Lionel Shriver. Rory Cormac. Hyeonseo Lee. Jenny Valentine. Wendy Wren. Norman Wisdom. Dennis J. John E. Alison Griffiths. Estella Tincknell. Jan Jagodzinski. David Professor of Art History Cottington. Michael Clark. Edward White. Jane EDT Turner. John Rutter. Paul EDT Dimaggio. EDT Downie. Linda Carol Edwards. James Smith Pierce. Got it! Change Country. Shipping country you have chosen is currently only available through Egypt store. Your shopping basket contents will be automatically moved to your saved items to be easily accessible on the new front. Are you sure you to proceed with the current change?
Shipping country you have chosen is currently only available through United Kingdom store. Change Store. On Altering Architecture. Author : Fred Scott. Language : English. ISBN : There is a photograph of the main block in the Avenue Fruges painted deep ochre as the model, but little other evidence of the overall implementation of the scheme. This begs the question, in the planned restoration, to what previous condition is the restoration intended? Restored to the scheme as it was when it was handed over by the contractors or when it was first occupied, or to an assumed purity of completion that may or may not have ever been achieved?
Restoration and authenticity are not necessarily exactly coincidental. One may wonder also why so little is written on alteration in the canon of architecture; let me suggest that it is in fact antipathetic to the crucial architectural impulse. At its root, architecture seeks to sweep away the present and build a better, or certainly different world, and this is why alliances so naturally form between architects and the reigning powers.
The idea that such high intentions would ever need altering is a heresy. Alteration, it must be believed, aims to frustrate and subvert the most noble undertakings of architecture. However, one may also concede that the beauty of old cities is the result as much of the glacial changes that sequential occupations have wrought as of their planning and their architecture.
Left to time and casual occupation, buildings will alter, and with them the city. The article is a chronicle of an archaeology of continuous imposition. In it, Perez de Arce charts the changes through time of various European and other buildings and cities. He documents the processes of successive colonizations of the city and the concomitant changes. The article is illustrated throughout with his own careful, intelligent drawings, which expose a marvellous historical imagination. Early on, he draws in a series of town plans the absorption over the centuries into the general urban fabric of the Roman amphitheatres at Arles, Nimes, Florence and Lucca, and the Diocletian Palace at Spalato or Split in former Yugoslavia Figure 2.
This last example may have undergone other changes since this article was published. This is Perez de Arce description of its inception and subsequent history: The Roman Palace of Diocletian in Spalato Split on the Dalmatian coast was built in an unusually short period, for the Emperor had abdicated and wanted to spend the last years of his life in this quiet and beautiful locality. Amphitheatres and urban absorption the literate and the vernacular 35 2.
These buildings were built over enormous basements which extended all along the front of the palace. Direct connection was provided from the peristyle court through the basements to a small door which led to a pier and the vastness of the Adriatic Sea. The other quarters were inhabited by soldiers and servants [Figure 2.
The Emperor died in AD. And the palace complex fell into a long period of decay. Peasants and villagers of the neighbouring areas created legends around this imposing building, half palace and half fortress. But an unexpected event was to have perdurable consequences in the history of the palace, when the nearby city of Salona was invaded and sacked by the Slavs around the year AD. The inhabitants who escaped the massacres first fled to the safe refuge of the islands in the Adriatic Sea, but once they could return in safety they did so, not to their destroyed town but to the remains of the palace.
A conversion operation of enormous scale took place from that moment onwards: the ruins of the palace were gradually transformed into a town and the social stratification of the inhabitants was reflected in the way the grounds and available spaces were used. Thus the wealthy took possession of the areas inside the palace precincts where they could build their mansions, the less powerful citizens inhabited the rooms and spaces which had remained from the original fabric, and the plebeians were left with the crypts, basements and cellars.
New buildings and a new street layout were superimposed on the Roman ones. Existing buildings were converted: the mausoleum of the Emperor was transformed into a church and a campanile was built next to it; the Palatine temple was transformed into a baptistry. But in the three cases which are taken as archetypical ones there has been one rule which has commanded the process: a correct relationship between urban morphology and building types has been maintained. This may have happened as a result of war, pestilence or famine, or may have come about because of a change in fashion.
Thus to welcome the insidious, creeping, undermining workings of time which reveal a different truth is a critique of the established order, of that part which has historically provided the most sponsors for architecture. This is not intended to detract from the high opinion this long article deserves. But if that is so, where is the space for conscious action in the process? The writing is an expression of praise of the innate genius of the populace. This stance requires in its turn an uncritical attitude to colloquial alterations.
