'Architects and Designers on the Bauhaus legacy' - Francine Houben
To celebrate the centenary celebration of the Bauhaus, Blueprint Magazine asked 16 contemporary architects and designers on what it means to them.
Francine Houben: The Bauhaus was defined on the open idea of a total work of art, on a strong multidisciplinary approach and experimental combination of different disciplines. I believe the pedagogy was crucial for the architectural world. I find it particularly interesting that Mies van der Rohe was associated with the Bauhaus movement during the final period, just before he moved to Chicago.
Currently, we at Mecanoo are working on the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library, a landmark building by Mies van der Rohe in Washington DC. For me, it was very important to understand his background, his design choices, why he would take a certain design direction and the core of his philosophy which is very much driven by form-follows-function.
Mecanoo follows this line in interventions that continue the idea of openness and flexibility in a non-hierarchical way. Mecanoo fosters a multidisciplinary approach integrating architecture, landscape, design, and art in direct collaboration with different disciplines and professions operating in the built environment. Moreover, we pursued different programmes and activities inside the building in order to highlight its main social gathering purpose and its strong deep presence as a social landmark in the city.
It’s also essential to keep the same spirit in your office. Material studies, model making, experimenting — it’s an attitude. We have a model workshop where we use traditional timberwork methods next to 2D and 3D techniques. The combination of traditional crafts and cutting-edge technology is essential to understand the world around us. Things are changing, you need to be aware of that. That’s why I always say to people in my office, not only architects but also students: keep on walking the streets, observe the society.
I believe rhythm and repetition are highly common and important in architecture. Rhythm is like music, which means a building can be jazzy. In the end, it’s all about composition. I always say architecture should touch all the senses. Rhythm, repetition, light, shadow, the way you decide to build your composition will define the desired atmosphere which interacts with the most basic human emotions.
Full article at BLUEPRINT. Read all the contributions by: Daniel Libeskind, Mohsen Mostafavi, Matthias Sauerbruch, Malin Zimm, Eva Marguerre and Marcel Besau, Kenneth Grange, Kengo Kuma, Paul Karakusevic, Annabelle Selldorf, Terence Conran, Christina Seilern, Enrique Sobejano and Fuensanta Nieto and Simon Allford.