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Richard Meier's Stadthaus Project at Ulm Author(s): Stephen Nicolaus Barthelmess Source: Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), Vol.

43, No. 3 (Spring, 1990), pp. 2-19 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1425068 . Accessed: 09/11/2013 09:38
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Richard
2

Meier's

Stadthaus at Ulm

Project

of a modern, the problems couldresolve socieindustrialized society.Thecomplex from the impact tal relationships rience.1 resulting on cities foundtheir of industrialization Stephen Nicolaus Barthelmess. He in the of answer studies in the of art The Iluis and architect concept utopian Sert, Josef planning history began president modern d'Architecture for the town. Two fundamental Internationaux archaeology,and philoso- theCongres architecture, outof thisprocess:the Maximilians Modernefrom1947 to 1956, told the developed utopias phy in 1982 at the Ludwig Munich. Hisresearch plan' and the 'society.' The futurist Universitat, projects followingstoryat the 8th C.I.A.M.in futurista of August I'Architettura haveincluded first andsecondgeneration 1951: manifesto, the new thinkGermanexpressionist 1914, alreadyexpressed artists,American Sant'Eliawrote: artsincethe 1960s, early "In1922, LeCorbusier acceptedan iningwhenAntonio expressionism, des Greeksculpture, and the philosophy of vitation issuedby the Salon d'Automne, "Nousne sommesplusles hommes des maisdesports cathedrales and asked MarcelTemporal about the colossaux, Plato, Kant,Schelling,and Nietzsche. Since 1985, he haspursued thedoctoral Salon'sdefinition of urbanconstruction. marchescouvert,des passages brillamet in ment and the Universit6 de eclaires,des plansde demolition degree at Munich Temporal replied,'We are interested la nousfautinventer de reconstruction. 11 witha concentration streetart, benches,kiosks,streetlamps, in Paris,Sorbonne, ilfaut soitunimmense forcultural Hismas- and billboards.' cit"futuriste: architecture also had a qu'elle buildings. Temporal ter'sdegreeculminated in an analysis of commission for him:'look, you should chantiertumultueux, vivant,noble, dymuseum since 1945, and forme.'But Corbusier namique..."5 Le architectgure designa fountain in 1988 as Daspostmod- replied:'Alright, for was published I'lldesigna fountain of history thatit Itprovedto be an irony erne Museum als Erscheinungsform von you, butbehindit I shallplace a cityfor 2 of the Secthe destruction was precisely des Muse- threemillion Architekture: Die Bauaufgabe inhabitants.' created theprecondiWarthat umsimSpannungsfeld vonModerne ondWorld und realization of these the Postmoderne. Barthelmess for holds The of the was 'The tions official theme necessary currently congress a predoctoral in theyearsfollowAs a result, theGetfy Center Urban and during the courseof Center', concepts. fellowshipat fortheHistory towns of Art and theHumanities, theseproceedings, of the theinadequacy ing 1945 when manyEuropean and is completing as thefirst a dissertation levelled stageofthe on the 'Charter ofAthens' wasfinally recognized.3 werefinally relation between reconstruction museum architecture and Architectural of theearlytwenti- postwar process,the methconcepts ofwhether thesetowns withafocuson theprojects of ethcentury-Tony Citeindustri- odological Garnier's urbanism, problem Richard be newlybuilt Meier. elle (1901-1904), AntonioSant' Elia's should or, if theconditions of thetowninquesof thatparticular Citta nuova (1913-1914), Mario part was more allowedit,newly Sincethe late 1960s, architectural Chiattone's fora Modern arranged, Metropo- tion pracProject and more tice has increasingly been confronted Taut's Stadtkrone lis(1914), Bruno 11917vigorously posed.6 Anysolution by and architects have urbanistic Corbusier'sVille contemporaine clearly had to take into account both demands, 1919),Le The andurban historical dimensions.7 to consider thattheisolation de 3 millions been forcqd d'habitant lively (1922) theplan of abouta new arrangement from therealm of cityplanof architecture voisin for Paris (1925), Ludwig discussions the fresh in Berlin Kulturforum-still the no be can The Hilbersheimer's Hochhausstadt legitimated. (1924)longer ning in architecture were so dominant of representation thatthe city planning memoryeven today-pointed to the question in the conflictbeinherent a terrifying ambivalence arises i this contextagainst the back- arising from them,prefiguring Wolf architecture andcityplanning. tween of thetradition endof abstraction, and townof thefuture, utopian ground provoked state this Siedler characterized it is precisely inprojects forcultural build- less discussions. Itwas madeveryclear Jobst aptly of whenhe said: of affairs of thecityas anarchitec- that theahistoric ingsinthecenter concepts cityplanning turaltaskthatthisdevelopment with can be thesearchitects werenotreconcilable would traced. Theadoptionof historical Philharmonia whichhadgradu- "Scharoun's form existing townstructures onlyhave centerand had a chanceto be the majestic overthecourse of history, plays a crucial role in this development: allyevolved architectural of recent which had essentially been 'inherited.'4 pieceof thecityifithadbeenplacedinthe projects yearshave shownthatconstruction can embrace the Theurban of the earlytwentieth old Wilhelmina as, indeed, quarter-just projects wide spectrum from'quotation' to 'allu- centurydemonstrated the Pompidou Centeris surrounded by very clearly that sion.' Theyhave also demonstrated Itis the of 17thcentury to districts that because architecture had attempted buildings. that of today,notyesterday, thearchitect's archi- environment visual persnoal, experience dominatecity planningattempts, itand,as ruined The tectshadeffectively lostthe'street,' thefun- has, inan urban can be renderd available andpublic. context, center around cultural this formless a result, of metropolitan life.These of damental present paperaddressesthe problem artery of Miesvan der constructions towardhistorical projects the architect's attitude were,ontheone hand,a reaction the unique is inescapand Scharoun Sitte's idea of cityplanRohe,Gropius, form,how thisis relatedto the abstract againstCamillo the the of the fact but able to artistic tradition in building, proof and, how it can be epoch of principles, ningaccording is no longercompeensemblebuilding indifference to inter- on the otherhand, they expressedthe lead from ultimately tent."8 which est. utopian conceptof an architecture Urban Context and its abstract interpretation withpersonal connected profoundly expe"Mystyle is bornout of the culture,yet is
1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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3
With the Ulmproject,the demandsof city became public planning on architecture and were realized. Thus,it is notso much its outward appearance that especially distinguisheshis concept, but rather its urbanistic significance.13Meier's design forthe UlmStadthaus-and particularly by of other comparisonwith the submissions a concept thatdemarchitects-represents onstratesthe effectivenessof a combinawhere tion of the new and the traditional a public buildingis concerned, and turns intoreality. new stage in urbanist thinking buildItis preciselyin projectsforcultural ings inthecenterof thecityas architectural task that this developmentcan be seen since the early 1970s.14 The basic Lof the Ulm projectwas shaped structure formin his first used byMeieras a building project for the Museum of Modern Art, VillaStrozzi,Florence(1973). (Figures 3, 4, 5) The structure employed here was developed in connectionwith an existing villa and its stables, nineteenth-century and was intended to bring together the new and the old in a buildingensemble. TheL-shaped buildingtakesitsshape from the analogous plan of the existingstables, of the assumingthe formand proportions and causing the open older architecture, space created between the two partsof the complex to 'meltaway' by providing level. Meier's projan open ground-floor ect thusachieves an enclosed space, one which sets up a harmony among the existing buildingsand which resultsin an eninteracsemblethatstrivestowardintimate tion with its urbansurroundings.

of 1986, aerialviewof modelfrom UIm Sktdlhaus project wesl

at Umprior to 1986 archltecturol Minsterplatz competilion forthenewStodlhaus

The formerReichsstadt of SouthWurttemberg, Ulm, has been wrestlingwith the for of reshapingits 'MOnsterplatz' problem about one hundredyears. A look at the presenturbansituationreveals an image thatcan be found in many postwar European cities: Where the medieval town center stood before its destruction,both were carrestorationand reconstruction ried out with the functionalplainnessthat of the 1950s characterizedarchitecture and 1960s. Inthis spirit,the overscaled, tarmacadamed square in front of the Munstercathedral, where now stands a on flat-roofed'pavilion,'was surrounded its peripheryby buildings with monotonous gabled facades. This situation at once raisesquestionsabout the fate of the architecture of the modernmovement after 1945. The city of Ulm, location off the formerHochschuleforGestaltung-a successor of the Bauhaus-even today has an uncertainrelationto Bauhaus ideas and architecture.9 The decision to destroythe Miesianflat-roofed pavilionand to present constitutes replace itwitha Meier building to confront theold avanta fearlessattempt garde against all opposition.10

Itwas clear thatat the end of the 1980s, the unprepossessingly plain outward appearance of the center was no longer the appropriateimage for the prosperous town of Ulm, not least because in this squarestandsa cathedralwiththeworld's tallest spire.1 In 1986, an international competitionof invitedarchitectsopened theway fora totallynew planning concept for the cathedral square, and Richard Meier'sconceptwas ultimately accepted.12 (Figures1, 2) Meier'sproposeddesign forUlm occupies work. a special positionin hisarchitectural

Richard Villa ofModem Srozzi,Florence, Meier,Museum Art, 1973 Spring1990 JAE 43/3

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InbuildingtheMuseum furKunsthandwerk at Frankfurt-am-Main (1979-1985) (Figures6, 7), Meier returned to the L-shaped whichhad characterized the configuration Florentine design, but here he adapted it to meetquitedifferent basic requirements. Taking the existing neoclassical Villa Metzler as a point of departure,Meier in hisFrankfurt museum a design implanted in architectural concept formulated theory from Vitruvius to Alberti and Palladiowhich proposed a disposition of open urban spaces analogous to the spatial dispositionsof the house. Palladiorelatedthisto theGreekand Roman fora,and refinedthe idea in his design for the 'Palazzo PortoFesta'.15(Figures8, 9) The Frankfurt museum buildingitself draws on Italiancity planning ideas in which the house is conceived as a smallcity, and the city as a big house-the notionof casa in cittae cittain casa. 16 InRichard Meier'sdesigns, thearchitectural form of the L-shaped ground plan and a specific urbantypologystand over and against each other, and only when they are linked together do they coherence. acquire architectural Inthe design forUlm,Meierdoes notstrive to render the architecturean immanent 'town structure' in itself, as at Frankfurt. Here the cathedral square as an urban form takes on a 'structure' which both newlydefines the squareand emphasizes its intrinsic urbancharacter.Thatwhich in Frankfurt is integral to the architectural findsits realization at Ulmonly in program rapportwith the existing urbansituation: The disproportionately arge scale of the is transformedby Meier's MOnsterplatz abstractindesign into an unconstrained of urban density of the kind terpretation that we know from Italiansquares. The functionof the Stadthaus as symbol of public life, community,and democratic freedomexceeds thefunctional heritageof Meier's plan for the building architecture; alludes in a subtleway to the significance of the 'square'as thefocal pointof communal and urbanlife and in this way gives back to the city center its lost identity.In additionto this,the designationStadthaus makesspecific referenceto the town halls whichare situatedin Italian publicsquares and have a particularurban and civic function. integral parts Theyare themselves
1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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of an urbanensemblewhich accordingto Cicero ensuredthe politicaland communal identity of the town's inhabitants. They often have an open ground floor with arcades through whichone can walk from a large piazza to a smaller piazzetta, and therebyassumea specific urbanrole: the demarcation and urbanistic of prolinking portionallydifferentopen spaces to the city's center. Ananalogousurban structure can be found, forexample in the northern Italian town of 10, 11 ) There,in the Bergamo.7 (Figures uppertownof cittdalta, lies the old town center of Bergamo, the spacious Piazza

del ConVecchiawithitsbeautiful Fontana tarini of Venetian times.Itspills reminiscent over intothe smallerPiazzettadel Duomo, which is separatedfromthe grandpiazza by the Palazzo della Ragione, with its open, arcaded groundfloor.Thesquare's accessibilityto the publicis ensuredby a networkof streets-some of them quite narrow-and alleywayscrossingfrom east to west and north to south.(figures12, 13, 14, 15) Thelargerand moreopen Piazza Vecchia, surroundedand bordered by buildings of different appearance and traffic function,is open to the important arteryof Via Gambito,and facilitatesthe bustleof town life. ThesmallerPiazza del

