute the cor-ner1tones of the organization of
the space. And this is indeed nearly olwoys the case
except an the early 'pion libre', where free-standing col
umns define their own space irrespective of dividing walls.
The columns an the Centrool Beheer office building os well
as In De Drie Hoven were profiled in such o way thai they
hove a maximum 'slotting' capacity to accommodate
adjoining walls and low partitions, while also the
proportioning was wholly geared to such purposes In the
Music Centre (which may be choroctenzed os o sequence
of large spaces merging Into one another with relatively
few partitions) lhe columns ore round. 41.HI Round, free-
standing columns In o Iorge space where many people
come together function most soli sfoctory in o crowd,
where they ore unobstructive and do not stand in the way.
In the Apollo schools square columns were used wherever
adjoining walls occur, while the lour free-standing columns
in the hall ore round t4i01. They stand, rather aloof, in the
midst olthe bustle of activity, where they con be read os
intersections of the spatial construction.
Not only the form but olso the dimension of component
ports and of course the dimension of the spoces
betw .. n the different ports determine their accommo-
dating capocity, which in tum strongly influences the
rcinge of possibilities os to the disposition of the
fumlture. Consequently it Is often better to make a
column tlightly larger than strictly ne<euary for the
construction, if thot yields more 'attachment aurfoce',
thereby increating the potsibilities of utili&ation.
413 4S4

In addition to columns, especially piers, which occur in
every building in many forms, con serve a var iety of
purposel, depending on where they ore located ond on
the space they leove open: toke lor instance o chimney
breast, the kind thot you find interrupting one of the long
walls in so many old houses, end which you cannot
ignore when you ore furnishing the room; indeed, the pier
os such marks the space and provides o starting-point,
since the spoce on either side strongly effects the
possibilities and limitations of the room os o whole
. ....... ........................... .
0 . ............................ .
I o oo o oo 0 0 o U 0 0 o o 0 o o 0-0 01 o o o oooo <o. o
u _ .. ._ ________________ J
(wi ll o bed lit in the niche, or is it just too big?l.
In the skeleton dwellings which ore 'conditioned' os much
os possible to occommodote additions end olterotions, the
piers on either side of the floor section thot could be
designated os garage space were positioned in relation to
one another in such o woy that there ore multiple potential
solution$ in the woy ollrontoges or garage doors. A less
obvious solution hos been chased here with o view to
increasing the range of possibilities. Such o 'starting-
point' poses o problem, to which each user con find the
solution that suits his purposes belt.
If you have an eye for these things you can see
examples everywhere of alterations and additions to
houtes which the inhabitants themselves have made In
the course of time, probably without prior permiuion
from the authorities or landlords, and usually very
Such additions are especially likely to have been made
in places that aHered incentives in that direction, such
as balconies which 'clamoured' to be roofed, and
particularly loggias, which could quite easily be
De Orte HO\-en,
HOJite fot Eldody

OfSce Bullcllng
;.- H
r '---.....-

Betlin-Sntz, 1925-27/
8 To<JI
HOUSING, BHUN 1925-27 I B T AVI m ~ 1 ~ 1
II does not seem likely that the features that encourage
that sort of addition or alteration were deliberately
included by the orch1tect, although you would be incl ined
to think so in the case of Bruno Tout' s housing complex in
Berlin which really looks as if it was de5igned to
accommodate oil the alterations that the inhabitants hove
mode since the houses were built .
Bruno Tout, in the early days ol anonymous mass housing,
was undoubtedly one of the lint architects to side
unequivocobly with the users. II was not unhl much later,
when we hod got to know all the oppressive effects of
endless rows of identical dwellings, that proposals started
to be put forward to try to do something, os on
architectural principle. about that soul-destroying
cs& m m
0. Drle Ho..,.,
Home for the Ehkrly
M011lo=rl School,
16& l!SSO S lOt SIOOINIS Amll!CI UI[
Such incentives ore inherent in concrete perforoled
building blocks, representing os they do o basic and at
the some time of reciprocity of form and
usage. The holes in these blods jusl as literally demand
filling in (at least if the blocks hove cavities on one side
only otherwise they become windows).
In situations where perforated building blocks were
applied, os on the living balconies in the home for the
elderly De Drie Hoven, or in the apartments in the
Hoorlemmer Houlluinen housing scheme in Amsterdam or
in the Kassel housing project, they were always soon put
to use mostly as Flower pots. 01 course, people who
wonted polled plants or window-boxes anyway would
easily hove found other solutions for their greenery, but
since these blocks look unfinished on their own ond
clamour to be put to some kind of use, so to speak, they
ore on incentive to do something with them.
By adopting the principle of reciprocity of form and
usage as a starting-paint, the emphasis admittedly
shifts to what one could describe as greater fr.edom
for the users and inhabitants, but this should not be
taken to mean that the architect should, as a
consequence, follow the instructions of those users os
to what he must do - and especially os to what he must
not do.
When we indirectly advocate giving the users a greater
role to play in the shaping of their surroundings, the
objective is not primarily to encourage more
individuality, but rather to redress the balance
between what we ought to make for them and what
we should leave up to them.
Offering 'incentives' which evoke associations In the
users, which in turn lead to specific adjustments to suit
specific situations, in fact presupposes
notwithstanding the shift in emphasis a more
thoroughly considered design based on o more
detailed and more subtle programme of requirements.
The paint in creating incentives is to raise the inherent
potential as much as possible, in other words: to put
more into less, or to make less out of which more can
be drown. for each situation the following could be
said to apply! incentive + association = interpretation.
In this question the ' incentive' itself is a sort of
constant, which produces a variety of interpretations
through varying associations. And if we substitute
'competence' for 'incentive' and 'perlormance' for
' interpreftltion' we find ourselves back with the
linguistic analogy again, as described on page 93
(Incidentally, who can help noticing the miniature,
rudimentary arenas in the perforated blocks?)
Just as the architect's stand 'vis a vis' a collective
structure Is intrpretative - i.e. that of the user - so his
stand 'vis a vis' the users of his architecture is that of
making his design interpretable for them. An architect
must be quite clear about how far he should go and
where he should not impose: he must make space and
leave space, in the proper proportions and in the
proper balance.
""e mor. inftvenc. you con ,-lty exert on the
things MOund you, the mote you wiH feel emotionally
involved witt! them cmd the mor. attention you ww11
poy to them, cmd also, the more you will be lndined to
lavish care and lon on the things around yCMI.
You can only dwelop an affection fw thiftts thot you
can idemify with things on which you con pn>ject so
much of youl' -n identity and in wtlich you can invut
so much cor. and dedkotlon thot they become pol't of
you, absorbed imo your own penonol-rtd. All thot
cal'9 and dedkation makes It -m as If the object
needs you, not only con you cledde to o Iorge extent
whot ha,.,en to it but the obj.n pb o soy in
your life as well; this kind of relationship too may
evidently be seen as o proce11 of mut\HII
appropriation. The more lnvo!ved o penon i1 with the
form and conhnt of his surroundinp, the mON tho ..
surroundlnp become aPfi"'Prioted by him, cmd just as
he pas .. sslon of his surroundlft9 so they will
toke pos .... ion of him.
In the light of thi1 reciprocal appropriation of ,.ople
and thinp it Is fail' to state thot the thot oN
oHered by us os orchitecb represent on invltvtlon fw
comp1etion and 'colouring' by the people who reve
then, whiM on the other hond the people too extend
an lnvltotlon to the thinp to complete, colow ond fltlln
theil' own exittence.
Thus u .. r and form r.inforce eoch other oncllnteroct
and such o r.lotlonshlp Is onolopus to that between
Individual and community. u .. ,. project themselws
oftto the fofm, just as indivictualt thaw true colour
in their various r.lotionshlps with others, while playing
and being played upon, and thereby became who they
form directed to-rds o glvef'l pvrpose functiorlt as on
apporotus, and whel'9 form and programme 01'9
mutually wocotive the apparotul ltteH becomes on
iMtrum....t. A property functioning opporotu1 doN the
wotit for which it Is programmed, thot which is
expected of it no leu, but also no mON. ly pressing
the right buttons the expected results ore obtained, the
some fw everyone, always the same.
A (musical) Instrument ""ntlally contolna 01 mony
pouibillties of uaoge 01 u1e1 to which it iJ put - on
iMtrument must be played. Wrthin the limits of the
instrument, it iJ up to the player to drow what he con
170 lOt StUm tS II U ( KIIHIUtl
from It, within the limits of his ability. Thus
illllrviMflt and plcryer renal to eoch other their
respective abQitiet to complement and fulflO Ofte
another. Fonn as on in1tn1ment offers the nope for
each penon to clo what he has most ot heart, Oftd
abon all to clo It In his own way.' (4)
The following text from 1966, originally published In
forum 71967 under 'Identity' co:n Hrve 01 a
JUmming upl
'In the de.tgn of each building the architect must
constantly bear in mind thcrt the user muat hove the
h'eedom to decide for themNives how they want to use
eoch part, each space. Their personal lntefpretotf9n is
Infinitely more Important thon the stereotyped
approach of the orchited strictty adhering to his
building programme. The combination of functioN
whklt together coMtitute the programme is geared to a
standard poHNn of living a IOf't of hithest common
foetor, more or len JUitable for every- and
in.vltobly results In everyone being forced to fit the
image that we ore expected to project, accordltlg to
which we 01'9 expected to act, to eat, to ste.p, to entw
OU1' homes on Image, in Jhort, which eodl one of us
only nry folntty ....-bles, and whkh is them-
wholly inadequate.
In other word, it Isn't at all difficult to cl'90te a lucid
orcllitectur. if the requftm.nts thot it iJ JUppand to
meet a,. obscu... enough!
It is the distrepartc:iu that oriN from everyone' s
lnd'rndual need to a tpeeif'lc function,
depencfing on the drcumstortc:es and place, in his or her
own way, thot ulti-tely provide eodl one of us witt!
on Identity of _., own, and becauH it is impoulWe
(and has always been lmposs!We) to toll everyone's
circumJtoncea to fit exactly, we must <reate thi
potential for personal intwpretation by detivning
things in such a way thot they can Indeed be
It iJ not enough me...ty to t.ove room for personal
interpmotlon, In otber -rd to atop clulgning at an
eotller Jtote. This would admittedly 1'91Uit in a IJ1'90tltf
degree of flexibility, but flexibility does not n-sority
contribute to a beHer functioning of things (for
flexibility con never produce the best imaginable
results for ony given 1ltuatlon). As lo119 a.s there is no
real expansion of the chokes open to people, the
stereotyped pattern will not cllsappeor, and this
expansion can only be achieved if we ltort out by
-king It possible for the things around us to play o
variety of different roles, I.e. to toke on diHerent
colours while 1'9molnlng true to themselves.
Only when an the .. cllfferent rolel hove been taken
aut or
Into tonslcleratlon by glvlnt them priority In the deltn
stop, I.e . by lncludlne them as lmportont issues in the
programme of requirement, can we expect thot tcKh
lndlviclual will be induted to fotm his or her -n
inter'pfetotlon of the issue cotKtmed. TM diHerent
rain, being given priority by way of provocation, will
be ueeeted without Mint mode explicit.
Within the framework of the conclltlonine that ha b"n
given to the fotm, the user talns the fr"dom to thaose
for himself which pottem suits him be1t, to select hiJ
own menu as It -re; he can be trver to hlmnlf, hiJ
identity is increased. loth place, tcKh component, will
have to be attuned to the programme in its totolity, i.e.
to all the upected together. If -
condition the form to otcommodate an optimal
dl.,.,..lty of usage, then Infinitely more poulbllities can
be utnKted from the totolity, without this netenarily
cletradint In any way from the primary designation of
the proiect. The 'retums' can be increased by the
poulbllities of usage which are embedded in the
clelgn aJ Intentions under the surfote.' (3o)
PGrls, Pore d .. 8uJNs Chaumont
JliU' HlCl. I UYII6 SPA(( 111
, -


When you look ot one of the vosl number of books on
archiledvre that are being published nowadays and you
see all those glossy photographs, token without exception in
perfect weather conditions, you con 'I help wondering what
goes on in the architects' minds, how they see the world;
sometimes I think they practice o diHerent profession from
mine/ For what con archileclllre be other thon concerning
oneself with silllotions in doily life as lived by all people;
it's rather like clothing, which must after o/1 not only suil you
well, but also Fit properly. And if it is the fashion nowadays
to concern oneself with outwore! appearances, however
cleverly vested with references to higher things, /hen
orchiteclllre is degraded Ia sculplllre of on inferior sorl.
The point is thai whatever you do, wherever and however
you organize space, it will inevitobly hove some degree of
influence on the silllotion of people. Architecture, indeed,
everything that is built, cannot help playing some kind of
role in the lives of the people who use it, and it is the
architect's main task, whether he likes il or not, to see to it
that everything he makes is adequate lor o/1 those
silllalions. /t is not only o matter of efficacy in the sense of
whether it is practical or not, but olso of whether whol we
design is properly otlllned Ia normal relotiom between
people and whether or no/ il affirms the ~ u o l t y of all
people. The question whether orchiteciiJre has a social
function is totally irrelevant, because socially indifferent
solutions simply do not exist; in other words, every
intervention in people's surroundings, regardless of the
architect's specific aims, has o social implication. So we
ore not in loct free to go ahead and design exactly what
we please -everything we do has consequences for people
and their relationships.
There is not that much on architect con do, which makes it
all the more important to make sure that Few opportunities
there are ore not missed. If you think you can't make the
world o better place with your work, at least make sure you
don't make if worse. The art of architeclllre is not only to
molce beautiful things nor is II only to molce useful things, it
is to do both at once like o tailor who makes clothes that
both loolc good and fit well. And, if at all possible, clothes
that everyone can wear, not just the Emperor.
Everything we design must be adequate lor every situation
that arises, in other words, it must not only be
accommodating but also stimulating -and it is this
fundamental and active adequacy that I would like to call
'inviting form': form with more sympothy for people.
au tor
1 1he Habitable Spoce betwMn Things 176
Raised Sidewalk, Buenos Aires
Weespentraot Student Accommodation, Amsterdam
La Capelle, France
High Court, Chondigorh, Indio I Le Corbusier
Vredenburg Music Centre, Utrecht
De Evenoar, School, Amsterdam
Apollo Schoots, Amsterdam
St. Peter's Square, Rome
2 "- and Artkulation I 90
Right Dimensions
Hoorfemmer HouHuinen Housing, Amsterdam
'The Potato Eoters
I Vincent von Gogh
De Drie Hoven, Home for the Elderly, Amsterdam
Montessori School. Delft
Centrool Beh&er Office Building, Apeldoorn
Home Conversion, Amsterdam
St. Peter's, Rome
Vredenburg Music Centre, Utrecht
3 Vl-1 202
Montessori School, Delft
Weesperstroot Student Accommodation, Amsterdam
Pavilion Suisse, Paris I Le Corbusier
Pavilion de I' Esprit Nouveau, Paris lle Corbusier
Documento Urbano Housing, Kassel
LiMo Housing, Berlin
Thou School, Barcelona I Martorell, Bohigos & Mackay
Vredenburg Music Centre, Utrecht
De Overloop, Home for the Elderly, AI mere
Pore Guiill, Barcelona I A. Goudi, J.M. Jujol
Sociology of Seating
Apol lo Schools, Amsterdam
4Vlewll 216
Yon Nelle Factory, RoHerdom I M. Brinkmoro, l.C. von der Vlugt
Rietveld,Schroder House, Utrecht I G. Rietveld
De Overloop, Home for the Elderly, Almere
De Evenoor, School, Amsterdam
s VIew Ill 226
World Exhibition Pavilion, Paris I F. le Ploy
Cineoc Cinema, Amsterdam I J. Duiker
Vredenburg Music Centre, Utrecht
Villa Sovoye, Poissy, France I le Corbusier
Pede!trion Underpass, Geneva, Switzerland I G. Descombes
Chapel, Ronchamp, France I Le Corbusier
Alhambra, Granado, Spain
Mosque, Cordoba, Spain
Private Home, Brussels / V. Horta
Maison de Verre, Paris I P. Choreou, B. Bijvoef and l. Dol bet
Von Eetvelde House, Brussels I V. Horta
Castel Beranger, Paris I H. Guimard
Apollo Schools, Amsterdam
Bibliotheque Ste Genevieve, Paris I H. Lobrouste
6 EquiYalence 246
Open Air School, Amsterdam I J. Duiker
De Overloop, Home for the Eld&rly, Almere
Villa Rotondo, Vicenzo, Italy I A. Palladia
Mosque, Cordoba, Spain
St. Peter's, Rome
Dutch Pointers
le Corbu$ier, Formal ond Informal
Parl iament Building, Chandigorh, Indio I Le Corbusier
Water Reservoir, Surkej, India
rmm' rOtr! 175
au tor
By approoching the designed object as an instrument
rather than as on apparatus, as we did in the previous
sectlon of then studies (part 8), we were In fact
already advocating what amounts to a greater
efficiency. Hoving dlscuued examples of the ability of
form to play different roles under changing
circumstances not only by creating the necessary
conditions but ol$0 by actually encouraging such
differentiated usage, this section will deal with
extending this ideo to a ge.nerol principal. For what we
need is an expansion of the pouibilities of a ll the
things we design so that they will be more useful,
more applicable, and so more suited to their purpose,
or suited to more purposes.
If something is geared very specifically to o certain aim
it functions the way it has been programrMd to
function, i.e. as it was expected to function. This is the

sort of functionalism that the functionalists talked
about, but it is also the minimum of utility that con be
expected of architecture. And in order to achieve more
than that minimum in the diversity of situations as they
arise I a m pleading far form and space with a greater
'accommodating' potential, like a musical instrument
that sounds the way the player wonts it to sound. The
point is to increase this ' accommodating potential' and
thus to make space more receptive to different
situation. Once you start looking for them it is easy to
find even in the most unexpected comers examples of
usage that the designen (if any) certainly never
People use their surroundings in every situation as best
they can, and quite often the things around them, quite
unintentionally, offer unexpected opportunities which
are then grasped 'in passing' as it were.
"l"egularitles' such as diHeRtKes in level occur
everywhere, and lntteod of going to gr9Gt l.ntfhs to
minimize them we should rather concentrate an trying
to faml them sa canKiously that they cctn be
mcutlrnctlly uploited. Parapets, railings, past and
gutters art forms of articulation and represent
increcutd possibilities far attachment. They can be uMd
aa primitive elements of what we could call the basic
grammar of architecture. Occurring aa they do in
divtrM shapes and sizes they ctrt a constant stimulus
far usage in everyday lift.
The mast elementary provision ta enctblt peopl. ta
take of their direct environment is probably
the provision of Mating (the opportunity to Mat -If
havlnt everythlnt ta do, lintuimcally, with
Mfflement). A plo<e ta sit aHtrs an opportunity for
temporary appropriation, whil. creating the
circumstances far contact with othtn. Not only would
an ordinary domestic sofa or chair be Incapable If
wlthatandlnt such varied and casual usage, it would
also fall ta stimulate such usage.
Objects that present explicitty and
exclusively far a specific purpaM e.g. for sittlnt on
appear ta be unsuitctblt for other purpaMs. btrtme
functionality In a dttign makes it rigid and infltJllblt,
that ia, it leaves the uMr of the designed object too
little fttdom ta Interpret its function as he pl.a1t1. It
l1 a1 if It has been d.cidtd a priori what is ta be
expected of the user, what he may and what he may
nat do. The user is thus 1ubservient ta the farm and the
concomitant a priori 'agreement'; he it only capable of
u1ing the of appropriating it temporarily In a
way, If whot he wants ta do with it corretpands ta
what the form dictates.
What a sofa dictates can be regarded as the sum of
what those respanslbl. far its exi.sttnce hcrtt ta offer:
the furniture maken, the buyen, an icleology, a
sac!.ty, a cultvre. The concept 'bench' it maintained by
a series of associations which are sa pa-rful that the
user has little chance of ... ing beyond those associ
allons ta pick out what he needs most at that moment
and that may well be a table rather than a bench, or
jull a place to put down a tray with coH .. thlnt
In the caM of a chance encounter that need may be no
mort than an opportunity to rest - foot: o small
gesture which can be a sign to someone else that you
are not averat ta the idea of mort penonol contact. If
the rtlpanM ta this first tentative and oa yet non
committal gesture - not displeasillf, then both
partie can successively assume mort permanent
positions, always In kHping with the degrtt of
commitment or noncommitment that each wants.' (4]
'There where the sidewalk is so high that you con sit on it
or leon against it, in streets with o sleep incli ne, for
instance, such o place, if favourably situated (as on o
cornerl, con become a place where people meet ond
linger. This is where young football players find a ready
audience, and a place any street vendor wonting to draw
the attention of passers-by w.ll wont to make use of: on
obvious spot, but with the natural advantage of some
seclusion for the display of his wares.' (4)
tiVITIU 101M 177
'A long, brood parapet should look fairly unobtrusive of
first sight, jusl somewhere to pause, Ia leon against or to
sit on, for o fleehng moment or for o longer conversation
as the case may be Sometimes it !terves os eating-space
when the rastouronls is crowded, and tl was used for
laying oul o buffet supper one Christmas.' (4]
For con!Qct to be es!Gbllshed spon!Gneously a certain
casualne11, noncammittalneu, is indispensable. It is
the that you can break aH con!Qct and
withdraw as soon as you like that enc,ourages you to
carry on. The es!Gblishment of contact is in a way
rather like the of seduction, with both sides
making equal claims on the other In the knowlecfte
that retreat is possible at any time.
Here too the auodations that are evoked in us by the
111 l !SSOI S lOt SIOO!NIS IN AmiiiCIUl!
images we all store in our consciousness collective
associations, we could say ploy a decisive role. Just
think of o courting couple which is readily imagined
sitting on o bench, with all the attendant associations
of bonds for the future and the sihJotions that appear
to arise inevitably, a s a result.' (4]
lA CAPElLE, fRANCE 14131
'It does not toke much for things to serve os a sort of
structure to which everyday life con attach itself. The
simple roiling where elderly people find support when
going up or down o stepped street is, for every child in
the neighbourhood, o challenge to demonstrate its agility.
It serves as o playground climbing-frame and, in summer,
is sure to be used for building huts and hideouts.
In Holland, moreover, you can be sure that housewives
would use such a roiling far beating the dust out of their
carpels. A straightforward iron roiling is literally 'at
hand', lor a wide range of uses, far oil sorts of ordinary,
everyday situations, and it transforms the street into a
The designed, purpose-built playgrounds which are
scattered throughout the city ore, lor the time being,
indispensable places of refuge far children. But, like
prostheses, they are also o painful reminder of how
severely the city, which should itself be a playground for
its citizens and children, has been amputated in this
respect.' (4]
HIGH Coou. OtANDIGARH 1951-55 /l Couus Et .,..,,1
The '8ri5e-Soleil ' comtructiom which ore feotured n 50
much ofle Corbu1ier'5 loter architecture, con5ist of o
fixed concrete grid mode up of horizontal and vertical
planes; be11de5 screening off the sun, of course, the
honeycomb-like structure with its deep niches serves other,
less obvious purposes too. Whot fasci nated le Corbusier
himself about thl5 structure was no doubt primarily its
strong plasticity, and I would not be ol oil surpnsed If he
never really considered the possibility thot it could prove
useful for o variety of other reo sons besides its expressive
plasticity and its screening properties, thereby adding on
extra quality to the building os o whole.
T , 1
In the foregoing examples the quality oroM from more
or less chance fodors, in ony cose It did not resuh from
deliberate design, but it must also be possible to turn
such qua lity into an explicit requirement of the design
brief. Meeting this extra qualitative requirement need
not cost much extra money, it con ensue as o matter of
courn once you put your mind to it. What this amounts
to is doing more with the same material, organixing it
differently, giving more prominence to what wos
already there it's a matter of priorities.

