For those of you who remember our visit to the extraordinary home collection by Charles Brooking: his XVIII century windows are part of this year’s Venice Biennale Exhibition.

Charles Brooking Venice

for details about the 14th Biennale, below is the link to the article on Designboom


Hans Hollein died on April 24th 2014.
Hans Hollein, operated along the tenuous line between sculpture and architecture whilst being conscious of the changing definition of what we call our environment.


He argued that ‘architects have to stop thinking in terms of buildings only’ because, for him, ‘everything is architecture’ and what we call our environment has expanded.

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In 1963, together with Walter Pichler, about ‘Forms and Designs’, Hans Hollein wrote:
“In architecture we are not concerned with beauty. If we want beauty then we want it less in form or proportion than in a sensual beauty of fundamental power.
“The shape of the building doesn’t develop out of the material condition of its purpose. A building shall not show its purpose. It is not an expression of structure and construction, it is not an enclosure or refuge.
“A building is itself.
“Architecture is without purpose.
“What we build will find its usefulness.
“Form does not follow function. Form doesn’t originate by itself. It is the great decision of man to make a building into a cube, a pyramid or a sphere.
Today for the first time in the history of mankind, at this moment when immensely developed science and perfected technology offer the means, we are building what we want, making an architecture that is not determined by technique, but that uses technique – pure, absolute architecture.
Today, man is master over infinite space”.

more about Hans Hollein’s work on his website here 

Notes towards a technical study, Peter Salter, 1989, in TS: Intuition and Process, AA: London

TS Intuition and Process

“The job of the Technical Study is to reach beyond the limitations of physical evidence. Instead of allowing design and construction processes to become separate, it seeks to re-establish the whole and to explore ways of expressing the relevance of the strategy behind the making of the building.

The Technical Study is about a way of thinking. It is neither a science nor a training for the profession. Its aim is to add clarity to a piece, making it an occasion nurturing an optimism for building in difficult circumstances. Craft can only be developed within the context and experience of building.

Accuracy is about developing and testing instinct. It is the poignancy residing within the material fineness or structure that provokes the spark of clarity in a proposition.

It is the job of the Technical Study to test and reinforce the instinct behind the strategy. So the Technical Study runs in tandem with the design programme. It is like a terrier at its heels, demanding a restatement of its aims and a search for another kind of clarity of intention – an unequivocal proposition.

  • The flower kiosk at the Eastern Cemetery in Malmo, by the architect Sigurd Lewerentz, is a sublime example of unequivocal building. The manipulation of the construction and the component details are generated and constrained by the design intentions. The building needs no apologist, beyond the florist who lays out the cut flowers before the cemetery. The cradling of the light by the soffit layers is in order with the watershed of the roof, the turned upstand of the roof copper complicit with the in situ concrete walls. The construction joints in the formwork have been omitted; instead, chamfered edges to the forms have encouraged the cement to run and raise positive joints. These finger-sized accretions are like a layered grid to the wall.

To understand the underlying intention of the proposal, it is necessary to decompose the designed building into a series of related fragments – just as an archeologist would make drawings of the finds uncovered at his site. Certain predominant concerns will determine the procedure. First, the scale of the building must be related to the dimensional order of the site. In Landscapes this may be given by the frequency of objects on the horizon that can be measured on a map. Thus in the seemingly unequivocal landscape of the salt marsh a building may have to be seen as an accretion, a new geographical landform subject to the processes of time and erosion. The resulting architecture will describe the horizon as a section of varying and layered deposits, registering a local scale which satisfies the landscape rather than the expediency of the programmatic brief.

It is also necessary to look at the fineness and order of the particular room to determine its material and structure. Without the instinctive desire to describe the room’s inner qualities and its remoteness from or sympathy with the outside world, any decisions about material and structure become hollow and trite exercises. The room may be so fine that it has its own ordering system incapable of servicing a building, only of being serviced. It may be a room of pilasters and frescos, a pergola screening the heavens. The components of the particular room cannot be of the same scale or family as those of other parts of the building, if it is to linger in the memory.

  • The people of the West Coast of Ireland traditionally inhabited the residual ground between the peat bog and the sea. They existed on the wave-cut rock platforms of the eroded sea cliffs. As subsistence farmers they cleared the rock debris from the meager topsoil by hand, carrying each boulder to a field margin determined by the power of will over muscle. Each rubble wall enclosure traced the section of the land until the slope became too steep to bear. The tilth was then nourished and supplemented by seaweed gathered from the shoreline.

The scale of the room determined by human labour is inseparable from the scale of its material. They work together to arouse a kind of resonance in the casual occupant. Perhaps all that is needed to provide a certain familiarity with the space is this collusion between craftsman and material something as simple as a door architrave that is brushed passed every day suddenly revealing its fluting scribed into the material so perfectly that it matches the print of your fingers and the scale of your hand.”

On the use of axonometric drawings by artist Paul Noble.
Paul Noble axonometric drawings are vast. Several meters across, they deal with the landscape, the territory, whilst remaining very architectural in their inception through a careful assemblage of volumes and an attention to one and every minute details. Although the individual elements are very much three dimensional, the overall drawings, by their format and the extent they cover, remain, almost paradoxically, flat. Something between an axo and a map, not unlike the first birds eye views developed in the late 17th century – see Johannes Kip’s drawing below

article on Paul Noble’s exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in 2011:

Paul Noble, Nobson

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Jan Kip & Leonard Knyff, Wollaton Hall Gardens

wollaton hall garden by jan kip and leonard knyff