The interaction over time between the urban fabric and citizens that slowly transmutes the city must be treated implicitly as a type of inevitability. All reverence for the vernacular comes up against a similar observation and an objection: true vernacular cannot be appropriated; it can be parodied but the risks are high. The new additions are necessarily read in a way that is free of censure, since the vernacular is beyond the reach of the critical.
Such common-place changes depend on an innocence which is unavailable to the designer. Two objections to this view also might be made, the first regarding spatiality; this type of alteration is almost always a process of encrustation, of diminished spaces, and of a usual loss of spatial clarity. It is like the overlayering of the underlying form, similar to the processes in nature that absorb organisms into the surroundings, while somehow retaining a trace of the original form, as, for instance, with how ammonites form Figure 2.
It is an increase in entropy, and as such should be contested by the creative will. The second is the implication that in the past, mistakes were never made Figure 2. The traces that result from such processes, however, must be thought of as authentic, in some way unsullied. Rodolfo Machado, writing in Progressive Architecture,19 makes another metaphorical connection between remodelling and writing.
In an article called 2. It was inscribed with the point of a metal stylus, and once the message was conveyed, the surface traces of previous messages would remain. Using as an illustration the walls of a Romanesque palace in Lucca, he makes the comparison with how a building might also be like this, that is written over, partially erased and written over again so that traces of the previous writings remain discernible Figure 2. Everything existing is taken as authentic. The article is an elegant piece but a little lacking in development.
It is, however, a new contribution to the debate between the the literate and the vernacular 39 could be scraped back and a new message written. As the palimpsest wore, 40 on altering architecture 2. Perez de Arce and, to a certain extent, Machado are writing of unconscious processes in history, the workings of a latent genius in the populous to affect the built environment, generation after generation to a fruitful end. The writings assume that the vernacular can never make a mistake. Perhaps nothing more needs to be said. Perhaps the creeping persistent metamorphosis by diminutive change is best left to the laity and collective genius; how else might one prevent it?
This proposed state of innocence, however, as with all similar states, once transgressed cannot be retrieved. The designer is a being beyond innocence, and the task of their consciousness is to raise low art to a higher level. Opposition to such an elevation might come from professional and political sources; on the one hand the architect might suspect that their assumed monopoly of philosophies of the building is eroded by this development; and on the other, romantically inclined historians of the masses might object also that this once collective activity should not be removed to the rarefied atmosphere of the artist.
At the end of his essay Perez de Arce uses two contrasting quotations, the first from Benito Mussolini: I should like to divide the problem of Rome, the Rome of the 20th Century, into two categories: the problems of necessity and the problems of grandeur. One cannot confront the latter unless the first has been resolved.
The problems of grandeur are of another kind: we must liberate all of Ancient Rome from the mediocre construction that disfigures it. This to some extent happened — and often catastrophically — during the Napoleonic era and after the Unification of Italy, but despite the way it was carried out, it constituted a progressive fact. II, , pp. Just as we can get very little from the literary and historical instruction meted out at school, so nothing remains for us any more of the architecture of earlier epochs. Plans in a building are never entirely free from one another, they are connected by circulation and plumbing.
Neither can the grid of columns be entirely ignored. It has been noted elsewhere that this idea of the plan allowed Le Corbusier to compose plans as if they were drawings for paintings, so producing strikingly beautiful plans through his skill as a graphic artist. The problem of running the strip window past the end of internal walls is unavoidable and very difficult to solve.
In other places the window is recommended for its evenness of light, which might be seen as an agent of the lack of emphasis that the aesthetic of transparency requires. Of course at other times, and with Le Corbusier too in his later works at Ronchamp, for instance , evenness of light is not a priority.
Only the least reasonable of the Five Points, the roof garden, manages to escape unscathed. Nevertheless, from this formula he made wonderful houses and villas during the s. So much still can be said of Le Corbusier, but for the moment we may recognize him as Superman and move on. His shadow passes over us like that of an aircraft flying over the desert.
The retreat into the role of Unique Genius was short-lived, however. This was a magnificent amplification of his architectural thinking, and has remained the fullest account he ever gave of his great mind with respect to the built environment. Two decisions taken at the outset by the architect and client were certainly inextricably linked. One related to the technical system which le Corbusier proposed, namely the cement-gun technique of the Ingersoll-Rand company; the cost of purchasing this equipment was not justified by the scale of M.
Thus the other decision taken at the time that the gunite system was adopted enlarged the scope of the building program. It was enlarged to include several residential quarters in the Southwest of France. The grandeur of their joint endeavor had a special, rather ancient, precedent in the area which both men were well aware of. This was the rich tradition of thirteenth-century villes neuves in southwestern France.