. :J
Ifil l
ll 1 I I I
I .
~ .L
. I I
I I I'
' II
__ ...........
- .
V Mus1c ([N'RE tlllh,
A theatre lobby con never hove too much seating. Only o
comparatively small proportion of the audience lind on
'official' seal during the intervals, so the more informal
sealing accommodation there is, the better.
180 IISIOH 101 U(llii(IUII
In order to meet extra sealing reqwement masonry plmth
courses were constructed wherever leoslble: len
camlortoble than on upholstered bench, no doubt, but no
leu serviceable for that. Another typical problem during
on interval is finding somewhere to put down cups,
glosses and bottles. The solution lends to be to use ony
Rot surface that is available. Providing such space
exclusively for that purpose would probably be taking
things too for, it is sufficient to make the lop of parapets,
bolus1Todes, partitions etc. wide enough, e.g. by adding a
wooden ledge, for this minor ohhough persistent problem
On the upper level of the shopping arcade the metal
balustrade curves outwards at regular intervals to provide
space lor o small bench, from where one con just oversee,
looking from side to side, the arcade below in both
directions. The raised bock - a little too mojeslic perhaps
was the concession that hod to be mode to the building
authorities, since the regulations applying to the height of
parapets hod Ia be strictly observed; the more natural and
somewhat more elegant design of the model that
preceded the definitive veuion was turned down.
At present these seats ore now removed because they
supposedly attract too many 'vagrants' who make
themselves at home in this sheltered moll, especially at
night; they leave a lot of rubbish behind and there ore
many complaints by passers-by about harassment. This is
a problem in cities oil over the world and it must be a
bitter paradox that a welcoming gesture also invites the
- -- ------
rhe Roilwcry. hove o .....,,.,ffll 10
"''""101"9 ....JOu,gJ>Od ond dean ptrbhc
premises 1M kwg. numbor> ol )'00"9 people
hoogi"9 otOol<ld In l01tt<dom' Cenvof S!olion
.....,. nocontly coofronltld WJJII o 'tiJCOrogN>enl'
polk)' "'""9 IN fo<m ol, o-.g 0/ll.r 111"9
pol..-1 JIHI roGJ ""' ....... -rig
space l'llft rotl.os J,,. oJwslrr'tnl It po11 of 1M
loilw<ty's ow compolgn ogolrul lir<tr and
c!tfocornontl (a-. 11 , 198 71
presence of less desirable guests. Once you open the
door you must let everyone inl the tendency to make
things os impersonal and unassailable as possible is not
surprising, but the consequences ore often absurd.
. .. 111
The stotrwoy up to the entrance of the new primary school
'De Evenoor' i n Amsterdam has been given on extra
ortic;ulotlon to make the a"ess from street level to the
school more fluent. The juxtaposition of the two Aighs of
steps thus suggested bending the roll" ng components vis o
vis each other This gave rise to the decision to make the
poropert elements on the landing curve tn such o way os
to produce two small places to sit. Certainly the form here
!like the comer seats in the Music Centre gallery) is rather
dominant and by no means fortuttous, yet in both cases i t
is quite o logical outcome of the given situation. Here the
form explicitly offers tis function, unli ke in the case of the
curved perforated steel sheeti ng on the upper landing,
where, however, children soon discover the implicit
seoting opportunittes
182 l S S O ~ I I O P mutUS ti &HHII!CIUII
M r I o
~ -
t- -
!= ~ ~
Arouo SCHOOLS (1!1-493)
'Window sills, shelves ond ledgGs in a clowoom all offer
opportunities to disploy the children' s handicraft products
which ore not only usually frog ile, but olso numerous. It ts
especially this sort of thing that enables children to
appropriate o spoce, to make themselves ol home in il.
That is why we odd ledges etc. wherever feasible ond
suitable.' [1 OJ
., 4!0

'Colums today seldom hove o either o separately defined
bo)e or the t r o i t i o ~ o l capitol of the columns of the
closslccl orders. They simply dissopeor into the Aoor. But
there ore situations where o widened section of the
column just above the floor offers Interesting el(tro
advantages AI the entrance to o nuuery school, e.g,
parents gather Ia wait lor their chuldren to toke them
home. II would be a bit exaggerated to install special
benches just lor these woinling parents, and It is even
doubtful whether they would be really wonted.
All the more oppropriole, then, IS the informal sealing
space offered by these discs, which one you might well
be grateful for when it turns out that one hos to walt
longer than expeded. During the children's recess the
discs ore used to leave coots and bogs on a better place
for them than on the ground in o comer, surely .. And lost
but by no means least this column inevitably serves os
'home' to hide-and-seek players ' (1 OJ
Sr. PmR's SouARE, ROME, SINCE 1656/ G.H. BERNINI lm.4tS)
' Each of the countless columns of the fou rfold colonnade
of Bernini's Piazza Son Pietro in Rome hos o square bose
Iorge enough for one to sit on quite comfortably, while the
columns themselves ore so thick os to provide shelter to
those seated there. These multiple 'seats' bordering the
ovol, just where the most seclusion is provided, offer
informal hospitality to everyone, even when the rest of the
piozzo is deserted. How many of the columns now ot the
design stage oil over the world offer o like additional
quality to those who will later hove to live with [6]
51, PtJtt 17 S4/
G.P. Ponini
186 lESSOH 101 SIUDINIS IN U(ijlfHJUt!
Parapets bordering sloircases ore very often placed
slantwise, following the direction of the hand-rail. This is
indeed in many cases the most obvious solution, whereby
on indication of the presence of this the stairs is given in a
quite logical woy. But in o situation where o poropet is so
positioned thot it offers o view of something, os in 'De
Evenoor', it invites people to leon their elbows on the top,
or even to sit on it. Wherever something is going on
people wont somewhere to pause ond watch and that
itself is enough reason to try to let the architecture of the
loco lion contribute to potential seating capacity. So in this
case it wos o good ideo io have, instead of the usual
slanting poropet, a parapet divided into stepped sections
with horizontal coping that is wide enough to leon your
elbows on or to sit on. And if, as in this case, the wall is
of masonry, the stepped design is much easier to execute,
since there is no sawing of br icks to be done. So the
execution, quite unintentionally, recalls elaboration of
Berloge and Loos.
APOllO SCHOOLS tm.SOt-503)
'Every ~ i n of step or ledge by a school entrance becomes
o place to sit for the children, especially when there is an
inviting column to offer protection and to leon against.
Realizing this generales form. Here ogoin we see that
form generates itself, and that is less o molter of inventing
than of listening ollenlively to what men ond objects wont
Of some kinds of spaces we know beforehand that they
will be gratefully used, ond bearing that in mind it is
important to make the periphery of the building os inviting
as possible, by activating each component wherever
possible- and that includes, for instance, the space in
front of the kindergarten entrance under the staircase
leading up to the school proper. Such spaces very often
degenerate into dark ond smelly corners where only
rubbish collects ond cots roam, but no people. By making
the flight of steps rise from o raised platform this situation
con be avoided, while giving the area under the staircase
a more positive vaJue. II is the mostliterol lorm of making
the space between things more habitable.
We must take care not to leave any holes and comers
behind which are lost and useleu, and which, becau1e
they serve no purpose at aU, are 'uninhabitoble'. An
architect must not waste spoce by the way he
organizes his material, on the coniTary he must add
space, and not only in the obvious places that strike
the eye anyway but In places !hot do not
generally attract attention, i.e. betwHn things. The
foregoing examples 1how how you can increase the
functionarrty of an arr.hitectural design by consistentfy
~ V ~ !Crt 187
a rw o 1 u
m SOl
taking account of the ln betwHn space.
Admltteclty we come acrou Instances of thla kind of
utra quality quite often in our surroundings without
any architect having deliberately Intended them, but
still it is fair to say that we should on the whale try to
make objects more substantial, leu two-dimenaional
by thinking mare In terms of zones. Freestanding
walls, if they don' t reach the ceiling and are suffkiently
thick, can rv as shlves far putting things on. One of
the striking things about Italian churches in particular
Is that they hav a knM hlgh projecting stone plinth
running round much of the wall, on which you will
alway '" some people sitting or lying. And the
motorcars of th old dcrys had running boarda to
facilitate getting in and out which also made excellent
eJitra Mats during a pknk.
The tension of the usable space by the addition of
(infonncll) Jttro homontal plan ...,...._ .. the
reward for making mare uplkit what was in fact an
Implicit requirement. And If this added value Is INft
primarily u yMiding an enlargement of the capacity
far seating and far putting things on, this may 111m a
somewhat limited advantage at first sight. lut th
point here Is the designer's or architect's commitment
(both in generol and In particular) to create this adct.d
value wherever pa11ible, as the usrs will tum svch
utras to further advantage.
*h intensification of the material should, Ideally,
become second nature to th architect, a queJtion of
handwriting rother than an utra, le11 a matter of
what you design than of how you design it. It ia to the
content that we should be adding, and as little as
possible to the design (the danger of superfluous
projections and fuulnu Is ever-preMnt).
A prerequisite far creating inviting form is empathy,
the way hospitality is bosecl on anticipating the wishes
of one' s guests. Increasing the 'accommodating
potential' amounts to a greater suitability for what is
required of farm; a farm threfare which is more
orientated to people' s n11ds in different situations, and
which c.onsequently has more to offer.
The habitabl apace betwen thing ...,..sents a sJ.Ift
in attention from the offkial level to the informal, to
where ordinary dayto-day llveJ are led, and that
means in the margins betwMn the eJtablished
meanings of J19IIcit function.
'lot clomu clv bot
dtt {19251
190J.Cl4/7 Go, ... ,
'fCOIC ooll\e btoch',
flomJo fl94 II
IOU, 119
SC6 501
Ri9ht Dimensions
The first consideration of decisive importance in design
i119 a space is whot that spoce is intended far and what
not, and consequently what the proper sin, is to be.
The first and most is: the bigger the
space the more possibilities it will offer. This would
imply simply maki119 everything as big cu possible.
Of c:ourse that does not work. In a kitchen that is too
bi9 you have to fetch and c:arry much more thon strictly
necessary. It's simply a question of expedience, of
having everythi119 you need around you within ea1y
reach. Different activitiu and ue require different
spatial dimensions. A space big enough for plcrylng
plft9pOft9 is not neceu.arlly suitable for a 1mall group
of people 1itting round a table holding a conversation,
for instance. What dimensions to give a space is
always a queation of sensing the required distance and
proximity betwMn people, dependi119 on the 1ituation
and the purpose of space. The right balance between
distance and proximity is an i.mportant point in seating
arrangements, especia.lly seating around a table: not
so far aport as to di"ourage intensive contact when
that is called for, nor so close together as to make one
feel crowded. Feeling crowded con even hove o
poralyxing effect: in a full elevator shored with mostly
stra.ngers you will alway find that conversations
become stilted and soon peter ovt.
The small pavement gardens ot the front, enclosed by o
low brick woll, ore no bigger than the livlngbolconies on
the upper floors. They could hardly hove been even
smoler, of course, but it is by no means certain that they
would hove been better if larger. They ore just big enough
to offer sufficient space foro smell company of people,
and the needs of different families in this respect do not
oppeor to vory much. There hos to be enough room for a
few choirs around o small table, which con be round,
square or oblong but which seldom devioles from lhe
J. ..... ..
,_, __ .... ..
. ..: ...
standard size. (All this is just as predictable as the foci
that the width of the overage pavement is inadequate.)
The balconies of the upper-floor apartments ore relatively
spacious, unlike the usual situation where the people
downstairs with front gardens hove more space ol their
disposal than the occupants of the upper floors. Half of
the area of these living balconies is roofed: portly by o
gloss owning and portly by being set bock in the l o ~ o d e .
An added advantage of the Iotter is that there is just
enough room for o door on the side leading to the
adjoining kitchen, which further contributes to integrating
exterior and interior living spaces. The partition between
two adjoining living-balconies is lowered to parapet-height
over a distance of 60 em. at the front, so that neighbours
con easily communicate with each other if they wish.
Rother then taking the rules of minimal dimensions drown
up by housing authorities and building regulations officers
os o spatial standard of measurement, you could toke the
space occupied by people silting around o table as o sort
of unit. This theme is frequently dealt with by pointers,
who with their keener eye for composition often toke such
o unit os their spatial starting-point. A lamp hanging over
the table accurately defines the centre of attention. The
light it sheds around it makes the people ond their
attributes together shape the space, so that there is
ultimately o fusion between people and place. The way
this 'lost supper of the poor' shows how people and space
complement each other makes il o particularly instructive
lesson in orchileclure.
A room that is too sma.ll for its is inadequate,
but 10 is a space that is too la'11fe, because although It
may be big enough to hold a lot that does not mean
that it necessarily fits property so as to give the people
in it the right feeling like clothes whid1 fit well,
neither sa tight as to be uncomfortable nor so loose as
to hamper one' s movements. Most architects, when
they are not restricted by rules and regulations, tend
to make apaces too large rather than too small.
Everything is kept as open and spacious as possible,
thereby precluding the usual and understandable
objections, but the architects fail to realize that there
may be possibilities that are in fact token away by
their grand gesture, that they are making more things
o. ~ o H ..,,.
llo<!te lor the ElM< Jy
Place Clem-enceou,
VeMe, FrartC
& RoeJ.or.IJtr l'lo:o.
Now Y01k

Nollonolo, Pori
& Amp/IJJ!Joolro, Arlos,
116 S17
imposalble than poulble. The larver the dimenaions,
the more diffkult it i1 to uae them to best advctntage.
Aren't all thon urban piGnnen and an:hitects
constantly trying, under political preuure or not, to
reHNe mare ctnd more space for separate tTam zonea,
bicycle zones and other areal deaignated to tTaffic all
theae facilities having in common that the houses have
to be placed further and further apart as if they were
children' clothea that have to be let out?
Wherever traffic space it squandered the buildings
became Isolated, standing far apart. This makes it
impossible for ern urban space to evolve organically
from building height and distances and thus to create
a mec11ure of intimacy and secluaion. That atmoaphere
of intimacy does exist in tome old city centres, where
the tTaffic Ia not allowed to reign aupreme. And unleu
thre is more contact and understanding betwMn
opposite sldea of the stTeet (can they atiU hear them
selves speak with all that traffic noise?) we can fartt
abcrut reaaonobly functioning public space altogether.
'Instead of the usual seating accommodation by the
window in ho$pitolwords, every two bedrooms shore o
siHing-room in the spoce created by widening ihe
corridor. Low brick partitions enclosing the fi xed seals
rote the space from the actual corridor
giving some
seclusion from the people walking to ond fro while
offering o view of what Is going on. This arrangement
encourages casual contact between the staff, even when
they ore very busy, and the residents. People siHing there
hove o sideways view down the corridor, while the
windows of the bedrooms at the bock con be opened,
thereby also allowing for some contact.
Tese niches, which were smuggled through the barrier of
strict square-metre standards, con easily accommodate
four people (at the most sixl . It is o place to receive
visitors, to eot o meal, and quite often there's o TV set or
radio. The rear wall has as much shelving as possible,
which offers spoce lor the residents to put lreo)ured
possessions for which there is no room in the bedrooms.
The size of these spaces end the way of furnishing create
on impression of a basic living-room, just right for the
number of people living there. If they hod been much
larger they would certainly hove been less functional.' [7]
What use is to be made of a space decidea whcrt the
ri9ht proportions are to be, and since the architectural

and spatial conditions of a place encourage certain
forms of usage and discourage others, architects have
a tremendoua influence, whether they Uke it or not, on
what can and will take place in a space. Thei r
decisions as to si&e alone are enough to didate what a
1poce is right for and what not.
Spaces such as the arenas described earlier (in parts A
and 1), Rockefeller Plcrso, the public squares of Venice,
and also such interior spaces as the libliath.que
National in Paris, are of a sin that is attuned to
usag in a variiJty of situations which, however
different, resemble each other in that they are focused
one common activity. Of cours the skaters on
Rockefeller Ploza, like the readen in the llbllotheque
Nationale, tend to be immersed in their own activities,
but juat as the skaters share a common audience, the
readen 1hare an all-pervading atmosphere of
This applies to large spaces and small ones alike: the
dimensions have to match whcrt iJ going to take place
there (or conversely, what goes on there has to match
the dimensions). We must see to it that the dimensions
of space, large or small, are appropriate for the
functions they may be expected to serve.
Provide that place
Although architects have alwoya been preoccupied by
' piGce', it was Aldo van Eyck who first formulated the
' oncept in such a way thcrt you cannot ignore it. From
among the many of hiJ tuts that deal with place and
space, two well-known atatemenb are quoted here.
'Whatever space and time mean, place and occasion
mean more. For tpace in the image of man is place,
and time in the Image ol man Is occasion.
'Malc:e ol each a place, a bunch of places of each
house and each city, lor a house Is a tiny city, a city a
huge haute'. Aldo vo Eye!. 1962
'Whenever o class of nursery-school children ore leh to
their own devices they lend to form small groups, smaller
than you might expect; ond it so thot these castle
builders and prelend.fathers and mothers feel much more
ol home in smaller spaces thon in Iorge ones. BeoJing this
in mind it seemed a good idea to hove several smaller
sondpits instead of one Iorge one. (Whenever you see
nursery-school children playing together in o Iorge group
you con be sure thot o teacher is behind it off, monitoring
this communal activity.)
The Montessori school in Delft hod o sondpit divided into
several small comportments lust right lor sondcostles.
Children of sondcostle oge usually ploy on their own, or
in twos or threes; lour toddlers rarely ploy together in o
group, and live or more seldom or never.
In Iorge sondpils the more exponsionislminded
youngsters con all too easily disturb the concentration ond
intimacy of the others, simply because there is no
demarcation of claimed space. So here the size of these
small sand-pits matches and even enhances their use. The
right size is made up of the totality of dimensions that are
attuned to the expected usage, while conversely o certain
size will attroct the usage that is best attuned to it.' (7]
This sandpit as a whole, having been subd1v1ded into a
raw of comportments in order to accommodate the use 11
is designated lor as well as poss1ble, presents on
elementary example of the principle of orticulahon
Space thauld always be articulated in tuch a way that
places are c.reated, spatial units whose appropriate
dimensions and correct measure of enclosedness
enable them ta accommodate the pattern of relations
of those who will uJe it,
How a space Is articulated Is a. decisive factor: It will
determine to a high degrH whether the 1pace will be
suitable for a single large group of people, say, or for
a number of small, separate groups.
The more articulation there is the smaller the spatial
unit will be, and the more centres of attention there are
the mare individualizing the overall effect become
that is, that Jeveral activities can be by
separate group at the Jame time.

.. -i-r-t,

I ]_..J.
Aroo is floe ..,.,. lo
A. 8, Cand0
That 10 much emphasis is laid on the articulation Into
small spatial units is often as a
for the larger scale, but this is a miuonception. It is not
10 that a large boldly articulated space neceuarily
discoui'Gf" un by a single central group, just as,
conversely, a large unarticulated space does not
neceuarily create the conditions for diHerent uns at
the some time.
It is in foct pauible ta articulate a space in such a way
that it is suitable for both centraliud and decentrali1ed
usage, In which case we can adopt both the largescale
concept and the smollscale concept, depending on how
we wish ta the space.
lut what we are talking about is merely the principle;
It goes without saying that the nature of the
articulation, such as its 'wavelength' and its quality
that is, how the principle i put into pradke
Slt determineJ the potential of the Jpace.
m mob 'We must articulate thints ta make them smaller, that
S14 i to ay no bigger than necessory, and more
manageable. And becaun articulation
applkobility, the space ex;pands at the same time. So
what we make has to be<ome moiler and at the same
time bi9ger; small en011111h to be put ta use and bit
"011111h ta oHer maximum patentiol for use.
A.rtkulation, then, lead ta 'upansion af capacity' and
thus ta greater yields from the material available. Leu
mcrterlal is therefore needed, thanu to its

1 All things hould be given the ritht and
the r!tht are those that enable them ta be
as workable as paulble. If we decide to stop making
things of the wrong sill it will soon become clear that
almost everything should be mode quite a bit smaller.
Thing should only be big if they conist of a mtusing
together of smal.l units, for ovenind proportions soan
create dimnce and detachment, and by their
persistence in designing on too Iorge, grand and empty
a JCOie, architects have be<ome large-scale praducers
of distance and alienation. based on
multiplicity implies greater complexity, and that
c.omplexlty enhances the thanks
ta the greater diversity of relations and the interaction
of the individual that tog.ether form the
whole. [4]
The or1iculotion of space was the principle underlying the
design of the Centraol Beheer insurance office. Point of
departure wos the tenet thot off work, os well os off
recreational oclivity, takes place in small groups, not
individually but not collectively either. A study of the
situation showed thor all the diHerenl components In the
programme could be interpreted os spaces, or places, of
3 x 3 m, or of multiples thereof. And because things in
practice ore never so precisely numerical, the necessary
margins were token into account lo allow lor overspill into
the circulation oreos. If this building con be said to hove
the potential not only to absorb for-reaching internal
changes but olso to give the Impression that it could also
be designated for quite different purposes, then that is due
to the or1iculation. So, when for instance on art exhibition
is mounted in the building jos is done regulorlyl, the
environment can quite simply and easily be transformed
into o space with gallery-like qualities.
However, the dream of o constructed space attuned to
every conceivable programme of usage was not fully
realized here, although it seems within reach.
The secret of articulation into a diversity of places is,
indeed, that this dream con never be fully realized. For
the size of the spatial units we coli places is based on the
spatial needs of what we might coli the patterns of social
interaction. The building, then, con serve os o basic struc
lure only for those purposes thai more or le$s match it. The
range of possibilities of o building is determined by the
5 3
IUIIII6 fotl 195
r I
Foyer Vrlenburg
Dwelling, AmsMidom
A: originol
8: aher coneniCHI
density of its structure ond the articulation derived from it.
While it functions very well as on office building, it
provides quite on unsatisfactory environment lor a
company party with oil the stall, lor instance, so it is not
surprising that for such events use is mode of the larger
of the adjoining building. This hall forms on
integral port of the complex as a whole and is therefore
easily accessible.
One could measure a Raorplan accordint to the
capacity it has for creating and with that an
lm,.-.uian is abtalned of the patentlal of the flaar
space for accommodating more or leu separate
activitiet. The traditional floorplan in Dukh housing
comprises twa connecting roomt, separated from each
other by bulltin cupboards enclosing tliding doors.
Many people over the years decided to remove these
obstacle in order to obtain a single, large space.
H-ever, they found that the new bigger space wa
not only for more difficult to organir.e and fvmith, but
also that the extra space provided by the new
arrangement proved to be dlsappalnt11111. The old,
articulated, had offered more stimuli for
the creation of places as well as more spatial
diHerentlatlon. So by articulating a space there
appears to be more room, while the 'place-<apacity'
can be' increased as the occupants' need for
differentiated usage graws.
A and by no means spectacular conversion of
a standard dwelling was undertaken to adjust the
downstairs floor to a more differentiated usage, so that
more activities con toke place there independently of one
another. The original floor pion followed the conventional
poHern of kitchen, dining room and living room; alter
adjustment to the needs of o family with more difleren
tioted occupati ons the ground floor contains otleostthree
extra workspoces os well os on extra table and choirs in
the kitchen. The additional space of forgotten corners wos
used to increase the number of places, thereby increasing
the capacity of the communal living space os o whole.
' Piacecapacity' is a quality of that part of the floor
space that is not needed for getting from one place to
another. A major criterion for the quality of o floor
plan Is that the available floor space is used as
efficiently as pouible, that there is no mare cirwlation
' space' than drlctly necessary, I.e. that the pace it
organiud in such o way that optimal place-<opacity it
achieved. It is easy to test o floor plan for its place
capacity, by checking to see which are essential
at circulation r.ones or which areas will in oil
probability be used OJ such, and subsequently by
establishing which remaining areas meet the minimum
requirements of 'place'. Then you con consider whether
the dimensions of the places and the degree af
openneu or seclusion da Indeed correspond with the
kind of use that will be made of those places.
ly continually assessing your floorplan by means of
tuch placecharta, increating the place capacity of your
spaces becomes second nature.
Pti.a'* bouse V. Horlo
1at nal c-om d1 autor" s

. I .

St. P<TU'S, ROME, SINO 1452
When we look at one of the first plans attributed to
Baldassarre Peruzzi" preceding Michefongelc' s pion
according to which the church was eventually constructed,
we ore struck by the fact that the articulation is intricate
and imaginative even though the plan is not much more
than a diagram. We see a series of spaces which yield on
amazingly rich pattern without the brood lines of the
whole being lost. It seems as if we ore dealing with o
completely different scale from that of the plan of
The pori which you would initially be inclined to call the
main space is hardly different in its articulation ond
proportions from the spaces situated next to it.
Consequently, one con not really speak of a main space
or of secondary spaces any more. No single pori
dominates any other here.

