Comment on Retroactive Manifestos

3LSZVJA9 Mon, Aug 17, 2009
It's also interesting to read the "1958 Mould manifesto against rationalism in arquitecture" by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

I'm currently living in a city less than 60 years old where rationalism in arquitecture met with real state speculation.

The result is just what Hundertwasser would call "planned mass murder by premeditated sterilisation".

And why not continue quoting:

Today’s architecture is criminally sterile. For unfortunately, all building activity ceases at the very moment when man "takes up quarters", but normally building activity should not begin until man moves in. We are outrageously robbed of our humanity by defiling dictates and criminally forced not to make any changes or additions to façades, the layout or interiors, either in colour, structure, or masonry. Even tenant-owned dwellings are subject to censorship (see building-inspection regulations and lease statutes). The characteristic thing about prisons, cages or pens is the prefabricated "a-priori" structure, the definitive termination of building activity prior to the prisoner’s or animal’s moving in to a structure which is innately incompatible to him or it, coupled with the categorical restriction that the inmate may change nothing in this "his" housing, which has been imposed upon him.
For true architecture grows out of normal building activity, and this normal building activity is the organic development of a shell around a group of people. Such building growth is like the growth of a child and of man. Absolute completion of building construction is tolerable, if at all, only in monuments and uninhabited architecture.
But if a structure is intended to house people inside it, the discontinuation of construction prior to habitation must be seen as an unnatural sterilisation of the growing process and as such as a criminal act which should be punished.
The architect as we know him today is only entitled to construct uninhabitable architecture, if he is indeed capable of doing so. Habitable architecture is not his responsibility, and he must be vehemently denied the right, just as society does not leave a notorious poisoner or a mass murderer free to his devices.

To give just an idea of some exemplary, healthful contemporary architecture, and this list is, unfortunately, shamefully short:

1.The Gaudí buildings in Barcelona.
2.Certain Art Nouveau buildings.
3.The Watts Tower by Simon Rodia, in a residential section of Los Angeles.
4.Le Palais Du Facteur Cheval in the Département de la Drôme, France.
5.The slum sections of cities, the so-called "urban blemish" ("taudis" in French, sections in "salubres").
6.Homes of peasants and primitives, whenever still handmade, as earlier.
7.Old Austrian and German "schrebergärten" (workers’ allotment-garden houses).
8.Illegally built American self-made houses.
9.Dutch and Sausalito houseboats.
10.Buildings by the architects Christian Hunziker, Lucien Kroll and a few others.

In 1964 he added:

The architect’s only function should be that of technical advisor, i.e., answering questions regarding materials, stability, etc. The architect should be subordinate to the occupant (tenant, owner, lodger) or at least to the occupant’s wishes.
All occupants must be free to create their "outer skins" – they must be free to determine and transform the outward shell of their domicile facing the street.