Le Corbusier was familiar with these medieval towns from an article which had appeared in January , which had been translated from English for his use. The English and the French conquerors alike had settled large tracts of land by founding such planned new towns as Creon, Sauveterre, Monpazier, and Libourne. Streets set out in a carefully rectilinear grid, with a main plaza at the centre, characterizes the urban pattern of many of these colonial settlements; a noteworthy architectural element, namely, a covered arcade around the four sides of these plazas and termed cornieres, was a feature which M.
Fruges specifically requested the architects to include in the Quartier Moderne Fruges at Pessac. One wonders if other suggestions would not be more apt. It is this that makes certain corners of the scheme look like any other suburban development. Some encouragement to the inhabitants to inhibit and cut back plant growth would allow the original intentions to be more apparent.
The reason for this was that the original flat roofs leaked. One clear proposition for conduct of life in the Five Points is the use of roof terraces; Rassmussen nicely implies in his description quoted earlier the wedding of community and aesthetic that would have resulted had the roofs been more widely used as intended. Perhaps sometimes a radical proposal must wait before it is taken up. To encourage the residents to restore these terraces, and for the authorities to make available new technologies to waterproof the terraces reliably, would achieve a more powerful indication of the original spirit than the rather timid suggestions concerning repainting.
All such issues would require the comprehension of that which is to be studied, an understanding of the host building, its spatial context and temporal context. Any work of alteration that begins with a restorative component is thus raised into a more general discourse from the local incoherence of the colloquial. Perhaps it is proof of the dialectical nature of the practices of alteration that one must first think about attitudes to restoration and conservation.
Since the nineteenth century, the practice of restoration has been torn between two opposing orthodoxies. The editor of Domus in stated the situation thus: There are two paths restoration can take. An old story, the definition of modern restoration. In The Seven Lamps of Architecture, John Ruskin wrote: Neither by the public nor by those who have care of public monuments, is the true meaning of the word restoration understood.
It means the most total destruction which a building can suffer: a destruction out of which no remnants can be gathered: a destruction accompanied with false description of the thing destroyed. Do not let us deceive ourselves in this important matter; it is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. I remember reading a Stephen Bayley essay on these two, where he tells the story of their both, at different times, drawing the same range of the Alps, near the Jungfrau perhaps, and separately conducting an analysis of the mountain forms.
Viollet-le-Duc found an underlying cubic organization, and Ruskin found the serpentine line that Hogarth had proposed as the essence of beauty. Ruskin was able to draw and write like an angel: Viollet-le-Duc loved cats. A legacy of the nineteenth century is this contest of views regarding restoration.
The first appears to be an argument for licence to alter, and the other is an opposite admonition against meddling. In subsequent commentaries, there is an occasional suggestion that restoration is permissible in France, but not in England. Carcassonne is among the greatest tourist attractions of France. Among its competitors is Disneyland, Paris. Disney himself said that along with the castles of Ludwig of Bavaria, Carcassonne was one of his primary influences. Works of scholarly restoration are akin in some ways to the making of a new building.
The clear difference is that in not working in a contemporaneous style, certain sinews are severed, certain narratives rejected that would connect the building with the ever-present in which we are all ensnared. They are therefore removed from human affairs, and, except for the recluse, uninhabitable as a result.
For Ruskin, the closer was the copy, the greater was the deception. His empathy was with the dead craftsman, as when he goes on to say, concerning restoration: That which I have above insisted upon as the life of the whole, that spirit which is given only by the hand and eye of the workman, can never be recalled. Another spirit may be given, and it is then a new building; but the spirit of the dead workman cannot be summoned up, and commanded to direct other hands, and other thoughts.
And as for direct and simple copying, it is palpably impossible.
What copying can there be of surfaces that have been worn half an inch down? The whole finish of the work was in the half inch that is gone; if you attempt to restore that finish, you do it conjecturally; if you copy what is left, granting fidelity to be possible,. There was yet some life, some mysterious suggestion of what it had been, and of what it had lost; some sweetness in the gentle lines which rain and sun had wrought.
There can be none in the brute hardness of the new carving. Do not let us talk then of restoration. The thing is a Lie from beginning to end. You may make a model of a building as you may of a corpse. His response was to establish what became the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and to lay down guidelines for working on ancient buildings. Is it altogether too late to do something to save it? The letter had immediate effect, and the Anti-scrape Club was founded with Morris as Honorary Secretary.