The constructed plan of Michelangelo is, it is true,
&$Sentiolly the some in principle, but the measurements
hove been altered which created different proportions
with the result that the central space become dominant.
The other spaces hove been given o subordinate role and
their enclosure has been reduced to such on extent that it
Is extremely unlikely that anybody would still toke it into
his head to use them independently of the main space.
This main area seems to absorb the rest, and this effect
would undoubtedly be increased if we also took the
section into consideration, by comparing the height of
Michelangelo's plan with on imaginary one in the some
heighlwidth proportion for the Peruzzi pion.
You con see here what o change of articulation does to
space: how the interplay of o few changes of
measurement is able lo alter o space to such on extent
that it loses ib enclosing capacity where smaller separate
Plant/or St Pot.r't,
Gvollano Jo Sangolo
PMJui (at right)
&am<Jnt./at right)
S33 534
' This pion was ptoba
bly designed in colto-
bora110n with Bromo ..
lhe many pions of
St Peter's have bun
amlbllled 10 cu 1110ny
different orchltecl$, end
o1 Is Impossible 10 soy
exactly who designed
which pion, cs infa<mo-
rion from dlffeJOnt
Sourus: l Seevclo,
Storie dtllo Cillo/
Na<berg Schulz.
MeanJng tn Western

An Oufl,,.. of EuropfOn
AichlrocllJre/ Von Rovt-
lleyn, '0.
nooT de St. Pitter to
Rome'. In forum 1952
I NYiftl5 fOU 197
r I I U
groups ore concerned.
This concept of enclosing capacity or 'place quality' is
concerned with the degree to which o space is capable of
being Inviting to larger or smeller groups, depending on
its proportions end form. This seems to be based on the
exact balance of enclosure and openneu, intimacy and
outlook, which ensures that there Is sufficient focus on
various places to enable people to be involved with each
other, even they realize that they ore oil together in one
Iorge spolia! whole.
'If we compare different pions of StPeter' s such os those
attributed to Bromonte, Peruzzi, do Songallo end
Michelangelo, we also see that whereol they hardly differ
from each other in principle, there ore definite differences
in articulation and abo in the extent to which the central
space dominates.
The differences between these plans ore subtle but rather
vital, as far os 'possibilities' for use ore concerned. So the
proportions of the central space in relation to the rest in
the 'official ' Bromonte pion ore just that bit different from
those in the plan of Peruzzi , making the central space of
the former much more important. Moreover, the lour
spaces in between the towers end the central space
churches in themselves os it were, miniature copies of the
m whole which ore so typical of the Peruzzi pion, ore
missing. Instead, these places become as it were the
entrance hall and thus more of wolking.through spaces.
The four semkirculor northexes of the extremities of the
central space hove also disappeared (they reappear, by
198 101 IN U (UI((IUII
the woy, in another pion attributed to Bromonte).
All in all, this does mean a great lou of enclosing
capacity for distinct groups. Thus you con see that the
exceptional quality of the Peruzzi pion is derived primari ly
from this insertion of another complete spatial worl d in
between the towers and the main space. Moreover, the
proportions ore inter-related in such o woy that both the
independence of all the ports and their interdependence
remain in perfect balance.' [6)
As a ploce where people come together a music centre
repre5ent5 on exceptional venue for meeting and
maintaining contacts. The building may be expected to be
spotiolly organized in such a way that it ot leost offers
ample opportunity for social contocl5. (This i5 especially a
matter of correct articulation, that is, the adoption of
proportions that will accord with the pattern of
relationships between users throughout the premises.)
The dimensions therefore hove to match the size of the
groups that people form naturally, in different places and
situations. One must be free to choose whether to join a
group or to remain alone, to be seen or to stay in the
background, to go and talk to certain people or to ovoid
While all attention in the auditorium is focused on that
one central event taking place before o single group,
before and alter the performance that single mou
disintegrates into o Iorge number of smell groups. In
spatial terms this calls for a large number of places,
inlerconnecled yet with some degree of separateness,
quite unlike the situation in the auditorium. The loctthot
the number of people using the building otthe some time
is very Iorge calls lor only one vast undivided space. It is
only in the auditorium itself that a single, undivided space
is needed to accommodate o very Iorge number of people
at the some time. The seating arrangement consists of
balcony-like comportments interspetSed with o Iorge
number of aisles and stairs followi ng the amphitheatre
shape from top to bot1om; exits ore located ot many
points, through which the visitors ore led naturally to the
foyers on all levels.
There is a Iorge number of buffet counters divided over
the different floors, so that it does not tole too long to be
served during intermissions. In addition to the stairs inside
the auditorium, the different levels ore connected, outside
the auditorium in the foyers, by staircases located
symmetrically in pairs ot the lour corners of the central
volume. Instead of o few Iorge staircases we opted once
again lor o larger number of small staircases just wide
enough lor two or three people to use without interrupting
their conversation. In designing the foyer oreo, which
encloses the main auditorium like o tenuous skin,
maximum use was mode of the pouibilities afforded by
each place, such as a view of the square outside or into
the arcade, or conversely seclusion all round.
S40 I
In the early stages of the pion, it looked os if the space
surrounding the main auditorium would be laid out simply
surrounding the auditorium in the conventional manner.
But in the course of the design process it was gradually
transformed Into a succession of spatial units with o
variety of qualities, where daylight alternates with
artificial light, high ceilings with low ones and the
occasional concave one, where there ore niches with wall
tapestries and wider oreos along the route all of which
contribute to the creation of o rich assortment of places.
Even someone taking the narrowest passage from one
point to another posses through on area that is much more
than o mere circulation zone. The foyers ore dotted with
places to sit: informal ones like low walls but also proper
wooden benches with small tables as well as the more
Intimate niches with cushions. Where the foyer widens
there ore Iorge round tables with choirs around them. The
diversity of qualities was accentuated in places by lining
the limber linishings with sof1 materials: the tapestries by
Joost von Roojen, which lend intensity to the smallest
Walking through the building, the assortment of places
range from introverted corners where you con withdraw
from the crowd, and places where you hove on overall
view of everything that is going on, to areas from where
you hove o view of the interior of the auditorium or of the
town outside.
In this way articulation increases the range of spatial
perceptions. In addition, the variegated design of these
essentially small spotlol units contributes to the
accommodating capacity of the whole, as people ore
more inclined to spread out than in, soy, the
undifferentiated open space of o hall. [5)
The concept of scale, which Is used indiscriminately
merely to denote sin, has to do with whether o
duigned space or buildint is thought of os too Iorge or
too small, whether It is larver or smaller than what we
ore used to. The adjectives 'lorgescole' and ' small
scale' say nothing about actual measurements; some
thlnts are very Iorge ctnd others very small simply
because they need to be sa, which does not make them
necessarily too lorve or too small.
The important thint to bear in mind Is articulation
thua the confusion surroundint the concept of scale
need no longer cloud our vlaion.
Toke an ocean liner ia it a Iorge scaie or o smollscale
construction? It is of a very large veuel
(although a mere speck on the ocean), and would not
rrt in o street, soy, but still it is made up of a larse
number of smo.ll cabins, cubicles, corridors and
stairways oil of them units of for smaller dimensions
than their counterparts an land.
ly ' articulation' we usually mean: the rflythmkal, or
rather metrical, definition of walls and giving
rise to o certain plctstidty. This Is a recurRnt theme
throughout the history of architecture, and not without
reason, for it is the element of plaaticity that has
proved, time and again, a most effective means of
expressint the external chorocteristica of o building
and o particular arthitecturalstyle. And, os metre in
music arranges the piece into segments thereby giving
It lucidity, sa the metric element in architecture makes
distances and sins Intelligible. The siu of objects is far
more difficult to gueu if they are flat and unartkuloted
than if they ore divided up Into units whose size is
familiar to us, so that we can see the whole os the sum
of its part1. That is also the reason why something of
very Iorge dimensions (On be reduced by graphic artl
cularion to proportions that are more easily grasped,
JO that it JHmJ leu vaJt and more perceptible in
other words, less like a mauive monolith. Articulation
can, therefore, serve as a means of increasing legibi
llty, and can thus make an essential contribution to the
perception of pace. lut it can only do &o on one con
ditian: namely that what we perceive on the graphic
level corruponds with the spotial organization
auggested by the overall image. So if the exterior of a
building indic.ates a division into several smaller spatial
units which bear no relation to the interior arrange
ment, at Is still all too often the case, this type of
articulation serves no other purpose than to decorate
the and consequently to introduce an element
of meaningless ploaticity. Indeed, the historic
of old houset that hove been drown together and
converted into offices or hotels, soy, are thus reduced

- ,.-;s
to mere urban decor. It is only when graphic and/ or
plastic elements in the actually refer to the
divisions of the space inside that they help us to
understand how that space is organized and what sort
of pattern is followed.
In architecture all means must be aimed at forming and
consequently confirming the enclosed space in such o
way that it is ready to accommodate a aod al pattern of
the utmost variety and richnesa.
S!<Jruool UbHI'f, 1883,
PoriJ 11otJ>por1o</IO
Slffi >rtlure, G. fiffol,
Son MlJrco Squore,
lOll 201
3 VIEW l
We must always loalt few the right balcmce betwMn
view and seduslon, in othef wonls for a spotial
orgcaniaation thot will enable v r y o t ~ in evlfY
situotion to take In the position of his choke vis a vlt
the otMrs . In the Hdion devoted to articulation the
conwpt of partition lnevitobly received ""'" attention
than that of comiNMtian, separation mare than unifi
cation. Yet the openMIS of the places is just
at funclamental at their seponltelwu, indeed the two
are complementary, to that enclo.seclnus and open
ness con each exist only by the grace of tho other;
they relate to each other cllalecticolly, 01 it -re.
The degree in which places are separate or open vi a
vis each other, and the woy in which that is done, lie
in the hands of the clesigner, and consequently you
can regulate the duirocl contact in a particular
situation in 1uch a way that privacy is ensured where
202 IISSOi S lOt S!Utlm 1 AHMilHIVtl
that is required, while the range of vision of 'the ather'
does not become too restricted.
ly introclucing diHerences in level the scope of
ponibilities is expandocl, but with different levels we
must take into account that those who are higher up
look clown on the ones standing below; the positions
are th refore not equal, and we mutt ... to it thcrt the
'lower-clowns' have the opportunity to avoW the pe
of th 'higher-ups'.
MoNmsoRt ScHOOL, DElfT tS46S9J
The ideo behind the difference in levels in the classrooms
is that while some of the children ore pointing or
modelling in the lower of the room, the children in
the other section con do work that requires more
concentration, undisturbed by the others who ore engaged
in less arduous activities. The teacher, standing up, con
easily oversee the entire class.
Although it might hove been better, from the teacher's
viewpoint of keeping on eye on what is going on, to put
the 'workers' in the lower section, this wos not done so os
to ovoid giving the hard workers the feeling of being 'sent
down'.ln this case there were additional reasons for this
arrangement, such os the location of the 'self-expression'
oreo close to and flush with the corridor, and also the
requirement that the 'normal' clou section be illuminated
directly through the windows in the
Obviously il ls the lines of vision that govern o proper
division between areas that stimulate visual contact and
those that offer more privacy; the way we deal with the
height of spaces, especially in spaces with raised
sections, is therefore of prime importance. The spacious

....... '-'-............ .>.. ' ...Jn.........o......1 <.....P
landing on the stairs is just so much higher than the lower
lying dining section (this oreo is currently in use os a
disco) that people sitting on the low parapet ore on the
some level os the people walking post in the dining oreo.
Thi s makes it easier to enter into casual contact.
m 11e
] l
The passage-like landing after the first six treads of the
stairs whicn sets bock the actual staircase provides o
space from where you can see over the wall of the
communal living room, ond so olso be seen. This opens up
the view of anyone going up or down the stairs, while
offering o certain degree of privacy to those in the living
room from the gaze of people entering the hall.
Balconies ore often mode to extend along tne lull width of
o building, and that is nat o bod idea from the point of
view of cost ond constructional convenience. A disadvan
loge, however, is that such balconies cannot be very wide
for one thing because they toke light oway from the under
lying storeys.Aithough such on apartment in such o
ding hos o respectable number of square metres of extra
204 mms Fot moms IN u<mwuu
space on the balcony, there isn' t very much you con do with
this long ond narrow space. If the space were of a different
shape more like o square, for instance it could easily
hold a table ond several people sitting around it having a
meal together in the open oir. Square balcony space also
offeu more seclusion simply because of its depth, ond con
also easily be partially screened off. Besides, part of the
living room thus comes to lie directly adjoining the exterior
which results in o space with plenty of light but
also one from which you con see directly onto the street
instead ol having to go out onto the balcony first.
PAYll.lON DE t' Emrr NouvEAu, PARIS I 925 I
If there was ever on architect with o keen eye for this ki nd
of elementary spatial orgonizolion then il wos le
Corbusier. All over the world there ore examples of how
he, looking through different 5pectocles, 05 it were, took
old cliches aport and turned them into new ' spatial
Don't forget that in his design for the 'ville rodieuse'
although it has since been repudiated, not without
reason, for the lock of urban space provided for in the
pion dwellings all hove loggias, Iorge twostoreyhigh
exterior rooms. He showed on example of such a loggia
like balcony in the ' pavilion de l'esprit nouveau', built for
the International Decorative Arts Exhibition in Paris in
I 925 and now reconstructed in Bologna Italy. However,
when he was faced with the procticol requirements of
designing large housing projecb such as the ' Unite' in
Marseille, he was obliged lor reasons to settle
lor conventional narrow balconies, but these, too, were
well thaught-out and more spacious than is usual

160 5,4
561 m
Pa/1011 de I E>prir

fi!COIIJ'nl'red on
Bolog110. la y
IUIIIr& lOt i
518 SIO

. -

- .......

Using elementary principles of spatial organization it is
passible to introduce a great many gradations of
soclusion and opennou. Tho dogroo of seclusion, lib
tho dogroo of oponnou, mvst be very carefully dosod,
so that tho conditions are created for a great variety of
contoch ranging from Ignoring those around yov to
wanting to be together, so that people can, in spatial
terms anyway, place themselves vis a vl.s others as
they choose. Alto tho individuality of all must of course
bo respected as much as pauible, and wo must indeed
100 ta it that tho conttructod environment novor
206 l!SSOIS FOI 5Tuam ' " IICKII((IUII
lmposos tociol contact, bvt at tho tame time wo must
never impase the absence of social contact either. The
architect Is not only a bvlldor of walls, he is also and
equally a builder of oponingt that offer views . loth
walls and oponingt are crucial.
xln the section of this housing project, the theme of
stairwells by woy of ' vertical streets' wos combined with
the principle of balconies os eltterior rooms. The very
spacious balconies ore juxtaposed on eoch floor in such o
woy that they alternately project to the front ond to the
side so that the vertical space is not restricled by on
overhanging balcony of lhe floor above.
So these balconies comprise o secluded port os
well as o more open ond extroverted terrocelike pori
either with two storeys of vertical clearance or open to the
sky. The secluded port is screened off on one side by non
transparent gloss bricks. This design enables you to sil
outside without being observed ond without being obliged
lo lake notice of the neighbours, or, if you prefer, to
choose o more 'outgoing' position with o view of the other
balconies ond in full view of them, too. So you ore free to
decide whether you wont to be alone or perhaps to chol
with the neighbours if only to borrow some sugar or to
comment on the weather.

- .. -
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The themes we hod developed in Konel were token up
ogoln in the lindenstresse building project in Berlin, the
city with the largest end most intensively used balconies,
where Hugo Haring designed his lovely spocious
balconies. The number of dwelling units wos greater in the
Berlin project than in Kessel, ond the different demends of
the specific situetion resulted in e variety of juxteposilions
ond olignmenb which exploit the different odvontoges of
the locelion to rhe full .
I 929-3 I /H Ho1iog
m m s11
'The main staircase of this multistoreyed school rises in
one direction along the giving access to the
successive floors ot different points in the building: the
entrances ate not located one above the other vertically.
As the staircase extends across the entire front, the space
overhead is highest otthe bot1om of the stairs. Since the
different floors ore open facing the stairs, each Roar has o
full view outside through the gloss fot;ode and hence
also of the people on the staircase. The layout of each
floor is clear at a glance; there is constant contact
between people walking up and down the stairs and
others pausing jsilling or leaning). Instead of the
conventional superimposition of spolia! units we hove,
here, o unified whole with the staircase serving os o
means of bonding the Aoors together; it is on illustration
of how you con offer spatial support to what the chi ldren
in different classes hove in common. So here both coming
and going becomes a communal, doily activity, with o
reasonable chance for everyone to catch o glimpse of o
friend in o different doss.' J9J
S81 su
The unofficial heart of the building is the foyer.
This is where the musicians and technicians get ready for
the performance, and also where they unwind aftec.-ir,
often until very late This space, which is
used, is situated near the dressing rooms, store rooms 15nd
other service oreos There is o visuollink with the public
passage above, so that passers-by con cotch o glimpse of
what is going on behind the scenes downstairs in the
Music Centre, while the people in the artists' foyer need
only look up to see the world outside.
210 lfSSOU fDt StiiEIIS t- U<ftlll!lll!
This con be regarded as on attempt on o limited scale to
bridge the gop between everyday life on the street and o
space that is usually tucked In among the other service
areas in the background.
The paint is to draw the attention of the people who wotk
in the building to the visitors and vice verso. A similar
situation is to be found in the Cenlrool Beheer office
building where you con see into the dishwoshing oreo
and watch your plates bemg cleaned, while the people
doing the cleaning not the most ottroclive of jobs need
not feel banished and excluded from contact. [ 13J
like De Drie Hoven, the other housing project for the
elderly, De Overloop, has o village-square-like space in
the centre wnere all tne communal facilities ore located.
In tnis case the residents con also toke their meals in the
central oreo, or leo and coffee ot various times of the
day. In short this is where everything happens and where
on escape from the isolation of the Individual dwelling
units Is offered.
We started out from the ideo that oil the 'interior streets'
witn dwelling units should converge on the central space

. i
I I :
so thotthe residents need to walk only o short distance to
get there. And since none of the floors was to be
excluded, this central space hod to extend vertically up to
the top of the building. The Iorge void thus created also
contq!ns the lil1s with ver ti cal windows through which the
residents con be seen entering or leaving the central hall.
The lifts ore the most commonly used means of vertical
transport, but there areolso staircases.
These staircases are differently situated on each floor,
their location being determined by variation rather than
by repetition of direction ond visibility in the space. This
sets them aport from the secondary staircases situated of
the end of each wing wh1ch follow the normal stairwell
PARe GuEu, BARCElONA 1900-l ..t I A. GAUDI, J.M. JuJOt
Goudl's meandering parapet bench enclosing the main
terrace in Barcelona's Pore Guell curves in sud1 o woy
thai your view depends entirely on where you choose to
sit. Where the poropel curves inwards you con sit facing
each other in a semicircle, and where it curves outwards
you hove o view of the Iorge central area which, although
enclosed by the sinuous poropel, gives on impression of
being the outside. The 'turning-points', that is, the orcs
marking the transition from concave lo convex, offer on
ambiguous vantogepoint. The bench with its continuous S..
' shape constitutes a constant succession of extroverted and
introverted places in oil gradations and with adequate
bock-support throughout; seen in its entirety it embodies a
wide range of qualities which make it just os suitable foro
family picnic os for a moment of more solitary relaxation,
e.g. to contemplate the scene on the main terrace in front
of you, or to wail lor someone. This bench consists of o
continuous fascinating ribbon of coloured pottery sherd
designs (probably not only by Goudi himself but also by
his student Jujol) a lwentieth<entury collage ovonl lo
lettre. Regardless of the colour of their clothes, everyone
who sits there is Ioken up quite nolurolly into the larger
whole, thereby lor o while becoming port of a magnificent
There ore mony situations where you lind yourself facing
other people or with your bock to them which is
something the designers of various means of public
transport, such os trains, trams ond buses, must toke into
account. This proximity to people who ore lor the most
port complete strangers con lead to forced contacts, but it
con also lead to more animated encounters, which moy be
very brief but which con also be more lasting. The woy of
organizing the seating in such situations is essentially no
different from the woy on architect deals with the
organisation of a building. In the old doys the !roms hod
benches olong both sides of a wide aisle, so that
everyone sot with their bock to the windows facing the
centro! aisle; the result wos o communal space like o
waiting-room where you could cost o casual eye over the
other occupants without ony embarrassment.
But more often than not the aisle is crowded with standing
poengers who obstruct your view entirely. The greater
passenger copoclty was no doubt the main reason lor this
arrangement, which is still to" be seen in the subways of
New York ond Tokyo. An additional advantage is that
both sitting and standing passengers con move clo5llf
togetheros the need arises to make room lor more
passengers: the space allotted to each possenger is not
sn sto
m sn
IU11U6IIOU\ 21 J I utnr,-.

prescribed but depend5 on o Ructuoting demand.
T reins usually hove benches across the carriage lor two or
three people lacing each other or bock-to-bock in pairs.
The design of the traditional 0-troins, with their separate
comportments like so many small rooms with gloss
panelled sliding doors along a narrow corridor, enables
you to make o more leisurely choice of your travelling
companions for this remarkable arrangement means that
you may hove to spend several hours in fairly close
contact with 5tronger5. Once you hove found o seat you
see little of what goes on in the rest of the train except for
passengers joining or leaving the company in your
comportment end others walking post in the corridor in
search of o seat and ot every station.
Once inside the comportment you hove o full view of your
fellow passengers sitting ocroH the narrow aisle, or you
con look out of the window or at the passengers in the
Cetltrool 8eheer
Office Bulk/log
{far right)
corridor, which offers the only standing-room on the train.
Modern trains and buses, like planes, hove rows of seals
ollfocing the fronl, os in o traditional classroom. Even
though you ore sitting quite close to the other passengers,
you will probably not hove any contact with them except
perhaps with your immediate neighbours. The growing
popularity of this kind of sealing arrangement whereby
contact with others is virtually reflects on
unmistakable trend toward individualism in other
environments, too. The some is to be seen on railway
platforms and other public places where there is a
concentration of people waiting: the old.foshioned long
benches have nearly all been replaced by individual seals
separately mounted of 'cole' distances from each other.
This new form of sitting side by side in a row yet
separately was invented to protect users from being
bothered by those sitting next to them, and to prevent
people from lying down on the benches. But the result is
also that two people cannot sit close together anymore,
nor con people move up to make room lor others:
distances hove oil been fixed beforehand, ond so the use
that is mode of the seating is no longer flexible.
Places that ore used by o lot of people over o short period
of time, such os cafes, counters, company restaurants etc.
ore furnished with o large number of identical tables or
counters which hove been designed with space-saving in
mind. Consequently you always sit in o company of six or
eight people, the size of the group being dictated by the
size of the table. However, even in these situations more
variety os in normal restauronls where groups of diHerent
sizes must be seated at the tables would suit the pattern
of social interaction of the users, better too.
Many people would prefer o small table, many others o
Iorge one: o small table for 2, 3 or 4 people when you
ore in the company of friends or o larger one for 6 or 8
people if you wont to be more anonymous (so that at least
you don't feel you hove to introduce yourself to the others
or ask their permissio11 to ' join' them]. And then there must
also be places where you can sif on your own in such o
way that it is obvious to the others, so that you need not
feel embarrassed about reading your newspaper or just
remaining silent. Tables by windows ore especially
suitable for this kind of usage because, even if there is no
view to speak of, you con easily sit facing owoy from the
others, thereby indicating your wish for privacy quite
dearly. For those people who ore alone but would like to
enter into contact with others, very long tables would be a
good solution. The contocJs that toke place ot such o table
ore random in the sense that it is not its length that
determines which groups toke their seals there.
Of course the shape of a table, too, con exert a strong
influence on the pattern of social interaction. Think of the
equality of position offered by a round table os opposed
to on oblong one.
Schools ore still being built today along the old lines of o
row of classrooms along o corridor with coolpegs and the
occosionol'work-corners'. There ore often external
reasons for such o pion, and the classrooms themselves
may be well-designed ond may function accordi ngly. But
you must realize that, with this type of arrangement, each
classroom becomes o self.contoined, separate unit with ot
best o reasonable relationship with its immediate
neighbours. Children in different classes see each other in
the corridor when the lessons start and finish - and ol
those limes it is usually very lull - and, if they ore lucky,
there is also o communal hall where they con meet.
In o situation where the classrooms ore grouped around
the communal space, so that the children leaving the
clomooms outomoticolly converge in the centre, there
would be much more opportunity for casual and
spontaneous contact between children of different ages. It
would stimulate ideas for doing things together, if only
because both teachers and children of different classes
would gel lo see more of each other. The school halls in
the two Apollo primary schools hove o splitlevel
amphitheatre-like orgonisallon, which greatly increases
the range of visual contact. Situations of players and
audience arise easily ond spontaneously: children sitting
on the treads of the stairs connecting the two levels soon
start behoving like on audience, thereby challenging the
players on the lower level to give what you might coli o
The split-level design of the central space not only gave
rise to the adoption of the amphitheatre Idea, it also
provided o point of otlochmenl for the six classrooms,
disposed in two groups of three with maximum mutual
visibility. This visual link drows alltne classrooms together
in o way that would not be pouible with o strict division
into superimposed storeys.
The hoi I space functions rather like o big communal
classroom, where the teachers also hove their own place
(with o corner screened off for the school head) on the top
'balcony' . The location of this teachers' corner, ond its
open and inviting nature - the children con go right up to
them ot any lime- gives the hall space os o whole the
quality of o Iorge living room. The gloss skylight panels
provide maximum visibility when looking down from the
balcony into the hall, even when the classroom doors ore
shut. The stairs to the uppermost level were designed to be
as transparent os possible so os to ovoid obstructing
visual contact and to let the daylight entering through the
skyl ights penetrate into the recesses of the space.
I I I 1 I I
u I