Duomo is much more intimateand enof an inner closed. Ittakeson thecharacter with the adjoincourtyardin conjunction ing Duomo, the Capella Colleoni, the Battistero,the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Palazzodella Ragione, white linkagewithand accessibilityto the Piazza Vecchia are providedby the open Ground floor of the town hall. Both squares-the piazza and the piazzettaarise fromthe densely woven urbanstructure, the buildings on their peripheries, and the streetsand axes which open into them.The urbandensityat Bergamo,the similarqualitiesof the town, and the accessibilityof urbanopen spaces findtheir analogy, if in an abstracttransformation, in RichardMeier's museum project for Thisshows, among otherthings, Frankfurt. thatthe significanceof the squareand the surrounding buildingscan only be realized in an architecturally open and unlimited spatial division. In the UlmStadthausproject,the proportional startingpoint for the design is the unit-central squarequadraticmodular of the cathedral. Itsgeometricformas a entity--'unite qui ne bouge proportional pas-constitutes the basis for the gridded segmentationof the cathedralsquare to is which the groundplan of the Stadthaus 16, 17) positioned. 8 (Figures disjunctively The 'tension'which thus arises between the square and the plan for the Stadthaus form bindsone to the other.Thequadratic the L-shaped is repeatedmanytimeswithin buildingcomplex, which is divided into different two functionally partslinkedby a wall aligned with the axis of Ulm'smain shopping street, Hirschstrasse,and encloses a small inner courtyard.(Figures 18, 19) Thiswall, which both joins and divides, allows views throughan open groundfloor. Ithas its parallelin Frankfurt in thatit is integratedintoan autonomous urbanistic structure, appearing here as an of thepalazzo della abstractinterpretation ragione described at Bergamo,and also with in the way it separates the courtyard theforecourt. thegardenfrom 20, (Figures 21, 22) Therefore, approachingthe spaof as cious square-which one mustthink being fused with the buildingcomplex by of quadraticdivisions-and the repetition the open groundfloorof walkingthrough
1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

Richard forthe Decorative Meter,Museum Arts,Frankfurt, axiometric view, 1979-1985

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the dividing'wall,' one arrivesat the prosmallerperipheralbuildingsof portionally the square.Through the architecture of the Stadthaus,the square acquiresa structure that provokes a dialogue between the of the cathedral, large open space in front the piazza, and the smaller open space to the southwestof the ensemble, the piazzetta. The greatest 'tension' exists in the small innercourtyardenclosed by the two proand functionally different buildportionally ing units,and in the middleof whicha tree will be planted. Theshiftin balance which occurshere in termsof the spatial relationshipsof cathedralto square,and Stadthaus to squareand to cathedral, has the effect of diffusing the competitive relation betweenthemonumental breadth of thesquare and the cathedral which 'demands' a town structure on a muchsmallerscale, in that the focal point of the square is relocated to the open space created by the Stadthaus. In this way, the cathedral rethe squareand vis-a-vis gains itsautonomy the peripheral buildings,and recedes into the background,reemphasizing the sense of a loose urbanensemble. Here Meier's ideas aboutarchitecture, opposed as they are to a purelyfunctionalist approach to building,are made explicit: Theeffectiveness of the executionof architectural tasks withcity planningmeasures inconjunction depend upon their integration into the intended urban framework. With this approach, Meier averts the danger of from thesite, joining isolatingthe buildings them together instead into the urbanensembleof MOnster, and periphStadthaus, eral buildings. Itbecomes clear in lightof these observations that the competitionfor a new arrangementof the central square in Ulm and especially the project for a cultural buildingin thecentralpartof the cityas an taskrepresented in essence a architectural city planningchallenge. Since the beginning of the 1970s, related projects by architects like James Stirling, Oswald Hans Hollein, MathiasUngers,RobKrier, and others have addressed similar demands, and it was precisely this aspect which engaged Meier's keen interestin this competition.19 As his designs of the
1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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last few years so forcefullydocument, Meier's thoughtsconcerning architecture are increasingly dominated by urban which for himmean, as in considerations, on open space as the Ulm,concentrating heartof communal life.The'square'comes to be the significantfocus of both public and urbanplanning.Seen in architecture thisway, the architectural significance of Meier'sdesign lies in itsdialogue withthe dimensionsof the square, and not in the termsof a functionally independentand inwardly oriented structurelike, for exdeample, Ricardo Bofill's monumental sign for the Marnede la Valle near Paris. The architecturalarrangementtherefore becomes synonymouswith urban planning. Preciselybecause of its urbanistic genesis, Meier's design could not have been realized anywhereotherthan in the squareat Ulm,and the proposed building will acquireitsformalidentity onlythere.2 Meier gave expression to this nexus of ideas when he wrotein his 'thoughts about the task:' "The function of architecture-mostof all, architecture in a historicalcontext-is to
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seek and extendassociationsand relationships-not only functionally and formally but also historically and typologically-associationswith the existingbuildingsand with the town as an entity."21 Meier's projects demonstratethe strong influence of city planning principleson architecture,such that architectureitself becomes-as in Frankfurt and Ulm-an illustration of the aesthetic and formal appearance of the city. The resultof the of such practiceleads finally development to an urbanization of architecture. The architecture of the modernmovement of urbanbuildsoughtto resolveproblems which led to the loss of ing architecturally, the open and variegated structure of the architecture cityof the past. Contemporary tackles architecturalproblems from the of urban standpointof the requirements planning,and thiscan lead to a regaining of urbanopenness and densityas well as to an enrichment of urbanexperience. In thisprocessthereis dangerinthetendency toward an architecture thatis merely quoting old city planningideas in the tradition of CamilloSitte. Itis important thatcity planningdemandsbe consideredon the basis of concepts inherentin the tendency to-

