THE BIRTH OF REALISM

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Plummer (Monodimetric projection). Drawing exercise at the young Institute of Technology in Stockholm

The Shift in Swedish Late 19th Century Architecture Training and its Consequences

In 1877 the Swedish parliament finally decided on establishing a school of architecture at the newly founded Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. My research investigates both previous scholarly receptions of this matter of fact and aims to map the outlines of the new reality of Swedish architecture of the period. A hypothesis to be evaluated is that the consequences of the architectural educational shift were fundamentally two: On the one hand the artistic idealism of the Academy of Fine Arts was abandoned as the basis of architectural understanding. On the other hand, the architects starting to identify with the engineering culture eventually led to scientific methods being applied to architectural problems of mass society in the 20th century. My research brings together and analyses the impacts and the considerations of such complexes of thought as academism, idealism, traditionalism, realism, romanticism, rationalism etc.

At this period in time, the late 19th century, my research identifies an interim period characterized by both departure and curiosity. Alongside Swedish scholar Björn Linn I propose the identification of a period of realistic architecture, resulting from the increased interest in the regional and the vernacular in architectural thought. The period spans from the start of the new education until the breakthrough of pseudo-scientific methods in architectural thinking after the First world war. The period bore two seeds of further development for architecture, resulting from the emerging society of industrialization and mass-fabrication. One was the “scientification” of building activities. The other was the artistic attempts to come to terms with the new relationship between man and object.

The Seedling

A lived dialogue between textiles, plants, and people

 

“I fell in love with the forest, the silence, the smell of snow, the warming sun, the echo of the lake, the soft surfaces, the colours. I want to explore how to live in harmony with my environment, the seasons, insects and other than human animals.”

This research is a journey. It started in search for textile structures that adapt and respond to their environment, led to study the interactions between seedlings and textiles, based on the research programme ‘On Textile Farming’ and resulted in an autobiographical project of living in a prototype in the Swedish forest to explore spaces in between inside and outside.

This research aims to connect textiles, plants and people in order to rethink the spaces we live in and the materials that surround us. Furthermore it aims to rethink how we inhabit spaces and how we connect to their materiality.

The seed, or the plant, is one of the main characters in this project. How it adapts and maintains relationships serves as a role model and opens up alternative perspectives to textile and spacial design. As many of the principles in nature are already taken into account in permaculture design, it is a fundamental approach in this project and strengthens its ethical, systemic, multifunctional and holistic perspectives, which are based on the realisation that everything is interwoven and therefore cannot be considered separately.

This project suggests that habitats become research spaces; prototypes in which inhabitants explore forms of living and flows of nature through textile structures. They become gardeners of their buildings and interiors, which are ecosystems made of living (biotic, e.g. people, plants, bacterias, insects, animals) and nonliving (abiotic, e.g. soil, water, textiles) components, which interact with one another and the environment through cycling nutrients and flows of energy. Textiles consequently become mediators in between ecosystems and actors; inside and outside, plants and animals.

Det Lysande och det Belysta  

Dagsljus som metod och verktyg för arkitekten i designprocessen          

Projektet syftar till att utveckla nya dagsljusmetoder utifrån ett gestaltningsperspektiv med avstamp i dagens arkitekturutmaningar där dagsljusets dynamiska karaktär undersöks som en tidsbaserad kvalitet i historiska, samtida och framtida rum. Projektet kombinerar arkitekturhistoria, belysningsvetenskap och konstnärlig forskning och ska bidra till ljusets gestaltningsteori samt till konkreta metoder och verktyg i designprocessen. Stor vikt läggs på det pedagogiska inslaget – hur kunskapen om ljus kan förmedlas och fördjupas i arkitekturuppgiften.

Samtida arkitektur har i mycket släppt ljusbehandlingen som rumslig kvalitet. Komplexa program och ekonomiska krav har skapat djupare byggnadskroppar, dagens energikrav nya ramar för utformning av fasader och ljusinsläpp och snabbt framväxande miljöklassningssystem använder avancerade beräkningar för att kvantifiera energi och dagsljus. Ökad kvantifiering betyder också en ökad tilltro till ljusforskning baserad på detaljseendets villkor, vilket inte inbegriper rumsliga kvalitéer. Sammantaget har detta ett stort inflytande över arkitektens arbete och över byggnadsutformningen. Nya angreppssätt och metoder behöver därför utvecklas så att ljusföringen stärker människans upplevelse av rum.