So that the civilized world of the nineteenth century has no style of its own amidst its wide knowledge of the styles of other centuries. In early times this forgery was impossible, because the knowledge failed the builders or perhaps because instinct held them back. If repairs were needed, if ambition or piety held them back, that change was of necessity wrought in the unmistakable fashion of the time; a church of the eleventh century might be added to or altered in the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, or even seventeenth or eighteenth; but every change, whatever history it destroyed, left history in the gap, and was alive with the deeds done midst its fashioning.
The result of all this was often a building in which the many changes, though harsh and visible enough, were, by their very contrast, interesting and instructive and could by no possibility mislead. But those who make the changes wrought in our day under the name of restoration. Morris later made a concession: if new work was to be done in an old building, then it should be in a contemporary style. But to qualify this, he stated that all insertions were to be reversible, that is, could be removed without leaving a trace. Here is a double difficulty.
Firstly, what, to someone like Morris, was a contemporary style, soaked as he was in a devotion to the Gothic? What they put in their stead a hundred years ago, should not that now be as sacrosanct as the Georgian pieces a hundred years old when they were removed? The penultimate paragraph of the manifesto sets out the proposed attitude to old buildings. The paragraph before it begins: For what is left we plead before our architects themselves, before the official guardians of buildings, and before the public generally, and we pray them to remember how much is gone of the religion, thought and manners of time past, never by almost universal consent, to be Restored: and to consider whether it be possible to Restore those buildings, the living spirit of which, it cannot be too often repeated, was an inseparable part of that religion and thought, and those past manners.
Thus, and only thus, shall we escape the reproach of our learning being turned into a snare to us; thus, and only thus, can we protect our ancient buildings, and hand them down instructive and venerable to those that come after us. Because of their abhorrence of the present, they deny those working on old buildings just that engagement and association that Morris in particular was dedicated to allowing his own studio workers.
Having recognized the validity of past alterations in the manifesto, Morris disallows the possibility of any future permanent change. William Morris was man of action, of extraordinary energy, increasingly devoted in later life to socialist politics, and increasingly revolutionary socialist politics at that. Perhaps having realized the impotence of his attempts to replace the thundering means of production of his time with craft-based guilds, he gave himself increasingly to left-wing causes; his integrity remained undiminished all his life, and as with many great men, this was the root of his tragedy.
His sad infatuation with a young girl is another melancholic feature of his later years. In his prime he wrote beautifully and persuasively on a wide range of social issues of his time, as well as on architecture, the natural world and painting. His prose was so admired that he was offered the post of Poet Laureate the quotation above is from the letter refusing that honour. His mind when strong was for many like a beacon, in a country denied the liberation of revolution.
It informed as much as anything else his views on restoration. We have no right whatever to touch them. They are not ours. They belong partly to those who built them, and partly to all the generations of mankind who are to follow us. The dead have still their right in them: that which they laboured for, the praise of achievement or the expression of religious feeling, or what so ever else it might be which in those buildings they intended to be permanent, we have no right to obliterate.
Whereas, even when so sought, it consists of the mere sublimity of the rents, or fractures, or stains, or vegetation, which assimilate the architecture with the work of Nature, and bestow upon it those circumstances of colour and form which are universally beloved by the eye of man. One thinks of both Ruskin and Viollet-le-Duc, together with Pugin, as the great proponents of the virtues of Gothic architecture. His Dictionnaire is a disinterested and extensive enquiry into how buildings of all ages came about, despite a certain emphasis on the Gothic, from which the author concludes that all different styles of architecture are rational, apart perhaps from their different inceptions.
As such, the work can claim to have relevance not merely historically, but also in the present and into the future. Ruskin would seem to want to quarantine a building for centuries before even comment on it were allowed. Regarding imitation, he writes: the second [step to restoration] is usually to put up the cheapest and the basest imitation which can escape detection, but in all cases, however careful, and however laboured, an imitation still, a cold model of such parts as can be modelled, with conjectural supplements; and my experience has as yet furnished me with only one instance, that of the Palais de Justice at Rouen, in which even this, the utmost degree of fidelity which is possible, has been attained, or even attempted.
The work in Rouen was under the direction of Viollet-le-Duc. Is it the actuality of the buildings at the moment or half an hour after occupied some three years later? Of course not. None of these actualities is accessible, along with all other time passed. Thus the aim of the restoration is not necessarily in the realm of actuality, and perhaps it is impossible to accommodate it there Figure 3.
Because of this, the restorations will be measured not against any actuality, but against the discernible intentions of the architect, from his extensive writings. Necessarily this will also invoke guessing or imagining what his indiscernible intentions might have been. Thus all restoration such as these may be fictive. Is it when the buildings were 56 on altering architecture 3.
