Arthur Korn’s “Analytical and Utopian Architecture” (1923)

Translated from the German by Arthur Korn and Dennis Sharp.

From Planning and Architecture: Essays Presented to Arthur Korn

and the Architectural Association.  (Barrie & Rockliff.  London: 1967).

• • •

Architecture is Symbol.  Radiation.  Tendency of order — of music, of an impetus to the end.  Embracing and dissolution.  The building is no longer a block, but a dissolution into cells, a crystallization from point to point.  It is a structure of bridges, joints, shells, and pipes.  Shells, enveloping and discharging air between themselves like fruit.  Pipe supports.  Within it air flows making it firm and curved.

Architecture is passionate love.  Rearing.  Resolving.  Oppressed like us, jerking.  Symbol.  The flash of a fire signal.  What transforms reality into a piece of art is the flash.  The burning cities.  The burning landscapes.

Architecture is the royal leader.  All the materials are put into its hands: iron, steel and glass, wood and china, fabric and paper, out of which develops a sense for material structure and the build-up of any substance.  Out of germinating walls furniture bursts and long ago the reedhuts of the natives grew into fantastic grass towers.

Architecture, ingenious as a machine, as the underground train, the air-cabin.  Anonymous.

But it is only possible to live in the functional house if the symbolic art-form backs the practical demands, feeling the organism and asking on which columns and shells the building is supported.  How are the squares of light fixed, how are the planes established — straight or twisted? How does the furniture — mobile or fixed — grow out of it? How does color keep stationary or appear to move? How does the building connect with the immediate and wider surroundings of the atmosphere? How do the individual rooms react collectively? How does the whole relate to the smallest particle and how does the whole grow into a cell of a community? How does the whole grow into a symbol of the landscape and into a human image?

The solution is insufficient without vision.  The American grid-iron, rational city is deadly.

But, practically, one can only live in the impersonal house if it is constructive.  But construction is only achieved by analysis.  The machine designer asks first, which task has to be met? He analyzes first and constructs afterwards.

Simultaneously the architect starts with the analysis of the building, the house, or the factory.

He discovers parts, spaces, cells.  He forms communications, the horizontal pipes, the vertical staircase towers.  He discovers the nodal points nad fixes them like the center-pieces on a lathe.

He discovers the prime cells, pertinent to each individual formation, each building, and each town, and that one only.  He determines the uniqueness of all forms.  He analyzes the matter, its inner composition, strength, and structure.  He examines the whole structure on which everything stands, the fragile supports and the discs in the center and hangs the outside walls around with its perforations.  Thus he analyzes every factor involved; only then can he unify the structure.

Interlocking the material body into the spheric air space.  Air breaking into the body and wire spinning round the body creating new planes of air.  Arms bursting from the center into the air and ribs growing out of the ground.

Analytical growth emanates from the last secrets of the material; the structure and the organization of the cells and circulation is the indispensable precondition.  It is the basis — but no more.  But then it is the responsibility of the Artist to create [163] the Total work of art as spontaneously as if it had just been brought into the world.

A mystical action working from unknown and unconscious laws and yet concrete, reestablishing the first rational process in a mysterious way.

It remains the incomprehensible secret that the knife-sharp analytical construction and Utopia born in the realm of the Unconscious intersect at one point in a way that the unconscious genius within us repeats the creative process once more on a higher unknown level for the same purpose.

The symbolic ‘flash’ within us is just as real as the analytical construction.  And not only within one.  The battle between the machine-man and the analytical artist, between the collective and the individual, putting itself in order like the voice of music — free and according to mystic laws — repeats the ascension from the necessity of the constructive analytical to the intuitive artistic reality.

[From Das Kunstblatt, Vols. 11-12, pgs. 336-339 (1923)]


~ by Ross Wolfe on October 31, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: