If at any point this feels like I am infatuated and obsessing over him, that’s because I am. And by the time you are done reading this, you will be too.
Schinkel was born in a Germany that was shaped by David and Friedrich Gilly and Karl Gotthard Langhans. They were inspired by the French revolutionaries and thinkers. Friedrich Gilly looked up to Ledoux, while Gotthard was greatly influenced by the works of Durand (previous article). The Langhans Brandenburg Gate stands as a testimony of the influence of French ideals and architecture in redefining that of Germany. Together, Langhans and…
To put that size into perspective, this sphere is taller than the pyramid of Giza. It is surrounded by two large barriers and dozens of cypress trees. On the inside, at the lower pole of this massive vault, is a seemingly small sarcophagus. The vaulting has holes in it, corresponding to different constellations. Hence, during the day, depending on the position of the Sun, the insides of the sphere lights up like the night sky. At night, the armillary globe hanging in the centre lights up the interiors like the day.
(Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!)
By the late 18th Century, France was a complete mess. Too many mouths to feed but not enough money nor enough food. Despite having multiple political systems, all of them failed even to acknowledge the issues being faced by the people. One of the primary reasons was an inadequate representation of the mass in the overall political system. With no choice left, the will to survive took over and brought people down to the streets.
Less is More.
These words were made famous by Mies Van der Rohe.
Fun fact: Mies is also credited with ‘God is in the details.’
But it makes no sense! There is either ‘less’ or ‘enough’ or ‘more.’ If less is more than what is ‘enough?’ What did he mean by that? Why not simply say, “Do only what is enough.” Why be all dramatic about it? Exploiting his poetic license, I guess?
You’ll either throw it away and start afresh, maybe if it is not too bad, you mend or hide the damage, or you might drop the idea altogether. Personally, I usually like to start afresh. What about you?
In the 18th century, Architects and artists in England realised that they were doing something wrong. Baroque hadn’t made it home. In 1715, Colen Campbell collected documents of all the prominent buildings in England and published them as Vitruvius Britannicus. After which, he claimed that Baroque artists had corrupted humankind with excessive exuberance and flamboyance.
Oh! You look beautiful today!
Pleased, aren’t you?
The word beautiful flatters us. But, have you ever thought how the word ‘beautiful’ became or came to be known as a compliment? What does its use mean? Did it have a constant meaning throughout the geographies?
Neo means ‘new,’ but classicism has its roots in the Latin word classicus, which means ‘best’ or ‘highest.’ So, by its very name, Neo-Classicism was the quest to be the best. Everything was supposed to be in order, everything in symmetry. Everything was supposed to make sense.
Back in the 1490s, the City hall of Vicenza partially collapsed. It was half a century later that the commission for the reconstruction was floated. It was given to Andrea Palladio. Palladio studied Roman architecture for a decade and had extensive knowledge about the subject. He was greatly inspired by the works and teachings of Vitruvian. As a practitioner, he had several Classic-Roman-themed villas in his portfolio. Despite being young, he managed to win over the city with his magnificent city hall designs.
I woke up to the sounds of distant shouting and thwacking. Looking out- they were trimming the trees outside. Rampant thoughts take over my mind-
Gah! People are trying to sleep! Can they not do this quietly?
Why do they trim the trees, anyway? Its nature, already not much of it left. Let it grow freely!
But, the idea of growth these days is about control and power. It is about ‘shaping’ everything around us in the name of development. This notion of civilisation has resulted in massive human footprints left by grand structures. To accommodate this grandeur, we unabashedly…
“Yes, my child?”
“I was wondering… How did I come into this world?”
“Ah… Well, you were given to us as a blessing by the Almighty.”
Well, science sure did have a different explanation. A logical answer, perhaps. But, that was not what our parents told us, was it? The narratives of both solutions are contradictory (of course). But, regardless of what we believed initially and what we know now, most of everything we learned, we did so by raising questions.
The origins of things and events have always interested humankind. …