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TitleTaking Shape: A New Contract Between Architecture and Nature
PublisherArchitectural Press
ISBN 139780080518411
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size10.4 MB
Total Pages236
Table of Contents
                            TAKING SHAPE
Copyright Page
Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part One
	Chapter 1. Defining environmental architecture
	Chapter 2. The ‘new’ nature and a new architecture
		2.1 Introduction
		2.2 Ceci n’est pas une pipe
		2.3 All about Eve
		2.4 Nature redux
		2.5 Racinated
		2.6 Re-racinated
		2.7 The return of the repressed
		2.8 The birth of the green
		2.9 Blurring the boundaries
		2.10 Conclusion
	Chapter 3. A post-imperial modernism?
		3.1 Introduction
		3.2 Makers and breakers
		3.3 Back to the garden
		3.4 Uptown
		3.5 A kinder gentler modernism
Part Two
	Chapter 4. Ethics and environmental design
		4.1 Introduction
		4.2 Being good
		4.3 Being good in buildings
		4.4 New is good?
		4.5 The good, the bad and the juggled
	Chapter 5. Materials and materiality
		5.1 Introduction
		5.2 A lost chance
		5.3 Telling the truth
		5.4 Building the truth
		5.5 Grounded
		5.6 Conclusion
Part Three
	Chapter 6. Rules of engagement
		6.1 Introduction
		6.2 Symbiosis
		6.3 Differentiation
		6.4 Visibility
		6.5 Conclusion
	Chapter 7. Doing it
		7.1 Introduction
		7.2 Symbiosis: Richard Horden
		7.3 Differentiation
		7.4 Visibility: Emilio Ambasz
		7.5 Conclusion
Part Four
	Chapter 8. ComplexCity
		8.1 Introduction
		8.2 Curvy bits
		8.3 Cities of the plain
		8.4 The wild wild Web
		8.5 On edge
		8.6 Sustainable heroics?
		8.7 Flowers of the field
		8.8 Of mutual benefit
		8.9 Beyond pricing?
		8.10 Conclusion
Conclusion
Bibliography
Illustration credits
Project credits
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

TAKING SHAPE

Page 118

6.1 Introduction

There is no reason why environmental design’s science-based enquiry
and architecture’s traditional concern with form should not co-exist;
indeed, why architectural form should not be enriched by an environ-
mental agenda, as long as that agenda is not prescriptive. The utilitar-
ian ethos that characterizes much of the environmental movement does
not sit easily with formal exploration, however. Cast in ethical terms,
the debate pitches puritans against aesthetes, the first group asking the
second: should ‘the formal concerns highly specific to the architectural
community...themselves be informed by other concerns specific to a
larger community’ (Bess, 1996: 379)? This is putting it too mildly for
many environmentalists, who would maintain that architecture’s ‘formal
concerns’ should be not merely ‘informed by’, but entirely subordinate
to the community’s larger concerns.

The view put forward in this book is that the new cannot be excluded
from the generation of the sustainable any more than the old can, and
that this ‘new’ is not only new science, but new forms and new ideas.
The last two are neither irrelevant nor unethical. On the contrary, they
are vital if an architectural shift is to be achieved at the beginning of the
twentieth-first century on the scale achieved by the Modern Movement
in the middle of the twentieth century. No one who does not appreci-
ate the importance of the visible as an instrument of persuasion, an
importance that has increased geometrically during this century, will
ever win enough hearts or minds to precipitate the desired ‘change for
the better’:

[A]rchitecture as a subregion of ideology seen from the perspective of
signification and culture allows a work at the level of form...that
transcends the apparent functionalist determinism (Agrest, 1993: 2, 3).

As long as environmental design permits the self-consciousness
required of ideological critique only in the realm of ethics, and not
aesthetics, then the possibility of environmental architecture that is
culturally as well as environmentally effective will remain a question
mark.

This statement will, of course, raise objections from those architects
already pursuing sustainability to one degree or another, who will insist

6 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Page 119

that they are already producing a culturally effective architecture, and
that consequently there is no question mark over its existence. To some
extent, this is true: current production may well come to define the
parameters of environmental architecture, and that in itself is a contri-
bution to our culture, architectural or otherwise. The self-consciousness
of existing production varies greatly, however. Environmental architec-
ture endeavours to meet a certain level of energy efficiency, and during
that process, architectures have emerged which make visible some of
the devices of environmental design. There are other architectures,
however, that pursue environmental sustainability without this visibility,
and do not similarly push environmental design into cultural conscious-
ness.

