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Heidegger's Thinking on Architecture

Author(s): Christian Norberg-Schulz


Source: Perspecta, Vol. 20 (1983), pp. 61-68
Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of Perspecta.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1567066
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Christian Norberg-Schulz
Christian Norberg-Schulz 61
61

Heidegger'sThinkingon Architecture

Caspar David Friedrich,


"The Temple of Juno at
Agrigentum," 1830.

Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal, Volume 20 0079-0958/83/20061-008$3.00/0


? 1983 by Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal, Inc., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Christian Norberg-Schulz 62
62

Heidegger did not leave us any text on steadfastness of the work contrasts
architecture, yet it plays an important role with the surge of the surf, and its
in his philosophy. His concept of being-in- own repose brings out the raging of
the-world implies a man-made environ- the sea. Tree and grass, eagle and
ment, and when discussing the problem bull, snake and cricket first enter
of "dwelling poetically,"he explicitly re- into their distinctive shapes and
fers to the art of building. An exposition thus come to appear as what they
of Heidegger's thinking on architecture are. The Greeks called this emerging
therefore ought to be a part of our inter- and rising in itself and in all things
pretation of his philosophy. Such an ex- phusis. It clears and illuminates,
position may also contribute to a better also, that on which and in which
understanding of the complex environ- man bases his dwelling. We call this
mental problems of our time. ground the earth. What this word
says is not to be associated with the
In his essay "The Origin of the Workof idea of a mass or matter deposited
Art,"a major example is taken from archi- somewhere, or with the merely as-
tecture, which we shall use as our point of tronomical idea of a planet. Earth is
departure: that whence the arising brings back
and shelters everything that arises
A building, a Greek temple, portrays without violation. In the things that
nothing. It simply stands there in arise, earth is present as the shelter-
the middle of the rock-cleftvalley. ing agent.
The building encloses the figure of
the god, and in this concealment The temple-work, standing there,
lets it stand out into the holy pre- opens up a world and at the same
cinct through the open portico. By time sets this world back again on
means of the temple, the god is earth, which itself only thus emer-
present in the temple. This presence ges as native ground. But men and
of the god is in itself the extension animals, plants and things, are
and delimitation of the precinct as a never present and familiar as un-
holy precinct. The temple and its changeable objects, only to rep-
precinct, however, do not fade away resent incidentally also a fitting
into the indefinite. It is the temple- environment for the temple, which
work that first fits together and at one fine day is added to what is al-
the same time gathers around itself ready there. We shall get closer to
the unity of those paths and rela- what is, rather,if we think of all this
tions in which birth and death, di- in reverse order, assuming of course
saster and blessing, victory and dis- that we have, to begin with, an eye
grace, endurance and decline acquire for how differently everything then
the shape of destiny for human be- faces us. Mere reversing, done for
ing. The all-governing expanse of its own sake, reveals nothing. The
this open relational context is the temple, in its standing there, first
world of this historical people. Only gives to things their look and to
1 from and in this expanse does the men their outlook on themselves.'
Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, ed. nation first return to itself for the
Hofstadter (New York:Harper& Row, 1971), pp. 41ff.
fulfillment of its vocation. What does this passage tell us? Firstof all
we have to consider the context in which
Standing there, the building rests on the quotation is used. When Heidegger
the rocky ground. This resting of the mentions the temple, he does so to illumi-
work draws up out of the rock the nate the nature of the work of art. Deliber-
mystery of that rock's clumsy yet ately he chooses to describe a work "that
spontaneous support. Standing cannot be ranked as representational."
there, the building holds its ground That is, the work of art does not re-
against the storm raging above it present; rather it presents; it brings
2 and so first makes the storm itself something into presence. Heidegger de-
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 36. manifest in its violence. The luster fines this something as "truth."2The ex-
and gleam of the stone, though it- ample moreover shows that a building
self apparently glowing only by the according to Heidegger is, or may be, a
grace of the sun, yet first brings to work of art. As a work of art the building
light the light of the day, the breadth "preserves truth." Whatis thus preserved,
of the sky, the darkness of the night. and how is it done? The quotation indi-
The temple's firm towering makes cates answers to both questions, but we
visible the invisible space of air.The shall also have to refer to other writings
Christian Norberg-Schulz 63
63

