How Nietzsche and Apollinaire changed the architecture Part 2

Theory morphism became very important to the work of Le Corbusier, which was inspired by the image of Orpheus, who served the Sun–Apollo. The opposition “darkness — light” for decades was one of the main themes in his works. Engineering, he counted all the possible dramatic effects of the movement of light during the day inside and outside the building. Light often corrected by changing the shape of window openings or corner of the window-frame, painting in carefully chosen shades of those planes which were caught during the day sunlight. Le Corbusier wrote that “the sun is a blessing from God, sent to man, so he could reach the joy of earthly existence, to find the lost Paradise.” From Apollinaire:

What can be stronger

And nobler these lines?

It’s like the light is calling to light from the shadows of the misty,

As we read of Hermes Trismegistus.

“Art and scholasticism” by Jacques Maritain

The name of Jan Marinus Granpre-Moliere today is known except that only historian of architecture. But in 1920-40-ies it was one of the most influential architects in the Netherlands. Granpre-Moliere taught at Delft technical University and formulated the main points of the program of Dutch traditionalism. Unlike the functionalists, who believed that the architecture of the XX century needs to speak a new language, to master advanced technology and to design cities of the future, the traditionalists believed that the main tool for creating the ideal world — the achievements of the Golden age of Dutch architecture, adaptation techniques of the late middle Ages and the XVI–XVIII centuries.

The aesthetic concept Granpre-Moliere does not offer blind copying or imitation. A recent convert to Catholicism, he was inspired by the monograph of the philosopher Jacques Maritain, “Art and scholasticism”. In this work, almost every paragraph is encouraged to continually search algorithm of purity, clarity and a shrewd order. The rationalistic aesthetics of Maritain, originating in the writings of Plato and Aristotle, assumed that the comprehension is possible through a wonderful intellectual, transcendental contemplation. Consequently, the Supreme truth was unchanging laws of harmony, the ideal numerical embodiment in architecture.

This sacred mathematical code Granpre-Moliere was looking for in his works. It is no coincidence that his projects are exclusively reserved: decorative elements to a minimum, uncluttered facades and decor miser inferior to a generalized and clear composition, monumentality of the interior space. Even in secular buildings, the layout of which was not due to the peculiarities of the Liturgy, Granpre-Moliere creates a special atmosphere of meditative calm and spiritual greatness.

“Plants as inventors” Raoul Heinrich France and “Beauty of forms in nature” by Ernst Haeckel

Edith Farnsworth, for which Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the “Glasshouse”, once discussed with the architect the work of the Austrian theoretical physicist Erwin schrödinger “What is life from the perspective of physics?”. MIS exclaimed: “This material too… what schrödinger thinks I’ll sit, look at snowflakes or crystals of salt on the dining table and remain satisfied? I need to know what to expect after death!” Farnsworth confused: MIS seemed to her a rational person — and suddenly such metaphysical reasoning. Metaphysics, however, does not contradict the fact that throughout his life van der Rohe, searched for in scientific works the answers to the questions that arose during the creative process.

Its library has collected about 40 books by the Austrian microbiologist Raoul Heinrich France, including the famous monograph “Plants as inventors” (1920). At the time this work became so popular among German architects, many researchers referred to the experiments of the Bauhaus and European functionalism “biocentrism constructivism” — a trend in architecture inspired by biology. France studied the German biologist Ernst Haeckel, the author of a collection of lithographs “the Beauty of forms in nature” (1904). In this book, for many architects inspiration, Haeckel wrote about the diversity of natural forms on the example of radiolarians. France spoke about the importance of the process of formation.

In his books Mies van der Rohe learned a simple and important idea: the better the natural form, the idea of the flows inherent in a natural body function. Or Vice versa. The rationalization was a proven way to create harmony in nature. And this principle was literally asking for it in the architectural practice, and the abstract geometry of the international style it seemed the perfect embodiment. The hostility of the new architecture to any parts that seemed superfluous, came from a desire absolute purification of art and the creative control. Here is the formula of van der Rohe: “Less is more”.

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