With a view to increasing the reflexivity, and so the visibility, of
environmental architecture, this chapter puts forward three criteria for
both identifying and generating it: ‘symbiosis’, ‘differentiation’ and
‘visibility’. These are examined here as self-conscious positions to be
taken up, and in the next chapter, as they are emerging in practice. In
one sense, these are not separate criteria at all, but locations on a
continuum consisting of different modes of engagement with a new
contract of chosen co-operation between architecture and nature (as
opposed to the ‘unchosen’ co-operation of pre-industrial building, in
which instrumentality was limited by less powerful technologies). The
three criteria, then, are ‘rhizomes’ rather than stem and branch of a
‘tree’, to use Deleuze and Guattari’s terminology.1 At the same time,
they represent separate enough priorities to be identifiable as discrete
areas of concern within this continuum, which may vary in priority.
These criteria allow environmental architectures to overlap territories,
fulfilling one, two, or all three criteria, and thus avoid classification into
what would otherwise be an overly neat taxonomy of a diffused and
confusing reality. The criteria also permit other, ‘non-environmental’
architectures to enter the discussion: an architecture fulfilling the crite-
rion of visibility and no other is not environmentally sustainable, but
could be considered to have entered the sphere of influence of environ-
mental architecture. I refer particularly to architects such as Peter
Eisenman, Foreign Office Architects, Jeffrey Kipnis and Bahram Shirdel,
who are exploring new models of nature in order to generate new
forms.

Briefly, the first criterion, ‘symbiosis’, considers the building in its
construction and operation as much as possible as a dynamic system
among other dynamic systems, co-operating with them rather than
further damaging them. Sustainable building technology, with its use of
renewable energies and pursuit of a circular model of consumption, is
clearly symbiotic, with the building’s operation modelled as closely as

98 Taking Shape

1. ‘Arborescent systems are hierarchical systems with centres of signifiance [sic] and
subjectification...’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1996: 16). ‘Such is indeed the principle of roots-
trees, or their outcome: the radicle solution, the structure of Power’ (p. 17). ‘...[U]nlike
trees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point...In contrast to
centered (even polycentric) systems with hierarchical modes of communication, and
preestablished paths, the rhizome is an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system
without a General and without an organising memory or central automaton, defined solely
by a circulation of states’ (p. 21).

Page 235

Nature (cont.)
Futurism, 55
and gender, 19–21
material reality and cultural

construct, 16–19
and materials, 92
Modern Movement, 46–50
modernism, 21–4
re-racinated, 31–3
relativism, dynamism and

uncertainty, 33–7
utopians, 52–9

Neutra, Richard, 22, 23–4, 35, 130, 151
Edgar J. Kaufman Desert House,

Palm Springs California 23
New Architecture, xxi, 138
New Architecture and the Bauhaus,

The (Gropius), 60
Newness, 72–5, 97
Newton, Isaac, 25, 26
Nichii Obihiro department store,

Obihiro (Ambasz), 162–3
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 196
Nine Laws of God (Kelly), 39, 41–2
Nishinachiyo Station (Ambasz), 123
Nonlinear architecture, 138
Norberg-Schulz, Christian, 80, 81, 82
Nouvel, Jean, 65
Nouvelle alliance, La (Prigogine and

Stengers), 34
Nunotani Headquarters, Tokyo

(Eisenman), 33
Nussbaum, Martha, 47–8

OCEAN UK, Arabiananta, Helsinki, 188–9
Ode to a Grecian Urn (Keats), 7–8
Office of Metropolitan Architecture

(OMA), 65
On the Art of Building (Alberti), 24
On Walden Pond (Thoreau), 10
One Thousand Years of Nonlinear

History (de Landa), 36–7
Operation, xx, xxi

dynamic, 38–9
symbiosis, 98–9

Organic, 115–16
Organic architecture, 28–9
Out of Control (Kelly), 39, 41–2

Paglia, Camille, 20
Papanek, Victor, 72
Paper Gallery, Tokyo (Ban), 149
Parc de la Villette (Tschumi), 79, 131
Passive downdraft evaporative cooling

(PDEC), 126, 127
Passive environmental techniques,

104–15, 127–8, 151
Peckham Library (Alsop and Stormer),

149, 150
Pei, I. M., 65

Perez-Gomez, Alberto, 194–5
Peripheries, 179–83
Permaculturists, 11–12
Perrault, Charles, 25
Perrault, Claude, 25–6
Perronet, J.-R., 29
Phenomenonology, 78–82, 194
Photovoltaics, 21, 89
Piano, Renzo, 92