motivated wardabstraction, by an abstract in 'historical modelsof the masterinterest Meier'scultural pieces of town culture.'22 buildingsdemonstrateabove all that the architect'spersonal, visual experience of this town culturecan be renderedavailable and public. The urbanopen space in the centerof the city and its new arrangementmanifests itself as abstract interpretation-synonymous with the postmodern-of historical models of the past and the visual experience of them. Tradition and Innovation Meier variously In his Ulm plan, Richard modelsand architectural hintsat historical traditionswhich he does not, however, slavishlycopy. Rather,in his borrowing to a basic abstract fromhistory,he returns idea. His use of historicalforms is thus motivatedby an abstractinterestin them. withhistory existsin the conjuncA first link tion of the site with the neighboringlate in the termsof gothic cathedral. Interest is already reflected,to gothic architecture a certaindegree, in Meier'sprojectsprior to Ulm. By allusionto flying buttressesin the atriumof the High Museum of Art, :'. '
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Spring1990 JAE 43/3

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Atlanta(1979-1984), forexample, Meier adopts a significant formal element of and remindsus of the gothic architecture idealistic nineteenth-century view of the as 'cathedralof education'or as museum 'aestheticchurch.'23 23, 24) Inthe (figures Ulmdesign, the quadraticcentralsquare of the cathedralplays a fundamental role in the calibration of proportionsfor the entireproject.And, the view to the cathedralofferedfromthe innerexhibition area of the Stadthaus-designated as a gallery formedieval art-makes clearthebuilding's relationshipwith the neighboringgothic structure.24 To the proportional analogy is added a visual congruence. A thirdrapportwith the cathedralis foundin Meier's formaladoption of the open arrangement of the west portalof the cathedral in his design. With its staggered depths and planes, the Stadthausalludes to the perof space achieved in spectivalpenetration the west facade of the cathedral.(figures 25, 26) Meier, then, attemptswith his design to establish proportional(central square), visual (reflexiveprospects),and formal-architectural (perspective penetration of the facade) relationships between Stadthaus and cathedral.Thethreegabled roofs at the southwesternend of the Stadthausperform a comparablefunction in relation to the buildings on the periphery of the MOnsterplatz, which in both cases amountto the adoption of medieval roof forms. A further element Meier draws from the historical in language of form,particularly his recent museumdesigns, are architectural installations, isolated architectural features whichappear to standalone or to mark particular pointsinthearea surrounding a building,butwhich also emphasize the visitor's access pointto park-like sites, formal connectionsbetweenarchimaking tectureand landscape. These independentarchitectural whichin Ulm installations, are effectively wallsattached free-standing to the building complex, their surfaces pierced by fenestration,contributeto a differentiation of the structure perspectival of the facade. They also representthe formknown adoption of an architectural from Englishcountrygardens since the middleot the eighteenthcentury. Theseso1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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The newly awakened interestin the outwardappearance of architecture since the end of the 1960s, proof of which lies in the publiccontroversy raisedover the Ulm project for the new disposition of the is accompanied by the inMOnsterplatz, herent danger thatitcan lead to a narrowing of view, a blinkeredperspectiveon historical of form,bothfromthe standpoint the proposed architecture as well as its historicalsurroundings. Thisapproach to which claims to recognize interpretation, historical styles where none exist, hinders a clearview of what is innovative and new incontemporary and thisleads architecture, finallyto the fact that anyone who talks about modernismr-in relationto the early twentiethcentury-is considered 'conserMeier drew his language vative.' Richard of formmainlyfromthe earlyavant-garde, which revealsthathisguidingdesign principle is rooted in abstraction.Meyer was concerned with making visual the language of formof the modernmovement, it in connecexactlyas he once formulated tion with the Frankfurt museumproject: "...to say something about what might have been if the nation'sgreatest talents had not been forced into exile."27With century, but which also underlines the abstractinterest in historical forminitiated the movement. modern One findsother by historical 'allusions' in Meier's projects which seem only to have importancein termsof his 'attitude'toward them. Emil in his descriptionof Ledoux's Kaufmann, attitude toward historical forms, aptly expressedwhat is seen in Meier'sprojects as a relationbetween hisown architecture and thatof the past: "It is of secondary importancethat Leused doux, for example in his 'Barrieres,' old motifs.Eventhe violentway in which he altered theirshape has relativelylittle significance. Nor can questionsregarding theirindividual originshelp to reveal the artistic intentionsbehind them.The important thing is that Ledouxtried, from the ground up, to build somethingnew. When one recognizesthatthiswas his real aim, then one knows that the decisive, clarifyingquestion is not where does it come from, but in what direction is it going?"26

called fabriquesare a newly-established genus of architecture: small-scalestructures intended for parks. Taking up the same theme,J. M. Morel,in his Theorie de jardins (1776), characterized fabriques as buildingsthathad particular effect in a whichwere environment, park-like buildings added by man to natureto beautifythe garden. Theyare buildings,as Johannes workedout in his articleaboutthe Langner conditionsof the architecture of the French Revolution in landscape gardens, which grew outof the archaicformof the garden hut, and developed-mainly throughthe architectureof Ledoux-an architectural Inemployinga particularized simplicity.25 typeof architecture developedinthemiddle of the eighteenthcentury,as an abstract of these architectural instalinterpretation lations, Meier harksback to a tradition which played a decisive partin the developmentof the formallanguage of modern architecture. is Here, however, continuity manifested in a linkbetween the historical formand a language of form whichlead to the architectureof the early twentieth

114

14 Plazze del Duomo, Cn oa/t,Bergamo Allnarl) (photo:

1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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this as a startingpoint, makinghistorical visualand theabstractinterest in continuity historicalforms both come to show that historical formis the decisive factorwhere the survivalof modernismis concerned: Modernismsurvives in the continuityof historical form.Inthissense, Meier'sarchitecture intends to establish architecture's autonomy, and to replace indifference with interest.Thus, the innovativeness of Meier'sarchitecture is legitimizedthrough the awareness of tradition, a decisive characteristic of his architecture. The Stadthausprojectis, therefore,not only a convincingcounterto all those polytheisms with which criticsof contemporary architectureseek to legitimatetheirconfusion, but it also shows that far from historical formbeing lost as a resultof abstraction, it can be the very source of inspiration for the new.

