A fundamental problem of twentiethcentury urbanization is that it has led to the multiplication of objects and the neglect of fabrics. There are too many buildings which present themselves as ‘objects’, indifferent to the public or hierarchical role they play in the values of our society. The reasons can be many: public health laws, publicity value or professional vanity – but they can scarcely be an indicator of the road that should be followed in the future (Figure 115). As building objects have multiplied, they have thus lost their value as exceptions. Nowadays, planning rules and repetitive methods of production confer an object-status upon buildings whose content and significance are ordinary. These buildings are repeated not so much as types adapted to the site, but as models reproduced almost identically. It is in this way that modern architecture has sometimes sinned, neglecting the lessons of the historic urban fabric.
Curiously there has not been a parallel phenomenon with the interiors of buildings. On the contrary, there has been an evolution away from the consideration of objects towards the consideration of space. Paradoxically, the Modern Movement has conferred upon buildings the object-status and upon interiors that of a fabric providing spatial continuity (Figure 116).
The temptation to opt for the object rather than the fabric is generally greater. The latter choice requires a particularly deep understanding of the context. On the other hand, the architect, when he eventually receives a commission and the client, who is perhaps building the only project of his life, tend to make their building stand out. However, we cannot build our towns as a collection of demonstration objects – that would be rather like building a house from sample materials accumulated in architectural offices. Let us thus consider the site and brief and try to find out whether they suggest fabric or object; more often they will wish to become fabric, because the object, the potential monument, can only become important by its uniqueness and its significance for the community. Concerning oneself with a stitch in the urban fabric does not by any means lessen the importance of the task nor the opportunity for invention and creativity (Figure 117).
In his scheme, the architect must therefore master the means which enable him to reinforce or reduce the fabric or object character of a building. The formal characteristics of fabrics have already been discussed in the chapter ‘Order and Disorder’, those which contribute to the perception of objects can be summarized as follows:
The object is an exception, a breaking of the rule, an isolation or at least the articulation of a figure against a ground. The ground is not neutral. It will be in a state of balance and tension with the object.
The cylindrical temple is the objectbuilding par excellence (Figure 118). Its perfect convexity, due to the circular plan, establishes its isolation without the slightest ambiguity.
Buildings are the volumetric combination of a large number of elements. They are joined together in larger units which, in turn, modulate the relationships between parts and the whole. Since buildings are of composite structure, the manner in which the joints between elements are highlighted or played down gives rise to strongly differing aesthetic characteristics. In general, we can distinguish two methods of composition of the object: articulation and continuity.
Certain periods in history have favoured articulation, others – more rare – continuity. The art of building in the Gothic period is probably the one which has been the most successful in combining the two methods. The clusters of small columns, modest capitals and the ribs of the vaults correspond very well to an articulated language. At the same time, there exists enough dynamism in the soaring energy of the columns and their extension into ribs and vaults, that the continuity of the overall form takes precedence over the autonomy of parts.
In a quite different way the interior of a Baroque church exploits the double play of articulation and continuity. Curves and counter-curves, pilasters and columns, niches and bulges are linked together in a scale of continuity. Articulation is unique; it is reserved for emphasizing a strategic break; the meetings of the walls, belonging to the earth, and the ceilings, vaults and domes belonging to heaven.
Articulation between elements accentuates the autonomy of parts. It strengthens the particular role of the different constituent building elements. The interruptions form accents and rhythms, the location, form and size of which should be carried out with the greatest care in consideration of the whole. Constructional logic is not sufficient justification, aesthetic sensibility must come to the aid of construction. The meeting point between two or several elements is underlined by a void or by another element specially designed to this effect, as for example the capital which articulates the column and the entablature. It is evident that in this definition the simple ‘collision’ of two elements may still not be considered as an articulation. An articulation requires a recognition of the limits and the meeting of the two elements. The means by which we can create an articulation are various and can come into play simultaneously: of material, of architectural element, of function or meaning. Contrary to sculpture, articulation in architecture requires a reference to one or several of the means listed above: it cannot be a question of caprice. Articulation makes it possible to express construction, function and relationship to the site. In this way the building becomes more explicit; it expresses its own nature.
