Elements of Architecture:From form to place》序言

肯尼斯·弗兰姆普敦 , Kenneth Frampton




Among those who are familiar with the professional and academic architectural scene, it may well be thought that the last thing we need is another book on architectural theory. And indeed the author of this work would probably be the first to admit that the architectural libraries of the world are bursting at their seams with books on theory, many of which contain contradictory or repetitive hypotheses and most of which remain largely unread by the vast majority of students and practising architects. This book, however, has a good chance of breaking through this barrier of deadening indifference. 



The subtitle From form to place at once reveals the critical stance of the author, his conviction that as a society we must start to redress the debilitating and environmentally destructive practice of proliferating freestanding buildings. He is convinced that, save for the rare institutional commission, every building ought to be construed as an occasion for making a place or for adding to the continuous articulation of the human habitat, rather than as another moment in which to display the ego of the client and the competitive prowess of the designer. This is the unusual parti pris that runs through this work, to such an extent that it may well be the first theoretical exposition of architectural practice that is at the same time a book on the principles of urban design. 


正如最近其他理论家所做的那样, 冯·麦斯认识到,所有为建筑理论和实践寻找绝对科学基础的尝试都先后以重复的矛盾告终,因此他选择了一种实用但又具有批判性的现象学方法来研究建筑理论;当涉及到建筑的建造时,把逻辑、科学和技术科学放在各自的位置。与此同时,他很快承认,正是技术科学对建筑工艺的直接影响,使得为建筑环境发展和保持一个共同的质量标准变得越来越困难。正如 冯·麦斯 所指出的,这一点可以通过无处不在的包围式幕墙得到证明,它有效地剥夺了传统窗户的整体构造逻辑。同样,轻质框架和干墙技术也剥夺了我们在技术上的表现力,如承重砌砖和木桁架。因此,我们目前的混乱和无能是由于手段过剩而不是缺乏手段。正如冯·麦斯所言,当完全意识到其中的矛盾,会发现技术科学无法保证现实的质量,或者更准确地说,无法满足我们内心深处对日常体验的渴望。

Recognizing, as other recent theoretists have done, that all attempts to find an absolutely scientific basis for architectural theory and practice have each successively ended in tautological contradictions, von Meiss has opted to take a pragmatic, but nonetheless critical, phenomenological approach to architectural theory; one that puts logic, science and techno-science in their respective places, when it comes to the production of architecture. At the same time he is prompt to acknowledge that it is the direct impact of technoscience on the craft of building that has made it increasingly difficult to evolve and maintain a common standard of quality for the built environment. This may be exemplified, as von Meiss points out, by the ubiquitous wrap-around curtain wall that has effectively stripped the traditional window of its integrated constructional logic. Similarly lightweight framing and dry walling techniques have also served to deprive us tectonically of such expressive elements as load-bearing brickwork and the timber truss. Thus our current confusion and incapacity arises out of an excess of means rather than the lack of it. As von Meiss puts it, with full awareness of the paradox involved, techno-science is strangely incapable of assuring the quality of reality or more precisely of meeting our innermost desires in terms of everyday experience. 

这最后一点无疑解释了为什么格式塔心理学和现象学在冯·麦斯的理论方法中扮演如此重要的角色。然而,重要的是要注意,它们是以一种与特定的建筑实践形式保持联系的方式进行的。这就解释了冯·迈斯的《想象的博物馆》,他用它作为一种教学手段,通过例证,从不同方面来说明观点。从清晰的图底关系到对称、分组、分级、层次和透明度这些范式,从各种成对的概念,比如目标/路线、入口/出口、中心/外围到考虑环境空间和材料的品质的建筑本体,也就是说, 意识到五种感官而不是仅是视觉,受到了建筑的影响。在这方面, 冯·麦斯正确地强调了建筑区别于其他造型艺术的基本品质,也就是说,他强调了虚空和重力在建筑中所扮演的角色。前者产生了空间和类型标准,后者确保了整个项目的基本结构和建筑性质。正如他所说,“舞台设计是一种建筑,但建筑不是一个舞台布景。” 他评论了现代雕塑和绘画对20世纪建筑的模糊影响,特别是在空间的表达方面,这一直被认为是一个封闭的体量 。他想到了所谓的自由平面(勒·柯布西耶)和盒子的解体(弗兰克劳·埃德·赖特)。 

This last no doubt explains why Gestalt psychology and phenomenology play such prominent roles in von Meiss’s theoretical approach. However it is important to note that they do so in such a way as to remain linked to specific forms of architectural practice. This accounts for von Meiss’s musée imaginaire that he uses as a didactic device in order to exemplify, through illustration, the different salient aspects of his overview. Thus he passes from the legibility of the figure ground to the formal precepts of repetition, symmetry,grouping,gradation,hierarchy and transparency and from various dialogical phenomena such as goal versus route, entrance v. exit and centre v. periphery to a more ontological consideration of the ambient tactile qualities of space and material, that is to say, to an awareness of the way in which the five senses rather than sight alone are affected by architecture. In this regard von Meiss rightly stresses the fundamental qualities that separate architecture from the other plastic arts, that is to say he emphasizes the roles played by hollow space and gravity in its constitution; the first engendering spatial and typological criteria and the second assuring the essential structural and constructional nature of the entire undertaking. As he puts it, ‘Stage sets are a kind of architecture, but architecture is not a stage set.’ Elsewhere he remarks on the ambiguous influence that modern sculpture and painting has had on twentieth-century architecture, particularly with regard to the spatial articulation of that which had hitherto always been conceived as a confined volume. He has in mind the so-called liberation of the free plan (le Corbusier) and the destruction of the box (Frank Lloyd Wright).  