l I

0 -

tiTi m S fOUl 213

' ,
Whatever an architect does or deliberately leaves
undone the way he concerns hinueH with enclosing or
opening he always influences, intentionolly or not,
the most elementary forms of social relations. And even
if social relations depend only ta a limited extent on
environmental factors, that is still sufficient reoson to
aim at an orgctnization of space that
enables everyone to confront the other on an equal
Ignoring this potential of architecture amounts in the
end ta less freedom for the Inhabitants. However, the
aversion shown by many architects to sociological and
psycholovical approaches Is in a sense understandable.
For here we are, surrounded by the failures of a past
period, with its social utopias such as 'spaces for social
interaction' and other romantic, useless lot Clny rate
never used) notions invented by architects who believed
they simply predict the behaviour of people.
Stf Architects in general have a predilection for theatrkal
simplifications. Attvnement to psychologically and
saciolly inescapable was never a prime concern
in architecture. Carefully calculated dimensions, a
correct articulation and the right pf'OpGrtion of openness
214 liSSOMS fOI SIUD!m
and seclusion are the startingpaints for the shift in
attention to the 'habitable space between things'.
Social architecture does nat exlst, but that does not
mean that we can ever afford to ignore the implications
of how people relate to each other, and how they reCld
in different situations.
The mere choice betwHn a door open.lng outwards or
inwards Is in itseH on indication of this inescapable
responsibility for the direction in which the door opens
will decide whether everything that goes on in the room
can be seen In one glance upon entering, or whether
those inside the roam have the lime ta prepare
themselves for your entrance.
Admittedly - have only talked about detail up ta
now, but there are so infinitely many details in every
building that they might well all together be just 01
important as the grand gesture of the architecture in its
entirety. For us a building is the sum of all those 1mall
gestures which, like the thousands of mu1cles in a ballet
dancer's body, together create a unified whole. It is this
grand total of decisions, provided they are taken with
proper consideration and due care, that can result in a
truly wekoming architecture.
600 .01
Bringing the outside world inside.
' It Is the principle of shelter thot receives special
emphasis In the history of the origins of architecture,
os it gradually acquired an Increasingly articulated
form, from hut to house, in the course of human history
and of the rise of the city. For us the history of the
view is just as important as thot of shelter. And whot
we mean is, aport from having a view of one another,
having a view of the outside world. Just as spatial
relations influenc.e person.ol relations, so they
determine the way we relate to the environment. lut
Instead of maintaining the opposition of Interior-
exterior as a fvndomental contrast, we know, In the
twentieth century, thot interior and exterior ore
relative concepts, and therefore depend on where you
stand, and in which direction you look.
216 lfS50MS fOt SlUt! m ~ UCfillf[IURE
It is no coincidence thot the character of twentieth
century architecture is so much more open than It has
ever been in the post. Not only do we now hove the
means with which to achieve this, there Is also more
need for openness. We hove opened all the windows
and so we hove embraced the outside. And if Holland
con be said to have played a remorlcoble role In
modem architecture, as it developed along with the
new twentieth-century consciousness In a noturcll
process, as it were, then that is hardly 1urprising
considering the openness that has always been and
still is a choraderistic feoture of Dutch society.
That you can look stroitht into Dutch livingrooms and
can almost toke port in whot goes on inside Is a
tradition that never foils to amaze visitors to this
country, and it show thot the Dutch ore less hampered
by fear of the outside world than people in many other
countries, where private property and homes tend to
be 1eoled off fro.m the out1lde world.
The e.xceptionolly Iorge expanses of gloss in our
buildings, which ore possible thanks to the mild climate
and perhaps to our feeling of mutual dependence, at
any rate refled an extroverted interest, on open
mindedness about the opinions of others.
If Holland is a country of openness and of smallness,
then that is the expression in terms of form and space
of the way we relate to one another, of how we treat
each ather ond how we have managed, Inside and out,
to maintain a reasonably harmonious social
environment, In the sum and in the partsl' [7}
l.C. VAN OER VtUGi IWl-601)
'One of the most lucid examples of the Nieuwe Bouwen
jos the Modem Movement was called in Hollondl, and
certainly the biggest in this country, is the Von Nelle
factory in Rotterdam. Its huge dimensions ore never
overwhelming and the building not only shows what is
going on inside but is also designed so os to give those
who work inside as wide a view as possible, not only of
the world outside but especially of each other. The curved
exterior of the office section cannot hove been solely due
to the adjacent traffic route, nor was the layout of the
building volumes the determining loctorin this particular
solution. That Von der Vlugt opted for this magnificent
enclosing curve thereby going against the convictions of
his colloboroteur Mort Stom is impossible to explain in
rational terms. But what he su"eeded in achieving this
way, end that is what concerns us here, is that office end
factory ore within sight of each other.
This ideo recurs in lhe staircases, which project so lor
from the building that you con see oil along the
from each landing. The staircase on the right of the
entrance to the office seclion is quite unique. It bursts out
as it were, cutting across the ode almost os if It was
simply too much lor the building to contain. The stairs toke
you out of the building, and offer o view of the
the sports fields beyond, ond whet used to be open
polderlond in the distance. The widest panorama of all is
to be seen from the circular roof structure, which recalls
the commond,bridge of o ship. But this highest point with
its impressive view of the harbour installations on ihe hori
z:on is nol there only for those in command but also lor all
the loclory workers. The building as o whole, originating
as it did from o sort of rational but wide-angled approach,
signified o clean breok with the post, and offered o
glimpse of o new world, with better relations between
people.Whot makes this building so spectacular is,
besides the fact that it looh like o great transparent
machine, thai it brings the principle of un-hierorchicol
relationships into rational architectural organization.' (7]
'The chocolate-box on
top ol tbe factory wot
designed and drawn by
me, much against my
own wosbu. Nor did I
hove much !ytnpotloy for
the concovt walt of the
office edion but Van
der Vlugl wo ln
cl>arge.' (from o leltet to
8okemo, l 0 June 196A,
O$ cited in: ).8. Bokemo,
l.C. von der Vlugr,
An11terdom 19681
606 607

When you reed le Corbusier's description of the
building, which he visited in 1932, you real ize thai il
would probably hove been impouible to make this dream
come true anywhere except in Holland:
The speclocle of modern life
' The Von Nelle tobacco factory in Rotterdam, a creation
of lhe modern age, has removed all the Former
connololion of despair from that word proletarian. And
this deflection of the egotistic property instinct towards a
Feeling for collective action leads to a most happy result:
the phenomenon of personal porticipolion in every stage
of the human enterprise. Lobar retains its fundamental
materiality, but it is enlightened by the spirit. I repeal,
everything lies in that phrase: o proof of love.
( ... ) The gloss begins at sidewalk or lawn level and
continues upwards unbroken until// meets the clean line of
the sky. The serenity of the place is total. Everything is
open to the side. And this is of enormous significance to
all those who ore working, on all eight "oars, inside.
Because Inside we find o poem of light. An immaculate
lyricism. Dazzling vision of order. The very atmosphere of
honesty. Everylhing is transparent; everyone con see and
be seen os he works.
( ... ) The manager of /he factory is there in his gloss oHir:e.
He con be seen. And he himself, from his office, con see
the whole illuminated Dulch horizon, and, in lhe For
distance, the life of the great pori.
The immense refectory continues the pattern, The
managers, the highest and lowes/ administrative grades,
the workers, mole and female o/1 eat together here in the
some great room, which has transparent wol/5 opening
onto endless views of meadows. Together, all together.
( ... ) I found it fascinating to observe lhe laces of those
factory girls. Each one of lhem was on ex,pression of lhe
life within; joy or the opposile, o reflection of lheir
passions or their difficulties. But, there is no proletariat
here. Simply a graduated hierarchy, clearly esloblished
and respecled. TMs atmosphere of o well-run, diligent hive
is olloined by means of o universe/ and voluntary respect
for order, regularity, punctuality, justice and kindliness.
( ... ) An example of everyday reciprocity: I keep up the
place in which I work; my work interests me; so the
trouble token is o source of joy/ A virtuous circle for once/
All ore united in o compact solidarity; oil bear o larger or
o smaller shore of the responsibility; participation.
Porticipolion. Thai was how the Von Nelle Factory was
created. The architect was given a year in which to draw
up a provisional pion; then they spent Ave years working
oulthe fino/ form. Five years of collaboration: meelings Ia
discvss every problem individually. And it was not only
the direclors and the architects and the managers who
were ot those meetings. The heads of lhe various
deporlments were also present, as well os o skilled
workman or clerk representing each of the specialized
functions lo be performed in the Factory. Ideas con come
from anywhere. In molters of moss production, it is well
known how vitally importonl o minor short-cut con turn out
lo be. There ore no small things, there ore only correclly
designed things that work.
Participation I
I con lruly soy lhot my visil to that Factory was one of the
most beautiful days of my life.'
(le Cort.rW.r, to ville rort,. ... , 1933, pp. ln-179)
'At the very heart of the Nieuwe Bouwen in Holland was
Rietveld's Schroder House, hardly bigger than o public
housing unit of today, articulated in componenb, each
one as if it belonged to o piece of furniture.
The design is often described as o threedimensionol
Mondrion pointing, but quite aport from the foci that
Mondrion's paintings ore not concerned with extending
beyond the flat plane, such o comparison does not do
justice either to Mondrion's ideas or to those of Rietveld.
While Mondrion tried 1o harmonize the different weights
of speclfk colours (as Schonberg composed colour
sounds), ond in so doing may well hove pointed models
for true democracy, Rietveld on the other hand, working
with building materials which possess physical weight,
makes them weightless, so that new interrelationships con
be established and the new aims be achieved. from a
distance and from the outside these aims seem abstract,
intended os a sod of objective composition of planes ond
lines, and indeed this is the quality that tends to receive
most emphasis in the many publications devoted to the
Schroder House. But from the inside all the different
components, separately ond vis o vis each other, prove to
be within the reach of everyday gestures.
The space is exploited to the full, not only inside but also
in the peripheries: each oreo is wholly oHuned to the
purpose it is expected to serve, with each corner, window
or door being fitted with so many benches, cupboards,
410 611

niches and ledges that they blend unnoliceobly into the
furniture. Although the house is actually quite small - the
main floor consists of just one room which con be
subdivided when necelsary - the infinite articulation of the
space makes it both very Iorge ond very small.
This house, with all its features, big and smal l, working
together Ia create a truly habitable, friendly completene$5,
shows what kind of nests people would build if they could,
but besides that it offers a balance of seclusion and
Since the Schroder House Rietveld never built anything
that come quite so close to o utensil. As for as this is
concerned he moy well hove been strongly influenced by
Mn Schroder, for whom and with whom he designed the
house. That he was so prepared to li sten to her shows his
true nature ond his profoundly right otiitude to
The ideo underlying the design of the house culminates in
the corner of the living story. When the big
window in the corner Is opened it Is truly a window on the
world. Because the corner is not obstructed by any
support the space shaped by the walls ot right angles to
each other is allowed to expand outside, thereby creating
a unique spatial experience. The sensation of being both
inside and outside at the some time- a greater
relotivisotion of interior ond exterior is hard to imagine.
This wos indeed a most radical break with all that hod
existed before, and it for many of us the
excitement of the new technological possibilities.
Yet this wi ndow, paradoxical though this might seem, is
simply a product of a carpenter's workmanship. Rietveld
himself hod to go to o smith to order on extra long
window fastener. T echnicolly, in fact, the entire SchrOder
House could hove been constructed with the means of o
century earlier. Unlike Duiker and Von der Vlugt, who
sought inspiration from new techniques, Rietveld mode
primitive and timeless dasigns: the carpenter's dream of o
different world.
The small bench outside by the window of Rietveld's
study, under the balcony, to the left of the front door, wos
designed for Mrs Schroder, so silling there she wos still in
contact with Rietveld when he was ot wotk inside. The
way in which the projecting planes of balconies and walls
form a habitable space here thanks to the right
combination of shelter ond contact, with both inside and
the garden, is actually clossicol: what is new here is only
the form it tokes'. [7)
Thanks to th. open comer in Rietveld's SchrOder House
you are not, when inside, separated from the outside
world, you aN in th. middle of It all. Also th. gla11
circle on top of th. Van Nelle factory brings the in1ic:le
world outside and the homon inside. loth of these
220 tmows rot moms u ammmu
solutions are typical of the Nieuwe louwen and both
os radkal as they are are based on the absence of
load bearing construction elements in the periphery of
the building. It is the principle of the cantilever which
was made poulble by the application of reinforced
concret., that produced this new, unprecented
experience of space.
But however airy the constrvction of a building may
be, and however the opposition between inside and
outside is relativized by for instance recesses in the
that extraordinary new sensation of
tra.nsparency and lightness can only exist when the
constructive comer-column is absent, and when the
fasad.e is sa thinly constructed that it apparently has
only itself to support. The mast consist.nt, and also the
most beautiful, ore the open comers in Duiker's
buildings. The woy the load-bearing strvcture of the
Technical School in Scheveningen and of the
Zonnestroal Sanatorium, and of course of his Open Air
School in Amsterdam complements the thin glau
exterior hos never been seen before or since, but the
influence of these unparalleled buildings is still felt
today, all over the world.
A residential building lor the elderly constituting a self-
contained organizational unit (where many of the
inhabitants tend to stay on the premises due to impaired
mobiliiyl almost inevitably assumes the nature of a
bastion_ In this case the location, not in the heart of lhe
residential neighbourhood but on o residual site on the
edge of town at the loot of the dyke along the Veluwe
lake, further emphasizes this undesirable effecl of
While the spatial organization of the interior con be

l ...... -.._
designed with on eye to maximum openness lor the
residents, the design of the exterior should ot least see to
it thotthe complex os o whole does not look more
withdrawn then n ecessory.
Passers-by should be able to gel o glimpse ol life on the
premises, but especially the residents themselves should
hove ample opportunity of maintaining visual contact ot
least with the outside world. To express this ideo os
explicitly os possible the location of the communal spoce,
used for receptions and festive gatherings, wos located so
os to hove the best possible view over the Veluwe loke up
to the horizon.
With its Iorge wi ndows on three sides ond the suggestion
of roundness due to the semkirculor roof projection the
structure looks more like o ship's bridge then o tower
room, thereby referring olso to the ship-like buildings of
the Nieuwe Bouwen movement.
... , .................. .
tiYIIUG IOU. 22)
" ' 611
' I
That the angle af vision is expanded by opening up a
comer is a definite advantage, but it is not the only
oM. After all, bays added to or proj.ning from a
enable you to step outside, as it were, so that
you have a view up and down the street below.
lut when this open corMr is not an addition, because
it is the actual comer of the building that ha1 been
opened up, the effect is that the building seems lighter,
leu mauive at the very points where one would
ex_ped strength. This change in the equilibrium results
in a shift of emphasis, and thus alters the rhythm of
the structure te become open at beginning and end, a1
in many musical compositions an upbeat. 1n01
Opening up corners where wall ond ceil ing meet, os in
tne Delft Montessori school (611.m.67!1 and the conversion
of o private house in loren f111, or the application of the
low parapet in the Amsterdam studenl home 1613t, make
the range of vision expand even when that i s not literally
the case - by virtue of the shift in focus of attention,
drawing the eye upwards or downwards or to the street
outside. The quolily of the light entering through the
windows changes, too: where it enters, unreflected, from
above, it brings with it the quolily of the outside, which is
especially important in areas !such os the communal a reo
in the school) where you wont to relate more directly to
the world outside than, soy, 1n the classrooms.
By placing two odioining classrooms behind o curved
section olthe they become o sort ol communal
boy. The wall dividing the classrooms comprises ot one
end, where it meets the o sliding partition. When
it is closed, the two spaces ore both visually ond audibly
separated, but when i1 is opened the two classrooms
easily blend into one oreo embraced by the boy. Besides,
the view of the outside world from each dossroom is
considerably widened when the partition is opened.
The eHect of opening up the comer between two wolls
is even stronger when the corner between wall and
celli119 is removed: this revolutioniws the traditional
spatial paradigm as it manifests itself e.specially in the
structural framework (where wall.a and ceilings/floors
meet). The 'windows' are no longer openings in a wall
or roofplane and therefore basicaiJy framed objects
but they actually constitute the open transitions
between planes, making the overol image less
massive and 'stabile' and consequently less separate
fram ih environment.
So the Nieuwe louwen brought the outside world
Inside into our familiar surroundings, which were thus
dematerialired and rendered transparent. The
architectonk space was expanded, and If this modem
architecture reminds one of ships and bird.a, that is not
anly due to the formal Idiom Inspired by the
universally admired functionalism of modem naval p e ~ Air School, Amllltrdom t92MO/J. O..iker, 8. Bil- 6JO
architecture, there i1 abo and especially a deliberate 631
allusion to the sense of freedom evoked by a view
embracing endless space, and at the same time to the
Inevitable of vulnerability. Zonne>lrool SonoJO<oum, H1lv8!1vm 1926-31/J. O..iler, 8 Bojvoer, ).G. Woobenga
ill U4
W'mdow on the worid
The expa:nsion of the architectonic spoce by the Nievwe
lovwen movement is only one port of the story of the
twentieth century. Our thinking In terms of relativity
ho also enlorted the domain in which architecture
manifests itself, and hence alto the spoce of
architecture. 'The truth' no longer exists. Depending on
our standpoint ond on our objectives we experience o
layered reality, and so it is up to architecture to 'reveal'
more, to make the different levels of experience tron
porent, os it were, ond thus to hed more light on how
thing work ond how they ore interconnected.
Whatever meaning is attached to the experience of
spoce, In the twentieth-century world it certainly
embroc11 more than o purely visual perception.
The exposure of unuspected layers of meaning by
twentiethcentury ort ond science hoJ changed our way
of seeing, ond therefore also the woy we feel. The
world has changed becouH we now SH thing a in o
woy we did not see them before, or rather, in o way
we--did not realize we were seeing them. We ore
copoble of sHing JO much nowadays that we con not
'ontent ourselves with superficially pleasing
appearances ond decorative architecture. The apace of
architecture also comprises on answer to the other
phenomena and layers of meaning present in our
pluralistic consciousness.
More often then not buildings ore portrayed rn full
sunlight, but here the opposite is the case. And with the
reversal of day end night it seems as if inter1or end
exterior, too, hove switched roles. like o greollomp the
rounded slructure illuminates the space 1n which it stands,
slrelching oul its glon overhanging roofs with lighls
suspended at regular inlervals in o welcoming gesture so
that you ora virtually in the building even before you hove
possad the actual threshold. The overall transparency of
the structure in itself is on invitation to enter this modern
palace containing o huge range of goods for the new
consumer market, like o radiant planet affording o view of
the new world.
'The evocation of o view of a new world is especially
strong In the Cineoc newsreel cinema designed by Duiker
& Bljvoet. Intended os on information machine that you
con enter casually, in-between visits (to the shops, to catch
up on what Is going on in the world in pre-television days),
I he building itself also pre$ents itself as o totally new struc-
ture geared in every deJoil to performing the fu nction of o
window on lite world. Aport from the storey-high illumina-
ted sign (on edifice in its own right) and the smooth Irons-
ilion from the street to the interior of the cinema (achieved
by o glon owning and by resloring to lhe slreel o precious
corner of lhe premises), it is especially the curvad gloss
f o ~ o e above the entrance thai oHrocts attention.
Thonks to the gloss woll rounding the corner of the first
floor the room containing the film projectors becomes
visible from the street, while the operators [in the days
before outomoted projeclion) in turn ore offered o view of
the slreel. Duikers prime concern, here, was probably Ia
demonstrate the technology of the projectors, but os a
result, instead of being hidden owoy in o corner, the
people responsible lor keeping things running ore given o
place in the centre of attention, within the cycle of
everyday life end in full view of it. Sa here the architect's
concern for the essential requirements of this purpose-built
cinema, situated on o tiny, left-over, owkword site, gove
rise to o fundamentally different spatial organization' .[7)
'The toll illuminated sign wos demolished in November
19SO, and the gloss porch was covered over with wood.
Only the curved gloss wolf was preserved, except that the
original mullions hove been replaced with thicker ones )os
also happened yeors ago in the Open Air School). Thus,
the lost of Duiker's greot works has been irreparably
mutilated, and the number of relatively intact examples
preserved from this period of history, sponningborely
twenty years, is growing alarmingly small.
Since they cannot be put in museums like old cars and
even lroins and ships, and ore not old enough to be
eligible lor the protection given to ancient buildings, only
o few photographs will be left to convey on impression of
these wonderfully light constructions. Who will still be
oble, in fu ture years, to describe what emonoted from
them and the feeling they e v o k e d ~ [8]
'The Iorge box-shoped skylight on lop of the Music Centre
lets in enough light to be oble to give performances
during lhe day wilhout ortiliciollighting when the sky is


I KYim' 101M 227
63S 636
"' , ..
dear, ot ony rote But even when additional artificial
lighting s necessary you still hove some ideo of whotthe
weather is like and whether it Is early or late In the doy
olleost you con tell whether the sun is shining outside,
and the musicians do not hove to rehearse In on
ortific1olly ht space.
The possibility of holding doylit performances odds yet
another alternative to the olreody generous ronge of
lighting focililles, while conversely the skylight also acts
like a beacon to the outside world. a sgnol of the
odivilies the Music Centre has to offer ' 15)
The dominant feature of the building is the main
auditorium with 1700 seats which, lollowing the
omphtheotre shape, offer on excellent view of the central
The holllself is virtually symmetnc 1n design In a concert
hall excellent sound is of course o prime objective, but o
good view is complementary to good sound! Seeing
musicians perform helps listeners Ia dist<ngu1sh tonal
subtleties, especially if those listeners hove not (yell
received ony musicoltroming themselves. And if the
listeners con also distinguish their fellow listeners that will
enhance the emotional involvement of the audience as a
whole, which in turn inspires the musicians.
While the quality of modern rl!(:ordingl allows people to
listen in the privacy of their own living rooms to renditions
that ore seldom acoustically equalled in live
performances, it is the shored experience that makes
concert-going such a special experience. Besides, if is in
the concert hall that you con see the heroes and heroines
of the record sleeves at work.
The design, more like thol of o theatre-in-the-round than o
traditional concert-hall, makes this auditorium suitable lor
the numerous other types of music in which the acluol
performance ploys a more central role than in scxalled
classical music. Besidi!S, the platform con be enlarged to
include the ground-floor sealing area, thereby making
proper in-the-round performance possible.
'The auditorium is equipped with the full range of
theatrical lighting facilities with controls installed visible
to the audience on the bon overhead. Besides being
suitable for a wide range of musical performances, the
concert hall should, ideally, actually contribute to the
quality of what goes on inside it by enhancing the general
atmosphere and working conditions.
Beside$ offering possibilities of adjustment with respect to
size and position of the platform as well as to the seating
arrangement and capacity i.e. technical and
organizational flexibility, the space must hove the
copdcify to adopt itself to the degree or openness or
mtlmacy called for by o port1culor performance And what
it always boils down to is: what is offered in the way of
involvement of listeners with each other and with the
The amphitheatre shape of the auditorium not only offers
everyone in the audience o good view of the musicians, it
also offers members of the audience a good view of each
other, ond that, in combination with the spacing of the
seats and the articulation of the space, makes it possible
for on atmosphere of unity, of communion even, to arise,
which would hove been unthinkable in a more
conventionally designed concert hall with rows of seals
behind one another all facing the some direction. Thus the
building adopts itself to the specific nature of the event
taking place, not only by making the auditorium itself
adoptable [flexible, in mistaken architectural jargon) but
also by giving it polyvalence: not only by providing o
suitable environment for performances ranging from
clossicol orchestral and chamber music lo jazz, variety
and circus (with live lions!), not to mention the
experimental performances with different sections of the
orchestra positioned in the extreme corners, but also by
giving the space itself the role of on instrument upon
which oil these different events con be played.' (51
Our an:hltecture must be capable of accommodating
aU thoH diHerent sitvatioru whic:h affect the way a
building is understood and used. Not only must it be
capable of adapting itself to changing weather
conditions and different seasons as well being suitable
VIllA SAvovE, Potssv, FRANC 1929-32 1 L ConustEt
The Iorge enclosed outdoor living room of this villa is
undoubtedly the most impressive example of the
constructed extenor space which is to be found in neorly
oil of Le Corbusier's designs. Thanks to the foci that this
interior landscape is situated on the periphery of the
volume and that it hos the some horizontal window-
arrangement as the adjoining living oreos, the terrace
also offers o view of the exterior landscape. Le
Corbusier's roolterroces ore neither gardens nor interiors:
they represent o completely different spatial entity with o
highly specific quality of its own.
The plant-boxes, too, creole o mere illusion of o garden.
They ore certainly too big to be ITeoted like flower-pots,
but they ore not the some os garden flower-beds either,
although in his sketches le Corbusi er included o lor richer
variety of plants than most other architects, who tend to
think of plant-boxes In terms of o mere detail with which
to fill up empty ports first of the drawing and subsequently
of the actual building ... Here they ore more like the seed-
beds in nurseries that con be covered with gloH, and that
is indeed how they could be used by green-thumbed
inhabitants. This ossociotion is further strengthened by the
inclusion in the plant-box of o light, ond it is this
integration of two such apparently unrelated components
that makes the design so exceptional.
Framing skylights in o terrace floor in this way makes
them less vulnerable, and also less of on obstacle. Looking
up from the space below, the overhanging greenery gives
you some ideo of the terrace overhead. Unlike the
conventional skylight showing o stork rectangle of sky to
the observer below, le Corbusier's skylights fringed with
plants offer o leu abstract view of the world outside, ond
even, sometimes, o glampse of someone out on the terrace
looking down or tending the plants. What le Corbusier
did here, os he so often did in his outstanding works, and
what o mere detail such os this illuslroles, is to combine
euentiolly modest elements in such o woy that they ore
complementary by virtue of the space each gives the other.

rlJ '- . I

What we see here is o better organization of the
component ports, so that the rectangle of light, in olllts
abstractness, tokes on the quality of o proper view. For le
Corbusier there wos no gulf between formal order ond
informal application. He wos evidently just os concerned
with the organization of doily routines os with the
composition of the grand gesture. It is the interaction of
len thousand minor details, like oil the elements making up
o complex machine, thot gives rise to poetry. And that is
precisely what too lew architects todoy seem to realize (or
too many architects seem to be incapable of creating).




