Tag Archives: architecture

RIP Vittorio Gregotti (1927 – 2020)

And the first covid-19 victims start to come in.

Kitsch: The World of Bad Taste (1968)

Vittorio Gregotti was an Italian architect. He contributed the essay “Kitsch and Architecture” to Kitsch: The World of Bad Taste (1968) by Gillo Dorfles.

While the essay references Googie architecture and the kitsch of the roadside attraction, it fails to cite God’s Own Junkyard (1964).

It also fails to foreshadow the positive view of kitsch in Learning from Las Vegas (1972).

RIP Adolfo Natalini (1941 – 2020)

Adolfo Natalini was an Italian architect, known for his involvement in the radical architecture collective Superstudio.

Here is the short film Supersurface: an Alternative Model for Life on the Earth (1972), Superstudio’s contribution to the MoMA exhibition: Italy. The New Domestic Landscape.

At the same time as reporting Natalini’s death, we need to report the death of co-founder Cristiano Toraldo di Francia (1941 – 2019) who apparently died over the summer. 

RIP Juliaan Lampens (1926 – 2019)

Juliaan Lampens was a Belgian architect whose name has become associated with brutalism.

Photo: detail of one of the Lampens facades. photo by Pirre Pluymers.
Photo: detail of one of the Lampens facades. Photo by Pirre Pluymers.

Brutalism is architecture which makes ostentative use of béton brut (French for raw concrete).

The aesthetic is the last phase in modernist architecture (before the advent of postmodern architecture) and it was heavily criticized by Charles, Prince of Wales, author of A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture (1989).

For lovers of the style, which includes myself, a big part of the attraction is that the imprint of the wood grain from the formwork of the concrete can be seen on the exterior concrete of brutalist structures.

Juliaan Lampens’s most famous building is the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Kapel van Kerselare in Edelare, which I visited in 2014 and 2019.

They also bless new cars there.

In praise of artificial ruins

 

A cross section of the Broken Column House at the Désert de Retz as recorded in Les jardins anglo-chinois by Georges-Louis Le Rouge, 1785 [1]

A cross section of the Broken Column House at the Désert de Retz as recorded in Les jardins anglo-chinois by Georges-Louis Le Rouge, 1785

A cross section of the Broken Column House as recorded in Les jardins anglo-chinois by Georges-Louis Le Rouge, 1785 [1].

The Broken Column House (the “colonne brisée”, or ruined column) is an artificial ruin in the French landscape garden Désert de Retz.