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paper factory proposal, unbuilt. morocco 1947.
architect: jørn utzon (1918-2008)
the forties were utzon’s formative years, away from denmark and away from the innovative constraints of the traditionalist royal academy. tiny is published, but we know the major dates. from 1942 to 1945 utzon waited out the german occupation of denmark in neutral sweden. numerous other danish architects did the same, some to escape the unemployment of the occupied territories, other people – like jewish arne jacobsen and communist poul henningsen – to escape nazi persecution and death.
from his friend tobias faber we know what they studied in stockholm and of their discovery of chinese culture by way of sinologist osvald sirén. regardless of whether utzon learnt of stepped gables and floating roofs then and there or simply discovered confirmation of what he was previously dreaming up is maybe less important. he was quickly to uncover present day kind for these.
utzon worked briefly for alvar aalto soon after the liberation. in this context, I must mention aalto’s wonderful paper mills in finland, well-known projects at the time for bringing together a contemporary architect and real industrial structures, a significantly rarer occurrence than architectural background would have you think. the moroccan factory over bears no resemblance to aalto’s a lot larger buildings except, remarkably, for a single block of flats aalto created in connection with a single of his mills, the porrastalo from 1938. aalto’s influence is existing in every single utzon task from this level on in his career, but frequently in sudden ways.
in 1947, utzon travelled to north africa. it was his very first meeting with the islamic globe. his self-proclaimed curiosity was in indigenous architecture, and he later stated that the unity of wall and ground, standing as if in one materials, had produced the greatest impression on him. I imagine it aided him reconcile with the klint/fisker tradition he had been making an attempt to totally free himself from, but which offered some of the identical attributes, as he was to show in his own property in 1952. merging tradition and modernity would become utzon’s certain present, even if he insisted that he – like his artist friends – could understand from any genuine tradition about the globe, and mix them too.
he created at least two sketch proposals for buildings in morocco in connection with his remain, a housing scheme and a paper factory. each stay unbuilt. I made this basic model of the factory to get a far better appear than his two published drawings, a program and a longitudinal part, supply – and to show it to you, of program! it was meant for an unknown hillside spot and – as the lovely and relatively abstract diagram suggests – was created to use gravity to drive portion of its manufacturing line.
we have been going back in time from bagsværd church (1967-1976), via financial institution melli (1959-1962) to the villa bille (1955) – 3 connected buildings displaying utzon’s recurring theme of parallel walls and expressive sections. right here we have ultimately arrived at his first try. and what walls, 1 may add, what segment.
in truth, nothing in utzon’s earlier production would have ready you for the sheer energy of those factory walls. in far more analytical strains of modernism there was constantly a tendency to simplify the person components of a developing as they have been drawn apart to clarify their connection the column grew to become a cylinder, the roof a straightforward concrete slab, and the wall freestanding. utzon’s analytical clarity matched that of any architect of his age, only he would articulate each component separately and as far as the unity of the entire would permit.
his use of allusion was at odds with the abstraction of so considerably of modernism, but shut in spirit to what le corbusier was performing. utzon’s allusions are historical, but they are also autobiographical in that they seem to register his own travels and encounters with other architects in constructed kind. is not that the towering silhouette of aït ben haddou correct there? doesn’t this make you think of the quiet strength and dignity of the uqba mosque in kairouan?
utzon only received away with this kind of allusion due to the fact of the formal and structural integrity of every of his patterns – you simply did not want to see it to value the good quality of what was getting offered – though I suspect that it presented that distinct attraction in a function of artwork which is the feeling that more review will be rewarded the considering man’s definition of elegance, possibly.
of course, critics and architects of a far more rationalist strategy insisted that utzon by no means genuinely got away with something. to them, the striking primitivism of the monumental buttresses would have been an indulgence on the part of the architect: steel could have solved that without the drama. one particular italian historian dismissed utzon entirely in his guide on modern day architecture, suggesting the reader might benefit from studying rotterdam’s postwar reconstruction rather. had he ever been to rotterdam, I wonder.
the corrugated concrete roof is a lot more utilitarian, even though even now with an expressive structural principle. vilhelm lauritzen’s copenhagen airport, just eight years outdated at the time, offers us an concept of what the ceiling would have looked like. what the same principle would grow to be at the end of utzon’s active profession in a church outdoors copenhagen is effectively recognized.
there is a deceptive ease with which a believed is arrived at for the 2nd time, which allows us to fail to remember the hard work that was place into its initial occurrence. the moroccan paper factory was a true breakthrough – utzon’s distinct voice as an architect is there for the 1st time, and there is not a false note to it.
it was to take utzon 5 many years to produce a work of comparable significance. in 1948 and 1949, he travelled to the states and to mexico, meeting mies, wright, saarinen and eames on the way – sufficient to quit an skilled architect in his tracks. in 1952, utzon completed his own house in which the american masters have been alluded to with no difficult the integrity of layout. it would alter the background of the danish single loved ones residence, but that is an additional story for one more time.
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