In this way the undoubted intellectual and practical problems of conservation, and the threatened inhibition of the architect, might be avoided. Also the architect would not be present to see his work destroyed. Such a listing usually aims to preserve both interiors and exteriors. In so doing the various alterations that the building had undergone since were indiscriminately enshrined.
It was always intended by the planners in the post-war Labour government, and the London County Council, that the hall would be a centrepiece for a major arts and music complex on the site, which it in due course became. The refit of the Festival Hall was part and parcel of the widespread redevelopment of the whole of the Festival site.
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The Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery were built in the same development, as were the walkways. The new works to the concert hall involved major additions to the riverside front to add banks of lifts on either flank, and on the Belvedere Road to add stage door and changing rooms. It can perhaps be reasonably described in terms of class antagonism, with the rough, tough new boys and girls coming from lower-middle-class provincial backgrounds taking exception to the work of the metropolitan upper-middle-class designers of the Festival; Grammar School versus Public School.
In the service of establishing a new identity, differences both political and aesthetic necessarily needed to be explicit. So the Brutalists tended towards individualism and the free market as against the socialist collectivist aspirations of the entrenched party. Brutalists looked towards the United States for inspiration whereas the London avant-garde architects of the s had regard for Scandinavia and socialism. The work of the Festival was viewed by the newcomers in the s as a paternalist conspiracy to impose good taste on a resistant working class.
Thus for the usurpers, the evidence from popular culture, the message from the streets was the primary witness for the prosecution in the case against the attitudes and practices of the recent past. Famously the manifesto for the new phase was broadcast by the This is Tomorrow exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in Photographs of the Festival Hall before the s refit show the building to have been extensively clad in many different coloured specified glazed tiles. There may have been many uncertainties about the building, because of the speed of its inception and completion rather than the inexperience of its three authors.
For instance, it seems that entry was and remains unresolved, but the nature of the building was evident: it was a decorated box. It underwent at the hands of the GLC architects in the s just that process of scraping that Morris had set out to prevent in the previous century. It is difficult not to read the s work on the Festival Hall as censorious. This would seem to be a temptation that might affect any alteration. Why freeze the results of such an unsympathetic rehabilitation, especially when the problem of context is so pressing?
Why stop here and now? Preserving a ruin likewise is a very peculiar habit. If the process of ruination should have produced such a valuable result, why would further ruination not increase the value? Or, on the contrary, might not the process be reversed, selectively, intelligently and with scholarship. A ruin, which all buildings might be considered as at certain times, is not a permanence. An empty building may have its appearance extended indefinitely by certain procedures, as with a corpse, but an inhabited building cannot. The continuing schism and four contemporary attitudes to restoration were reviewed in Domus April On Restoration pp.
As the deputy editor, Vittorio Magnano Lampugnani writes, all still spring from the irreconcilable schism between the beliefs of Viollet-le-Duc and John Ruskin. Rudolfo Machado may be thought to have enunciated at least a poetic or metaphoric attitude to the chronicle of alterations. Living cheek by jowl in it are a number of incompatible and quarrelsome, diametrically opposite viewpoints and work methods, from the strictly idealist one which hopes for an improbable return of the built product to an origin which can hardly ever be established with any certainty to the pragmatic one which permissively treats as historical values all the alterations made to the building in the course of time.
That of Renato Bonelli, who seeks to bring the building to be restored back to its former splendour by ridding it of its superfetations however good they may be, and re-creating its missing parts from the imagination. And finally, that of Marco Dezi Bardeschi, who refers exclusively to the present reality of the building which he respects and conserves just as it has been deposited, for better or worse, by history, whilst however putting new autonomous and clearly distinguishable projects next to it.
While following these different working approaches with interest and respect, I must confess that I do not personally feel able to espouse any of them.
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I believe neither in critical, nor in philological, nor in typological restoration, nor in pure conservation. I believe there is less and less difference between a problem of architecture and a problem of restoration; in both a given situation has to be interpreted, a future one thought up and a process of design decisions primed to link one to the next. I believe this process of choices must be founded on a profound and exact knowledge of the history of the building and its context. But it must then be emancipated to the advantage of criteria responding less to a preconceived methodology than to questions more strictly to do with the discipline of architecture.
In short, I believe that restoration is neither more nor less than an architectural project. Francise E. Hyslop Jr. It also records the troubles he experienced with more politically reactionary elements within the society. One might observe that this clique triumphed after his death, and have reigned unchallenged ever since. Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris. He demolished this and replaced it in a Romanesque style, derived from studying old prints of the building.