...... .,.. .... T' .. ,..
l'l r
.. "f



. I

0 J


In Loney, near Geneva, Georges Descombes designed o
pedestrian underpass connecting the two sections of o
pork cut across by o motorwoy. The corrugated iron
conslituting the octuol tunnel is exposed to view ot either
end. But there is also o slender steel footbridge in the
tunnel, under which o stream runs from one section of the
pork to the other. This bridge, much longer than the actual
tunnel, extends into the pork ot each end ol some distance
from the motorwoyromp.
232 t!SSUS 101 SlUIIm 1 UCIIftUUrt
So, only o relatively small portion of the walkway os o
whole connecting the two sections of the wooded pork is
underground, whereby the possoge through the octuol
tunnel is relotivlud to become o mere incident on a
longer lrojectory. So you wolk ot o sort of sole distance
through the carcass of o primordial reptile of corrugated
sheetiron, your steps on the wooden boardwalk hollow
sounding: o feeling of secrecy. Besides, holfwoy olong the
tunnel there is on opening overhead, in the middle of the
motorwoy (which is something more underground
possoges should hovel. The tunnel itself hos been reduced
to o mere seclion of o longer route, a relatively brief
interlude in o stroll in the pork. The effect of the bridge is
to shorten the tunnel, simply by prolonging the craning
from one oreo in the pork to the other. And, os so ohen,
the most eventful route is also the shortest connection
between two points,
The chapel of the Notre Dome du Haul in Ronchomp Is
usually cited os on of in buildil\9
by the master of expressionist architecture, le Corbusier.
The roof Is shaped like o huge basin, from which the
water escapes through o single spout like those we ore
used to seeing in cathedrals, but more organically formed.
II tokes some time for the collected rainwater to drain
owoy alter the shower has moved away over the hill-tops:
it gushes forth with tremendous power, its fa ll being
broken by pyromidshoped points in another concrete
basin on the ground under the spout.
The following excerpt is from o text written upon the death
of le Corbusier on 27 August 1965: 'Everything on artist
lays his hands on changes its course, le CorbusilH was
never Involved In form alone, he was always concerned
with the mechanisms of what loy before him; he would
alter the bed of o stream to change the direction of the
water, so that the water would render that different course
visible and become o different body of water; the water
would thus become clearer and more true to itself, while
at the some time the direction, too, would become clearer
and truer.
So the building tells us something about the water passing
over ib roof and the water tells us about the building;
and in this way both water and water-covered surface
shape each other by telling us about the other and about
themselves.' [2]
AlHAMBRA, GtANAOA, SPAI'I, 14TH A.D !61>6111
By conducting the worer over the stone steps, where it
forms a sequence of little cascades down the channel from
one tread to the next, these Rights of steps in the
Alhambra assume on extraordinary form The light
reflected by the surface of the stream os well os the sound
intensify the image of a stepped descent, and that is
perhaps why such o pedestrian feature as o fl ight of steps
suddenly strikes one as something special. But it is not
only our awareness of the phenomenon of steps that
becomes more acute, also the phenomenon of water is
613 lS4
intensified by this felicitous combination the some liquid
substance that we lend to toke lor granted cannot escape
notice in this pronounced form.
The small round ponds wilh fountains carved into smooth
marble ore ortiliciol pools of water like the pools that form
on any poved surface, but here their presence hos been
formolized and mode permanent by means of a minimal
architectural intervention. A primary architecture with
water next to marble the richest and most refreshing
material imaginable in this worm Andalusian garden!
MosouE, CoaoosA, SPAIN, 786-1009 ~ s u s
The courtyard of the mosque in Cordoba is shaded by
orange trees growing in circular depressions in the
pavement. These circles ore connected by means of
channels, thereby forming on efficient irrigation system for
the trees. In the relatively Iorge hollows the water has
ample opportunity to be absorbed by the soil; the narrow
connecting channel is only for easy transportation of the
water from one tree to the next. This design derives its
beauty not from the simplicity of form os such, but from
the fact that the form shows so dearly how it functions .
You could soy that form in this cose not only follows
function, but thot it actually is the function. Not only does
the circular form combine beautifully with the shape of the
trees to creole o graphically interesting design, it also
matches the swirl of the stream of water for better than o
square shape would hove done (which would also hove
corners that would be more difficult to sweep clean).
Architecture can soy something about certain
phenomena such as time or water, which in turn make
o statement about the architecture: they become
mutually explanatory. ly showing how things work,
and so by bringing them to the surface, the world
around us can be read, can be decoded, as it were;
architecture muft unveil.
Essentially this amounts to o battle against reduction
and the alienation that goes with it, the alienation that
we con see encroaching upon us on oil sides, making
us ever more subservient to an environment which has
less and less meaning for us and over which we have
len and leu control. We should aim for the most
readable form, i.e. form with the greatest expressive
Rainwater transported in pipes hidden from view tells
us nothing about what is going on, and so this remains
an abstroct system that can, at best, be expected to
function noitelessly. In the same way, when we enter
o tunnel under o river we must simply assume that we
will get out at the other end eventually: we cannot see
what we are doing. Conversely, crossing o bridge is
always self .. viclent, while there may even be ships
paulng below us, making us aware of its dual
function. Abstraction of form thus goes together with
recluction of Information about the way It works.
Something similar tokes pl.oce in closed lifts: when you
are in them you only rely on the number lighting
up on the panel to tell you where you are, and even
that depends on the country you are In, with the
ground floor being called first floor in some countries,
and the confusing use of initials to indicate street level
in others. The entire system is based on the reliance on
codes: you can't do much about it yourself e.xcept wait
and see whether you will find yourself where you
want to be.
The tendency in architecture to make form more
obstrod in an effort to achieve simplification always
implies the risk of losing expressive force. This price is
all too readily paid fo.r a superficially pleasing and
graphically aesthetic overall image. The temptations of
' leu is more' aU too easily leads to too little being
achieved at too great a cost. Opinions may differ as to
what is superfluous and what Is essential, but
simplicity con never be attained by mere omission ...
' du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas'.
Regardless of whether the result ls sheer simplicity or
complexity, we must always strive after the form with
the richest articulation of, so that the
maximum scope of pas.sibilities and experiences is
offered. The of the architectural space in the
course of the twentieth c'entury has meont that the
materials we use and the way we orvani-ze them
reveal more than there is to see.
The complexity of the task represents several realities
simultaneously, and all those realities must be
accommodated as aspects within the piCJn. They
constitute, so to speak, a multiple largescale
programme by way of o richly variegated substance
underlying the specific, straightforward requirements
stated in the design brief.
The more levels of experience as aspects are token
into account in our design the more ouociotions con be
mode, ond H1erefore the wider the range of
experiences for diHerent people in different situations,
each with his or her own perceptions.
PRIVATI: 89USS1S 1896 I v. 6&WI
'As m oil the Iorge provote houses designed by Horlo, thos
house, which he buolt lor hos own use (now !he Horto
Museum) hos o central staircase around which the entire
vertical structure is formed. The main living oreos on the
first Roor, woth diHerent levels front and ore not
closed off from the staircase in stood of hovong to walk
down corrodors to the separate rooms, the staircase itself
leads one through the different oreos of the house.
The stairs ore very wide on the ground Roar, and become
narrower os they rise. It seems quite logical thot the sloirs
to the more private areas on the upper Roars need not be
as wide, and on added advantage of the stairwell
becoming more open towards the top of the house is that
the light entering through the gloss skylight con penetrate
deeper into the building. The proportions of the staircase
make one aware on every floor of the height of the
building, thereby giving the building os o whole spatial
coherence end unity.' (9)
We hove become used to having electricity in every room,
with the wiring hidden from view somewhere in the walls,
but thot reduces the phenomenon of electricity to
something we toke for granted end never slop to think
about. And the healing, being regulated automatically, is
something we only notice when II doesn't work.
The most striking thing about the lamps Horta designed lor
the hall area in his own home is of course the similarity to
flowers. But to Horta himself the plant-like form
represented more then mere ornament: it wos o way of
organizing the energy requirements in o functional
manner, whereby the loodbeoring structure of the
building is combined with a distinct system of conduits lor
gaslight and heating. Each component in this integrated
system functions independently of the others, and con be
seen to perform Its own task within the whole.
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667 LU
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I. solid
sJifiiog ICIHO
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3 Woodtt> gurcle 1rocl
MAtSON DE vme, PARts 1928-32 I P. CHA.REAU, 8. auvon,
l. DAL&El Ill
The mosi striking thing about this house is not the exterior.
When you first see it, tucked owoy in o courtyard, it
certainly doesn'i look the woy you would ellpecl a house
of gloss to look. Besides, you can hardly see anything of
the interior from the outside: the big gloss brick
sits there, olmosl like o wi ndowless wall, in the middle of
the old orchiiecture, adopting ilself to the shape of the
surroundings. With its unemphatic exterior, the house sets
itself aport from it s surroundings only by o spectacular
contrast in materiel between the gloss and the
massive stone wall beside end above it.
But I cannot imagine anyone, upon entering that house lor
the first time, not being owed by the space that opens
itself up to him beyond that wall of sol id gloss. To me this
house one single space really, like on orticulolion of
places merging and overlapping from one level to the
next, without distinct partitions was a completely new
experience when I first visited it. I entered o spaceship,
out of this world, with wonderful panels of curved metal
which you could turn or slide aside jusi wi th your finger,
mysteriously, to open up a space which hod temporarily
been hidden from view. Rother different, to soy the Ieos!,
from the normal world, where rooms ore shut with heavy
wooden doors swinging on hinges in door.fromes set in
stone walls.
And then the pair of parallel sliding doors,one of them
solid and the other transparent, which you con move
independently to enable you to get precisely those
gradations of sound and visual contact !hot you wont in o
specific situation. The openness with its acoustic
transparency makes each remote corner audible, and,
together with the unusual quo lily of the light filtering
through the gloss bricks, diffuse and serene like indirect
lighting, evokes on extraordinarily peaceful end airy
atmosphere. So this was how I envisaged the new world
of the twentieth century: ond it wos here thot I first
recognized, in architecture, the sense of space thot
Picasso, Broque, Leger. Delounoy, Duchomp, hod evoked
10 me.
The allusion to o new ero wos further aff irmed, so it
seemed, by the mechonicol end often literally mochinelike
character of all the components in the woy they evoke
strong associations with on industrial world, in which
ports of buildings, like the ports oF motorcars ond
aeroplanes, ore produced in factories, and then
You hod olwoys wondered why buildings could not be
assembled in the some woy, out of perfected components
and here this wos octuolly what hod happened: the train
windows thoJ slide up end down, lightweight aeroplane
cogs and wheels exposed to view showing
how the wi ndows open and close, and attention
everywhere for the smallest detail; everything invented
and constructed on the bosis of entirely new principles.
This is how you imagined on architecture mode up of
prefabricated structural components. The dream that such
o wealth of solutions could be within the reach of al l
seemed to be coming true or lost.
The technique with which this house was designed and
constructed down to the smallest detail coils to mind the
symbolic perfection of a Rolls Royce and now, afler more
than fifty years, with everything sti ll functioning equally
smoothly, we still loll lor it. And this is nor really that
surprising either, lor its delights lie not only in the beauty
of each solution as such, but derive from the implication
that it would be possible to repeat them.
Sa it all looks more like the form of a technique than the
technique of o form. And we con still imagine that the
technology of our time will be capable of producing on
architecture in which each element within the composite
whole con be understood lor what it is and why it has
been made that way. But why has the course of industry
taken so little notice of the potential of this technique?

a lll a R-.I.
While there ore plenty of buildings with industrial
implications on the formal level, and which therefore
perpetuate our dream, the architectural components tnat
ore industrially produced do not resemble them, and they
lock the feeling of Choreou, Eames or Piano.
The of the construction industry and the paths it
treads in practice do not always coincide. The
construction industry would rather produce trash with built
in obsolescence, or prostitute itself with perfect
prefabricated concrete elements which hide behind a
mask of ridiculous vaguely classicist mouldings: we are

611 m
JIYtm6 fOUl 239
"' 6)/
capable of so much and therefore also of gronness.
No, the 'Maison de Verre' remained a dream, and the
new world of industrial production still has not learnt how
to manufacture conslructionol elements with the some
degree of perfection os, soy, modern electronic
It is the misleading paradox of this house that the ideo of
industrial production is not confirmed by the industrial
reality: things thotlook os if they ore reproduceoble ore
not necessari ly so. Architecture seems, time and ogoin,
incapable of bridging the gop betwee!l ideo and reality
the way ort does.
'Only rarely does architecture succeed in escaping its
ostensibly inescapable fa te that of seeking to assert itself
in one trend or another, instead of exposing the
superficiality of trendinen and replacing it by o truer
reality. And architecture, it seems, lends to be too
molerlol to be ideal, and instead of otlocking existing
reality it does the oppposite: it does its utmost to olfirm it.
We con only speak of art when on entirely different
mecholl ism is at issue, when o different paradigm
replaces what is familiar and within easy reach.
What makes this house o work of art is that it makes us
look ol the world around us with different eyes: it is
through the change in our vision that it con change the
world. Oil second thoughts the 'Maison de Verre' is more
like o complex of unique pieces, on extremely delicate
equilibrium of ideas such os con probably arise only
once, ol o single moment in history; a holld-<:rofted
product, which, with more emphasis on the connections
between the various elements than on the elements
themselves, is closer to Art Nouveau than to modern
industrial thinking.
Toke, for instance, the feeling you get when you see the
way in which the electricity is conducted through free
standing vertical pipes and columns on which the switches
ore mounted, and which therefore, instead of coming out
of the wall randomly, becomes visible and intelligible os
on autonomous system in its own right: that is the spirit of
Horta. Here you see the true functionolity, arising from Art
But also the spatiality of this house becomes less amazing
once you've been inside the big houses designed by
Hor1o. There, too, you already lind, as a concept, the
principle of the continuous, articulated space, which con
be expanded or contracted ot will by means of adjustable
elements, and in which there ore no corridors, halls or
staircases in the conventional sense any more, so thot the
hierarchy of serving and served spaces slorts to lode, and
each area becomes living space.
When the Dolsoce family was still living there, the house
was indeed a Iorge living space with, even in the remotest
corners, that touch of Annie Dolsoce's coring hand and
her deep love of architecture, by which and for which all
this come about. So this house, with oil ih perfect metal
constructions, radiated a special kind of warmth, which
somehow defies description.
Perhaps the mosl remarkable thing about il was that the
atmosphere il breathed was so unlike the highly exclusive,
ostentatious atmosphere thot you usually lind in such a
wealthy environment. Complete equivalence reigned in
this space, the some core being lavished on the most
everyday kind of utility goods as on !he priceless orl
objects by these elegant and imaginative people in their
ever-hospitable environment: o wonderful dream come
true of o new, lighter ond more transparent world.' [11 ]
The way a building is put together, I.e. how it works,
should be 'legible' to its users: instead of a layer of
stucco covering everything up, for instance, it is better
to show the adual building bricks, the beams, columnJ
of steel or concrete, and the lintels over the windows.
It might not be such a bod ideo to leave at least some
of the 'innards' of the building exposed to view, too, to
make people more aware of the eHort that goes into
c:reating a sotisfadory dwelling. In fad, our utilitarian
objects in general could do with a more
straightforward and lucid design. In the nineteenth
century, with its techniques firmly rooted in the craft
tradition, this was obviou1ly not as important as it is
today, with the increasing alienation - also in
architecture of man from his environment. People
have been proved wrong time and again in simply
trusting that things in the world will be organized with
their best Interests In mind: we must be able to see for
what is going on.
VAN EETVElDE House, BRUSSElS 1898 I v_ Hom 1619,6!0)
Horta's chorocteristic railings, which ore olso to be seen
in the Yon Eetvelde house lnow on office), fi rst of oil make
us think of long sinuous creepers. But on closer inspection
this ironwork proves to be composed not of continuous
curving rods but of o Iorge number of quite small
components which, while describing perfect curves in
combination, ore oil separately attached to the upright
The holes for attachment ore positioned in eoch metal strip
in such o way that the space allotted to eoch rivet is
exactly right, thereby making the studs themselves on
integral port of the composition os o whole. Depending on
which way you look of It, this ironwork manifests Itself
either os on organic plant-like growth or os o systematic
composite whole mode up of a Iorge number of ports,
eoch of which is delicately shaped and subtly attached.
Hector Guimard, who is especially famous lor elegant
plant-like metal sculptures framing Metro entrances in
Paris, wos also quite capable of working with stondord l-
ond T-proWed metal rods. Instead of simply sowing them
off otthe required length os most people would do, he
paid special attention to the extremities of eoch piece of
prolilebar. Being standard moss-produced elements, the
bors would of course oil hove the some thickness, but for
619 680
611 U2
the finishing of the ends of the bars he turned to the smith;
thus each section become a hand<rahed element in the
end. But however much 1$ done in the woy of odoptolion,
the basic profile of the prefabricated components remains,
and, paradoxically, the sinuous extremities actually
emphasize that basic characteristic of the moteriol .
The elegance of these studied Aourishes at the ends makes
each rod not only on element with its own distinct identity
but also on element within the composition of the whole.
Alouo Sc HOOtS l'al,U?l
We do not make balustrades with flowing lines mode up
of lengths of metal tubing welded together or of profile
rods, but we do try to make them of separate components,
in such a way that the emphasis is not only on the actual
components but equally on the spaces in-between them.
And in places where the different components meet and
ore olloched, so that the proper space is allotted to each,
the attention is drown to the edges.
'A building, but also part of a building, explctins itseH
by showing how it worlu and what it's for. We try to
mob each element clearly legible bath Independently
and in its relation with the others and to make it
not only part of a larter structure, but also a seH
contained whole.
Thus details can claim complete priority where it
matters: in this respect th.,. Is not that much difference
from the approach to the building in its entirety.
The whole and the parts define each other mutually,
and they require the same mecnure of aHention; this is
also true in urban planning, where the detail
obviously figure very prominently. While the aiteria
that apply in urban planning may be d.iHerent, the
thoughtproceu is bcnlcally the same as In the urban
d .. lgn of details, including the de5ign of a balustrade,
for lnstance.'(l OJ
ly thawing how things wortc, and leHing eoch element
speak for Itself as far as its function in the larger
whole is concerned, the architecture of a building can
intensify our awareness of the phenomena that make
up our environment.
If it Is clear how a thing works, that is because it looks
as if it can be taken apart. The expression of
analysability and the apparent pauibility of being
dismantled are not only chorocteristlc features af
Horta' s Art Nouveau designs and of the architecture of
Chareau, lijvoet and Dalbet as exemplified in their
wo.nderful Maison de Verre, but also of the
contemporary canstructivi1m (undoubtedly influenced
by these celebrated artists) of people like Renzo Piano,
Richard Rogers and Norman Foster and of course of
IBM rraW!Us Pov.ll.,.,
Potu, 198NS4/
Alali11< l'i<Jno
le Corbusier in one of his last exe<uted designs: the
Heidi Weber pavilion in Zurich ( 196367} 1&!-H!II, some
years prior to the construction of the Centre Beau bourg
in 1970.
ay giving independence to the component parts these
do not only gain more identity thanks to the
expression of their specific function within the whole,
for in addition aHention is drawn to the joins and
encounters between the ports. A shift of emphasis
occurs from the objects themselves to what connects
them, to their interrelationships.
Not only did Horta as well as Choreau et al. give each
component part its due within the whole, they also
ultimately concerned themselves with space, and each
of them succeeded in their own way in developing both
revolutionary and magnificent spatial mechanisms. This
is more than you can say about the architectural
heroes of today and their followers, who stiU have not
been able to equal the spatiality achieved more than a
century ago on the basis of enentially analogous
principles by someone like Henri labrouste.
U/, 6e8 690
w 689 91
H.IJi Wbtr pmlion,
Zurx:h, 1963-67/
!e Cotb111fctt
~ ~ n m ~ rou 243
Sre GENEVIEVE, 1843-50/ H. I.Aswusre
Henri Lobrouste was the first orchitecl-engeneer Ia design
on iron span construction in which the actual framework is
o deliberate architectonic expression. Metallic spans that
hod been applied previously, as in shopping arcades,
greenhouses, conservatories and of course the Paris
Exchange of 1808, hod started out from the skylight
principle, the technical aspects of the material being
tolerated rather than serving as a means of arriving at o
new sort of spatial design.
Althougn enclosed by massive neo-Renoissonce walls, tne
elongated readi ng room of the Sainte Genevieve Library
(from 1843-5011 has o surprisingly fragile-looking span
with two parallel shell$ forming the
ceiling. The delicate ironwork is like a modern addition to
the heavy remains of the post, and even though you con
still find classicist motifs on the slender columns, they ore
no more than superficial decorations. The plant-like
tracery decorating the curved spans does little to conceal
the fact that iron framework serves o purely constructional
purpose: the architect's solution, here, is in fact on
' -
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,_ .
. .. . .. , .. ' .

example of Art Nouveau ovontlo lettre. Allhough the
ceiling consists of two parallel spans gracefully barrel-
vaulted ol each end, the space is not divided into two
halves: it remains o unified whole. This is portly due to the
foci that the row of columM in the centre does not extend
oil the woy from one end to the other, leaving the areas ot
eoch end uncluttered.
The building is much longer than II is wide, but the
treatment of the long ond short f o ~ o e s is identical: the
some articulation, the some fenestration end also the some
book galleries going oil the woy round with stoircoses
placed diagonally in eoch corner (so that no side con
impose o hierarchical direction on the spoce).(Would you
hove placed the stairs in this woy in the corners?) This
equivalence of short and long walls is what mokes the
library so unique from the point of view of spatiality: the
way the double-voulted ceiling leaves the space
undivided, intact, is truly amazing.
But let us take o look to find out how lobrouste achieved
this: if the spans hod really been semi<irculor in shape
(as they appear Ia be), this spatial tour de force would not
hove been poHible, if only because there would simply be
no way ol turning o corner. However, labrouste used
quarter-circle spans, which enabled him to create o
natural and Rowing transition by extending them to make
half a circle where necessary and by using right-angled
connections to attach the quarter-circle segments to the
complementary spon elemen1s in the corners. His
application of just two basic types of elements in such
ingenious combinations brought about o breakthrough,
deliberately or not; w1th his liberating use of rdenlicol
components he was rn foci onticipahng o development
that was to come 1n the next century.
In the same way thot Lobrouste put together his elementl
to creole on extroordmary, un1lied spoholity so in his
case the art of making and the making of art ore
indistinguishable. His solution is not merely the result of
what he wos capable of, but, al$0 and indeed more
importantly, he was capable of olloining what he
envisaged in terms of spatiality. (12)
100 101
When something that was a Htondary feature in one
situation cGn become the main feature in another, in
other words that both fHtures can adapt to specific
conditions, then we have a system of values in which
there is no hierarchy of importance among component
parts. And when, for instance, something in any
architectonic ordering, on element or on orgoni:ration
of elements, con perform different functions depending
on its placement in diHerent situations, then its value is
no longer constant.
loch element can then, depending on the way it is
introduced, perform o pivotal function, that is, it con
become o centre of o system in its own right; In that
case equivalence can be sGid to exist. Conversely, on
architectonic ordering in which primary and secondary
elements are recognizable as such cannot but refer to a
hierarchy of constant and unalterable values: a system
of values which is unequivocal and which consequently
precludes interpretation an more than one level. In o
strictly 1ymmetrical composition you can for instance
visually express no more than that the content of the
right hand side is the same as that of the left-hand
246 liHOMS 101 1K li (KIJ!( IUI !
lut if we start out from the principle that each element
has its awn specific value, not more nor les.s value than
any of the other elements, i.e. that they ore a ll equal,
then our designs will have a fundamentally different
organi:ration: It will be o matter of creGting the right
balance between all the elements so that each can
function optimally In its own right as well os in its
relation to othen.
Ati ScHOOl, AMsTERDAM 1930 I J. Dutm c1ao-1ou
There is o story thot Ouiker could only get permission to
build his Open Air School on o site that was largely
hidden from view by buildings, so that it would not clash
too much with its surroundings in this wellta-do
Whatever Duiker himself may hove felt obout the enclosed
sile on which he was to build the school, there is no doubt
that the gloss building would hove been very vulnerable
indeed in on entirely open setting (even though trallic
noise was nol yet o problem at that lime). The protective
enclosure ol the fairly massive blocks surrounding the
building emphasizes its openness rather than vice-verso,
while the proximity to the untidy bocks of the dwell ings
with their small gardens ond balconies, combined with the
informal atmosphere of this little poloce of gloss,
strengthens the feeling of living in o community. The
adoption in urban planning of the perimeter block-siting
principle with its differentiation of street side ond enclosed
courtyard obviously results in more formal house-fronts
ond more Informal bocks.
In this case o kind of reversal of inside and out has token
place, because the presence of the school with its
playground ond entrance, informal as they ore, creates a
front within the enclosed space. Due to this relotivizolion
of the enclosed spoce the situation in !oct comes closer to
the open site plan. What strikes one about the building is
the at first sight somewhol illogical addition of the
gymnasium on the right, which does not match the
otherwise largely symmetrical main layout. This is oil the
more remarkable here In view of the
principled and lucid structure, with the concrete

