SIR: Peter Blundell Jones's review of Jaskot's book on the way Nazi architecture was fundamentally based on slave labour, was welcome (AR May p 101) and I am going to get the book, no matter how badly it is written. How can anyone ever have seriously thought that the great celebrational buildings of the evil state, intended themselves to be terrifying, could possibly be free of the disgusting mechanisms that helped drive it? How can Speer and his architect colleagues be held to have been innocent by Leon Krier and so many other people? Particularly quite recently?
PS Was there any intended connection between Blundell Jones's review and the note on Schinkel's Acropolis palace (printed above), which shows Classical architecture at its most seductive and its most terrifying?
BROUGHT TO BOOK
SIR: In your March edition you published a letter from Bernard Thirkell, of Sydney, Australia, suggesting the publication of a book of delights. If the motives behind the publication of this letter were to test how positively such a publication might be received, I would like to voice my support for the idea.
Such a book would bring together a wide range of visually stunning and inspirational material, currently dispersed throughout numerous magazines, and would, no doubt, bring these marvellous sights to a wider audience of designers and artists who may never have picked up a copy of the AR before.
I look forward to buying a copy and will be avidly watching the bookshops for its arrival.
MATTHEW PETER HODGSON
Horsham, West Sussex, England
GET A LIFE
SIR: What with all this Minimalism? I was vaguely perusing your pages the other day when I came across Alberto Campo Baeza's house at Sevilla de la Nueva in Spain (AR March pp84-87). At first, I didn't realize what it was, and spent some minutes ogling its exquisite precision, and deeply pondering about how it could be made - how does he fit those abstracted glass walls so seamlessly into the roof and floor of the upper building? More details are needed throughout the AR.
But once I'd got it clear that what I was looking at was really a house, and not some sort of Minimalist temple to Art, doubts began. Interesting that all the photos looked like illustrations in a realtor's catalogue. Not a person in sight - but then they rarely make appearance in the mag. Even so, these interiors seem even more abstracted than usual - no furniture even. We all know that clients' stuff in a house or a room over which we've laboured to make perfect often spoils the effect. But you should not have let Campo Baeza off the hook so easily, and waited until you could obtain pictures of the house in use. It's lovely, but how can anyone live in it?
SIR: The work of MBM, particularly in their native Barcelona, is often exemplary, but when they go abroad, the forms which seem so appropriate for the sunny Spanish climate often appear hard and austere. So I was disappointed by the Maastricht scheme (AR June, p62), which looks pretty institutional, and with all that indeterminate open space in at the mercy of mean-minded teenagers. Still, it has more chance than it would have in this country or England.
SIR: Looking at the plethora of chairs in your features on the Spectrum exhibition and the Milan Fair (June 2001), one is tempted to ask why do we need any more chairs?' New ones seem to be variations on established generic classics, or silly and apparently uncomfortable innovations. We have chairs for every conceivable use and situation. What are all the new ones for except to gratify the egos of their designers and the pockets of the manufacturers?
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|Publication:||The Architectural Review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2001|
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