The formless Groszstadt and its potent negativity: Berlin, 1910 through the eyes of Endell, Scheffler, and Hegemann. Alexander Eisenschmidt

ISBN: 9781109009637

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434 pages


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The formless Groszstadt and its potent negativity: Berlin, 1910 through the eyes of Endell, Scheffler, and Hegemann.  by  Alexander Eisenschmidt

The formless Groszstadt and its potent negativity: Berlin, 1910 through the eyes of Endell, Scheffler, and Hegemann. by Alexander Eisenschmidt
| NOOK Study eTextbook | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 434 pages | ISBN: 9781109009637 | 6.33 Mb

This dissertation investigates the concept of the formless city in the German architectural discourse on the modern Grossstadt. It shows how the formless was not only a byproduct of the metropolis and an undercurrent throughout the early twentiethMoreThis dissertation investigates the concept of the formless city in the German architectural discourse on the modern Grossstadt. It shows how the formless was not only a byproduct of the metropolis and an undercurrent throughout the early twentieth century but that it stimulated the modern architectural discourse and pervaded throughout modernity.

The rapid growth of the industrial city had created an urban environment that was criticized as discontinuous, chaotic, irregular, and overwhelming -- a city without form. The works of the architect August Endell, the art and architectural critic Karl Scheffler, and the urban theorist Werner Hegemann, who all wrote about Berlin around 1910, offer a lens through which a range of reactions to the formless can be discovered. Simultaneously fascinated and traumatized by the turmoil of the metropolis, Endell, Scheffler, and Hegemann focused on the disordered, disjunctive, and anarchic moments of the modern city in an attempt to formulate an alternative reading of the urban discontinuities that they found dominating the metropolis.

By studying their different attitudes towards, and uses of the formless, the theoretical diversity and conceptual range of this notion is made clear: while Endell entirely reversed the negativities associated with the formless and aimed at detecting a new beauty in the terrains of the city, Scheffler employed the formless as strategic device that revealed potentials within the metropolis, and Hegemann aimed at defining and combating the formless, unintentionally drawing the most complex image of the disordered city.

The operational and constructive nature of the formless provided for some an experimental playfield whereas for others it acted as a provocation -- in turn penetrating the modern architectural discourse from the most optimistic to the most skeptical positions. Conceptualizing the struggle between the will to architectural form and the capacities of urban formlessness, the theories of Endell, Scheffler, and Hegemann influenced architects, artists, theorists, and philosophers of the coming generation such as Erich Mendelsohn, Hans and Wassily Luckardt, Le Corbusier, Wassily Kandinsky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes, Hermann Hessel, Siegfried Kracauer, and Walter Benjamin.

While Endell, Scheffler, and Hegemann announced the formless as an essential trope within modernity, later generations became the carriers of the concept during a more hermetic and polarized period of modernity. Then, as today, the formless was used to open new territories, facilitate unorthodox readings, and upset common notions.



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