of Heidegger's to arrive at the needed In "The Origin of the Workof Art" Heideg-
understanding. ger does not offer any true explanation,
and he even remarks that "here, the na-
The what in our question comprises three ture of world can only be indicated." In
components. First,the temple makes the Being and Time, however, he defines
god present. Second, it fits together what world ontically as the totality of things,
shapes the destiny of human being. Final- and ontologically as the Being of these
ly, the temple makes all the things of the fhings. In particular,the word means the
4 earth visible: the rock, the sea, the air, wherein a human being is living.4In his
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (New York:Harper, the plants, the animals, and even the light later writings he offers an interpretation
1962), p. 93. of the day and the darkness of the night. of this wherein as a fourfold of earth,
In general, the temple "opens up a world sky, mortals and divinities. Again we may
and at the same time sets this world back feel bewilderment, being used to thinking
again on earth." In doing this, it sets truth of world in terms of physical, social or
into work. cultural structures. Evidently Heidegger
wants to remind us of the fact that our
To understand what all this means, we everyday life-world really consists of con-
may look at the second question, the crete things, rather than the abstractions
how. Fourtimes Heidegger repeats that of science. Thus he says:
the temple does what it does by "stand-
Earth is the building bearer, nourish-
ing there." Both words are important. The
temple does not stand anywhere, it ing with its fruits, tending water and
stands there, "in the middle of the rock- rock, plant and animal.
cleft valley."The words rock-cleftvalley
are certainly not introduced as an orna- The sky is the sun's path, the course
ment. Ratherthey indicate that temples of the moon, the glitter of the stars,
are built in particular,prominent places. the year's seasons, the light and
dusk of day, the gloom and glow of
By means of the building the place gets the clemency and inclemency
extension and delimitation, whereby a night,
In of the weather, the drifting clouds
holy precinct for the god is formed. and blue depth of the ether.
other words, the given place possesses a
hidden meaning which is revealed by the
temple. How the building makes the des- The divinities are the beckoning
tiny of the people present, is not explicit, messengers of the godhead. Out of
but it is implied that this is done simul- the hidden sway of the divinities the
taneously with the housing of the god, god emerges as what he is, which
that is: the fate of the people is also inti- removes him from any comparison
mately related to the place. The visualiza- with beings that are present. The
tion of the earth, finally, is taken care of mortals are human beings. They are
by the temple's standing. Thus it rests on called mortals because they can die.
5 the ground, and towers into the air. In do- To die means to be capable of death
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 178. ing this, it gives to things their look. as death.5
Heidegger also emphasizes that the tem-
ple is not added to what is already there, Each of the four is what it is because it
but that the building first makes the mirrorsthe others. They all belong to-
6 things emerge as what they are. gether in a "mirror-play"which consti-
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 179. tutes the world.6The mirror-playmay
Heidegger's interpretation of architecture be understood as an open "between,"
as a "setting-into-work of truth" is new, wherein things appear as what they
and may even seem bewildering. Today are. In his essay on Johan Peter Hebel,
we are used to thinking of art in terms of Heidegger in fact talks about man's stay
expression and representation, and con- "between earth and sky, between birth
sider man or society its origin. Heidegger, and death, between joy and pain, be-
7 however, emphasizes that "it is not the tween work and word," and calls this
Martin Heidegger, Hebel der Hausfreund(Pfullingen: 'N.N. fecit' that is to be made known. "multifariousbetween" the world.7We
G. Neske, 1957), p. 13. Rather,the simple 'factum est' is to be see, thus, that Heidegger's world is a con-
3 held forth into the Open by the work."3 crete totality, as was already suggested by
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 65. T'hisfactum is revealed when a world is the references made in the discussion of
opened up to give things their look. World the Greek temple. Ratherthan being con-
and thing are hence interdependent con- ceived as a distant world of ideas, it is
cepts, which we have to consider to arrive given here and now.
at a better understanding of Heidegger's
theory. As the totality of things, the world is how-
Christian Norberg-Schulz
Christian Norberg-Schulz 64