In addition, he was sometimes critical of Viollet-le-Duc. But perhaps history should not be too harsh on him, as Stephan Tschudi Madsen pointed out in Restoration and Anti-Restoration Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, , p. This is a problem that arises in other aspects of the Victorian community, and should be careful not to form hasty judgements. Morris uses as his prime example an English church first built in the eleventh century, and its having been altered every century or so, often radically, as in the change from Norman to Gothic.
I suspect this phenomenon may be unique to England, or at least more pronounced here than elsewhere in Europe. It would seem to reveal a resident existential uncertainty in the Church of England community itself. Jane Fawcett London: Thames and Hudson, A few sheets of lead in time put on the roof, a few dead leaves and sticks swept in time out of a water-course, will save both roof and walls from ruin. Watch an old building with anxious care; guard it as best you may, and at any cost, from any influence of dilapidation.
Count its stones as you would jewels of a crown; set watches about it as if at the gates of a besieged city; bind it together with iron where it loosens; stay it with timber where it declines; do not care about the unsightliness of the aid; better a crutch than a lost limb; and do this tenderly and reverently, and continually, and many a generation still be born and pass away beneath its shadow.
Its evil day must come at last; but let it come declaredly and openly, and let no dishonouring and false substitute deprive it of the funeral offices of memory.
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If the only new thing we have to offer is an improved version of the past, then today can only be inferior to yesterday. Hypnotised by images of the past, we risk all capacity for creative change. Here the Romanesque tower had been demolished and replaced by a copy of the southern tower, because a symmetrical tower front was considered more beautiful. This is a wonderful book. Whereas in contrast, as reported earlier, quite early in his career, Viollet-le-Duc preserved the asymmetry of the Romanesque church at Vezelay.
This is perhaps further evidence that a building must change to remain inhabited. Alison and Peter Smithson stated the intentions of the new movement thus: 23 The case of the Festival Hall and the South Bank illuminates the affinities between interior and urban design, the building and its context. Apart from the obvious literal difference, what is said about one can be equally applied to the other; they are separated only by questions of scale. The attitudes, abilities and inclinations which apply to one are also relevant to the other. In particular, contextual considerations are integral to both, in a way that is untrue of pure architecture.
Various masterplans and competitions have been prepared for the South Bank in recent years, but the apparent disregard that any of these have for the others makes for a pessimistic outlook. The site has become like a ritualized battleground where different generations of British architects scrabble against one another. Brutalism tries to face up to a mass-production society, and drag a rough poetry out of the confused and powerful forces which are at work.
Up to now Brutalism has been discussed stylistically, whereas in essence it is ethical. When it becomes a ruin, the way the building is made becomes clear, the spirit returns. When one works on a building one almost always ruins it. The client usually requires it. Rotting elements have to be removed, live plaster hacked off, everything extraneous cleared out.
This process of removal from the building prior to or parallel with the work of returning it to a sound condition is usually called stripping back. In carrying out work on an existing building, work of repair is inevitably needed, often because of the breakdown of the basic functioning of the building, for instance to stop a leaking roof, as pointed out by both Ruskin and Morris. Work of this kind is commonly called making good. As I understand it, the common ethic has been in recent years that when working on old buildings, works of conservation are permissible, but works of restoration are forbidden.
It would seem reasonable to assume that we are only at the beginning of an era of similar advances. Exercises in the popular media that blend the roles of documentary and bibliography are now common-place. All such exercises necessarily invoke the cosmetic, and like the make-up department in a film studio such undertakings require decisions concerning how beautiful or how ugly, how tragic or comic or otherwise, to make the restoration. Making good may very well be thought to equate to conservation, being a type of common-place procedure, innocuous and unassuming.
But any attempt to return a building, if only in part, to any previous condition is not conservation but restoration. Any replacement of the worn by the new is restoration. All work on the existing fabric that is additive is restorative. The continuous maintenance of monuments such as the Villa Savoye amounts to continuous restoration. The objection may be reasonably put that surely work to prevent further decay cannot be called restoration; it is simply much needed conservation.
What is such work? Are only the building technologist, the chemist and materials expert involved in such attempts? Who will make the judgement when judgement is needed? In , John Richardson wrote an article in the New York Review of Books on the treatment by dealers and restorers of paintings by Braque and Picasso. Wax relining — a process that most restorers have at one time or another used and far too many consider mandatory — has done even greater harm. By impregnating the canvas from the back with what amounts to an embalming agent, the restorer effects a complete transformation not only of the paint surface but of the entire painting structure.