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin (Piano),
112–13, 113

Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New
Caledonia, 147, 150, 158–61,
160, 163

Place, 121–5
Place and Placelessness (Relph), 120
Plato, 19, 24, 47
Poetics of Space, The (Bachelard), 80
Political ecologists, 66, 70
Post-imperial modernism, 12, 45,

59–61, 92
Post-modernism, 118–9, 120, 122
Potsdamer Platz, Berlin (Piano),

112–13, 113
Pragmatic approach, 106, 107
Price, Cedric, 120, 139
Prigogine, Ilya, 33–4, 35, 36, 37
Principia Mathematica (Newton), 26
Prior, Josephine, 100
Private good, 68–9
Protagoras, 47–8
Public good, 68–9

Qa’a Mohib al Din, Cairo 105
Quantrill, Malcolm, 53
Queens Building, De Montfort

University, Leicester (Short Ford),
4, 5, 127–8

Radiant City, 183
Rafiq Residence, Baghdad (Chadirji), 126
Rajasthan, 117–18
Rajchman, John, 141
Rammed earth, 89
Rationalism, xv, 59
Rationality, 136–7
Realism, nature, 17–18
Rebstock Park, Frankfurt (Eisenman),

141–2, 141, 142
Reflectivity, 98
Reflexion, 99
Reflexive modernism, 12, 45, 59–61,

92
Reichstag, Berlin (Foster), 38–9
Relph, E., 120, 121
Renaissance, 24–5, 168–9
‘Report to Virtual HQ’ (Chaplin), 176
Rhowbotham, Kevin, 168, 187–8
Ricoeur, Paul, 120
Rifkin, Jeremy, 43

Rogers, Richard, 72
cities, 60, 175, 182
dynamic operation, 38
Lu Jia Zui, Shanghai, 183–5, 183,

184, 186
materials, 39
Solar City, Linz, 189, 189
Tribunal de Grande Instance,

Bordeaux, 112
Turbine Tower, Tokyo 40

Roof-Roof House, Malaysia (Yeang),
156–7

Rossi, Aldo, 119
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 68
Rudofsky, Bernard, 103
Ruskin, John, 10–11, 18, 83–4, 85–6

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (Gaudi), 29,
45

Salter, Peter, 91–2, 122–3
Santa Maria Novella, Florence (Alberti),

25
Sant’Elia, Antonio 49, 50, 55
Sassen, Saskia, 180–1
Saudi Arabian National Museum,

Riyadh (SITE), 128, 144
Sauerbruch Hutton, 149, 149
Schlumberger Research Laboratories,

Austin (Ambasz), 162
Schutz, Alfred, 120–1
Science, 33–6, 45–6, 48
Scope of Total Architecture (Gropius),

60
Seagram Building (Mies van der

Rohe), 59, 136
Selective approach, 106, 107
Self-interest, 68, 71
Semiology, 80, 81
Semper, Gottfried, 83, 84, 85, 86
Sennett, Richard, 175
Seven Lamps of Architecture, The

(Ruskin), 83–4
Sforzina (Filarete), 53, 54
Shanghai, 183–5, 183, 184
Shape, 9–10, 13, 196
Shelter, 10–11, 14, 83
Shirdel, Bahram, 98, 139
Shiva, Vandana, 116–7, 120–1
Short, Alan, 127
Short Ford Associates, Queens

Building, De Montfort University,
Leicester, 4, 5, 127–8

Siedlung, 141–2
Silent Spring, The (Carson), xvi
Silk, 43
SITE, 99, 139, 188

passages, 144–5
Saudi Arabian National Museum,

Riyadh, 128, 144
visibility, 128, 129, 163

214 Index

Page 236

Sitte, Camillo, 174
Siza, Alvaro, 74, 119
Skeletons, 29, 30, 31
Slessor, Catherine, 39
Smart buildings, 110–12
Snowflakes, 170
Social City (Howard), 172, 173
Social sustainability, 3
Socialism, 65–6
Society, 68–9
Socrates, 47
Software architecture, 177
Solar City, Linz (Foster, Herzog and

Rogers), 189, 189
Solar Energy in Architecture and Urban

Planning (European Commission),
89

Solar zoning, 108–9
Soper, Kate, 17, 18, 23, 65–6
Sorkin, Michael, 176
Speidel, Manfred, 8
Spuybroek, Lars, 177
Steadman, Philip, 28, 29
Stengers, Isabelle, 33–4, 35, 36, 37
Stil in den technischen und

tektonischen Kunsten (Semper), 84
Stoa, Athens 28
Stoffwechsel, 84
Stolnitz, Jerome, 13
Studies in Tectonic Culture