ever not a mere collection of objects. guage, by naming beings for the first
13 When Heidegger understands the thing as time, first brings beings to word and to
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 73. a manifestation of the fourfold he revives appearance."'3
8 the original meaning of thing as a coming
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 174. together or "gathering."8Thus he says: The last quotation shows that in order to
9 "Things visit mortals with a world."9 grasp Heidegger's theory of art we also
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 200. Heidegger also offers examples to illus- have to consider his notion of language.
trate the nature of the thing. A jug is a Just as he does not understand art as rep-
thing, as is a bridge, and they gather the resentation, he cannot accept the inter-
fourfold each in their own way. Both ex- pretation of language as a means of
amples are relevant in our context. The communication, based on habit and con-
jug, thus, forms part of that equipment vention. When things are named for the
which constitutes man's proximal en- first time, they are recognized as what
vironment, whereas the bridge is a build- they are. Before they were just transient
ing which discloses more comprehensive phenomena, but the names keep them,
properties of the surroundings. Thus and a world is opened up. Language is
Heidegger says: therefore the original art, and discloses
"that into which human being as histor-
The bridge gathers the earth as ical is already cast. This is the earth and,
landscape around the stream ... It for an historical people it's earth, the self-
does not just connect banks that are closing ground on which it rests together
already there. The banks emerge as with everything that already is, though
10 banks only as the bridge crosses the still hidden from itself. It is, however, its
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 152. stream.10 world, which prevails in virtue of the rela-
14 tion of human being to the unconcealed-
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 75. The bridge thus makes a place come into ness of Being."'4
presence, at the same time as its ele-
ments emerge as what they are. The The quotation is important because it tells
words "earth" and "landscape" are not us that the earth and the world of an his-
used here as mere topographical con- torical people are what they are because
cepts, but to denote things that are dis- they are related to the earth and the world
closed through the gathering of the in general. Language keeps the world but
bridge. Human life takes place on earth, is used to say a world. Heidegger accord-
and the bridge makes this fact manifest. ingly defines language as the "House of
What Heidegger wants to reveal in his ex- Being." Man dwells in language, that is:
amples, is the thingness of the things, that when he listens to and responds to lan-
is, the world they gather. In Being and guage the world which he is, is opened
11 Time the technique used was called "phe- up, and an authentic existence becomes
Being and Time, p. 58ff. nomenology."" Later,however, he intro- possible. Heidegger calls this to "dwell
duced the term Andenken to indicate that poetically."15 Thus he says:
15
kind of genuine thought which is needed
We may in this context be reminded of Rilke'sIX to disclose a thing as a gathering. In But where do we humans get our in-
Elegy: "Arewe perhaps here to say: house, bridge, this kind of thought language comes formation about the nature of dwell-
fountain, gate, jug, fruit tree, window-at best: to play a primary role as a source of ing and poetry? . . . [We receive]
column, tower..."
understanding. it from the telling of language. Of
course, only when and only as long
16 When Heidegger wrote "The Origin of the as [we respect] language's own
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 215. Workof Art" he had not yet arrived at the nature.'6
concept of the fourfold, but in the descrip-
tion of the Greek temple all the elements Language's own nature is poetical, and
are there: the god, the human beings, the when we use language poetically the
earth, and, implicitly,the sky. As a thing, house of being is opened.
the temple relates to all of them, and
makes them appear as what they are, at Poetry speaks in images, Heidegger says,
the same time as they are united into a and "the nature of the image is to let
"simple onefold." The temple is man- something be seen. By contrast, copies
made, and is deliberately created to re- and imitations are mere variations on the
17 veal a world. Naturalthings, however, genuine image ... which lets the invisible
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 226. also gather the fourfold, and ask for an be seen .. ." 7 What this means is beau-
18 interpretation which discloses their thing- tifully shown by Heidegger in his analysis
Poetry, Language, Thought,p. 194ff. ness. This disclosure happens in poetry, of Trakl'spoem "AWinter Evening."18
12 and in general in language which "itself is What, then, is the origin of poetical im-
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 74. poetry in the essential sense."2 "Lan- ages? Heidegger answers explicitly:
Christian Norberg-Schulz
Christian Norberg-Schulz 65
65