The intention is to preserve the painting from present or future disintegration, but the result is a waxwork, a dead thing. The tragedy is that wax relining, like varnishing, is a virtually irreversible process. Complete removal of wax from infused material is technically impossible, and catastrophic changes often result from heating, infusing and pressing the paint, ground and canvas.
Paintings with a lot of impasto are especially vulnerable. More than one rugose Van Gogh has ended up as sleek as a formica table top. What then should be done to protect Cubist paintings and for that matter any other painting from deterioration, or to minimize damage that has already taken place?
My own somewhat extremist view — one that was 64 on altering architecture incidently shared by Picasso and Braque, who would rather have a painting disintegrate than undergo plastic surgery — is the absolute minimum. The idea that works of conservation are ever entirely governed by expediency and necessity is misleading. Consequently, conservation is a falsehood, an attempt at neutrality to avoid the minefields of restoration. There is no neutral ground. Work to existing buildings is of two types: either restorative or interventional. This is not to say that this must lead to full restoration; in making good, these acts are partial and are to be assimilated into the other acts which go to make up the work of intervention.
Restoration patently has a great potential for harm and destruction if governed only by good intentions. The physical and the narrative are capable of restoration, the abstract is not, being itself immune from degeneracy. Everything physical ages. An inhabited building is a living thing, and this exacerbates the sequence. Ageing cannot be prevented; in buildings, of course, it can be transmuted, decay can be slowed.
As with all things, the process is a combination of the natural compounded by the accidental, which arrives through experience. These innocent-sounding procedures outlined above, stripping back and making good, may be shown to have extensive theoretical implications for the practice of alteration when considered as acts of examination of the host building rather than physical procedures. It is extremely difficult to say with certainty where the innocence ends and the queasy expanse of restoration and preservation begins.
One knows that somewhere within lies the taboo against copying. Restoration is inevitably discriminate and generally requires imagination, its power to terrify certain sensibilities notwithstanding. One is reminded as well of the hero in The Naked Lunch being interrogated, and being tested with photographs of beautiful girls, some of whom are in fact transvestites.
It is difficult to believe that it can ever be determined with any accuracy. In addition, where is the line between restorative work and new work, what is interventional work and what new design? The explanation that the designer is at one moment doing one thing and the next day something quite different within the same design process does not bear examination. One might suggest at least an examination of the phenomenon of parody. Perhaps as a first attempt at definition, one might explain it as a shift in balance between the contrast and the similarity of the new work in comparison to the existing similarity.
Is it forbidden that the new work should be infected by the existing? This would seem to suppose a rather safe and remote relationship between the interventionist and the host building. Here is an example of imitation with a serious political and effective intention. In , the city authorities of Montreal began a huge clearance project in preparation for hosting the Olympic Games. Many Victorian villas were demolished. Charney described it: parody and other views 65 At the main intersection in the principal zone of CORRIDART, on a vacant lot which was cleared of housing by the Government for some institutional project now long forgotten, I erected a full scale representation of the facades of two typical Montreal grey stone buildings dating from the 19th Century and still standing on the opposite corner.
Rough plywood and reclaimed lumber were wired to pipe scaffolding in a manner similar to the display of documents elsewhere in the street — as if it was a physical documentation of a monument to the corporeal substance of the street. Their mirror image of buildings on opposite corners aligned the streets on an axis which demarcated the square like significance of the intersection of two streets in the urban tissue of Montreal. Is the Shinto Temple of Ise in Japan, which is rebuilt every twenty years, a parody of the building it supersedes? As is well known, the shrine at Ise, the most ancient site of Shinto, the native religion of Japan, is rebuilt every two decades, in a spirit of renewal.
However, this judgement was made several years prior to the discovery that many of the drums which are piled to make the columns of the Parthenon were not in their original positions. In the process, myriad crafts are kept alive, for not only the buildings, but also the treasures — the garments, the swords, the carvings — are also renewed. The extraordinary procedures by which this renewal is achieved are well documented elsewhere.
The central sanctuary and the new buildings must be viewed by the less elevated between completion and consecration; there is a custom where those visiting in this interval pick up white stones from mounds placed outside and use them finally to cover the inner sanctuary ground entirely. On a warm day, the new woodwork scents the air.
The reverence for these buildings among architects is formidable and worldwide, and the interval allows photographs to be taken of the newly completed structures11 Figure 4. The level of craftsmanship sustained in the rebuilding is generally considered to be unequalled anywhere; this applies to all the treasures that are remade as well as the building processes. It is probably inevitable that among architects and designers, the greatest admiration is reserved for the woodwork, and in particular for the monumental working of the tree trunks to make the structure of the main sanctuary building.