framework defining the slructure throughout.
In the cose of on architect like Duiker, it is especially
interesting to examine the ideas underlying his meticulous
and wellthought-out solutions. An ottemptlo analyse those
thought processes yields the following results.
The plan required the inclusion of seven
dolsrooms o number that, regardless of whether you
arrange them in twos or in threes, means that one
classroom tokes up o separate position, which inevitably
affects the symmetry of the overall design. The building
consists of layers of two classrooms each which could thus
shore one outside classroom, grouped around the
stairwell. The remaining classroom could thus occupy the
ground floor, positioned in the some woy as the other
clomooms above, whi le the space on the other side could
be used as o gymnasium.
There were several reasons to raise the ground floor
classroom somewhat: In the first place no doubt to make
up lor the extra height that was needed lor the gymnasium
so that ils roof would not be higher thon the first floor.
Another reason was that the children in the ground floor
classroom would easily be distracted from their work
when children from other classes were in directly
adjoining playground. This situation was greatly improved
by the difference in level, so that the children sitting inside
ore higher than those playing outside. 8ut when you look
ot the entrance there is more to It than that.
The actual, formal entrance is situated under the small
gate-house in which the nursery school is located. Once
the children ore on the playground, in the courtyard, they
ore in o sense already inside, and there is no need
therefore (inasmuch as Duiker ever felt such a need} to
emphasize the entrance to the building itself for the
entrance cannot be missed. Nonetheless you could call the
702 703
101 708
'approach' under the loggia-li ke porch llonlled by the
two symmetrical columns of the wholly symmetrical
framework clossicol, in o sense. This solution is really so
'normal' and at the some time almost monumental that it is
all the more striking that the front door itself is placed
informally to the right of the axis of the building.
On closer inspection it becomes clear that some steps
were necessary to reach the main staircase leading up
from the lending in front of this domoom. A functional
reason, then, to move the entrance wllh drought-door to
the right; indeed it seems quite logical, especially because
once you ore in the 'loggia' (i.e. between the two
'entrance columns') it really doesn' t make any difference
whether the door is exactly in front of you or slightly to
one side. But for everyone other than Duiker this solution
would have been the least obvious. Indeed one must hove
o very specific and highly exceptional altitude lo be able
~ ~ 3
' -
~ ~ :
241 liSSOKS 101 SIODUfS tr UCmiCIUII
to deviate from one's carefully balanced symmetry for the
sake of a convenient entrance, instead of trying lo cram it
into the preconceived design.
The point is that Duiker did not simply make do with the
circumstances as they presented themselves bullock
precisely those measures that resulled in on organization
that erected the best possible conditions for usage, view
end routing. Over the formal order of a consistent
symmetry he gave priority to on arrangement in which
each part functions optimally both in its own right end as
port of the whole. This example of Duiker's school
provided the key, if not directly then at any rote indirectly,
Ia the solutions presented in the following examples.
home lor the elderly in Almere situated on o
residual site in this new town; on one side it adjoi ns o
parking garage, on the other il branches out freely,
without any point of support In the urban surroundings.
All the facing outwards thus toke on the role of
frontages. In other words, there ore no bocks Ia the
buildings with rear entrances for delivery etc. !the kitchen
delivery entrance is located of the end of one of the
wings). Nor there one single main entrance, because
the pedestrian entrance to the enclosed inner court, where
the less mobile residents con venture out into the wor ld, is
no more and no less important than the entrance on the
other side, which con be reached by cars.
From whatever direction the building is approached, its
main shape is seen to be o composition,
grouped around o central area which is higher than the
rest and where the different wings come together. The
symmetrical aspect of the design is not due so much to o
preconceived plan as to the fact that there was simply no
valid reason here to deport from the obvious principle of
symmetry.However, this was not a strict rule: wherever
deviation from the symmetrical would beneAt the functional
organization the principle was abandoned, in other
no concessions were mode at the expense of requirements
from within which did not automatically with 'the
system' , As o consequence o whole range of incidental
deviations hove risen, which together determine the overall
ospecl just os much os the main outline. One of the innu
meroble examples of this is the middle section of the west
to allow the central hall area to benefit fully from
the view it was reasonable to incorporate both o boy and
o balcony in that section. There were, in theory, two ways
of retaining o strict symmetry: either two bays on either
side of o balcony, or two balconies on either side of a
boy. But both solutions would hove clashed with the spotiol
requirements of the two elements regarding their optimal
functioning, and besides, the asymmetrical placement
made the space of the boy link up much better with the
spotiol organization of the centre os o whole. Instead of
designing two balconies thot ore too small or two boys
that ore too small simply lor the sake of the overall
composition, each element is given its due. The dimensions
of the balcony, moreover, mode it possible to include a
gloss owning over port of the balcony spoce, so that there
is a choice between more and less sheltered places to sit.
When you start out from a formal order it Is
important to avoid to having to force all the elements
into lfMit order, ll.cause then you will inevitably make
tham subservient to the whole, lfMit is, the value lfMit is
given to the pam will 1M dictated by the order
governing the wflole. Only by starting out from each
individual element and by making it contribute in ill
own rlfllt to the whole con an ordering be ochieYed In
whkh each component, larva or small, heavy or light,
has its rlghtfvl place In accordance with the specific part
It plcrys within tfle whale.



lUlliNG fOil 249
710 711
Pollodio' s Villo Rotondo is umversolly by orcht-
tects. The stmple, lucad floor plan and the purity olthe
elevation make the building on unparalleled example of
absolute architecture, and of th11 orchitecturol world as o
' reflection of divine perfection'. You con as easily imagine
11 beang used os o church, as o school or os o home, and
tn Its essential suitability lor many purpo5e5 this element
ory floor plan represents o kind of archetype. bpeciolly
unique as tha way in which the entirely symmelracolloyout

Y ~

~ r L


''' no
INYllla6 fOliA 2.51
accommodates the four identical loggias along the lour
There is indeed no front, no bock, no side; the
building is the wme on all sides- olleost as long as you
look ot it from the outside. Inside the building the situation
is different. You con well imagine choosing which loggia
to sit on depending on the time of day and the $tlason, for
-and this is quite remarkable- although all four ore
identical, each offers o completely different experience.
Not only does the sunlight hove a different effect on each
side, olw the views are completely different - of the
avenue leading up to the house, ol the garden, of the
farmland belonging to the villa and of the hills beyond.
Thus it is in the urban contelCi thot this free-standing villa
manifests its most characteristic quolitities. From the
outside you con survey the house in its entirety, but it is
inside the building thotthe diversity of spatial sensations
can be experienced to the full. Countleu architecture
historians hove devoted studies to this particular villa, but
what Palladia himself had to s,oy about it is lor more
interesting. Palladia' s own main concern was, apparently,
the magnificent views on all sides. So you see that it is not
enough to look at o building from the outside alone, but
that ill true quality con be appreciated only when you
also look out at the surroundings from the inside.
Unfortunately the building is not open to the public, so if
you wont to get the feel of it you will hove to go and see
Joseph Losey' s film 'Don Giovanni', which was shot for the
most port in and around this villa.
'Amongst many honourable Vicentine gentlemen, there is
Monsignor Paolo America, on ecclesiostil, and who was
referendary to two supreme Popes, Pia the fourth and fifth,
and who for his merit, deserved to be mode a Roman
citizen with oil his family. This gentleman after having
travelled many years out of a desire of honour, all his
relations baing dead, come to his native country, and for
his recreation retired to one of his country-houses Up<Jn o
hill, less than o quarter of o mile distant from the city,
where he has built according to the following invention:
which I hove not thought proper to place amongst/he
fabrics of villas, because of the proximity it has with the
city, whence it may be said to be In the very city. The site
is os pleosont and as delightful as con be found, because
if is upon o small hill, of very easy access, and is watered
on one side by the Bacchiglione, a navigable river; and
on the other it is encompassed with most pleasant risings,
which look like a very great theatre, and ore all
cultivated, and abound with most ucellent fruits, and
most exquisite vines: and therefore, as it enjoys from
every port most beautiful views, some ol which are
limited, some more extended, ond others that terminate
with the horizon; there are loggias made in all the four
fronts; under the Roar of which, and of the hall, are the
rooms for the convenlency and use of the family. The hall
is in the middle, is round, and receiveds its light From
above. The small rooms ore divided off. Over the great
rooms (the vaults of which ore according to the first
method) there is a ploce to walk round the hall, fifteen loot
and a hoff wide. In the extremity of the pedestals, that form
a supporl to the stairs of the loggias, there are statues
mode by the hands of Messer Lorenza Vicenlino, o very
excellent sculptor. '
!Andrea Pall..dro, I Gvaltro libri AtcMJellUro.Ve"ite l 5701
Persons or things can be dlffwent and yet eqwl.
Whether you value the one me thon the other
depends on the sltvotlon yo41 ore In and on the value
it represerm for you ot thot 1n0ment. Just os the
impomnw depends on the situotion you ore in, so
the situation depends on o variety of ext.rnol foctors
(think of the difference in the importonce of water In
the detett and in a country nice Hollcmd, for
When people or things ore unequal, they tend to be
treated unequally, too. And when that inequality Is
embodied In a tystem of valuation in which
clusification in degrees of importance takes place, you
have hletorchy. ly equivalence I mean diffet.nt people
Of things whkh you value equally and which you can
danify CKcording to a value system without thot
resulting In lneqvatlty.
The following example fTom J. Hordy mokes this clear:
If you want to classify a number of books according lo
value orwl you stort by making o ptle with the most
valu-able book on top and the least valuable one ot the
bottom, then this pile will, essentiality, represent o
hierarchy. Now If you place the books vertically In the
some order then their position will be sMn 1o be
equivalent ev.n though the dauification is the some.
lhe differenus ore dill there, but the order Ia one of
dlff-e and not of priority. Of course the books co&Jid
hove been ordef'ecl occording lo other criteria, such aa
accor--ding to cwthor, aiu , Of dote of publication, but Cll
- os the books havelleen stocked to lotm o pile
there will Inevitably be o top - ond o bottom one.
Once hierarchical OJTOng-ntt hove been introduced,
they tend 1o be aeff perpetvotlng. At first sight one
might wond4w whether hl-rchy In archlted\n'e as for
os objects oncl the clemonds Inherent In them ore
concerned Is auch a bad thing, but unequal demands
very soon give riae 1o unequal situations, which con in
film easily contribtne to Inequality amont pellftle. lhat
Is especiaUy Inclined to hoppen when you con only
think In terms of your own pen-t standards, and are
au tor
therefore unable to relativize them vis ell vis diHerent
situations. When deslgnlnt we make ample use of
claulfications of the order of importonce of component
porh, as in a structure (Omposed of main beams and
subsidiary supports, or in a raad networic with main
traffic arteries and minor roads. So long as such an
order m-ly reflects a differentiation of qualities,
there Is na prob.lem. However, when svch an order
implies placine one thing above the other rather than
side by side, extra caution is needed.
An elementary example of spotiol conditions confirming
inequality or even contributing to it is the location of o
foreman in o factory, In o small office on o raised level so
that he con keep on eye on everything that is going on.
But he would be in o better position to judge how the
work is proceeding il he hod more contoc:t, i.e. if he
stayed on the same level os those who ore answerable to
him. We must try to avoid pulling the person in charge,
who therefore has a higher position at the workplace, in o
spatially more elevated position than the others, in other
words to ovoid placing undue emphasis on the superiority
of his position within the organization. People in o
physically higher position than others ore always ot on
advantage over those down below. Even people who ore
simply toller than overage ore ot an advantage, and if
there is o choice between lop and bot1om punk-beds the
top one.s ore always token first. In everyday language,
too, people 'look up' to others or 'look down' on them,
and the hierarchical implications of these expressions
refer directly to the some kind of spatial preconditions in
architecture. It is necessary to consider always whether o
raised position is really functional, os in the case of the
wheelhouse on a ship or the stage director's box in the
theatre, and to toke core that those people with more
decisionmoking powers than others ore not automatically
permitted to dominate the workplace on the level of
spotiol organization, too. In on office building the
managers and deportment heads soon claim the most
attractive rooms for themselves, regardless of whether
those rooms ore the most appropriate ones lor them on the
functional level. In the Centrool Beheer office the senior
stall deliberately occupied the more inwordlooking 'work
islands', which ore less favourably placed as for os the
view outside is concerned. Thus the general criterion of
'quality' with respect to the workplace was relotivized: in
no way did the spotiol organization reaffirm the hierarchy
within the company, in fact it hod a mitigating effect. In
the years since the office Centrool Beheer was built there
has been a general tendency to reinstate the traditional
hierarchic relationships, but the managing directors stiff
occupy the some offices, and the oreos occupied by the
lower echelons ore still unaffected by this trend.
Analogous examples con be found in the scale of urban
planning. Thus there is o strong tendency to make the
location of the more expensive dwellings more attractive
and thus to distinguish between cheap and expensive
housing. There is not so much wrong with that, provided
the greater attraction of the more expensive housing is not
achieved ot the expense of cheaper housing, thereby
unnecessarily widening the gop between the two. This is
the case when the more expensive type of dwellings ore
oil situated on the edge of o housing estate, thus
obstructing the view of the cheaper type of dwellings
crowded together in the middle. The more favourable the
location of o residential neighbourhood, with a view, soy,
of o pleasing landscape, the more the architect will feel
motivated to 'do something with it' ... and more often than
not that means making o grand gesture in the form of on
elongated, multi-storeyed apartment building, for instance
but where does that leave the houses and streets further
bocU The greater the number of dwellings in o beautiful
location, the greater the number of dwellings in the area
whose view is obstructed, and the greater the difference
between privileged and underprivileged local residents.
With each solution we come up with we must ask
ourselves whether the spatial conditions are equally
diJtributed and whether, deUIMrately or acddentally,
our solutions risk reconfltmine, on the spatial level, that
whkh was already dubious on the social level. Even If
archit.ctvre as svcll can perhaps exert only a minor
inftv.nce on the hierarchicol relations within sodety,
then at least we ca:n try to avoid undencoring that
hierarchy and instead propose spatial conditions to
counter it. To whot ext.nt can architecture hcrve a
political implication? Is there such a thine as totalitarian
architecture, or democratic architecture, or are thue
CoiOHllblo Un1voully,
N.., Yoli
terms merely fanciful interpretations based on o
penonol fMilng ond thus without ony general validity?
Everyone is indindecl ta experience .. sively large-
scale buildings which dwarf human beings as oppres
sive, and indeed all tataliterian 1"e9imes demonstrate a
fondness for aweinspiring dimensions. This
is especially obvious when the buildings that are
-ted by such a regime are in fact blown.up versions
of an old, even familiar world and style of architecture.
lut not every building that is huge neceuarily exudes
an oppressive atmosphere. Indeed, the very lock of
accenibility, or even a forbidding 1tructure lllte that of
many mecf11val castles, need nat neceuarily be
uperienced as opprenive either the inhabitants may
well be friendly people whose forbears had ta defend
themselves against a hostile outside world. ly reversal
of a situation of context architecture can also take on a
' I
l'fo<t StooioiOJ Ofld Ploe. de lcr Ccrrriitt, llSl.JS/ HE
254 LI SSOH 101 SIIOWS amiiHIUr!
diHerent meoning filce a formal, imprenive flight of
steps can turn into an informal, friendly grandstand.
Furthermore our sense of what ane con and cannot do in
architecture often arises from the assodation that a
form or architectural idiom eoke in us.
Classicism, for Instance, tends ta be ouacioted with
authoritarian regimes, because we know that It was
favou1'ed by those regimes, and so evidently held
clf'fain special attractions for them and presumably
suited their purposes. Still, it is not quite 01 simple as
that: fot there are certain cloukist buildings that hove a
friendly and by no meoM authoritarian aPfMOran<e. To
name just a few of them: the Palois Royal in Paris, the
CreiCIInts in lath, and Klein Glieneclce Castle in lerlin.
And a ciOJslcist design can een be the expression of
undisputed democratic intentions, such as the Plac
Stanislos a nd the Place de Ia Carriere in Nancy. The one
Royol Cr<JCeol, Borl> 1167-14/) WO<Ki, J
l J I
asped that show unequivocally whether on
environment is authoritarian or toleNnt is the degree of
freedom offered by the orvanization of the architectural
space for indeed lade of itl to choose one's visval focus
of attention: is one' s attention fordbly drawn to o slntle
point or is one free to ignore thAt focus and concentrate
on other aspe<ts, other feGturn of one' s own choosing.
The mou elementary example Is perilaps the difference
between a round table and a redangular - The
round table offers iclentkal conditions to all who sit at
it: there is no spatial sunestion whatsoever as to who
might be more important than the others. With a
rectangular table the situation is obviously
Such diHerentiation of places need not, of course, cause
problems, and usually doesn't but in certain situations it
could encourage a tendency towards 'bossineu' which
is not sufficient ...ason to get rid of all rectangular
Royol, Pons 1780/ }, V.lbors
= -
l. .. = ... .l._

tobles and make only round ones from now on, but still
these kinds of small detolls are often only the
beginning. In office buildlngs, for instance, the she of
the roam indicate how ' high up' the occupant i in the
hiefarchy, thereby Ignoring functional criteria the
monogen a:re the only ones who are allowed to place
their clesk cflatonally. lftn If archlt.cture ln itHif cannot
be blamed for abuse of power, and eertoinly cannot
prevent it, it is 1urely better to guard ogainst creating
1potiol c.onditlons in which ' bossineu thrives.
The most ex1reme example of abuse ol spatial conditions is
Hitler's insistence on silling ot o desk on a raised platform
ot the end of o very long, high room so thot visitors would
hove to cover o considerable distance while he looked
down ot them: o calculated eHartto make the visitor feel
small and unsure of himself. There ore many other less
extreme examples ol misuse of space, not ofwoys
inlentionol, perhaps, but due to lock of foresight.
Functional solutions lhol oppeor quite innocent con turn out
to reiterate the exertion of power. Think ol the star-shaped
arrangement of the bookcases in many libraries, wilh the
tupervlsor in the middle so thot he or she con oversee
everything at one glance -like in o prison. And the
persistence of those ridiculous little balconies on the fronts
ol ' important' public buildings which, however pleasing the
sculptural effect on the ore really only suitable
for 'tolking down' loon ossembled group of people.
S..t. I B26/ K Scftfnlel

century & ofter
sixleenth cenlc11y
m m
136 131
MOSQUE, CORDO&A, SPAIN 786-1009 C134110l
This mosque, founded in the eighth century, consists of
several architectural components together forming o Iorge
hell of about 135 x 135m. Unlike Chri stian churches, o
mosque is bosicolly o piece of holy land, rectangular in
shape enclosed by walls and fi lled with columns: o sort of
forest of petrified trees with vaults ond cupolas overhead.
Although the orientation to Mecca is in the
Mohammedan religion, it does not ploy o port in this bull"
ding. Here there is no oxis expressing o specific
orientation aport from the obvious procticol constructional
- -- - ------
..................... ....... ......
- -
0 0 0 - 0 0 0 0 0 .
.. -
. .
0 - 0 0 -

4 ---

--- ------- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . .. .
. . . . . . . . . ... ... .... -... ..... . ..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .........
.. . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .
o I o o o o o o o o o ' ' ' '' ' + ' o o o
. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . ' ... ............. .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -.. . ..... ....
Communal prayers ore held in mosqves, ond
there ore 's.ermons' , but mos. tly people pray individually.
The vast space of the hall in the Cordoba mosque con
accommodate o huge crowd of worshippers, whose sole
points of reference in the space ore the numerous
columns, if only beco11se people con leon ogoinst them:
there ore no seats , everyone sits on the Roar. But the
mosque also serves os o Iorge roofed public square,
where people come for peace and coolness besides.
prayer. The forest of columns articulates ond defines the
space in such o way that there is no single explicitly
- - .. 'x..,. -
. . ... .. CJ
f--i. .. . . . . -. '' .
' "
. . . . . .. . . . ."-...... .
.. .. , A V \. , .
t--; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........ .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ... .
central locus- the focus con shift anywhere in the space.
However strong the religious impositions of Islam moy
hove been, the spoce of the Cordoba mosque itself does
not impose anything on its visitors: it welcomes any group
of people, regardleu of their purpose. At any rate that
was the situation until, in the sixteenth century, a huge
hole was cut into the heart of the m ~ q u e to make room
for a Christian church. The church was duly erected, in
spite of vehement appositi on from those who realized how
much ir reparable damage this would do to o building that
is unique in the world.
This disastrous undertaking resulted in the creation of a
centre which, due to the sheer size of the new structure
and il$ position in the middle of the space, inevitably
become a mercileuly dominating feature. It is quite
remarkable how the church with its toll windows letting in
the bright sunlight clamours for attention, overwhelming
rtf' ~ b b
HUH Jill 1t u u
~ I
the old environment with its finer articulation and subdued
light. Regardless of where you stand in the building, you
con never get away hom the influence of what hos
undeniably become the main area; o spatial hierarchy has
been inescapably and Irreversibly established, while
absolute equivalence ruled the spoce as a whole
Because the original spoce hod no explicit centre of
attention, the centre could be anywhere and of any size,
depending on the situation and the number of people.
Without imposing ony particular order or type of use the
spoce (more like a covered market than o place of
worship) presented itself as open and responsive to every
form of attention. And thus this space, unlike the Iorge
'columnless' mosques in Istanbul, represented the
archetypal covered public square.
!'ton 51 Peler's / 8. Peruzzi Pfon 51. Pt.ler's / Btomote Plo 51 Ptrtr's/ MI<Miogefo
ST. m ~ s RoMe wmt
The comparison of a few moments from the history of St.
Peter's helps to clarify much about the attitude and ideos
of the architects involved, precisely because the building
is such o powerful symbol of hierarchy. Even when history
is obscure on the subject the pions themselves, if regarded
os projections of the architects' consciences, ore still able
to tell their own story about the standpoints end feelings
of the people who designed them.
It seems to me that the Peruzzi pion, which prompted
these considerations, would be difficult to surponJn ,
richne$s. As o schematic pion is actually not much more
141 141 141 then a diagram, but as an archetype it could al so serve as
o basis lor many other things, maybe very different from o
744 church. Toke o school, for instance, where the classrooms
could hove their own separate domain in the towers,
while the space in its entirety offers groups the greatest
258 lfSSUS rot mO!NIS IW ll(KIIICI UU
opportunity imaginable for finding o place wi1h the
proportions, intimacy and connection with the others
needed at that particular time. The closer you get to the
centre the more open it becomes, which gives more scope
lor communal activity.
The pion is organized as o succeuion of places, each of
which forms o centre in relation to those around it but no
space dominates ony other, so that the space in the
middle does not necessarily hove to be the principal
space as well, but could also be regarded as the hallway
to centres situated around it. So this pion is o perfect
example of the principle of equality expressed in spatial
organization. its exceptional spatial qualities, moreover,
enable each port to be interpreted separately even though
this interpretation will hove on inAuence on the
surrounding ports, and vice verso, because of the open
This polyvalence Is thus ontihierorchicol in principle; you
could go even further end soy that it is o spatial model of
freedom of opinion and choice, whereby various opinions
ore able to influence each other without dominating
because of the 'transparency' of the whole.
Just imagine whet it would be like if this plan hod been
worked out further end built instead of whet is there now,
with its one.sided relationships that actually could already
hove been detected at the planning stage.
The proportions, the articulation, the relationship of
enclosure to the penetration of spaces, both os such end
with respect to each other, the concavity end convexity of
wells, the directions, the entrances and their positions, oil
combine to form the spatial organization which
determines whether o plan lends itself to the promotion of
domination or equality. Thus spatial relationships exert on
inRuence on the relationships between people.
Another equally vital difference between the plans of both
Bromonle and Peruzzi and thai of Michelangelo is to be
found In the principle of accessibility. The consistent
symmetry os well os the composition of the pions of
Peruzzi ond Bromonte suggest several entrance$ on oil
sides, and the Bromonte plan even proposes twelve
entrances end exits oil together: Michelangelo has only


one entrance which is further occentuoted, moreover, by o
colonnade ond steps. So, although his interior is still
symmetrical the accent on the exterior definitely lolls on
the side with the only entrance. The foci that you con only
go in ond out on one side would undoubtedly imposes
one direction on the interior, and causes its cenlre of
gravity lo shift in such o way tho! the symmetrical form
would be belied by use. Bromonle's many entrances help
to establish the independence and equality of the various
spaces, and they also seem lo be saying that people ore
welcome from oil sides ond directions.
Michelangelo altered lhe proportions of the spatial units
so that the whole church virtually become one central
space. If there should still be ony doubts that his oim in
doing this was lo creole conditions which would shift the
locus of ollention to the centre, then this single main
entrance is enough lo dispel them. One side has
unmistakably become the and that implies o bock
and sides, and the main oxis which Moderno was later to
extend with his addition to the church is already indica1ed
in plan. So the spotiol inlerprelolion of the
centralized, hierarchical woy of thinking which has
always characterized the Church was irrevocably
introduced into the organization of the building.
While a certain resistance to this hierarchy con be
detected in Michelangelo's rather forced attempt to give
ot least the lout interior sides the some value, Moderno
seems to hove hod no problem with it ot all. His addition
Sl. s Squcto,
MIOACHI bofwo I 93$
111 m
Sl PJM's Squoto,
,,, , ..... 1935
St. l'otwi't Sq11010,
""9""'if19/G. 8.PiroMsl
of o nove definitely formed o spatial main axis, which
focuses the attention on the centre of Michelangelo' s pion
no matter where one is in the building. It thus becomes
both the centre ond the final point of attention. Everyone
knows his place now, so do rily ond order hove been
inexorably established in the architecture, thus
demonstrating its subservience to power.
'The square or piazza which Bernini later placed opposite
the church, olreody completed by Moderno, is not only o
lesson in urban planning but also in counterpoint. The
space enclosed by the circular, curved colonnades forms,
as it were, on independent counterpoint to the church. The
independence of the oval port is further increased by the
fact that it is not directly connected to the church, nor
does the oval serve, literally speaking, as o sort of
gateway to it. After all, the tropezoidollorecourt resulting
from the receding connecting orms is situated in-between.
This recession certainly does not mole the f o ~ o e of the
church more imposing, as is sometimes claimed in on
attempt to interpret Bernini's plan in terms of the
perspective power of these arms. However, since the
perspective is reversed it actually increases the distance
and, seen from the church, it promotes independence, if
anything. It seems to me that the connecting arms were
not mode to recede lor the sake of perspective, but
because of Moderno' s facade which wos extremely wide
in the lrmlled spoce available, and because of the need to
connect with the ovol. Thanks to Bernini, whatever his
objectives with regard to the Church may hove been, the
church has been relegated to the distance, in spite of its
place of honour.
The colonnades enclose o separate space with o form of
its own. It is the accommodating potential of this colossal
space which theoretically enables the crowd of people
there to assemble either in front of or opposite the church,
or even to turn their bocks on it.
Although the square is situated on the main axis of the
church it does not really enhance it. Only the geographic
centre marked by the existing obelisk, which Bernini hod
to toke into account, is actually situated on the church
axis. However, each half of the oval has its own
geometric centre and, moreover, the two fountains olso
serve os centres of gravity, as it were, despite their
positions on the edge of each cirde segment of the oval
enclosed by the colonnades.
The centres of both halves of the oval ore situated outside
the axis ond it is there, on either side within these two
halves - between the fountains and colonnades - thot the
feeling of being inside is strongest. However, we must
also realize that Bernini 's plan is lorn from its context in
the present situation, with a yawning spoce in front of it,
instead of the intimate Rusticcucl square, with its informal
atmosphere, lacing the oval. Othervvise, according to
Bernini ' s plans, the square would hove hod o final,
enclosing architecture which would not only hove
increased its seclusion but would olso hove resulted in the
official entrances being situated to either side of the axis
instead of upon it.
Bernini's truly origi nal counterpoint leaches how
approaching violence could be checked. In the working
out of this ingenious architectural concept he also showed
that he hod the right attitude ond the right feeling to be
able to corry through what must hove been his aims so
- ----
consistently tho! they ore also easy to discern in the ports.
The fourfold colonnade, no mere partition but o
substantial building itself, forms o visual boundary which
is enough to give both helves of the ovol the effect of
being walled. looking through thts enclosure you con see
the neighbouring houses which thus remain everpresenl
so thot the two worlds, both shaped according to a logic
of their own, the one informally ond unpoved, the other
entirely sculpturally formed, complement each other in
their conlrosf. This, moreover, results in beautiful spaces
inbetween. Only when viewed from the centres of the
oval segments, where the lour rows of columns ore, os it
were, in conjunction, does the 'wall ' lose its enclosing
copocity ond become transparent. Did Bernini do all this
deliberately, and if so what does it molter? After oil , his
surprisingly original solution works ond that's all that
counts I
for nearly three centuries o sort of orchitedurol balance
continued to e)ltSI between the church and Bernini's
square, even without the final arm which would hove
consolidated its counterpoint to the church, and would
hove mode it more diflicult to break open. or course those
who wonted to give even greater e)lpression to the power

I I'
I< : .