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The Quotation as Architecture: The End of Architecture?


is muchemphasismade these days "There Late-Modernon labels: Post-Modernism, I ism, Neo-Modernism,Deconstructivism. to labels of from kind prefer stayaway any as I feel thatthey tend to shiftthe focus of thedebates, inthe universities, forums and fromthe real, relevantissues publications, in architecture today. Thereis no question that any architect practicing today has been influencedby the workof the Modernists,Corbusier,Aalto, Mies, and Groius. And I, obviously, am no exception, ut I have equallyfound muchto examine and in the work of Bramante,Borromini concerns have Neumann. Formy primary been with making space, manipulating volume, surface, forms and light into a place."28 Contemporaryarchitectureis characterof tendencies,schools, ized by a multitude and interpretations. Theappearanceseems to depend exclusivelyupon how the architect formulatesthe engagement with a of architecture, which conception something in extremely individual often results 'physiAs a necesognomic manifestations.'29 for the architectof this, precondition sary fromthe course had firstto gain autonomy In a of functional construction. uniformity has paralleldevelopment,the architecture
1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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Sladthaus UIm planwith'dMiding proectof 1986, ground Richard wall'(courtesy Meier, Architec)

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MuseumtortheDecorativeArts,Franklurt, analyticaldiagrams of site and overlaid grids

Spring1990 JAE 43/3

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12

tended to representhimselfas an artistin order to emphasize newly gained independence. Along with many other archiMeier publishedhis monotects, Richard graph in the familiarRenaissancetradition of the artistpresentinghis oeuvre, titlingit Richard Meier Architect. Inthisvolume, he publisheda photographof himselfin the same pose as is represented in a selfportrait by the mannerist painterFrancesco Mazzola, called 'II (1523).30 Parmigianino' (Figures27, 28) Once liberatedfromthe historic of thefunctionalist tradicompulsion tion, the architect became master of an inexhaustiblepluralism of forms. Delving with uninhibiteddesire into the box of the history of 'buildingblocks'leftover from he was at last free to 'play architecture, so long denied. Stuttgart withthoseforms of or London, itdoesn'tmatter Paris,New York where: temples, columns, gable, picturesque formsof all kindsbecame the popular requisitesof the language of architectureand were used witha facile virtuosity.
Initspresent 18 Munsterpltz-Hlirschstrsse at Ulm/Donau state

The Quotation
Is it irony,musealization,memory,expression forthe absence of the architect's inspifromthe functionration,fashion, liberation alist dogma, or merelyexpressionof indifferenceto thecategoriesof stylistic conception?While the phenomenonof the return of the 'quotation' in contemporary architectureraisesa number of questions,in particular those of meaningand intention, above all it indicates a decisive turnaway from international functionalism. And, the problemof the fate of architecture afterabstract

functionalism became a publicconcern cal quotation. One of thefirst architects to

to thehistoripreciselybecause of thisreturn

19 Saodhaus rIm prioect ~Architec)

1990 (pho: Richord MNer.

forms engage the problemof transplanting from the past for nonfunctional,merely representational-purely aesthetic-purin his projectfor poses was James Stirling the reorganizationof the town center of Derby (1970), the prototypefor Charles Moore's Piazza d'Italia in New Orleans (1976-1979). (Figures29, 30) The international museum competitions for the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and Sammlung Ludwigin Cologne (1975), and for the KunstsammlungNordrheinwestfalen in discussionsabout a new architectural language. These projects apparently repre-

DOsseldorf theimpetus for (1975) provided

Spring1990 JAE 43/3

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..

13

sented the beginnings of a fundamental'

would which discourse shift inarchitectural

culminatein the international competition of theStattsga-lerie fortheextension Stuttgart a shift (1974-1977).31 They demonstrate inthe increasedinfluinemphasisresulting ence of urbandesign problemson archi.d1tecturalconception. The necessity for urban space to be functionalspace has ii declinedand given way to theexpectation that urban space could be representationalspace whichoffersnew and unfamiliar experiences. The influenceof urban. of the architect,the new relationbetween art, architect, and architecture,and a fornew increasein projects corresponding definedthe terms forthis museum buildings The quotanew language of architecture. tion-often utterly superficial-became the conception; very mediumof architectural

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in particular, the followingfourtypical


quotations'come into play in contemporaryarchitectural projects:

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turalformdetached from its historical


context; 2. the abstract interpretation of urban forms and patterns: traditional urban patterns adopted underthe auspices of the 'construction' or 'reorganization'of urbanspace; 3. the interpretation and transposition of historical models based on an abstracthistoricalmodels based functionalist language of formsin connectionwith new materials: high-techarchitectural design; 4. intellectual rationales forprojects based on historical, and philosophiarchitectural, cal theory: architecture as project.

1. theformal architecquotation: stylistic

andplazzetta, 20 Palazzodella piazza between Ragione Citt6 oh, Bergamo(photo: AJinarl)

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21

north elevation Museum fortheDecorative Arts,Frankfurt,

James Stirling'sdesign for Stuttgart provided an initial testing ground for the projectof quotation from the historyof architecture: The unmistakable classicism of his plan recalls the great nineteenthtradition of the museum. century Egyptian, Greek,Roman,medieval, baroque, surrealist, constructivist, Pop, and so on: the could pluralistic archaeological time-work be read withgreat ease even by the most casualobserver.Thevisitor is confronted

22

Stdthous

Uilmnriect of 1990 V withsm.ll (hono: Richard Meiier Architecll I)li (phono: RichardMeler, Architecq

cur.... Inner W

or

1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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14