19 "Memory is the source of poetry."'9 The closed in their immediate presence. It is


Martin Heidegger, VortrageundAufsatze II German word for memory, Gedachtnis, this kind of disclosure which is accom-
(Pfullingen:G. Neske, 1954), p. 11. means "what has been thought." Here we plished by the Greek temple. Thus
must, however, understand "thought" in Heidegger says that a man dwells "be-
the sense of Andenken, that is, as the dis- tween work and word." The word opens
closure of "thingness" or the "Being of up the world, the work gives the world
beings." Heidegger points out that the presence. In the work the world is set
Greeks already understood the relation back on earth, that is, it becomes part of
between memory and poetry. To them the the immediate here and now, whereby the
goddess Mnemosyne, memory, was the latter is disclosed in its being. Heidegger
mother of the Muses, with Zeus as the in fact emphasizes that "Staying with
father. Zeus needed memory to bring things is the only way in which the four-
22 forth art: Mnemosyne herself was the fold stay within the fourfold is accom-
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 151. daughter of the earth and the sky, which plished at any time ..22 When man
implies that the memories which give rise stays with things in a fourfold way, he
23 to art are our understanding of the rela- "saves the earth, receives the sky, awaits
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 150. tionship between earth and sky. Neither the divinities and initiates the mortals."23
earth alone nor sky alone produces a Therefore "mortals nurse and nurture
24 work of art. Being a goddess, Mnemosyne things that grow, and specially construct
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 151. is also simultaneously human and divine, things that do not grow."24 Buildings are
and her daughters are hence understood such constructed things, which gather a
as the children of a complete world: world and allow for dwelling. In the Hebel
earth, sky, humans and divinities. The po- essay Heidegger says:
etic image is therefore truly integral, and
radically different from the analytic cate- The buildings bring the earth as the
gories of logic and science. "Only image inhabited landscape close to man
formed keeps the vision," Heidegger says, and at the same time place the near-
20 and he adds: "Yet image formed rests in ness of neighbourly dwelling under
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 7. the poem."20 In other words, memory is the expanse of the sky.25
25 kept in language.
Hebel der Hausfreund,p. 13. This statement offers a clue to the prob-
What a poem and a work of art have in lem of architectural gathering. What is
26 common is the quality of image. A work is gathered, Heidegger says, is the "inhab-
In Hebel der Hausfreund,Heidegger explicitly in addition a thing, whereas a thing ited landscape." An inhabited landscape
considers villages and cities "buildings"in this proper does not possess the quality of im- obviously is a known landscape, that is,
context.
age. As a gathering it mirrors the fourfold something that is gewohnt. This land-
in its way, but its thingness is hidden and scape is brought close to us by the build-
21 has to be disclosed by a work.2' In "The ings,6 or in other words, the landscape is
We may again recall Rilke'sIXElegy: "Andthese
Origin of the Work of Art" Heidegger revealed as what it is in truth.
things, that live only in passing ... look to us, the
most fugitive, for rescue." shows how van Gogh's painting of a pair
of peasant shoes reveals the thingness of What, however, is a landscape? A land-
the shoes. By themselves, the shoes are scape is a space where human life takes
mute, but the work of art speaks for them. place. It is therefore not a mathematical,
Van Gogh's painting may be called a rep- isomorphic space, but a "lived space" be-
resentational image, but we have to em- tween earth and sky. In Being and Time
27 phasize that its quality as a work of art Heidegger points out that "what is within-
Being and Time, p. 135. does not reside in its being a representa- the-world ... is also within space,"27 and
tion. Other works of art, in particular explains the concrete nature of this space
works of architecture, do not portray any- referring to above as what is on the ceil-
thing, and are hence to be understood as ing, and below as what is on the floor. He
non-representational images. What is a also mentions sunrise, midday, sunset
28 non-representational image? To answer and midnight, which he relates to the re-
Being and Time, p. 137. this question, we first have to say a few gions of life and death.28 Already in his
more words about man-made things as early magnum opus, the notion of the
such. fourfold was implicit. In general he points
out that spatiality (Raumlichkeit) is a prop-
Although poetry is the original art, it does erty of being-in-the-world. The discussion
not exhaust the disclosure of truth. In po- of the Greek temple indicates the nature
etic language truth is brought "to word." of spatiality. Thus the building defines a
But it also has to be "set-into-work." Hu- precinct, or a space in the narrower sense
man life takes place between earth and of the word, at the same time as it dis-
sky in a concrete sense, and the things closes the nature of this space by stand-
which constitute the place have to be dis- ing there. In his essay "Building Dwelling
Christian Norberg-Schulz
Norberg-Schulz 66
66