Projektet delas i tre delar: Ljusets gestaltningsteori, Ljusets arkitekturhistoria och Arkitektens laboratorium. Arbetet baseras på fallstudier av historiska och nutida rum med fokus på dagsljusets behandling.

Dagsljusets dynamik spelar en unik roll i arkitekturen genom sin förmåga att ge information om tid och plats. På nordliga breddgrader är ljusets föränderlighet extra påtaglig vilket ger arkitekturen en särskild möjlighet att arbeta med ljusets skiftningar. Fallstudierna undersöker hur detta visar sig i arkitekturutformningen och möjliga metoder för att arbeta med ljus som en integrerad del av det byggda. En förutsättning för projektet är studier i dagsljusets naturliga rörelseväxlingar. Ljus är skallöst och testas i realtid genom fysiska modeller, fullskaletester och iscensättningar.

Det saknas en teoribildning som visar på samband och dissonanser mellan visuella och fysikaliska begrepp för ljus. Parallellt med fallstudierna kartläggs begrepp för ljus från två olika discipliner, dels den konstnärliga dels den rent naturvetenskapliga disciplinen. Omgivningsseendet betydelse för vår läsning av rum och förhållandet till dagens kvantitativa krav undersöks.

Change-of-pace

A history of Preservation and Obsolescence – 19th century Museums in Transformation

 

My research is concerned with processes of change and conservation that are currently taking place at national museums throughout Europe. The museum as a public place was established during the 19th century, when Europe’s oldest and most established museum buildings where erected. These buildings have been altered and adjusted during the 19th and 20th centuries to support changing ideas of art and artefacts, history and nation. In present day conservation processes, however, historical alterations and additions are treated and valued differently. During the 21st century, many of the largest European museums have initiated large-scale reconstruction projects and museums in general are constantly expanding their activities and territories. The research is focusing on a selection of five recent museum projects and is addressing two main areas as a point of departure. The first area is considering the history of transformation within the selected cases and the developments and use of temporal concepts and considerations. By discussing aspects of cyclicality, obsolescence and authenticity in preservation processes my ambition is to uncover changing temporal ambitions in material processes. The second area of concern is dealing with the transnational aspects of these national monuments from a material perspective. By tracing histories of alteration in these buildings, the ambition is to discuss material provenance and the particular narratives of displacement and origin that these materials bring as well as the actors involved. These aspects will be researched through the use of micro history as a method to make precise and detailed incisions within each case as well as ethnographic site studies to address the everyday and mundane within these public projects. By studying processes of transformation in museum buildings, I aim to discuss the unfolding of temporal and material changes and what architectural histories they entangle.

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The permanent housing exhibition as a spectacle of consumption

Historical transformations of the 20th-century European housing exhibition, from a platform of experimentation to the promotion commodities.

By Marcelo Sagot Better, Bauhaus Universiteit Weimar

The thesis reflects on modernity and the processes of massification, led by capitalism upon the growth of technology, that generated a greater shift towards the industrialization of housing units and estates, and the adoption of means of mass communication to legitimize and spread the conceptualization of these developments.

An outcome of this massification that has been often overlooked is the promotion of housing as a spectacle, specifically the permanent housing exhibition as an event that originates at the beginning of the 20th century when artists, urban planners and architects confronted the possibility of their disciplines embracing and re-imagining the modern condition.

These exhibitions were focused on the critique of previous forms of living in urban settlements and the introduction of new approaches to housing together with elaborated schemes for dissemination and communication of the new concepts and designs. Nevertheless, these changes also represent a drastic shift towards the alienation and the transformation of the living unit as a commodity and consequently, its fetishism. The experience of dwell that once was directly lived became mere representation.

As architecture became modern by the process of massification of its content and its form, it is essential to evaluate the spectacle of housing and its broader relation to capitalism, as the aforementioned phenomenon follows the objectives of an economy of power that profits not from the content per se but from an idée fixe with the means of communication and desire for commodities. This condition has been widely analysed as the historical moment at which consumerism thrived and the relation between commodities became more important than any other form of cultural relation, what Guy Debord labels as the complete colonization of social life.

Therefore, the objective of the proposed research is to develop a historical examination of the permanent housing exhibitions developed across Europe during the 20th century as legitimizing spectacles in relation to mass production and mass media, in order to analyse its outcomes and long-term consequences in contemporary forms of consumption of architecture and urban planning.