Photographic Architecture in the Twentieth Century

Photographic Architecture in the Twentieth Century

CLAIRE ZIMMERMAN
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 416
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctt7zw6cq
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    Photographic Architecture in the Twentieth Century
    Book Description:

    One hundred years ago, architects found in the medium of photography-so good at representing a building's lines and planes-a necessary way to promote their practices. It soon became apparent, however, that photography did more than reproduce what it depicted. It altered both subject and reception, as architecture in the twentieth century was enlisted as a form of mass communication.

    Claire Zimmerman reveals how photography profoundly influenced architectural design in the past century, playing an instrumental role in the evolution of modern architecture. Her "picture anthropology" demonstrates how buildings changed irrevocably and substantially through their interaction with photography, beginning with the emergence of mass-printed photographically illustrated texts in Germany before World War II and concluding with the postwar age of commercial advertising. In taking up "photographic architecture," Zimmerman considers two interconnected topics: first, architectural photography and its circulation; and second, the impact of photography on architectural design. She describes how architectural photographic protocols developed in Germany in the early twentieth century, expanded significantly in the wartime and postwar diaspora, and accelerated dramatically with the advent of postmodernism.

    In modern architecture, she argues, how buildings looked and how photographs made them look overlapped in consequential ways. In architecture and photography, the modernist concepts that were visible to the largest number over the widest terrain with the greatest clarity carried the day. This richly illustrated work shows, for the first time, how new ideas and new buildings arose from the interplay of photography and architecture-transforming how we see the world and how we act on it.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3996-4
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION BEYOND VISIBILITY MODERN ARCHITECTURE IN THE PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGE
    (pp. 1-18)

    The British architectural historian and critic Reyner Banham is reputed to have started the chain of events that led to this book. He did so most evidently in Buffalo, New York, although the events really began somewhere in England in the 1940s or 1950s, well before I was born and well before 1986, when the following words were printed:

    And this brings up a matter of extraordinary historical importance that goes well beyond any scandals about leaking roofs: . . . insofar as the International Style was copied from American industrial prototypes and models, it must be the first architectural...

  5. I. ARCHITECTURE AFTER PHOTOGRAPHY
    • 1. BILDARCHITEKTUREN ARCHITECTURAL SURFACE, CIRCA 1914
      (pp. 21-47)

      What roles did the mass-produced photographic image play in the study, practice and presentation of architecture in the age of photography, and since? To address this question, we might turn to the beginning of the twentieth century, when an early interaction between photographic mass media and buildings can be identified in two different contexts that allow the arguments of this book to commence. One of these is dealt with in this chapter; the other heads the second part of the book.

      Commercial photography of architecture emerged in the wake of photographic mass printing, altering the specialized genre of architectural photography...

    • 2. PHOTOGRAPHY INTO BUILDING MIES IN BARCELONA
      (pp. 49-83)

      Between the closing of the Stuttgart exhibition of 1927, “The Dwelling,” and its Glass Room and the hasty completion of one of the most well-known buildings of the Weimar period less than two years elapsed. Many of the same concerns that surfaced in Stuttgart were also addressed in Mies’s and Lilly Reich’s work at the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929. Perhaps the most notable repetition was found in the glass architecture of the so-called Barcelona Pavilion, or the German Pavilion at Barcelona (Figures 2.1–2.5). The building was referred to in German as aRepräsentationspavillon,a building with a symbolic...

    • 3. ARCHITECTURAL ABSTRACTION THE TUGENDHAT PHOTOGRAPHS
      (pp. 85-124)

      The main group of photographs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Tugendhat House in Brno constitutes a single (although multistranded) spatial narrative similar to the one recommended by Wilhelm Lotz in an article on architectural photography inDie Formin 1929.¹ One can trace a route right through the building: approach along the street from the south on the opposite side (Figure 3.1);² turn to view the distant Spilberk on the Brno skyline through the framed aperture between the entry and the garage; turn again to approach the front door and enter the building (Figure 3.2); turn again within the...