Thinking"Heidegger makes this more ment provides a boundary. Ifwe refer this
precise, saying that buildings are loca- to our context, we may say that a place is
tions and that "the location admits the determined (be-dingt) by its boundary.Ar-
29 fourfold and installs the fourfold."29Ad- chitecture occurs in the boundary as an
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 158. mittance (Einraumen)and installment embodiment of world. Thus Heidegger
(Einrichten)are the two aspects of spa- says: "A boundary is not that at which
tiality as location. The location makes something stops but, as the Greeks recog-
room for the fourfold and simultaneously nized, the boundary is that from which
37 discloses the fourfold as a built thing. something begins its presencing."37A
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 154. Space is therefore not given a priori, but boundary may also be understood as a
is provided for by locations. "Building threshold, that is, as an embodiment of a
never shapes pure 'space' as a single en- difference. In his analysis of Trakl's"A
tity ... (but) because it produces things Winter Evening," Heidegger shows how
as locations, building is closer to the na- the threshold carries the unity and dif-
38 ture of space and to the origin of the ference of world and thing (earth).38In a
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 202. nature of 'space' than any geometry and building the threshold separates and si-
30 mathematics."30A location or "lived multaneously unites an outside and an in-
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 158. space" is generally called a place, and ar- side, that is, what is alien and what is
chitecture may be defined as the making habitual. It is a gathering middle where an
of places. outlook on the world is opened up and set
back on earth.
In a late essay "Artand Space," Heidegger
in more detail discusses the twofold na- Boundary and threshold are constituent
31 ture of spatiality.3'First he points out that elements of place. They form part of a fig-
Martin Heidegger, Die Kunst und der Raum (St. the German word Raum, (space) origi- ure which discloses the spatiality in ques-
Gallen, 1969). nates from raumen, that is, the "freeing of tion. In German its nature is beautifully
places for human dwelling." "The place shown by language itself, as the word
opens a domain, in gathering things Riss means rift as well as plan. The rift is
32 which here belong together."32"We must fixed in place by a Grund-rissas well as
Die Kunst und der Raum, p. 10. learn to understand that the things them- an Auf-riss, that is, by a plan and an eleva-
selves are the places and that they do not tion, whereby the twofold nature of spa-
33 simply belong to the place."33Second, the tiality again becomes apparent. Together,
Die Kunst und der Raum, p. 11. places are embodied by means of sculp- plan and elevation make up a figure or
tural forms. These embodiments are the Gestalt."Gestalt is the structure in whose
34 characters which constitute the place.34 shape the riftcomposes and submits it-
Die Kunst und der Raum, p. 12. self."39The word Gestalt evidently could
Sculptural embodiment is therefore
the "incarnation of the truth of Being be replaced by 'image,' whereby we gain
35 in a work which founds its place."35 an important clue to the understanding
Die Kunst und der Raum, p. 13. Heidegger's statements here may be re- of the architecturalimage. As the image
lated to his description of the temple as a comprises an elevation, it is a thing rather
39 body which stands, rests and towers. The than a mere geometrical diagram. "Stand-
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 64. thingness of a building is hence deter- ing there" as elevation, the architectural
mined by its being between earth and sky image sets the rift "back into the heavy
as a sculptural form. In general this lines weight of stone, the dumb hardness of
40 up with Heidegger's saying that the build- wood, the dark glow of colours."40
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 63. ing sets the world back on earth. Setting
back on earth means embodiment, or in Here Heidegger's thinking on the art of
other words, that the fourfold is brought building stops. In a certain sense it stops
into a thing through the act of building, in outside architecture itself, as it does not
the sense of poiesis. The earth thus keeps treat the problems of the architecturalGe-
the world that is opened up. stalt as such. And in fact Heidegger starts
his essay "Building Dwelling Thinking,"
The simultaneous opening and keeping saying: "This thinking on building does
may be understood as a conflict which not presume to discover architectural
41 Heidegger calls the "rift"(Riss). "The con- ideas, let alone give rules for building."4'
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 145. flict, however, is not a riftas a mere cleft The statement clearly shows that for
is ripped open; rather,it is the intimacy Heidegger the arts have their particular
with which opponents belong together." professional problems, which he, as a
"The rift does not let the opponents break philosopher, did not feel qualified to dis-
apart; it brings the opposition of measure cuss. His aim was not to offer any expla-
and boundary into their common out- nation, but to help man to get back
36 line."36The world, thus, offers a measure to authentic dwelling. All the same,
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 63. to things, whereas the earth as embodi- he certainly laid a foundation for the
Christian Norberg-Schulz 67
67