, 1 t
j de
l C'"' f;
of the Church hove always aimed to break it open and the
street grid also helped to promote if. However, it was
Mussolini who personally gave the orders in 1934 to
demoli5h the 'Spino' I So this celebrated neighbourhood
was duly replaced by the architects Pocentini and
Spoccorelli with the cheerless selling of the Via della
Concil iozione. fascism and the Church come to terms with
each other in the field of urban planning, and it is difficult
to imagine a more literal expression ol their social
intentions. The axis which originated from Michelangelo's
single main entrance was thus extrapolated ond blown up
to the scale of the dty. This placed the church in the visual
field, thus expressing its domination in the context of
urban planning.' 1(6]1
Bernini's square is not only o mognili<;ent counterpoint to
the church, it is also and especially the first public square
in the world not to hove been shaped by the buildings
surrounding it. It is in foci on edifice in its own right, with
the colonnades forming two transparent yet sturdy
Instead of being leftover space, the square itself
is the focus of attention thonb to the shift in emphasis
from the actual buildings to the urban space between
itlooh as if the architect deliberately designed the oval
oreo between the random irregular edges of the
surrounding neighbourhoods with o view to creating a
new urban space in Its own right, thereby giving the
residual fragments of space a certain form and stature,
The contrast between this Iorge elliptical form with its
graceful geometrical design ond the historkolly evolved
urban fabric of the surrounding area into which it was
imerted must hove been especially spectoculor when the
square with its obelisk and fountain were built, since it
was the only consistently poved ond properly drained
place in the city at the time.
I Di ll
'l ! r
Fr.,. loh 1o nght
I 8roo.:IO'e
2 Mtclti!loogolo
3 Modcmo
5 PI OC.fllrtti OIIJ
Tilt Hoppy Fomily/
Jon Steon/1625-791
IH m
Tho Counny Houte/
i e ~ t de Hoogh
Behind the Schonkweg/
Vl""nl YOn Gogh
Fronts and bcKiu
The example of the diffe,.nt ltages of development of
St. Peter's and Bernini' s square show how an:hiteds
can abuse space in order to lmpreu, or conveHely
how they can use it to help create equality between
men and thing.s. It also confirms how problematical the
position of the architect has always been, dependent
as he always was on the large sums of money that
were necessary for him to actually realize hi.s ideas
and all too often he allowed himself to make
concusions In the end. So he always had a subnrvient
role, and he was nearly always in the service of the
reigning poweN, and consequently allowed himself to
be used time and again as a tool in the hands of a few
rather than of the c.ommunlty at large. -
Throughout history architects have been involved
mainly In building pyramids, temples, churches and
palaces, and hctrdly or not at all in providing dwellings
for ordinary people. Architects as a rule concerned
themselves only with the out-of-the-ordinary, and on
the rare occasions that they did have Ia consider the
focts of everyday life it was always in ,.lotion to the
outward appearance of a building, and very often
quite spedfically with the front, the o d e of a house
that had to look grand.
The history af an:hitedure Is a history of fofades the
buildings seem to have had no backs at alii Architects
always sean:hed for a formal order they prefer,.d to
lgno,. the other side of the coin, the bustle of everyday
life. And this is stillla:rgely true toclay, even though the
design of public housing has in the course of this
century become a fullfledged branch of an:hitecture.
The,. is still that invisible ancls.ubconsdous dividing
line between an:hitecture with a capitol A and without.
Dutch pointing is especially remarkable for the fact that
the subjects ore mostly quite ordinary, ru!H)f-the-mill
situolions with quite ordinary people. Even when the
subject has o significance that lronscends the ordinary-
and what better medium than pointing to make it do so
there is o tendency to interpret the lofty subject in terms of
on everyday situation. Dut<;h pointers did not pay much
attention to the problem of the gods, nor for the ways in
which they manipulate men; and their patrons, too, hod
liHie power to dictate the way they wonted themselves and
their possessions portrayed.
All the more numerous, then, ore the domestic scenes,
such os Von Gogh's ' Potato Eaters' and of course Jon
Steen's interiors, which offer us o glimpse of li fe behind
the scenes. Such paintings show people in informal
situations. Even though there were masters ond servants,
The Ullle Slreel/
Johonmu Vetmeer
the way In which the men and women, tromps and
children and pets appear to coexist does not
give one the impression that differences in soc1ol status,
such os they were, were actually cultivated. In any case
the great artists did not display particular interest m such
matters, while their keen sense of proportion surely mode
them interested in showing what was really going on.
Another artist, Pieter de Hoogh, shifts his attention as
soon as he steps outside the house to the back yord, to
the informal side of things llike Van Gogh, in facti. Even
in Holland's most famous painting, 'The Nightwotch', the
emphasis is not really an the fortitude and bravery of the
soldiers of the civic guard, because of the liveliness of the
scene with children and dogs running around. Sure
enough, all sorts of symbolic meanings ore attributed to
these secondary butthot does not detract from the
informality of their presence in the company. And our next
most famous pointing, Vermeer's 'Street in Delft ', shows
both back and front. The location Itself is, almost as a
molter of course, the bock yard, as usual lacing the street
and as usual peopled by diligent women, cleaning,
sewing or indeed pouring milk like the woman undeniably
dominating the scene.
The Dutch Old Masters that ore treasured great
masterpieces by the world's leadi ng museums and to
which Holland owes its reputation as o notion of pointers
contain on absolute denial of the distinction between
formal and informal.
The Dutch pointers of the seventeenth century demonstrate
how the principle of equality has olwoys been rooted in
our tradition os o molter of course, and it is undoubtedly
thanks to this traditi on that on architecture that was
neither intended to impress nor to oppress could develop,
with a non-hierarchical spatial organization and o fairly
downto-eorth attention to both people and the utilitarian
of things. It was not until the twentieth century that
accessibility, and the integration Into the urban context
From o formal order in which primary ond
functions ore disposed in o hierarchy the attention
shif1ed to on interrelated whole in which primary and
secondary functions become interchangeable, depending
on their role within the organization as o whole and on
how that role is appreciated- in other depending
on one's viewpoint and vantage point.
the world of architecture .started concerning itself with Nightwok:h/Rmbrandl von {1606-69)
public housing construction, ond it is not so surprising that
the Dutch were among the fi rst - for once to transfer the
focus of attention from the for mol exterior to the essence
of o dwelling: the organization of the Roar pion, of the
m 751
! I I
No one hos been more successful ol bridging the gop
belween formal order ond daily life than le Corbusier, the
lwentieth century architect por el!cellence. Without ever
actually quoting forms from the post, he derived his formal
language not only from the clos.sicol monuments lhol he
visited on his many travels, but also from primitive
farmhouses and especially from what the new
technologies hod Ia offer. He transformed a mll!ture of
ocean liners, aeroplanes, trains, Greek and Roman
columns, vaults, mos.sive stone walls, and modest adobe


dwellings into on architecture in which all these
ingredients con be tasted without them being individual ly
His kitchen is suffused with a rich bouquet of aromas from
diverse places and historical periods, rich and poor, city
ond countryside indiscrimotely. His inspi ration come from
oil over the world, but especially from his direct
surroundings and he was receptive to many things that
ora usually shunned by architects. You need only look
carefully at one of his many perspective drawings (often
outlined 'orchitectonicall y' by a droughtsmon and then
. ~ - - - ~ ~ - __
' \
\ \ \

filled in by himselij to see o variety of everyday features
which would be rejeded by most architects os bourgeois
but which, os he realized full well, would shape the reality
of everyday existence once the building was completed.
When le Corbusier used the term 'o machine lor living' he
was referring not so much to perfection and automation
but rather to o special attention for how o dwelling
octually functions and how it should therefore be designed
with that in mind.
In le Corbusier's later works (alter the Second World
Wor) and especially in the buildings he designed in Indio
it seems, or first, os if the people occupy o rather
subsidiary position as o result of o shift in emphasis to an
unprecedented sculptural form. He decided to locus his
attention on the seat of government in Chondigorh, the
new capitol of the Punjab lor which he supplied the urban
pion; the design of the dwellings wos left to others. This
new admini strative complex wos to give expression to the
hope and optimism with which the tragically impoverished
subcontinent sought to develop into o new, modern stole -
o dream in which architecture offers people o way out of
their dismal situation.
The monumental sculptural power of the form Le Corbusier
conjures up before our eyes is owe-inspiting and fantastic.
But isn't it oil rather more lor architects than lor the
people in thor city? More for those in power than lor the
electoroJe? Yes and no. At first sight it would seem so, but
the extraordinary thing is that he succeeded in avoiding
this pitfall, too. Architects who hod never seen anything
like it before regarded this new world of forms os on
exclusive novelty, but in spite of their originality, the great
rough blocks of concrete resembling ortiliciol rocks ore so
integrated in the surroundings os to blend into the
landscape, and in that sense they hove o certain
familiarity for the local inhabitants. for the rough
unfinished concrete structures, so unlike the lightness and
smoothneu of stereotyped modern buildings, ore not
really so lor removed from the traditional homes the local
population built for themselves. It is because of their vast
proportions and massiveness thotle Corbusier's bui ldings
dominate the surrounding$, certainly not because of any
authoritarian echoes in the orchilecturel And there is no
trace of references to classicist forms , nor indeed Ia any
other forms that might evoke associations wilh the exertion
of power.
Thus these buildings con be approached just as well
riding o donkey as riding in o limousine, and people look
the some inside ond outside regardless of whether they
ore wearing ex.pensive clothes or ore shabbily dressed. It
evidently makes lillie difference, here, who you ore and
what you represent.
I.E CouustR 1111.1m
Especially the main hall around the assembly room is
uniquely spacious. As big as o cathedral, filled with the
tallest columns you ever sow, this space gives you the
feeling thot it has been there for thousands of years.
I IV filM& fOil 265
It could as easily hoe been used as o market, or as o
place of worship, or for great fesliities you con imagine
this space as the setling foro very wade range of events,
over o very long period of time.
These later desagns by Le Corbusier could qUJte easily
change, you could even Fill them up with whatever you
like not that that was le Corbusaer's mtenhon wrthout
!has ever oflecling the aden lily of the burldangs. This might
even be to thear advantage, one day, Jus I os rhey will
retain their beoury, when they grow old and decoy, os o
sort of essenHolly, habitable landscape
WAm RESUVOIR, INDIA 1446 5 11113}
This large reservoir, of which lype there are many in the
environs of Ahmedabad, Indio, was conceived as on
entourage lor royal relaxation, but also os o water
reservoar lor penods of drought. Like everywhere an Indio,
people flock to the waterside every day to wosh and dry
the lengths of brightly coloured cloth in which they dress
themselves The vast stepped surround ensures that the
water IS always easily accessible regordiess of the level,
while the horiz.ontol articulation provides everyone with
thear own 'sedian' and hence with o temporary terra tory
If ever on environment demonstrate how
o generous gestvre of royal form can offer spoce to
accommodate the doily life of eountleu people, it must
be thete steps in lnclio. They thow dearly that there
need not be an unbridgeable gop between a formol
architectonic order (wtllch a.rchitects ore so keen on) on
the one hand and meeting the requirementt of informal
everyday occupations (which architects treat with
disdain) on the other. We believe that this gop Is only
unbridgeable If the architects coiiHfMII are themHives
locking in quality and competence.
The royal or grand gesture need not therefore
outomotkolly exclude everyday life, on the contrary, if
con lend it a touch of royalty and grondeun the
ordinary becomes extraordinary. It is a widespread
miKonception omong architects that they should
concern themselves with the extraordinary, i.e. that
they bring the exceptional down to the level of the
ordinary instead of rendering the ordinary
In our woric we must olways aim at quality on so
mony as are needed to create on environment
which does not exdusivefy serve o particular group of
people but which serves all people. Archltectvre must
be both generous and Inviting to all alike. Archltectvre
can be described as Inviting If itt design is os
fot tMomlng to the outslclen of society as to members
of the establishment, and if one could imogine it
existing in any other conceivable culturol context.
The architect Is like the phytlclan there Is no roam for
discrimination between values in his thinking; he must
devote hit attention equally to all values, and he must
simply see to it that what he does makes everyone feel

Since 1975
Since 1983
Sonce 1991
Sii\Ce 1993
Since 1995
Since 1996

Since 2000
Sorn '"
from 09lft Uni-sily ofT echnology. Seb up hil own oflic&
On edotoriol boord of the Outth orcnitecturoJ mogozine Forum lwith
Aldo von Eyd, Joap Salem a ond others)
lecMes at the Academy of A<ehiteclllre, Amsterdam
PrCffessar ot Uninlly of Technology
Honorary member of the Royale de Belgique
HoMrory member of th Bund l>eu"cher Archi!ebM
fxtroordinory proleuor ot the Universiw cle Geneve
Choirmon of !he 8erloge ln"itute, Am1terdam
Riclde< in de Orde W'On Oranie Nossou !Knight of the Orde< of
Honorary FeOow of the Royal Cfl British Architecb
lionorory 111ember of me Akacle111ie der Kiinste, Berlin
Honorary me!Ylber ollhe delle Arti del Firenze
HonO<ary me111ber of rhe Royal Incorporation of ArchitecTS in Sco!land
Honorary melllber of the d' Archi!ecture de france
Ridder in de Orcle von de Nederlaodse Leeuw (Royal Ovtch Knight
01 the Berloge lnstiluie. Am"erdom
Honorary cillz.en (notable de dos,. of Ngouenj ilopon
lectures ot the Academy of Archrtectvte, Ams111rdom
Doctor Honons Covo ot tl.e de Geneve
Ouest Profe.uonhips
1970, 1977,
1980 Mit, Cambridge iUSAj
1968 Columbia Univeniry, New York (USAJ
1974 Toronto University JConoda)
1978 T ulona Untveuily, New Orleans (USA I
1979 Harvard University, Mauochuse"s (USA)
1981 University of Pennsylvonio (USAI
19811986 Unlversite de Genee (Switzet1ond)
1987, 1993,
1996 Various uni.,.rsilles in rile United Stoles and Canada
1he Hague (Netherlands)
8NA Cube (lnsriMe of Architects' oword)lor his complete
Concteie the Ministry of Social Welfare and employment,
The Hague (Netherlands)
1993 Pli.x Rhlnon 1993 for the Schoolveraniging Aefdenhout 8entveld
School. Aerdenhout (Nethllflondsl
1998 City of Sredo Award for Archlleclure for the lobrory and De Nieuwe
Veste Centre lor Art and Mulic (Mu1ic and Do<Ke depcnlf'lenr},
Brclo )Nemerlond1)
Premio1 Vrtruvlo 98 1 rayectorio lnte'"odonolfor the entire a>uvre
2000 School Building Prize 2000 lor MootelSori Coliege Ooil, Am1rtrdom
be<uted Projech
Wellpea11oat, Amsterdam {Nethe<laodsJ; 55, 152.
178. 203
Montessori primary school, l>elft !Nerherlondsl; 25, 28, 33, 62,
!53, 193, 203
h1ensi011 to llnmij, Amsterdam (Netherlood1) in 1995);
Ot Orie Hoven nulling home, Amsterdom.Slotervoort (Neth&rlands);
35, 40, 46, 61 , 130. \92
House convttsion, lllrtn (Nethedandsl
8 e.11perimenlal type}, Delft INelherloodsj; 41 , 157
Extension to Montessori School, l>elh 1Netherlond$J
Centrool8eheer ollice bijilding (with lucas & Niemeijer).
Apeldoom (Netherlands); 17, 23, 25, 80, 11 d, 133, 194
De Sc:holm c001muniry centre, De-.enterSorgele (Netherlon<h); I J 2
Vredenburg Music Ctolre. Lhrechl (Netherlands); 26, 81. 136, 180.
198. 210.227
Second elension lo Montessori School, Delh (Netherlands); 33
Residential neig!lbouchood 140 hous-es), Westbroe\ INetheclonds);
Hoorlemmer Houttuinen urban regeneration programme, Amsietdom
(Netbefionds); 50, 190
KouelDOnche houing project, 35, 206
Minimy of Social Welfare and Employmllf\t, ll>e Hogue (Netller
lands!: 138
1968 Cily of Amsterdor!! Prize for Archi!ecture for the S!Udents' House in 1980.82 Pavilions, busllops and morkellocilitfts lor square (Vredenborg.
plein(, UtceochljNotl>erloods); 156 Weespor>troot, Amsterdam (Netherlands!
1974 Eternit Priu for CenPraol Beheer oliice burlding. Apeldooro li'lether 198().83
Fr[tz.Schumocher Priu for hi1 complete 01<1vre
1980 AJ. on Eck Prlz.e for Musi-c Ce<ttre, 1980.84
Eternit Prize [honorary mention) lor Vredenburg Music Centre,
Utrecht INerherlonchl 198286
1985 orchiteci\Jrol award by the Ciry of Arnsr.rdam for 1984.86
the Apollo School. Am.ste<dom (NetheclondJ
1988 M..rhlboch Pritt. orchiitclural award by the Ciiy of AJ!\IIerdam for 198689
De Evenoat sc.hool, Amsle<dam INeriterlonds}
1989 Richard Nev!ro Award for PrcleniO!Ial Exce!ltnee 198693
Berliner Archltekturpreil, awarded by the City of Wesr Bellin lor 1he
liMo housing project on lindenlltoue/Morkgrofenrrone, Berlon
1991 Premio Europa Archilttluro Prize for his completo otUVft
8;tJioge flog for lite Minutry of Social Welfare C!ld Employment, 198898
Apollo primary $Chool1, A111sterdom {Netherland!(; Amslerdom
MontessoriSchoolondWillemsporkschool; 31, 142, 183, 186,
De o.-erloop nursing homo, Allllert-HCJ'Ien (Neriterlondsj; 34, 210,
220, 249
liMo hovsing, Berlin {Germany}; 41 1 , 207
Oe Evenoor primary 1Chool, Amsterdam !Netherlands); 182, 186,
Hti Gtin housing project 1406 or>efomily hooses end S 2 oparl
lllentsl. A111ersloort fNelherlaods); 58
Theone cenire on Spui, The Hogue (Ntthetlond1), complex consisl
ing of opor1Jnent1 and retoil theatre ond film focilities
(Theater oon het Spui, CloeiYlOtheel: Hoogs filmhuis, Stich!ingl<ijk
huis}; World Wide Vid.o Centre; ond Siroom/HCBK The Hogue
Centrt l01 tht Atb
tension to pt'imary I( Aerden
Mat 1 co d
haul Bentveld], Aerdonhour (NemerlondsJ
Amstardcmse 8uurt hou>ing project, 43 units, Hoorlem (Netherlands)
Srudio 2000, 16 live-work units in Muziekwijk neighbourhood,
Almere (Netherlands)
' Kiick den Oijck' housine ptoi&d. Marwutein Noord, Dordrecht
De Polygoon 16dowoom primary Almer&
II jNetilerlonds)
Benelux Potent Ofltce, The Hogue (Netherlands}
ExteMion to CenrraoiBeheer office building, Apeldoorn
Extension to Wlllemsporkschool, Amsterdam (Netherland!]
Library ond De Nieuwo Ve>l&, Conlte lor Art end Music (Music and
Dance depatlment), Breda (Netherlands)
Oarf'litory/gueshouse, Kurobe Ciry (Toyof'lo DislrictJ !Japan)
Chasse Thootre, Breda JNethetlonds]
Anne frank primary school,
De 8ombordon 20-clouroom remedlnl school, Almere (Netherlands)
Mcrkant lheolte, Udan (Ne!hotrlcnd>J
Hou1ing on Vrijfleet on E1locn, Popendrecht(Nethetlondl)
Ronerdomer Slfcsse p(ojed, 136 vn1h, Duren !Germany)
to Vondetveen deporltnent store, Auen (Netherlands)
Strolouer Holbinse1 housing project- Slock 7 B. Berlin (Oer111onyj
Mcntessotl College Oost, secondoty school for opprox. 1650 pupils,
Amslerdom (Netherlands]
E>.ttnsiM to the librory, Breda (Nether(onchJ
Sijlmer Monument -first stage - lin coo perc lion wlrh Georges Des
co111bes). Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Oe Koperwiek pri111cry school, Venia
Housing project, Prooyenspork, Middelburg (Netherlands)
Bi jlmer Monumenl - second (finolj stage -(in cooperolioo with
Georges Am>lltrcfom (Nelhetlond>l
Schirmeilltr Hou11 on 8otneo-eilond, Amsterdam (Nelherlonds)
Porodijnel housing proiecl, Capelle con d1n US1ei(Netherlandsl
32 hov1e1, !Casteel Unicum building scheme in Poelgeest planning
oreo, Oegslge6st (NethetlondsJ
De Vogel1 primary school, Oeg$1geest (Netherlond1)
Extension IQ Wilfemsparhchool, Amsterdam (Nelhorlondsj
Studie.s/ unreallzed projem
Monogoon housing
Urban pion lot cily etension end sltucture pion, 0IS'Itnter jNether
Me111orandum of objectives end crltorlc ltK olthe old city
centre of Grooingen (Netherlands) , in cooperotioo with De llcw,
lcmbooij, Goucfnppel and otho"
City centre pion, E (with Von don Sroek and

tic<Jse$, shops one! porking noor Mu1is Sacrum (Theolr'e) and re
modelhng of Musis Sacrum, Arnhem (Notherlondl
Town planning conwltant lo the University ol Groningen

