Below is an extract of Raimund Abraham’s article published in Design Quaterly 122, under the heading of “The Meaning of Place in Art and Architecture”, published in 1983.
After refuting the opposition of Art and Architecture, and introducing the idea of site using Charles Olson’s critical study of Melville’s Moby Dick, Abraham writes :
“I believe that where the sky and the earth collide, elements of the earth and the sky produce an intervention – the first architectural event. […]
Architectural space can only be understood as a polarity between physiological space and geometric space. Physiological space is limited to sensory experience; geometric space is the pure invention of our mind , reflecting upon the infinite.
I believe there is a very definite limit to geometry as the idealized language of architecture, and I believe that geometry alone can never produce an architectural idea. Because I think architecture has memory, as this memory is imprinted in the history of matter, geometry can only be a device to idealize it.
Geometry has no memory. Geometry can only produce an architectural idea and not an architectural event. ”
These words resonate with discussions we’ve had in the studio. I subsequently did a bit more research on the internet and found this brilliant article by Geoff Manaugh (from BLDBLG) on the Canadian Centre for Architecture website:
The article is titled ‘I’m exposing matter to the forces of time.’
There he talks about collisions and confrontations in architecture, not least in the process of building, and how Abraham’s architecture is ultimately poetic, imbued with myth and individuality.
‘House without Rooms’
Church on the Berlin Wall
‘House Without Rooms’
‘City of Twofold Vision’