Bruno Taut’s “Five Points” (1929)

Translated from the German by Charlotte Benton, Tim Benton, et al.

From Architecture and Design, 1890-1939: An International Anthology

of Original Articles.  (Whitney Library of Design.  New York, NY: 1975).

• • •

What is, therefore, the new movement?

(i) The first and foremost point at issue in any building should be how to attain the uttermost utility.

(ii) The material employed and the construction adopted should be entirely subservient to the first principle.

(iii) Beauty originates from the direct relationship between building and purpose, from the natural qualities of the material and from elegance of construction.

(iv) The aesthetics of modern architecture recognize no demarcations between facade and ground plan, road and courtyard or between the back or front of a building.  Nor does any detail exist for its own purpose alone, but should be designed to serve as a necessary part in the general plan.  Everything that functions well, looks well.  We simply do not believe that anything can look unsightly and yet function well.

(v) The house, as a whole as well as in detail, forfeits both demarcation and isolation.  In the same way that the details depend on their common interplay, so does the house depend on its comrades.  It is the result of collective and social ideas.  Thus repetition is not undesirable — on the contrary it is the most important factor in art.  The same constructions for the same requirements, for which exceptions should only be made in the case of exceptional requirements.  Special requirements, for which exceptions in repetitions of style would be made, we admit only, or principally, in a building of collective, that is to say, social significance.

This somewhat theoretical principle might possibly be summarized in a single sentence:

If everything is founded on sound efficiency, this efficiency itself, or rather its utility will form its own aesthetic law.  A building must be beautiful when seen from outside if it reflects all these qualities.  But we do not only see the exterior of the building.  We go indoors and look to see whether the same conformity is shown throughout.  We can discover, therefore, from the ground plan whether the building is beautiful rather than from the exterior, that is to say, whether it is good and nicely adapted for use.  If this is the case, it will not only fulfill our needs, but organise them into a superior and better order than previously experienced.  The architect who achieves this task becomes a creator of an ethical and social character; the people who use the building for any purpose, will, through the structure of the house, be brought to a better behavior in their mutual dealings and relationship with each other.  Thus, architecture becomes the creator of new social observances.

The simple thesis for the new aesthetic ought to be the following:

The aim of Architecture is the creation of the perfect, and therefore also beautiful, efficiency.


~ by Ross Wolfe on October 20, 2010.

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