Propose! for a university library incorporating a I 9th century church,
Groningen [Netheflands)
Institute lor fcolog1col Research, Hewen jNetherlonds)
Urban pion for SchoiiWburgplein (theatre squorej, RoHerdcm
libwry, loenen o/d Vecht (Netherlands!
Ex!en>ion IQ linmij. Amstarc!om.Sio181dljk (Nethll!londsl
Proposal to develop Forum districi, The Hogue (Nelhet!ands)
Housir>g ptoiecl, Berlin.Spanclo" (Germany)
19899 I
Edens ion to S1 )ooll Academy ol the Arts, 8redo (Netherland$)
Expedmentcl housing project ltK Zuiderpolcler (Rooting 'water
housti'), Hoorlem (Netherlond1)
E>plonode film Centre (<><odemy, museum. library etc). Serlin (Ger
Koningscorre residenliol project, Hcarlem (Netherlands!
Urbon study (residential oreo) lor Jeket quorler, (Netl>er
Urban sh.tdy lor Moogjesbclwork (par! ol the old centte), Zwolte
(Netherland II
&lt!nsion to Vredenbutg Music Centre (ind. lhird ooditorium) end
on accompanying urban dsign lor the Utrecht City Project, Ultacht
Office building, Ceromique site, Maastricht (Netherlands)
office with sh.tdios and housing,
Amsterdam Mu1ic Centre lor chamber music, Am1terdom (Nether
Study for a dtt>ign for a new academy (art. music, orthitechlre etc],
RoHerdam (Netherlands!
Housing project for Holbinsel 12), Serlin (Ge<monyJ
Ext.nsion Ia De Overlcop nursing hOI'Ie, Almere-Hoven
Urban study IOf o sbopjling centre, Manheim !GermonyJ
Spulkom 133 houtesJ, Vli>liog.en (Netl.erlonds)
Urban design for former Sambcrdon area. AlmereHoven (Nether
Two office buildings,
of office j'Arbeidsvoorziening') in theatre compleJo 0<1
Spvi, The Hogue (Nelherlonds)
Residential building, courtyard D at Pcort, Middelburg
Shopping centre in 1/eerse Pocrt pion. Middelburg!Netherlonds)
HrwgemeMtld hou1ing pro[ect, Maastricht
btension ond of office building, Benthemsltoal, Ro"et
dam {Ntthetlands)
Competitions (',.first prize)
Chu"h Driebergen !Netherlands)
town holl, (Netherlands)
City Hall. Ar1aterdom (Netherlands)
Urban design for Nieuwt'larkl, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Urban design for fronUutt om Moin (Germany)
Creche. Serlin jGermonyJ
Urban design fO< Colognt/Mu!heim-Nord (Germany)
Office building for Friedrich Eberl Stiltung, Bonn fGermonyJ
Office bYilding IO< Gruner & Johr, Homburg (Germany!
Of/ice building lor Publ ic Works, Fronkfur1 om Main (Germany)
Folm centre jocodemy, museum, lobrory etc), Serlin (Germany)
Eiension lo iown holl, ScintDeni$ (Froncel
Urban design for Sic<><coPirelli. Milon (Italy)
Gernaldegolerie (museu111 lor paintings), Berlon IGermony)
Housing project for Stcorstroot, Mcasrrichl (Netilerlonds)
Ollice building far Schering, Berlin (Germany)
Bibliorheque de france jnationollibrory building), Paris (france)
Cultural centre ond concert hcii'Kulhlrzentrum om See', lucerne
Street furniture lor tivenide wolk. Rorterdom (I'Jttherlonds)
Branch o! Nederlondse Bonk, Wossenoor (Netherlands)
Utbon design IO< o suburb ol Grenoble (Froncel
Components of MediaPorlc co111petition, Cologne (Germonyl
1105WH, PIOJI((I W!U.c!S 269
au tor
Beoe!ux Bcond Office, The Hogu& {Nethedonds) 1985
Offiu building in Richti-Aieol. Zurich-Wc!lisellen (Swilwlond)
ciry l hecire, Delh (NetMrlcndJ
Scnoollor Anctole franu, Droney (France!
Olfite co.,ple for Sony, Platz, (Germany)
Berlin Olympia 2000 I ucban design lot port of Rummehburger
Buehl, 8edm [Germany)
Hoosing project foe Willeneilond, Arn1terdom (NefherlondsJ
Housing projecl, Our en (Germany)
Urbon (oflice1 f01 Cl-sOJ>gtl oreo). Freising fGermonyJ
Audllorium, RorM (Italy}
Governmenr office building lor Ctramique site, Mooslricht (Nether 1986
hteMion to fire Deportment School, Schconlwgen jNttherlands)
Extension to Von Gogh Museum. Ar11!1etdam (Netherlands)
Office bui[ding IO< landlog Brondenbu19- Potsdam (Ge<rnony)
Musicon conceri hall, Bremen (Germany)
luor Theatre, Rofterdarn (Nelhtdands)
Urban design lor tM Tiburtina railway zone and Ruscofor>a oreo
and for tl.e r.bvctino.Colombo ais, iome jltolyJ
Creche, Berlin (Germany] 1987
lo!hor Gunther Feldoling !Germany)
Urbon design for communoty centre, Oollgow (Ge1111ony]
Academy of Arn ond Design, (Denmarl )
'Urban design for i'enonlulo, Tel Aviv 1988
New-bvild for lchrhus Hogeschool, Ronerdam jNethe,lands)
Urban design for A.el Spr1nger Mulh Media, Berlin (Germany) 1989
Urban de1ign for ThereliMhohe, Munich (Gtrmany)
lheotre, Heisinger (Denmark)
lrrbon lor un[versty complex, Malmo jSweden) 1991
Urban d111ign, Berlin Pankow (Germany)
'Urban design of Pole is quarter lhou1ing. oHices, parking),
' (Nttht<lands)
Aherollons and utensions to gonrnmentaf ROW ollice bvildin;. 1992
Veendam (Netherlands)
'Primary Khool and 32 Unitum, Oegstgeest 1992.93
Urban design for Ahe HaiiHlJeYltre, Bremen (Germany) 1995
Museum. library ond mun ldpal archive. A.p;>ldoorn jN&therlonds)
Conversion and u tension al low courts, Zwolle
Urban deslgn lol' SiteS of [housing, shops. officsl.
Muni(h [Germany) 1996
DWR o!li'e Amsrecdom (Ner!terlond1)
Ex!ensfon to office building, Homburg {Gtrmonyl 1998
PDswerl housiog proje-ct, HoorlemiNethrlondsl
Moslcrplonning study. two office buildings in Thereilenhoht, Mooich
CompleJ< to house prirtrory s-chools, ofter-ochool COJt and crkhe tn
Osdorp. Amsterdam
Worerhouses, Copenhagen
Urban design lor offtce di1trict, Ulm (Germany!
BtrUn I Genna I Vie nne / Zogreb / Splij / Braunschweig/
Cologne ond further ('Six architecture> pbotogrophiees por Johan
von der Keuken', trCI'Ielling exhibition fi!Oturing buih work (Studenlt'
HOilst, De Orie H011en, Ce1ttraol IHhHr, Vredenburg Mu1ic Centre,
Apollo Scnoolsj, three re<enl COfllpttitlon prcjecls added in 1986
from Zagreb onwards (Filmhou Esplanade, Bicocco.Porelll, Gemokle-
Stichring Wonen, Amsferdom (Netherlondlj (exlr. 'Architectuur 84' ;
De o..,noopJ
frons Hols Musevm, (Nelh.rlondsj [eAh. 'le C01busler in
Nedetlond'; Students' Hou..eJ
Fondotion Cartier, )OII)"ttJosos [f ronco) (SI\Idoots' Housl
Centre Pompidou. Paris [Froncej 'lieux de Traoil; Centraol
Milan Triennole (holy) [exh. 'llluogodellavoro' ; Beheer,
Stichliog Wonen, I Montreal I loronlo /los Angel"/
Raleigh I Blocksburg I Philadelphia I Toltyo /london I Edinburgh
I Florence I Rome ond further (eah. 'Herman Herlzbetger'; vorioos
and other since 1979[
MIT, Cambttdge {USA) ond various other univer>iries in the USA
(Filmhous Et.plonode, Bica<co.Porelli,
Wonen, Amsterdam (Netherlands) (etch. 'Architectuur 86';
De EvonoorJ
New Stole Council of the Artl, New York (USA) {Hoorlemmef
Houttuinen, lindenstrasseJ
Global lnlffoolionol, Tol:yo UcpooJ EsplcnodeJ
lnstitut fron,ais d' Archittc!llre, Paris (FroneeJ[exh. 20 entronl$10
the competition lor lhe do France!
Globot Architectvre tnternotionol, Tokyo (.iaponJ(Ministry of Social
Tetroktis. lfovelling exhibition of projecls end travel sh!chu by
Heunon Herttbtrger, l' Aq11 ilo (holy)
World Architecture Trieonole, Nora Oapanj (Ministry of Social
Welfore, MedioPark Cologne)
Oe Styerd, Sredo [&xh. Hertzbtrger', leVerol
AlchirekMgoletie, Munich I Centrool Beheer, Apeldoorn I De Pronk
Uden; troveUing ['des Unerw-crrrete ubtrdocht/
Accom modoting the Unexpteted, ProjekreiProjects I 99().199 5'1
Oe Seyerd, Brede (Netherlonds)[Choue Theotre]
Oeutsches Architebur Museum, Fronklwl om Me in (Germany) (pro-
jeers lor Sttolauer Hollronsel,lleri'"J
Oeuisches Zentrum, Berlin I Museo Nocfonol de Bellas
Alles, Buenos Airel I Bouwbeurs, Ulretht I i'lethtrlonds
Architecture fnstilltle, Ratte<dom I Techniscl>e Universl liit, Munich I
Town hall, al ArtJ ibeta Puero, SOo
Poulo I Hous der Munster I Musev.m Nogete, l'logele;
exh ibitioo ' 1-lermon Hembetger Atfo,ulorions', compiled by
the Netherland! Architecture lnsritute, Ro"erdom
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His!Qricol Museum, Amterdom [Netherlands) [show ol plans lor
Nieuwmorlt quartet. Amsterdam)
Siennole [ttoly)
Stichting Wonen, Amsterdam [Netherlon.hl
Kunsthous, Homburg (Germany]
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39 no. 4, 1969, pp. 58-67
forom 1970, pp. 13-15
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'EI deber porn hoy: hocer lormoi mas hospitolarios' , no. 18, 1978,
pp. 3-32
Wooen TASK no. 24, 1979 )5]
tile environment', In Mikkelide>, B. !.d.l. Archfl<!cture for Ptopl4, london
1980, pp. 38-40
' Architeb,.. fiir Menlthen', ln fllomeyer, G.R. and 6. Tietze, In Opposirioo r:ur Mocierne,
Serlin 1980, pp. 142-148
'Motivering von her minderheiduiOndpunf, WQiltn TABK no. 4, 1980, pp. 2.3
'Un insegnomootodo Son Pfelfo', SpozioeSocielono. 11, 1980, pp. 76-83 [6)
'Ruimle Ruimle Wonenlllssen Utopia en 1980,
pp. 28-37
'De IYoditi e von hoi Niwwe Bouwen en de nievwe mooiightid'. rnfefmtdioir, 1980
'The trod ilion behind th. Heroi< Period' of modern orchllactvre in the Nelhetlonds',
Spozio e SociettO no I 3, 1981 , pp. 78-SS
'De tfoditie von hei n1euwe oouwen en de nievwe moorighe1d' in 1-ioog1mo. l. ond
H. de Hoan, Wie Is er bong voor Amsierdom 1981, pp. 141-154 [7]
'Het 20e-<teuwse mec;booisme en de orchife<:tuur von Aida von Eyck' , Wonen TASK
no. 2, 1982, pp. 10.19 [I)
'0. VOIIle C0<bu1itr' , Wonen TASK no. 21, 1982, pp. 24-27
'Einladende Arc!.itel rur' , Srodt no. 6, 1982, pp. 40.,.3
Het Rijk, Delh I 982 in 1984)
'Monten01i en Ruimte', MollteJJori Mededetingen no. 2, 1983, pp. 16-21
semi nor O<!lft 1987 [9)
no. 3, 1983 ( 10)
'Une cue hob\lotton 6 Amsterdam', I'Archilecrure d'Auiourcl'bui no. 725, 1983,
pp. 56-63
' I.e Royoume Public' ond 'MonlogneJ dehors - 1t10ntognes dedons', Jobon von rlfl
Keuken, Bruslals 1983. pp. 88 1 18
'Une strodo do viYOre. H011ses and slleels each oilier', Spozio e SocleiO no. 23,
1983, pp. 20.33
'Aida von Eyd' , SpozJo e Socleto no. 24, 1983, pp. 80.97
Ruimte MoliH)- Ruirnte !oteJI, Delh 1984
'Over bouwkuncle. oJs on Oe Gids no. 7 !8/9, 1984,
pp. 810.814
'8vilding Order', Vio 7, Combtidge 1984 (1 1)
TEspoce de lo Maison de Verre' , l'Arellilechlrt d'Aujourd'hui no. 236, 1984,
pp. 86-90
Biennolede Paris. 1985, pp. 30J5(exhoboron cotc1ogue)
'Archit..,ur en vrijheid' and 'Bibliolheque Ste Genevibe in Porljs',
no. 9, 1985, pp. 33.37 (12)
Prof eel documenJalion Music Cowre Vredenburg. Delh [ 981 [13]
' Stodtverwondluneen', Mo12tlaJi"n no. 2 !Reader ol rl... dtr KunstB4rfonl.
1985, pp. 40.5 I
"Right siu Of right size',lec!Ure in lndtsem 1985, Dollt 1985, pp. 46-57
'Espoce Monlessl)(i', TecJmrques & no. 363, I 985/1986, pp. 7882, 93
lilchonger, A, Herfllon HHtzberger, 1959.86, Souf<!n unci Projelte/ Buitdi"gs and
Projects/ BOtime<Oil el Projell, Hogue 1987
' Scnelp etJ Kristof' In f . Her Burgerweeshuis von Aldo """ E)"l, Amst.rdam
lhe in lttdotMm 1987, 1987, pp. 186-201
' Henri lobroulle. lo de I' orr, rec:lmlquGl & Atcbilectuit no. 375, 1987 I
88,p. 33
Uimodigende V01m. Delh 1988
'Tho spoce mechanism o! tl.e twentierlo century or lormol order end doily life: ftO<OI
sicles and beck sides', Modemlry and l'opulo1 Culture [Aivor Aoho lympoiiumj,
1988, pp. 3746
lecrure on 1988, Oelft 1988
' Des Schroderhouson no. 5, 1988, pp. 76-78
'Hermon Herrzbe<get - Reciprocity of li hl and hobiror, lilxory of Tape-slide
Talk1, l011don 1988
'Het Sr. in RQn!e, He! plein ols bouwwt>rk', Bouwoo. 12, 1989, pp.
lecture in /ndesem 1990, Oelfr 1990
Hoe modem i.s cle Nederlondse 0 I 0 Publishers, Ronerclom 1990.
lnrraduelion In Jon Molema, lr. J. Ouiler. S.rlttorchlfe<:tuu!/4, Rolterclano 1989
1he Public Reolm'. AU. 1991. pp. 1244
'Mag net 'n be-er(e olsllrblieh?', loop H:udy: Anorchrsr, O<!lh 1991,
pp. 143-144
'1nrrodudo!)' Statement', S!vdlo '90 '92. Th118erloge Cohlm I, Ronecdam 1992.
pp. 912
'Oo architect> have any ideo of whot they dJOw?'. 5/iid!o '90 '9'2. Ths 8erloge
Cohiets I, RoHerdcm 1992, pp 1320
l&uoJU lor S!vddills In Arcbir.cture, Rotrerdam 1991. 11Yi$ed edirion,
Rotterdam 1993, rhotd revised edition, Ro!lerdom 1998
'Nora, ond Nora, 1992',\ecture in The Jopon ArdHiect Emo no. 8,
1993, pp. 147152
'fen bo$Coop met Sl rien no. !97, 1994, pp. 58.01
'Kiosloko1en oon eeo centrale 1/uimle op school, Almere 1994, pp. 16-17
Herman Hertzberger 199().1995, Rotlerdom 1995
Vom Bouen. V01/esungen iib.r Munoch 199S(Germcn translation o!
leu011s lor Students lrt Archilecrure)
os Research', The New Private 1/eolm. Sludio '93.94. The Barlage
CohiersJ, Roherdam 1995, pp. 8 10
Theater Breda, Rolterdom 1995
uusons for Srudenfl in Architecture, Tokyo 1995 tronslationJ
lazlolli di Atc.hftf'tturo, RomcBori 1996 (lta[ioo lrooslotion of tenons for SI!Jdents
in Archoleclurej
de Atqurteturo, Soo l'ali!o 1996 [Pa<tuguese tron1lation ollenons for Stu-
dents in Architecture!
'learning wolhoot Teachong', RefleiYity, Stvdio '94.'95 The 8erloge Cohiats 4.
Rotterdam 1 996, pp. 6-8
Ru1mte malen, rulmte loren. lessen In orchirrtduvr, RoHerdam 1996 (Dv!ch versioij
allessoo.slor Slvdents on
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'A Culture of Spoce', Dialogue, + cksgn + cvftue no. 2, 1997,
pp. 14-15
IS autor
f01 ShJcJents In Atchrleclurt, Taipei 1996 1Chrnue tront.lotlon olleuont
lor ShJclents m AldutechJre)
Betgeijk, H YOn, H.rmon ilo$le/8ol!on/ &erlrn 1997
'Le Cor!Mtsier et lo Hollonde', le C<Vb.rsirtr. OyOgts, ro)OMtMtnl inle<noriol'lol,
Pom 1997. pp. 57-64
'Anne 8o1uKIIool, Popendrecht- De iloftlbordon Al..,ere',
Zodrocno. 18, 1997/98, pp. 152161
by Htrmon Htrtzberger' , Tltnology. Pklct & ArcltrlfCIVrt- Tlta)ervsolam
Semnor in ArcltiteciiJrt, New York, 1998, pp. 250253
Hermon von 9ergeljk Deboroh Hauptmann, NotolionJ of Hermon Herltberger,
Rotterdam 1998
De tuimtt von de otchirt lessen in orchi,cluur 2. RoHerdOJn 1999
'Het20e ... uwlt mechonismt en de orchi!ecuur van Alito von Eyck' , In Vincent
ligteiJn, AleJo YOn fyd Werl:en, Bunum 1999, pp. 2225
un nvevol!lundc de relocoorutt lo fochoc!o de vM:I11o de le f6b11co Von Nelle de
Von der Vlugt', Teclonico no. 10, 1999/2000, p. 2
Space ond the Archilt. leuons in 2, Rorerdom 2000
Architedural Citariollf
.. ...,.,., V. Ltl Paris 1854>66, 69
..,.;111, o .S.H. St. Pettt's since 1656, 185,261
llotot, P. Kosboh, Hengtlo I 973; 62
.,.,_ .. , o. St. Ptltr' s, since I 452; 197. 258
a.w.,..,., M. Spangen Hou1ing, Rotterdam 1919; 49,54
... .,, M. 1 L.c. vero o1w VM>gt Von Nelle Factory, Rotltrdom 192729; 216
a...t., J.H ., ...., Vrot$enloon Houl'"11 193134; 45
Caroclllio, .ltolt I. free Unrversity, Setlin 1963; 116
,_..,I. EnJOnche, Barcelono 1859; 122
a.- 1., a. lllp Mt, L. Dtlloet Moisan de Verre, P01is 1928.32, 238
a-.1 le Polors Ideal. HoUle R"ll 1879-1912; 119
O.Meooboo, G. Pedelltion Undetpcu, Genevo I 981, 232
Ovibr, J., I. lifvMt, J.O. w;, ..,,. Zonnemaol Sono101rum. Hilve11um 1926-J I;
Ovllt. J., a. llf-ot Open xhool, Ams!erdom 1930; 246
Ouibr, J. Cintcc Cimao, Amsterdam 1933; 82, 226
llffti, O. Tile Eoflel Tower, Pcrrs 1889; 70
fyd<, A,...,. Orphanage, Amsterdam 19S5-60, 126
o...tll, A., J.M. Jujol Perc Guell. Borcelono 1900.1 4; 21 1
Oo4l .. ,.u .A. Fcmlllsl,re, Guise 185983: 44, 60
GMorcl, H. Colle! Beranger, Poris 1896; 241
Undttrground Railway Stations 1898.1901; 73
Htlwtb<o, N. The Bearen and the People; the end of Moss Housing 1961; I I 0
lllriot. H. H011sing Sremenutodo, Berlrn 192931; 207
._., H.l . Place Stan!llas end Place delo Corrltre, Nancy l75l..S5; 25-l
lhrtt, V. Privott Ho<rt, &uuel 1896; 196, 236
Kolel Solvoy, Brussels 1896; 21 , 84
Van Ett'lelde House. Btuuels 1898; 241
u,...,..., f . """ Coowtunity Conletl, Dronten, Eindhoven 1966-07: 70
Le_.,., H. Blblu,thjque Ste Genevreve, Por!l 1843-50; 244
Biblic!hique Nationole, Paris 1862-68; I 7
t.. Povrllon de I'Esp<ll Nouveau, Paris 1925; 20i
Fort I'Empereur Project, Algrers 1930; lOS
Villa Sovoyt, Poisay 192932; 120, 231
Povillon Suisse, Paris 1932; 204
Minlsrty ol Education and Health, Rio dt Jan&iro 1936-37; 79
Uni,. d'Hobitctron, Morsaille1 1947-52; 205
Hogh Court, Chandigorll195155; 179
Chapel, t onchomp 1955: 233
Porlromenr Bvildrng. Chonc!igorh I 962; 265
Heidi Webrtr pcmt1011, Zv11ch 1963-67; 243
louis, J.V. Palo" Royol. Pam 1780; 64, 255
M.y. L R6m11110<11, fronkfl.rt 1927-28; 57
M111tt .. , aohi .. , & Mo<lury Thou School, Borcelono 197275; 209
St Pater' s, Rome 1ince 1452, 197, 258
...,....,, A. Villa Rotonda, Vicenzo I 570, 250
""'"" J. CrYltol Paloc, London 1851, 71
272 l!IS01S lOt moms IN U(Hti !CIUI!
l'orvul, I . St. Peter' >, Rome >ince 1452; 197, 258
,..,,, lo WOlld Exhibition Pavili011, Peril 1867; 226
Pltfto, L 16M Povillcn, Pom 1982-84; 243
IIMtnW, 0 . Rietveld-Schrader H011>e, Utrec.hll92A; 34, 219
IMia, S. Wens Tcwtli, IOI Angeles 1921-54; I 19
s- Oollt, G. ;, Sl Peter' s, Rome >inct 1452; 197
Scloitobl, L xhlou klen Berlin 1826; 255
Tav!, I . Hou>ing, 8trlrn 1925-27, 167
v..,..,, M.H. Cite Nopal4on, Pori> 1849; 39
W.-lre, l . Praitctlor o resrc!entrol oreo, Berlin 1965; 118
w...t. J, a J. NorJr Royal Crescenh, 8oth 1767; 56,254
All photographs by Hermon Hertzbtrger
R. Bolte-Redc!ot; 653
Hein de ilovter, 347
Rrchord Btyond; 525
Martin Ch01les; 587, 602, 616
George> De.combes, 469, 646, 649, 650, 65 I. 652
Willem Dlof"OCm, 30, 31, 75, 76, 95. 138, 139, 1.40, 423, 432, 434, 437,
445, 448, 453, 462, 478, <179, 527,538,539, 584,596
Aldovan Eyd; 316,319, 321
L. feininger; 313,541
Ooll Floc11; 580
Reinhard friednlch; 297, 298
P.H. Goede; 315, 320
WerntH Hoo1; 51
Jon Ho'"'"'" 145, 146
A\.elti Htrt.r.btrger; 85, 86
Ver0011 Hemberger; 719, 720, 721 , 722
JohonvonderKeukon; 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,21, 22, 39, 44,141 , 207, 39i,
395,396, 397, 401, 40A, A05, 406, 409, 414, 417, A49, 461, 465, 491,
535, 546, 594,600,623, 624
Klou>Kinold; 388, 483, 493, 499, 526
Michel Kort; 7 37
Bruno Krupp; 37
J. Kurtz; 203
Rudoll Menke; .429
Roberto Pont; 713
louis von Pori don; II 0
Morion Po11 WokoH, 505
Uwa Rau; 84, 576
Renondeou, 389
Rorold Rooze11; 599
lrok Solomons; 3A 1
H. Srege111on; 430, 431
H. Tulkor; 642
Jon Vennal; 323, 324, 325, 326, 329
Get von dtr Vlugt, 61, 62, 66, 88, 89, I 00, I 02, I 03, 371, 387, 4196, 578,
579.619, 626,627,705,706.707
Gordon Winter; 132
Cory Wolrnsky. 467
The work of Berman Bertzberger ls the subject of wide international
esteem. 111111 first saw publication of Hemberger's Les&ons for Students
in Architecture, an elaborated version of lectures he had given since
11173 at Delft University of Tedlno\ogy.ln it, the background to his
work and the ideas underlying it are put into words by the arc.hitect
himself. It presents a broad spectrum of subjects and designs, with
practical experience and evaluation of the use of these buildings
serving as a leitmotif. This immensely successful book has gone
through many reprint& and has also been publiahed in Japanese,
German, Italian, Portu.gueae, Taiwanese, Dutch, Polish and Chinese.
The book divides into three parts: Public Domain, Making Space
Leaving Space, and Inviting Form. By arranging texts and deaigru
into a number of themes Bertz berger has managed to direct his broad
practical experienc.e into a fascinating theory. ln his view everyone
- the more he seea, experiences, and absorbs - is automatically in
posaeuion of an ever-expanding arsenal of potential instructions
with which to choose a path towarda a result.
More than 750 illustrations give a broad insight into Bertzberger's
'library' and a stimulating impression of one of the moat important
Dutch architects alive today. Rather than supplying the reader with
design recipes, Butzberger has provided an euential source of in-
spiration to everyone involved in aome way with the design process.