  6. II. ARCHITECTS AND ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHS
    • 4. TYPE-PHOTO ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN GERMANY
      (pp. 127-147)

      This chapter turns to architectural photography as a professional commercial practice that emerged after the advent of the mass-printed photograph. Compositional rules of thumb that governed the photography of the interwar period resulted from a long tradition of picture making that preceded the invention of photography. Andreas Haus has suggested how modern architecture and modern photography worked synergistically, infiltrating existing pictorial modes into effective photographs that combined the geometry of cameras with the geometry of modern architecture itself.¹ Most likely, age-old compositional rules and new technical protocols both contributed to the persuasiveness of photographic images such as those of the...

    • 5. AURA DEFERRED BAUHAUSBAUTEN DESSAU
      (pp. 149-177)

      By January 1926, the new building of the Dessau Bauhaus was under construction; before it was complete, the photographer and publicist Lucia Moholy began to take pictures.¹ She continued after construction was complete, photographing the school’s exterior and the houses for the Bauhaus masters located nearby. Among her photographs is a well-known picture of the studio wing of the Bauhaus (Figure 5.1). The camera rakes across the corner of the building, capturing the floors of the studios inside their transparent glass skin, cast-iron radiators sitting incongruously on visible concrete slabs in a building that appears naked, not merely glass-walled. Around...

    • 6. THE FUTURE IN THE PRESENT ERSCHEINUNGSFORM AND “THE DWELLING,” 1927
      (pp. 179-204)

      In May 1926 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe wrote a letter to the Werkbund journalDie Form,defending the recent exhibition of American architecture at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. The editor ofDie Form,Walter Curt Behrendt, published the letter near a rendering by Hugh Ferriss, one indicator of the wave ofAmerikanismus(Americanism) sweeping Berlin at the time. No review of the exhibition appeared in the journal, but Behrendt had noted in February 1926, “Instead of a report about the exhibitionNew American Architecturethat took place recently at the Academy of Art in Berlin, we present...

  7. III. IMAGEABILITY
    • 7. PROMISE AND THREAT AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHS IN POSTWAR GERMANY
      (pp. 207-237)

      We might begin in Germany in 1947. After a suspension of three or sometimes four years, German architectural journals were just beginning to reappear, often under new names. New building had generally ceased; ruin clearance and the repair of heavily damaged cities were the order of the day. Those architects who had remained in Germany after the exodus of the post-1933 period and the war itself witnessed the juxtaposition of former achievements and current destruction. In a letter from Rudolf Schwarz to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in May 1947, Schwarz wrote: “It’s not going very well here, we have...

    • 8. THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHITECTURE OF THE HUNSTANTON SCHOOL
      (pp. 239-267)

      The Hunstanton Secondary Modern School (Figure 8.1) in the village of Hunstanton in Norfolk, England, was published extensively in the architectural press even before it was finished. Construction photographs of the building show large white circles painted on its plate-glass walls to prevent humans and other animals from walking or flying into them as the steel frame of the building was slowly filled. Playful sketches were finger-etched on these white circles by the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi (Figure 8.2).¹ The photographer was Paolozzi’s friend and fellow member in the Independent Group Nigel Henderson, who used these pictograms when he depicted the...

    • 9. FROM PHOTOGRAPHIC SURFACE TO IMAGE OBJECT JAMES STIRLING’S POSTMODERNISM
      (pp. 269-298)

      One day in 1967, the architect James Stirling traveled to the construction site of the Cambridge History Faculty Library, where the architectural photographer Richard Einzig photographed him in the midst of his own work in progress. In the exposures taken that day, Stirling pops up like Kilroy here and there amid the roof trusses, trying out different angles for the camera in a series of photographs (Figure 9.1). These seemingly impromptu shots were followed by a series of elegant presentation photographs after the building had been completed (Figure 9.2). They import a convention (of the artist depicted in his own...

  8. CONCLUSION SURFACE DIVIDES
    (pp. 299-308)

    In July 1947, Ada Louise Huxtable sent an internal memo about the upcoming MoMA exhibition of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s work. She wrote, “Using a new approach to the display of architecture, the photographs shown will be very large (the largest 20 × 14 feet) and so arranged that they can be viewed from a distance to give the effect of actual buildings.”¹ Enlarged architectural photographs and drawings of Mies’s German projects became space-defining architectural elements in the gallery (Figure C.1).² Of seven large photomurals used as or placed on wall planes, all showed work executed before Mies’s 1937...

  9. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 309-312)
  10. NOTES
    (pp. 313-360)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 361-384)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 385-394)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 395-395)