Experiencias / Documentos


BAUHAUS TODAY: NUMBERS AND SPACES


The Bauhaus was the first academic as well as practically oriented institution of learning, that adopted industrial production methods as a guide towards aesthetic creation (Image: The workshop at the Bauhaus/existing powerpoint).

With Ittens Vorkurs, this inter-relationship becomes just as clear as with Hannes Meyer´s later approach making architecture (Images: Idea of the Bauhaus as a diagram p 17/Versuch Hannes Meyer p.67+68).

The workshop was about: measurement, knowledge, production and creation. They described and taught man-made processes using machinery.

as an opposite, Hannes Meyer proposals were a collage of social utopia with functionalist ideas of how space comes about. These ideas are radically opposed to one another.It is these opposing standpoints the Bauhaus tried to bring together.

If you look carefully, even then, there was a critique of "true information". Measurement as a basis for the creation of en object which possesses "absolute truth" is put inquestion. This happens artistically, not scientifically and can be seen as a precursor to Kuhn´s descriptions of "Changes of Paradigm".

Example: Jose Albers` example of the "Variation of a Newspaper" can be interpreted as the critical questioning of the handling of information (Image p.37).

I believe there are two strains of thinking that are present in a nutshell already in the early Bauhaus: The Social Utopia, concerned with numbers as a social mass and the scientific handling of numbers.

If one looks at some if the students of the Bauhaus, time put them in a position to live and create the social utopia's that were part of Bauhaus teaching.

After the closing of the Bauhaus by the Nazis (Image: existing powerpoint) many of them left Germany. Just demonstrate my one line of social utopist ideas at the school, I´m looking at two stundents who went to Palestine in 1932: Arieh Sharon (Image: p.102) later called Gitai, collaborating on the construction of a "New Environment for the New Man".

They both worked together at the Exhibition of the Levante in Tel Aviv 1936. Arieh Sharon as Chief Architect and Munio Gitai-Weinraub in the Exhibit of the New Worker, as curator (Image: Exhibition Photos).

Others like Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Albers, Hlbersheimer went to th US. They brought the International Style with them to the New World.

This was far removed from the construction of a new Utopia. It was the line to do with measuring, knowing, producing, creating. The two strains were henceforth separated.

In 1956 Marx Bill founded the new Bauhaus as the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm (Image: existing powerpoint). It was closed in 1968 by Hans Filbinger (Image: existing powerpoint). He was a reactionary ex-Nazi judge, who had condemned several young deserters to death by hanging as later aas March 1945. Then, the war was surely lost ant the end of the Nazi was clear (Image: Ulm/existing powerpoint).

In the 1968 he was the Prime Minister of Baden Württemberg. As if history would repeat itself, the Ulm School just was the Bauhaus 35 years earlier, was closed by Reaction.

However in this school there was one South American Professor, Tomas Maldonado, who in 1067 had published a book called "Environment and Revolt".

This book dealt with man´s own destructive trait towards nature.It was the first critique of Industrial Design and its products, just at it was a worning to incorporate environmental concerns into good design (Image: Dutschke and protests/existing powerpoint)

I take this book and its attitude as a turning point in Bauhaus ideas. This strategy introduced e new thinking towards the handling of numbers.

Today the both Kits (Bausatz) as I call them are still present. Walter Prigge, Bettina Sonnabend and Regina Bittner are involved exploiting the social relevance of Urban Sociology in the Bauhaus Collage. There they are researching into phenomena like shrinking cities, or periphery as well as exploiting 3rd world cities like Rio or Caracas with case studies which are widely published and read.

At DIA we have involved ourselves into the handling of numbers, using what Stephen Wolfram calls a new type of science (Image: Skiläufer)

Both exact science as well as design disciplines have since the 70ies begun to record natural phenomena as driving forces for progress. The idea of "critical mass" as a numbers principle has found its way into design. Growth as emergent and not as planned in a steered economy has been the prime angle of focus.

Biological scientists have looked at emergent growth in bacteria and mononuclear cell structures. They have found out, that there is an inherent order with which various natural phenomena are self organised (Swarms of fish or birds or amoeba).

In the same way, a foot path syntax can be established plotting behaviour studies.

Rather than looking at the space in the city as a social mass phenomenon, the physics of group motion became the concern for new strategies of interpretation of cityscape (Image: 157 Ball/166/167/169/170)

Bill Hillier and Julie Hanson have shown how this can be relevant inconsidering city planning. They argue that post war planning is more than just poor quality. Urban Design they say is political. The 19th century dreams of social order in which the benefits of capitalism are retained through a quiescent working class, are strongly spatially expressed.

In other words, urban forms were redesigned to reinforce social hierarchies. By developing spatial and computer models of patterns of communities ranging from traditional villages to modern towns, they have shown that urbanisation tended to increase people´s interactions up until the Industrial Revolution.

The new templates were introduced for planning which reduced social encounters and fragment communities, discouraging collective activity and keeping people passive under an imposed authority.
The soft solution, by creating Garden Cities in which urban space i separated into small isolated zones looks more benign but has much the same result (Image: p. Hall, Cities of tomorrow/p.15/78, 92+95, 309).

High Rise Blocks pack living space together densely, while reducing the frequency of encounters. These used to generate a sense of social solidarity. It wrong to say that High Rise estates are unsuccessful. For their purpose they are very efficient (Image: See Welch Guerra Torres en Buenos Aires p.79).

If Hollier and Hanson are right, then unwillingness to create good urban space is created by more than the way people use space (Image: critical mass p.177).

Once there were three hills, called Tothill, Penton Hill and Tower Hill (Image: Inside London by Ackroyd).

Tracks wound their ways between the hills, the tracks became lanes and roads settlements grew up around them and the place is called London. So say some legends which are probably fanciful.

It would be fascinating to know if pedestrian models have anything to tell us about the evolution of urban geography.

Models of growth of cities have nonetheless emerged from Physics. In the 19th century it was argued that cities exert an attractive forceon people and trade. This is a direct analogy to Gravitational Physics.

Modern complex oriented theories of cities growth recognise the organic natur of city expansion and take their clues from non equilibrium growth processes, for example displayed by bacterial colonies (Image: p. 136 critical mass).

DLA Clusters are diffusion limited aggregations. They grow by accumulation of like clusters at the edges (Image Mantra).

DBM is called the dielectric breakdown model, i.e. is non-growth model. There the random tips advance by pushing outward into a random medium (Image: critical mass 187+189).

All these examples show that with the computer, there is a new way at simulating spatial order.

As a whole, the brain and the cityshape have also been compared (Image: existing powerpoint), alluding to the fact that both systems can be seen as neuronetworks.

This is the type of work we have engaged in and of which you will see some results (Example Ikukos Film).




PROF. ALFRED JACOBY
Dipl.-Arch. ETH/BDA, M.A. (Cambridge)