The carpenters in the old days used some four hundred different tools; now they will use fifty different planes in the work. An inked snap line sumitsubu is snapped asymmetrically to mark gentle curves for the carpenters to work to. The renewal is assured by burying the columns untreated into the earth; none of the building materials are treated.
On altering architecture / Fred Scott.
The thatch may be repaired; if this is done, the thatchers wear all black, like the puppeteers in the traditional Bunraku puppet theatre. It was the style, not the actual structure embodying it, that they sought to preserve for posterity. Everything that had physical, concrete form, they believed was doomed to decay; only style was indestructible. Fire can destroy a wooden parody and other views 67 Through these processes and rituals Ise can claim to be both ancient and new.
It has been observed that the difference between the approach here and 68 on altering architecture 4. A Westerner would probably insist that style is inseparable from physical, concrete form, but, to go one step further, what the Japanese wanted to preserve was not even the style as such in all its details but something else, some intangible essence within its style. Certain entrenched attitudes make such benefits difficult for the modern Western mind. It is a question of status; whereas it is difficult for us to say copying or repro- parody and other views 69 duction without an implied denigration, at Ise such work is of the highest status.
Other phenomena seriously affect the theory and practice of restoration. One of the problems that is often not recognized is that our view of buildings changes drastically at different times, that an old building is multi-valent, that it will be read in a chosen way, as the result of a particular perception in different ages, governed by the prejudices of the time, and consequently liable to restoration or otherwise according to those prejudices.
On a mundane level, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century terrace houses, row houses in central London boroughs and in cities all over the United Kingdom, were demolished in a frenzy of destruction after the Second World War, in order to build Modernist housing schemes in their place. What would one of those houses be worth now? Such multi-valence is evident in attitudes to the most famous of buildings, to the Parthenon for instance. When a student of architecture today thinks of the Parthenon, should that ever occur, they must contemplate an actuality deadened by familiarity, as unquestionable as rain in February, something quite inert and impregnable to theoretical questioning.
This sense perhaps more than any other suggests a danger and vulnerability, and the need for a fresh apprehension of this paradigm of European architecture. In the eighteenth century through the writings of Winklemann, Goethe and others, the buildings were thought of as being pristine and white in their original condition. Following archaeological discoveries by French, German and British antiquarians and architects of traces of paint on ancient fragments of buildings, a proposition was promoted in the first decades of the nineteenth century that the Greek temples were in their prime painted and polychromatic.
The Parthenon, for instance, in one version of restoration contains a massive polychromatic Athena, with her spear sticking above the 70 on altering architecture 4. At the moment we wish to think of the temple as being exclusively as white as bone. Thus the central structure of European architecture came to be viewed in radically different light in the change from the end of Classicism to the emergence of Romantic-Classicism in the nineteenth century. An old building therefore may have different significance for different times; what can be said is that as a ruin, the antique maintains a certain physical and spatial authenticity, but even this is not always as straightforward as it seems.
It is not a question of the building alone; the setting is crucial. In a fire in August , a large seventeenth-century house, Uppark in Hampshire, was largely destroyed by a fire, although many of the contents were saved. The fire burned for four days. It was caused by lead being welded on the roof. After the fire the building was open to the sky, the upper floors and their contents destroyed. But while the roofs and ceilings were gone, the walls were standing and the decorative woodwork and plasterwork had survived.
Larger pieces, such as furniture and paintings, had been carried out in the early stages. Great care was taken to make it appear as though the new house was several centuries old. For instance, new imitative wallpaper was hung and then force faded, except for where the paintings had hung; they were then rehung over these less faded portions. One can imagine the counterfeiting pleasure of the restorers. One might compare this scrupulous rebuilding to Ise, and note the differences. Ise is rebuilt as new, and then allowed to moulder over its allotted span; no deception is attempted regarding its age.
Uppark sets out to be a deception state of the house before the blaze is admitted from the outset, apart from any opportunist improvements or desired affects included in the rebuild. The building is to be kept as much as possible as a frozen moment, intended to instil in the paying public a proper reverence for the life led in it in its prime, a confirmation as much of the value of aristocracy as of the progress of equality.
Lack of certainty regarding the exact 72 on altering architecture When compared with the Villa Savoye, one can admit that both cases are deceptions, but with clear differences or contradictions of attitude. The French example restored to a spurious newness, or the English house restored to the state it was in before calamity struck.
Who is to say which is the more valid? Somehow or other one thinks that beyond a certain age, a building should show its age but how might one decide what age that is? Is it that the style of building prescribes the approach? Must a Modernist building always appear brand new? Must a pre-Modernist building always appear old? On what would such discrimination be based?