For the degree to which they express hierarchy and institutional difference, within the continuity of their respective environments, the author’s personal haunts of Morges, Lausanne and Hydra are compared for their capacity to provide identity and to admit appropriate forms of inflection. Needless to say it is the abstract, gridded, internal street systems of the twentieth century that are found wanting in this regard, for the new EPFL campus outside Lausanne is a gridded mega-building; one that is so far removed from the natural legibility of Morges that without the provision of graphic indicators, at each intersection, the occupants would remain perennially lost.


von Meiss is to apply this same phenomenological critique to other mechanistic devices and methods deployed in the late twentieth century: the soul-destroying, filing-cabinet, high-rise slab that lacks any adequate threshold or form of hierarchy; the ubiquitous air conditioner, adopted and applied on purely ideological grounds in temperate climates; the open office landscape that provides for neither identity nor appropriation; the bulldozer that is ruthlessly applied to contoured sites in order to achieve small economies in the maximization of constructional efficiency. This last is unfortunately all too common and von Meiss appeals, like Vittorio Gregrotti, for a new territorial ethic with which to limit the ecological transformation of any given site. 


考虑到作者的总体立场,尽管他证明了(在Heinrich Tessenow之后)没有任何结构或建筑可以简单地表达其材料生产的整体,但他还是以一种有点粗糙的方式来看待建筑的构造维度。结构使他通过路易斯·康来揭示光在建筑中的重要性,冯·麦斯最有先见之明的是,他认为重要的不是光本身,而明暗与被照亮的对象。不幸的是,自然光的日变化和季节变化是建筑现象中最不可见和经常被忽视的方面:一个更加令人遗憾的事实是,这些变化具有一种动态的和微妙的能力,能够唤起无法形容的东西。

Given his overall position the author treats the tectonic dimension of architecture in a somewhat cursory way although he attests (after Tessenow) to the fact that no structure or construction can simply express the totality of its material production. Structure leads him via Louis Kahn to a brilliant and revealing disquisition on the role of light in architecture and von Meiss is at his most prescient when he argues that it is not the light source that is critical in the environment, but rather luminosity and shape of the objects illuminated. Unfortunately diurnal and seasonal variations in natural light are among the most invisible and frequently neglected aspects of the architectural phenomenon; a fact that is all the more regrettable in that these variations possess a dynamic and subtle capacity, for evoking the ineffable. 


冯·麦斯对行为主义持怀疑态度,并对人体工程学投下了一种见多识广的眼光,他似乎受到了德国两种截然不同的思想路线的影响:一种来自英国和美国,另一种来自法国。前者强调艺术的心理、象征和符号学方面,出自恩斯特·卡西尔(Ernst Cassirer)之手,经过华宝学院(Warburg Institute)及其主要移民学生恩斯特·贡布里希(Ernst Gombrich)和鲁道夫·维特科沃(Rudolf Wittkower)。这最后一点对科林·罗、罗伯特·斯卢茨基和伯纳德·霍斯利的理论著作产生了影响,他们在不同时期都是作者的同事。从这条线衍生出的强调格式塔心理学的子集在这里也很明显,尤其是在鲁道夫·阿恩海姆的著作中。然而,最终起决定性作用的是法德两国的传统,因为这赋予了 冯·麦斯的论点其批判的锋芒和力量。这一思想路线发源于胡塞尔,贯穿海德格尔,并在加斯顿·巴切拉尔、米歇尔·塞雷斯等作家的现象学批判地位中达到顶峰; 冯·麦斯所引用的作者们的观点产生了巨大的影响。

Sceptical with regard to behaviourism and casting an informed but knowing eye on physiological data and ergonomics, von Meiss seems to have been influenced by two separate lines of German thought: the first coming through England and America and the second passing through France. The first of these lines, stressing the psychological, symbolic and semiotic aspects of the arts, stems from Ernst Cassirer and passes through the Warburg Institute and its prime emigre pupils Ernst Gombrich and Rudolf Wittkower. These last were to have an impact on the theoretical writings of Colin Rowe, Robert Slutzky and Bernard Hoesli, all of whom were, at various times, colleagues of the author. A sub-set stemming from this line and emphasizing Gestalt psychology is also in evidence here, above all in the writings of Rudolf Arnheim. In the end, however, it is the Franco-German tradition that is decisive, for this imparts to von Meiss’s thesis its critical edge and power. This line of thought, stemming from Husserl and passing through Heidegger, culminates in the criticalphenomenological position of such writers as Gaston Bachelard and Michel Serres; authors that von Meiss cites to great effect.



One of the most common problems in teaching and practising architecture today is the general difficulty encountered in deciding on our formal preferences and we often find ourselves hard-pressed to say why our design has come to assume this particular form rather than another. The discredited hypothesis of functional efficiency as the sole mover of form has now given way to an unstable combination of ruthless instrumentality and architectural dyslexia. Impelled by the clamour of the media and by everescalating oscillations in the pendulum of taste, students, architects and clients alike find themselves frequently caught between a desperate search for novelty and sporadic waves of reactionary nostalgia. In recapitulating and reconstituting the elements of architecture, this book could hardly have come at a more opportune time and we shall no doubt find ourselves beholden to the tenets of von Meiss’s thesis, as we come imperceptibly to adopt them, largely because (as Albert Einstein said of Le Corbusier’s Modulor) ‘the bad, difficult and the good, easy’.


    […] 从视觉艺术到抽象的空间,再到场所,最后到建造技术。一条清晰的线索传串起了大量的小标题。 小标题大部分是一些基本的概念,这些概念既可以从理论上深入探究,也可以映射到具体的设计手段中。正如弗兰姆普敦所说的那样,这本书在理论与手段都过剩的今天显得尤为可贵。 […]