Continuity, or ‘fusion’ between elements reduces the autonomy of the parts. It reflects the largest element of the whole of the object. Continuity replaces the relative autonomy of the elements by a progressive transformation of form. The resulting form contains potential sensuality similar to that of the human body. It appeals to the tactile sense. Each undulation of the continuous line hints at what is to come. The object then appears to have been formed from a single mould. That is the case, for example, with large reinforced concrete shells. Often the constructional reality is more composite than it appears, as in the vernacular villages of the Cyclades. In this case, it is a facing which reduces or eradicates the joints between the elements and creates a continuity of volumes, contours and surfaces. Achievement of this continuity is something of a technical feat. The use of continuity certainly has the advantage of reinforcing the coherence of the object. Sculptors regularly use this device by limiting the number of articulations to strategic places. Contemporary building based on continuity has more difficulty in being accepted. The examples presented are unusual. The reasons may be of a cultural nature. Having been accustomed for centuries to the constructional and intellectual rationality of the town consisting of articulated structures, we have great difficulty in imagining it modelled in clay. These structures of continuity stand out like strange objects.
Whilst the lateral relationships between objects can be open to free interpretation, and may even be a matter of indifference, the meeting of the building with the ground is inescapable. It indicates that these objects are amongst us, with us on the earth, detached from the sky. There is not, however, only one possible relationship. A building can give the impression of ‘springing from the ground’, of ‘sinking into the ground’, or being ‘placed on the g r o u n d ‘ or ‘ h o v e r i n g above the ground’. How does one choose and put into effect one or other of these forms of expression?
The accentuated edge, or corner in relief, is an indicator which grants a privileged status to this feature of the building. Cornerstones, for example, are often emphasized. They are not only markers and stabilizing elements for construction, but their treatment also emphasizes the end of one face and the beginning of the other: the cornerstones belong to both faces. They tell us about the thickness and stability of the wall and provide a lateral frame to each face. This classic method has been used on buildings since the beginning of masonry construction, sometimes taking the form of a corner pilaster, of a more careful corner treatment, or a simple decoration painted on the rough-cast. In all these cases the importance of the corner is recognized and delineated.
Articulation in relation to the ground, with the aid of a plinth, is a second classic principle. It celebrates the meeting of a building of simple geometric form with the irregularity of the ground. An intermediary element of great stability provides a seating for the building. The building puts down roots in a precise location: one cannot ‘move’ it like a glass on a table. It is for this reason that the base of the Parthenon belongs to the ground, rather than to the building. Moreover, it must receive and prepare the building. The plinth has a double relationship of dependence: one relative to the object supported which must be specific and precise in its composition, and the other relative to the junction with the ground which is ineluctable and more generic; in classical architecture the same plinth is applicable to other similar situations.
第二种方法是将基座的概念，或者更确切地说是基地的概念，融入建筑本身，包括整个或部分底层。在 维也纳的斯坦霍夫教堂 中， 奥托·瓦格纳 纳采用了自文艺复兴以来一直流行的主题，标志着原始的泥土和高度精炼的建筑之间的过渡，包层采用了更质朴的处理，让人想起粗糙的泥土和岩石。在这种情况下，整个一楼都接受了这样的处理，就像在阿尔贝蒂的鲁塞莱宫，“高贵的钢琴”位于地面以上一层，粗糙的底座不适合它。但奥托瓦格纳进入他的建筑在上部的基地，同时增加了下半部分的乡土。
A second method consists of incorporating the idea of the plinth, or rather of the base, into the building itself by including the whole or part of the ground floor. In the Am Steinhof church (Figure 137) Otto Wagner takes up a theme that has been current since the Renaissance, by marking this transition between the raw earth and a highly refined building with a more rustic treatment of the cladding, reminiscent of the coarseness of earth and rock. In the cases where the whole of the ground floor receives this treatment, as in Alberti’s Palazzo Rucellai, the ‘piano nobile’ is located one floor above ground level, the rusticated base not being a suitable place for it. But Otto Wagner enters his building in the upper part of the base, whilst increasing the rustication of the lower part.