A4

24 23 ot Artl Richard Meter,High Museum 1983 entrance rtovrd atlrum, ramp vt, , ew tram

fromeast Noire Damede Pars, view of Ring buttresses AusHn) (phot: James

witha plethoraof architectural quotations whose seamless integrationcleverly sets the stage for a public pedestrianway, a kindof LeCorbusian'architectural promenade.'32 (Figures31,32) In the compression of passageways and axes connecting the open spaces of the complex, Richard Meier realized with his MuseumforKunsthandwerkin Frankfurt-am-Main something he further developed with his Stadthaus which projectfor Ulm-an urbanprogram proposed a disposition ot open spaces analogous to spatial dispositions in the house based on the casa in cittde cittc in casa formula,with a formalarchitectural appearance related to early twentiethNorman Foster's century architecture.33 Hong Kongand Shanghai Bankbuilding in Hong Kong(1982-1985) usheredin a Theabstractinternew era forskyscrapers. and temple of Chineselampinions pretation architecturein conjunctionwith a confuturistic structivist language of forms related to the work of Tatlin, El lissitzky, Leonidow,Sant' Elia,and the architecture fromabout 1927 Revolution of the Russian withupdatedmaterials now all manifested and processes of construction,brings to architecturea completely new appearinnoand representation, ance: high-tech
Spring1990 JAE 43/3

come togetherin the vation and tradition purest alliance.34 (Figure 33) Adapting old philosophicaltheoriesto the concepOswaldMathias tionof architecture, Ungers developed a systemof buildingtheories. The'coincidence of opposites,' (Nicolaus von Cues's Beryll,for example) suggests the architectural principleof architecture Based upon investigaitself.'35 'explaining tionsintothe subjectof space, HansDieter of 'architectural Schaal proposeda variety situations'for creating space in architectraditionand ture. Vis-6-visarchitectural practice, such a theoreticalapproach is notconceived or intendedfor realization, but ratheris condemned to the statusof or 'idea.'36(Figure 34) Inconnec'project' tionwithStirling's direction,an intensification of architectureby its objectification throughthe use of historicalquotation, Ungers's and Schaal's intellectualdirection seems to be the opposite pole one which defeats itselfby virtueof the threat of an architectural utopia. This, by the characteristic is a already known way, Revoluof the French fromthe architecture fantaarchitectural tionand fromPiranesi's sies. Theseexamplesmakeitclear thatthe pointof referencefor the re-useof historian abstract cal forms is fundamentally and thatthese formsare quoted intention,

because of an abstractinterestin them. It to note in thisregardthatthe is interesting of the modern movementis architecture now quoted underthe same conditions, for example, as that of the nineteenth century,and in many instances, the two are quoted side by side. As such, the modernmovementitselfis already understood as a historical fact, which seems to be the only preconditionfor its use as a 'quotation.' The philosophicaland theoreticalcritique in architecture of the postmodern positsa of of the phenomenon negativeestimation the quotation.No solutionto the problem of postmodernism'sindifference to the categories of stylisticconception is pronegates posed, and thiscritique ultimately thatarchitecitselfwiththe pronouncement turewill be thecause of itsown disappearof ance. Infact, the postmodern quotation the importance formunderscores historical distancewhichcan lead to an of historical aesthetic contemplationof architectural thereproach incurring appearancewithout Inthissense, the postmodof conservatism. of ern becomes an aestheticphenomenon to thegeneralconvicmodernism, contrary tion thatthe language of formsbelonging to the modernmovementcan supportno

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seenfrom Westpordlof iheMOnser calhedral, southwest, Ulm/Donoau NOTES 1. InMuseum MeterArchitect's From 'Richard Statement,' ed. Dezernat Bou farKunsthandwerk FrankhfwtuamMoln, Hochbauamt (Fronkfurt-amMain, August,1985), 63 From Ernst umdie Ecke:oderdie 'Das Abenteuer Hubeli, der Stadt,' Werk,Bauen&Wohnen Wiederentdeckung 10 (October1985): 19 the Humanlzatlon of The Heartof the City: Towards ed. J. Tyrwhitt, Urban Lfe, Eighth CIAM, J. L.Sert,E. N. Lund Publishers, Ltd.,1952; Rogers (London: Humphries Lichtenstein: Kraus, Nendeln, 1979) reprint, der Stodt, Die W. J. Sledler, 'Sle wurdenzu Mordern Thdume undihreFolgen,'DieWelt, ihre Bauhausmeisler, No. 69, 22 March 1986. vorden Beaber stehendie Nachgeborenen 'Bedrockt die mitdenen nach dem Zwetten Weltkrieg tonburgen, und Ufervon Uebermanns gellebtemFlusslouf schilfigen melancholischer Lestikows Fohrenlandschaft zugebautwuran der den. Was hiergeschehen Ist, war nichtVerrat Wo Immer die Moderne;es war deren Vollitreckung. Handan ihreUtoplen dazu kamen, grossenaltenManner zu zu legen, gerietendie gleissendenSiittender Zukunft Ortendes Banalen. .; Iraurigen see also W. J. Siedler,E. Nlggemeyer,Die gemordete und Strasse,Platzund Baum Stadt.Abgesangauf Putte (Bedin: QuadrigaVerlag, 1964); and W. J. Sledler,E. Gerntlichkelt, Abgesang Niggemeyer Die verordnete undStadtblldplege aufSpelsrasse, Verkehrberubvlung (Berlin:QuadrigaVerlog,1985) a I'histoire des Jocelynde Noblet, Design, Introduction industrielles de 1820 6 aulourd'hul formes (1987); see also l'influence du Bauhaus suw I'architecture contempode Saint-llenne Universilt ralne,travauxXVI, (St.Etienne:

25

West portal of iheMinster Um/Donau calhedral,

26

As such, the historifurther development.37 cal formbecomes the vehicle for the survival of the imagery generated by the modernmovement.Itis notthe destruction formwhich makes possible of traditional the genesis of new forms; instead, the historicformis the site where new ideas and concepts emerge. The abstractfunctionalistconstruction-formfollows function (Sullivan/Adler)-was the laststep in the abstractionof historicalformfromthe of the nineteenth architecture century.The of architecture liberation postmodthrough thistradition occurredpreernismvis-a-vis cisely because the radicalturn away from the functional dogma did not necessitate sacrificingits basis in abstraction.At the beginning of this moment-in the late 1960s-architectural language had two possible directions: one went the way of of the abstractfuncthe further abstraction with new materials tionalistconstruction, and new processes of construction-the high-tech in architecturesucceeded in achieving a synthesisof abstractionand withoutcollapsing into a representation the otr direction new monumentalism; formsan abstract extractedfromhistorical

an exclusiveinteressence, demonstrating est in the 'abstractaura'and the 'abstract secret' of the forms.38Both of these approaches guaranteed the continuitynot onlyof the formallanguage of modernism, but also of the modern tradition of abstraction.Aside fromthese two direcof Richard Meiertions, the architecture buildin hisprojectsforcultural particularly with a conings-combines functionalism cern foraestheticform,one whichdefines architecture as a new art of urbanbuilding. Architecture as conceptualproject (Ungers/ Schaal), architectureas the vehicle for ensuring the continuity of modernist abstraction(Meier),the high-tech (Foster), and the 'objectification ofthe abstract'39 aredecisiveaspectswhich-along (Stirling) with the often ridiculedhistoricalquotation-have given architecture a hopeful indifference into direction, transforming interest.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Spring1990

JAE 43/3

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16
21. Quotedfrom Richard MelerArchitect's see n. Statement; 1, translation by author: 'IndiesemEntwurf Istes ausserdem AufgabeundZlelvon undw6rtlich-zu sowohlLicht Architektur-abstract leuchten, zu empfangenals auch auszustrahlen und auf diese Welse ein Symbol zu sein nichtnurforden eigentlichen Zweckals Gebdude sondem daruberhinausauch ein fur das kulturelle und wirtschaftliche Leben unserer Symbol Zeit-ein undorganisatorischen Spiegelblldder formalen Struktur derStadtselbst.Somit 1st das Grundschema nicht nureine Antwort auf die direkteUmgebung; vielmehr undverstarkt es den Zusammenintensivlert, vergrossert hang mitIhrundmitdem Gewebe der Stadt.' 22. See Camillo nach seinenkonstlerisSine, DerStodtebau chen Grundsatzen(Braunschweig and Wiesbaden: of work about urbanspace to Vieweg, 1983; reprint CamilloSiltte, firstpublished in Germany in 1889; see Zrinka Rudez, Stodtraum,Prinzipienstidtebaulicher Ene Untersuchung Rawnbl#dung. iber die im Zeifraum von 18801930 angewandtenEntwurfsprinzlplen (Col1988). ogne: Kohlhammer, 23. Forexample: . .Die Bestondtelle des Ideals oberhauptund ihre Verhaltnisse wurde schonschwer darstellen, philosophisch des Ideals genugseln,unddie philosophische Darstellung der asthetischen ailermenschllchen Gesellschaft, Kirche, durfie in der ganzenAusfuhrung viellelcht nochschwerer sein. . . in Friedrich Somtliche Hilderlin, Werke,ed. Hellingrathand Leipzig:G. Mueller,1913-1923), (Munich Pigenot Vol.III, an den Bruder' 403: 'Brief doted 1791; see also VolkerPlagemann,Dos deutscheKunstmuseum 17901870 (Munich:Prestel Verlag, 1967), 25-27 24. The same visual situationis realized for the Interior structure ofthenewWallraf-RichartzMuseum andSammung & Haberer, 1975/76Ludwigin Cologne (Busmann 1987). 25. Johannes langner, 'Ledoux und die 'Fabriques' Voraussetzungen der RevolutionsarchitekturIm Zeitschrift fir Kunstgeschichte 26 Landschaftsgarten,' (1963): 1-35. 26. EmilKaufmann, VonLedoux bis LeCorbusier. Ursprung undEntwicklung derautonomen VerArchitektur (Stuttgart: translatfon lag Gerd Hatle, 19851, 42; author's 27. DavidGalloway, 'The New GermanMuseums,' ArtIn America 79. (uly 1985): 74-88; see Inparticular 28. Quotedfrom 'Richard Meier: On Defining Architecture,' Richard Meier: Building ed. forArt/Bouen fir die Kunst, WernerBlaser(Baseland Boston: Birkhduser Vedag, 1990), 30. 29. Josef Paul Klelhues, from preface to Dortmunder Architekturheft No. 15 (Dortmund, 1979). 30. RichardMeierArchitect 1964/1984(NewYork: Rizzoll, 1984), 380. 31. Vittorio derMonumen'Rickkehr MagnagoLampugnani, talisten? Die DebatteOber den Neubau der Stuttgarter inArchitecktur als Kuhur. DieIdeenunddie Stattsgalerie,' Formen (Cologne: DuMont 19861, 171Buchverlag, 182 32. Neue Staftsgalerie of Finance ed. Ministery Stuttgart, 3/1984); see alsoJames Baden-Wirttenmberg (Stuttgart Die Neue Stattsgalerie textby Thorsten Stirling. Stuttgart, Rodiek(Stuttgart:Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1984); and, Dos postmoderne Museum als ErStephanBarthelmess, von Architektur. Die Bauaufgabedes scheinungsform Museums im Spannungsfeld vonModerneundPostmodeme (Munich: Tuduv,1988), 62-122 33. StephanBarthelmess, ibid., 124-168. 34. 'The Hong Kongand ShanghaiBanking Corperation, New Headquarters,' Lichtbericht24 ERCO, 1986); (April and see Norman exhibition Foster, (Paris catalogueEFA andMilan: Electra,1986) 35. OswaldMathias 'Uberdas Recht derArchitektur Ungers, auf elne autonomeSprache,' Architektur der Zukunft, Zukunft ed. Joedickeand Schirmbach der Archltektur, 1982). (Stuttgart, 36. See Hans DieterSchool, Architektonische Situationen. & Sohn, und Uberlegungen. (Berlin:Ernst Zeichnungen

6.