field, and demonstrated that his An- tween, also stand, rest and tower, to recall
denken may bring us far "on the way to the terms used in Heidegger's description
42 architecture."42 of the Greek temple. Thus they embody
It is interesting to notice that Heidegger's basic ideas characters which mirror man's state-of-
on world, thing, spatiality and building were implicit To sum up, we may repeat the main mind (Befindlichkeit),at the same time as
already in Being and Time (1927). "TheOriginof
the Workof Art" (1935) does not represent a new points of Heidegger's thinking on archi- they delimit a precinct which admits
departure, but rather brings us a step further on the tecture. The general point of departure is man's actions. A work of architecture
way. The later essays on "TheThing"(1950) and the thought that the world only emerges therefore discloses the spatiality of the
"BuildingDwelling Thinking"(1951) as well as the as what it is, when it is "said" or "set into fourfold through its standing there.
late text on "Artand Space" (1969), clarifyand
work."The discussion of the Greek tem- Standing there, it admits life to happen in
organize the thoughts contained in "TheOriginof the
Workof Art."In our opinion, therefore, Heidegger's ple illustrates this idea, stating that the a concrete place of rocks and plants, wa-
thinking shows great consistency and may certainly work "opens up a world" and "first gives ter and air, light and darkness, animals
be understood as a "way,"a metaphor he himself to things their look." Already in Being and and men.46Standing there, however, im-
liked to use.
Time, Heidegger emphasized that "dis- plies that what is standing must be under-
course is existentially equiprimordial with stood as a materialized image. It is the
43 state-of-mind and understanding.""3In "luster and gleam of the stone which
Being and Time, p. 203. other words, it is impossible to consider brings to light the light of the day, the
the world separately from language, breadth of the sky, the darkness of the
46
This is also how the world is described in Genesis I. which is understood as the House of night." A work of architecture is therefore
Being. Language names things which not an abstract organization of space. It is
"visit man with a world," and man's ac- an embodied Gestalt, where the Grundriss
cess to the world is through listening and mirrorsthe admittance and the Aufriss the
47 responding to language. Thus Heidegger mode of standing.47Thus it brings the in-
It is therefore something more than a matter of quotes Holderlin's dictum: Watbleibt aber, habited landscape close to man, and lets
convenience when architects present their projects by stiften die Dichter,what remains, the fac- him dwell poetically, which is the ultimate
means of plans and elevations.
tum est, is founded by the poets. aim of architecture.