(Frampton), 74, 80, 86
Sublime, 6–8
Supermodernity, 65
Surrealism, 59
Sustainability, xvi–xvii, xx, xxi, 3–4,

147
criteria, 193
energy efficiency, 99–101
and newness, 75
relativity, 163
University of Future Generations,

Sydney (Horden), 151
Sustainable cities, 167–8, 178, 183–9,

191–2
Swallowing, 122
Symbiosis, xx, xxiii, 98–9, 101–2, 148,

193
Ambasz case study, 147, 163
Horden case study, 147, 149,

151–3, 154, 155–6
passive environmental techniques,

104–15
vernacular building, 102–4

Tafuri, Manfredo, 12, 119
Taki, Koji, 123
Taylor, Paul, 66

Techne, 47–8, 195, 196
Techno-biosphere, 190–1
Technoburbs, 171–2, 181
Technology, xv–xvi, xvii, 9, 77–8, 195

materials, 84–5
as means of control, 56
modernism, 60
passive environmental techniques,

104–15
symbiosis, 98
and techne, 47

Technopoles of the World (Castells
and Hall), 180

Tectonics, 80
Telematic Tower, Microelectronic Park,

Duisberg (Foster), 110–11, 111
Teletechnologies, 77
Terry, Quinlan, 119
Thatcher, Margaret, 68
Theory and Design in the First

Machine Age (Banham), 21
Thoreau, Henry David, 10
Three Magnets, 106–7, 107, 108
Timaeus (Plato), 19
Timberlake, James, 181–2
Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New

Caledonia (Piano), 147, 150,
158–61, 160, 163

Torrent Research Centre, Ahmedabad
(Ford), 126, 127

Tower of Babel, 53, 56–7, 56
Transcendence, 67
Transforming, 74–5
Transparency, 151
Trees, 170
Tribunal de Grande Instance, Bordeaux

(Rogers), 112
Tschumi, Bernard, 79, 130, 131, 135
Turbine Tower, Tokyo (Rogers), 40
Type, 84
Tzonis, Alexander, 121

Universality, 68–9, 73, 106, 121
University of Future Generations,

Sydney (Horden), 147, 149,
151–3, 153, 154, 155–6, 163

University of Plymouth, Centre for
Earthen Architecture, 89

Uprootedness, 120–1
Urban Task Force, 175
Utopia, 136
Utopians, 48, 50, 52–9
Utzon, Jorn, 126

Vale, Brenda, 10–11, 103
Vale, Robert, 10–11, 103
Valencia, 187

Van Der Ryn, Sim, 88, 187, 190
Van Hinte, Ed, 38
Vassal, William, 159
Vattimo, Gianni, 12–13
Venturi, Robert, 103, 119
Vernacular building, 102–4

and differentiation, 116–21
passive environmental techniques,

104–15
Roof-Roof House, Malaysia (Yeang),

156–8
Vesely, Dalibor, 195–6
Vidler, Antony, 59, 79
Ville Contemporaine (Le Corbusier),

53–4, 54, 184
‘Violated Perfection’ (Museum of

Modern Art), 131
Viollet-le-Duc, Eugene, 84, 85, 86,

127
Virilio, Paul, 77, 78
Visibility, xx, xxi, xxiii, 97, 98, 99,

128–9, 145, 146, 148, 193
Ambasz case study, 150, 161–3
deconstruction, 131–5, 135–7
dwelling, 129–31
folding, 137–45
Los, 9
Piano case study, 163

Vitruvius, 18, 29, 51, 51

Waldrop, M. Mitchell, 35, 36
Warren, Karen J., 19
Waste, 9, 190–1
Water Temple, Hyogo (Ando), 122–3
Weizsacker, Ernst von, 191
Westminster Lodge, Dorset (Cullinan),

149
What is Nature? (Soper), 18
Wilderness, 176
Wines, James, 128, 130–1, 144, 148,

188
Women, 19–20
Woodroffe, Jonathan, 169
Wright, Andrew, 139
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 22, 103

Broadacre City, 169, 171, 174
Living City 49, 50

Yeang, Ken, 147, 149–50, 163
Exhibition (EDITT) Tower, Singapore,

157
Roof-Roof House, Malaysia, 156–7

Yokohama International Port Terminal
(Foreign Office Architects), 143–4

Zaera Polo, Alejandro, 168, 180, 187,
192

Index 215

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