H6naff,1979), 86 und Ulm,see Robert Scholl,Zusammenbruch Concerning denWiederaufbau Berichtiiber Stadt, Wiedergeburteiner in Ulm(Ulm:Aegis Verlag, 1948). Urban 7. See RobKrier, Space (New York:Rizzoli,1979) vom 8. W. J. Siedler,WederMoos nochMemel,Anslchten Deutschland Deutsche beschadigten (Stuttgart: VerlagsAnstalt,1982), 66; translation by author 9. See MaxGraf,vorundnachUlm. Werkstattbericht eines von 1952 bs heute(Zurich: HfG-Architekten WaserVerexhitexteset manifestes, lag, 1989); cf. I'6coled'Ulm. bitioncatalogue (Paris: CentrePompidou,1988) and Hochschule furGestaltung. DieMoralderGegenstande, ed. H. Lindinger & Sohn, 1987) (Berlin:Ernst 10. See discussions In the local newspaperSuidwest Presse from 19 December1985; 17 November 1986; 18 November1986; 16June1987; 20June 1987; 30July 7 October 1987; 7 August1987; 9 September through entzweit die Stadt: 1987; cf. P. M. Bode, 'EinArchltekt Mnster, HeftHge BOrgerproteste gegen NeubauamUlmer Abendzeltung,18 September1987, 8; and Manfred Ulm Ulm? DieBOrger stimmen Ober einWerk Sack, 'Bleibt der Baukunst ab,' Die Zelt, No. 39, 18 September BauchlandZimmerman, 1987; andMonika 'Hohenflug, Leidenung. UlmerMOnsterplatz-elne hundertljhrige
Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 122, sgeshchchte,' Frankfurter

1986).
37. See, for example, James Stirling,'Regionalism and Modern Yearbook No. 8: 65. Architect's Architecture,'

38 /39.
These descriptionshave firstbeen expressed by the GermanpainterMarkusLOpertz in an Interview with on the occasion of the exhibition Walter Grasskamp undVision. Neue Deutsche Malerel,ed. MinisUrsprung DireccionGeneral de Bellas Artesy terio de Cultura Archivos(Madridand Berlin: Fr6lich and Kaufmann, 1984), 43: 'Diese Bilderverbindendas Gestische mit dem Gewollten.DasSchriftzelchen Istzuerst gesetztundbestimmt des Houses.Das Istdie Vergegenstindlidanndie Form die la mein chungdes Abstrakten, ganzesWerkbestimmt; IndemMoment, wo sle auseinemFussabdruck eineSdule ist diese Fussform Architektur, damit machen, plotzlich habe Ich immer diese Vergegenstdndllgesplelt. Durch sichdannebeneine neueBechungdes Abstrakten ergibt fir so einen Fussabdruck; solche Hauserhat es deutung eben noch nichtgegeben In der Malerel, sle erlnner die es gibt,aberderWeg zu diesen zwaran alle Hduser, Hdusern warein anderer, unddas istdas Neue an meiner derWeg Ist la entscheldend. Wennichheuteelnen Kunst, dannnur umseinerabstraklen Aura benutze, Gegenstand zu erfahren.' Gehelmnis willen,umsein abstraktes

27 May 1987, 29 11. Thespireof theMunster Cathedral 161 (1377) measures


meters In height.

12. Protokollbericht Neuiber die Sitzungdes Prelsgerichts 1986, 15 gestaltungMOnsterplatz Ulm/Competition November 1986. Gottfried vonBranca, Alexander Boehm, Heinz Mohl, Muehlich-Harr, Kammerer-Belz-Kucher, Unterl6hner-SalzerSchaol-Borchard,JoachimSchuermann, in thecomLutz, Meier,participated along withRichard Hans Hollein did not petition; participate. 13. See the decisionof 9 November1989, fromTibinger
Reglerungsprdsidium.

14. See Museumsbauten Entwurfe und Prolekte self 1945, exhibition catalogue, Dortmunder Architekturausstellung No. 15 (Dortmund, Architekturhefte 1979, Dortmunder 1979) 15. L.B. Alberti, L'Architeftura (1485) 19;and, forexample, thefollowing statement byPalladio:'Lacltt6nonsia altro che unacertacasa grande,e perlo contrario la casa una Librt dell'Architetturo cittbpiccolo,' fromI Quoftro (Venice, 1570), II, 12. 16. Erik Palladios uberden Forssman, lehrgebaude,Studien vonArchitektur undArchitekturtheorie bet Zusammenhang Andrea Palladio (Stockholm: Almqulst and Wiksell, 1965), 86, 106 17. See Bergamo, intheseriesLe cidft nellastoria ed. d'ltalia, M. L.Scalviniet al. (Bari: Edizioni Laterza, 1987); cf. dolle orrigni all'altomedioevo: Documenti Bergamo per urbana,ed. RaffaellaPoggianl Keller un'archeologia (Modena: Edizioni Paninl,1986) a noteon a paperdated 9 December1945 by Le 18. From see also Le Corbusier,Synthesedes Arts. Corbusier; & Aspektedes Spatwerks1945-1965 (Berlin: Ernst Sohn, 1986), 23. 19. Seen. 14. 20. A firstattempt to regainand to define the site for the can be seen InMeter'sdesignsfor houses, architecture and especially In his Athenaeum in New Harmony, Indiana11975-1979); see also Die Wiederkehr des Geniusloci. Die Kirche im Stodtroum-die Stadtim Kirched. M. C. Neddens, W. Wucher(Wiesbaden enraum, and Berlin:Bauverlag,1987); and Christian Norbergof Schulz, Genius Loci: Towardsa Phenomenology
Architecture (New York: Rizzoli, 19791.

1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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17

27

of thearchiectfrom Richard MeierArchitet1964 Portrai 1984 1984, New York,

30

1976-1979 Charles Moore,Piazzad'lalla,New Orleans,

Francesco ina covex Mzzola, 'II Parmigionino', self-portrait Museum Kunsthistorisches mirror, 1523, Vienna,

Square, 1970

1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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18

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31 James d theNeue Sktsgalere Stuttgart 1977Srding, plan 1982

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viewfrom Neue Stsgoalearle souh Stttgart,

33

&Shanghai Norman Foster &Associates, Bank, HongKong HongKong,1986

1990 JAE 43/3 Spring

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19

34

1982 HansDieter School,Denkgebaude,

Spring1990 JAE 43/3

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