The examples that have been chosen could lead to the erroneous conclusion that plinth or base is always a substantial element. This is not so; if it is a simple building, the recognition of the junction with the ground can be a modest profile, or even the more precise handling of a strip of ground (Figure 138).
Capping with a cornice and a roof handles the delicate transition between the rainwater on the roof and the vertical faces and openings which need protecting. It generally belongs to the building and not to the sky, thus avoiding the visual ambiguity that would otherwise result from apparent verticle protraction. According to the importance of the building, this upper termination can include the whole of the top floor. There are some exceptional cases in which the extension towards the infinity of the sky becomes a soughtafter symbol.
连接地面的要求和建筑物的上部结构的结合，使 帕拉第奥 产生了著名的乡村别墅三分法。底层有服务设施，有富丽堂皇的房间和带卧室的阁楼;功能和形式结合在一个连贯的建筑概念中。
The combination of the requirements of the junction with the ground and the upper conclusion of buildings led Palladio to the famous tripartite division of his country villas. The base with the services, the ‘piano nobile’ with the stately rooms and the attic storey with the bedrooms; utility and form combine in one coherent architectural concept.
The recessed corner is one method of emphasizing the junction of the façades by clearly separating them from each other. They then appear as more or less autonomous elements. The importance of the recess gives an indication of the thickness or habitable depth of the façades.
在文艺复兴时期，当两个壁柱形成了一个角落而没有真正转动它的时候，这种朝向内部的角落的倒置已经被使用了。每个壁柱都属于一个立面，但终端壁柱的概念比负角的概念更进一步。事实上，在20世纪，许多人重新考虑了角的“缺失”。这可能与两种现象有关:首先，立面已经变成非承重的，失去了它的材料厚度;表面的厚度变成了一个选择的问题:密斯·凡·德·罗表达了建筑，而 路易斯·康则使其产生了一种意图。其次，受现代艺术启发的设计引入了角的错位原则，使捆捆的虚拟延伸超出了它们的实际限制，或使形成角的两面与周围空间的相互渗透。 朱塞普·特拉尼 , 它的背向、阳台在回立面上的轻微投影、凉廊和顶棚作为立面上的上端，毫无疑问是一个最辉煌的例子，这种形式的清晰度的角落。另一个例子是科林·罗在《透明性》一书中以娴熟的方式分析了加歇的斯坦别墅。
This inversion of the corner towards the interior was already used in the Renaissance when two pilasters formed a corner without actually turning it. Each pilaster belongs to one façade, but the idea of a terminal pilaster goes further than that of the negative corner. In fact the articulation of the corner by its ‘absence’ has been reconsidered in the twentieth century by many. This is probably linked to two phenomena: firstly the façade, having become non-loadbearing, has lost its material thickness; the apparent thickness then becomes a question of choice: Mies van der Rohe expresses the construction, whereas Kahn subjects it to an intention arising from the brief. Secondly, designs inspired by modern art introduce the principle of dislocation of the corner in favour of a virtual extension of the fagades beyond their real limits or of an interpenetration of the two faces forming the corner with the surrounding space. Giuseppe Terragni’s Casa Frigerio at Como, with its set-backs, the slight projection of the balconies on the return façade and the loggia and canopy as the upper termination on only one of the façades, is without any doubt one of the most brilliant examples of this form of articulation of corner and cornice (Figure 140). Another example is the Villa Stein at Garches analysed in masterly fashion by Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky in ‘Transparency’.
It is not only negative articulation or dislocation of the corner which is popular in the twentieth century: building on pilotis is explicitly pronounced by Le Corbusier to be one of the aesthetic principles amongst his five points of modern architecture. The base is replaced by a void and sometimes this void is, in its turn, ‘placed’ on a base, as in the buildings of Mies van der Rohe. The building hovers above the ground, clearly detaching itself from it. The void and the pilotis act as intermediary between building and ground.