To give the world immediate presence, We have already pointed out that
however, man also has to set truth into Heidegger does not offer any further ex-
work. The primary purpose of architecture planation of the architecturalGestalt or
is hence to make a world visible. It does image. The discussion of the Greek tem-
this as a thing, and the world it brings ple, however, suggests its nature. The
into presence consists in what it gathers. words "extension," "delimitation,"
Evidently a work of architecture does not "standing," "resting," and "towering," re-
make a total world visible, but only cer- fer to modes of being-in-the-world in
tain of its aspects. These aspects are terms of spatiality. Although the pos-
comprised in the concept of spatiality. sibilities are infinite, the modes always
Heidegger explicitly distinguishes spa- appear as variations on archetypes. We all
tiality from space in a mathematical know some of these, as column, gable,
sense. Spatiality is a concrete term de- arch, dome, or tower. The very fact that
nominating a domain (Gegend) of things language names these things, proves
44 which constitute an inhabited landscape.4 their importance as types of images
Heidegger's term Gegend (in Gelassenheit, Pfullingen The Greek example in fact starts with the which visualize the basic structure of spa-
1959, pp. 38ff.) may be translated with "domain"or
"region."
image of a rock-cleftvalley and later re- tiality.4 But here we go beyond the limits
fers to several concrete elements of earth of the present essay, and enter the field of
48 and sky. But it also suggests that land- architecturaltheory proper.
We may infer that a theory and history of archetypes scape cannot be isolated from human life
is urgently needed. and from what is divine. The inhabited Heidegger's thinking on architecture is of
landscape therefore is a manifestation of great immediate interest. At a moment of
the fourfold, and comes into presence confusion and crisis, it may help us to ar-
through the buildings which bring it close rive at an authentic understanding of our
to man. We could also say that inhabited field. Between the two wars, architectural
49
landscape denominates the spatiality practice was founded on the concept of
Louis Sullivan who coined the phrase, hardly
of the fourfold. This spatiality becomes "functionalism,"which got its classical
intending it in a radicalfunctionalist sense.
manifest as a particularbetween of earth definition in the slogan "Formfollows
45 and sky, that is, as a place.45 function."49The architecturalsolution
On several occasions Heidegger uses the German should, thus, be derived directly from the
word Ort,for instance in "Artand Space" where we When we say that life takes place, we im-
read: "DerOrt offnet jeweils eine Gegend, indem patterns of practical use. Duringthe last
er die Dinge auf das Zusammengehoren in ihr ply that man's being-in-the-world mirrors decades it has become increasingly clear
versammelt." This sentence presents Heidegger's the between of earth and sky. Man is in that this pragmatic approach leads to a
thinking on architecture in a nutshell! this between, standing, resting, and act- schematic and characterless environment,
ing. The natural and man-made things with insufficient possibilities for human
which constitute the boundaries of the be- dwelling. The problem of meaning in ar-
Christian Norberg-Schulz 68
68

50 chitecture has therefore come to the This does not mean, however, that the
See C. Jencks and G. Baird,eds., Meaning in fore.50So far, it has mostly been ap- problems are solved. Today we are only at
Architecture (London: Design YearbookLimited, proached in semiological terms, whereby a beginning. This is apparent in architec-
1969). architecture is understood as a system of tural practice, where functionalism is
51 conventional signs.51Considering archi- being abandoned while a new architec-
See G. Broadbent, R. Bunt, and C. Jencks, eds., Signs, tectural forms as representations of ture of images is emerging.53Heidegger's
Symbols and Architecture (Chichester:Wiley, 1980). something else, semiological analysis thinking may help us to understand what
has, however, proved incapable of ex- this implies, and his Andenken is certainly
52 the method we need to gain a fuller un-
This was also accomplished by Louis Kahn,whose plaining works of architecture as such.
conception of architecture comes surprisinglyclose Here Heidegger comes to our rescue. His derstanding of the things themselves. In
to Heidegger's thinking. See C. Norberg-Schulz, thinking on architecture as a visualization his essay "Building Dwelling Thinking,"
"Kahn,Heidegger and the Language of Architecture," of truth restores its artistic dimension and Heidegger in fact concludes that "thinking
Oppositions 18 (New York,1979). hence its human significance.52By means itself belongs to dwelling in the same
53 of the concepts of world, thing, and work, sense as building . . . Building and think-
See C. Norberg-Schulz,"Chicago:vision and image," he leads us out of the impasse of scien- ing are, each in its own way, inescapable
New Chicago Architecture (Chicago: Rizzoli, 1981). tific abstraction, and back to what is con- for dwelling."54In other words, we have
crete, that is, to the things themselves. to give thought to the thingness of things
54 in order to arrive at a total vision of our
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 150. world. Through such a poetical Andenken
we take "the measure for architecture,the
55 structure of dwelling."55
Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 227.

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