Negative articulation between wall and roof has been applied for centuries in northern Italy, for example. The junction of two systems of construction, stone wall and timber frame, provides the opportunity for a different use of the storey under the roof (drying of foodstuffs and laundry, ventilated attics, bedrooms) (Figure 141).
The rejection of classical conventions, such as the corner in relief, the plinth, cornice and ornament in general, and the search for elementary geometries by the Modern Movement, have led to the reduction of volumes to their simplest expression. The corner and the parapet are defined by the abstraction of a line produced by the meeting of two planes, or the fine filigree of shadow cast by metal trim. The absence of a corner element can also be seen in some of Palladio’s villas when they are not capped by a pediment extending over the whole width of the house, but the corner is emphasized nevertheless by the composition of the windows and the returns of the base. Mies van der Rohe is a master of articulation of the corners of thin façades, but his subtleties are more perceptible from close to than from a distance. In the twentieth century the simplicity of apparent volume is not only elevated to an aesthetic virtue, it also results from the method of construction in rendered brick or from the adoption of the principle of skeleton structure , which makes it possible to remove the load-bearing function from the façade. From the moment when the façade becomes no more than an envelope – a curtain-wall for example – the corner and the cornice no longer need to be of the same solidity. With present thermal requirements the façades are almost always ‘clad’ whether they be load-bearing or not, and whether they be built from new or traditional materials. This method of building will influence the appearance of buildings of the future; the concept of ‘wrapping’ leads to the sharp edge or to continuity; articulation becomes a luxury or a decorative feature without a constructional basis.
A sharp edge at the junction of the wall with the ground may give the impression that the building is ‘growing’ from the ground or that it is ‘sinking’ into the ground (Figure 143). This penetration into the ground can become a theme of the composition, especially when the emerging elements suggest other hidden elements as in Pierino Selmoni’s sculpture of the Giant (Figure 144). In the streets of Amsterdam or Delft, on the contrary, brick, used as a unifying material, links the ground and the facades. One thus has the impression that the ground has been ‘folded up’ in order to become a wall, whereas the volume of the building does not seem to extend underground.
The gradual bending of a wall on plan or in section causes the fusion of the object’s surrounding surfaces. The sphere is the most extreme example of this. An obtuse or rounded corner, which is to say the continuity of the envelope without change in its texture and without articulation of break, gives an impression of ‘massiveness’. Light models these objects by casting an evenly graded shadow and accentuates their enclosed form. To understand this phenomenon it is sufficient to take the example of the choir of the Abbey of Vézelay. Its large piers, formed from clusters of linked columns articulated by their multiple lines of light and shadow, do not seem any more massive than the round columns of the hemicycle of the inner row which are, nevertheless, much more slender (Figure 145).
The chapel adjoining the church of the Convent of La Tourette is an example of the massiveness of an object-building. The absence of corners in fact bestows upon it a greater ‘visual weight’ than on the much larger church itself. The impression of mass is increased still further by the tilting of the walls, which gives rise to a feeling of great stability and of being rooted in the ground. The body of this small building thus acquires the weight of a rock protruding from the ground (Figure 143).
The theme of continuity between ground and object occurs in many medieval castles and towns. Clinging to the rock, the built form appears to be a crystallized excrescence of the rock itself. Since we shall not return later to questions of the massiveness or lightness of buildings, let us make a digression here. The treatment of corners and openings (doors, windows, etc.) constitutes a useful tool for giving an impression of ‘massiveness’. If they resemble deep recesses, they emphasize the massiveness. If, on the contrary, a window is placed level with the face of the wall, its surface character takes precedence over its thickness (Figures 299 and 300). The relative size of the openings is equally decisive for the character of the mass. In Gothic cathedrals it approaches the point at which the construction is reduced to a skeleton. Relatively small openings, on the contrary, emphasize massiveness.