Traslaciones culturales británicas : "The English Journey" (1826) : de Karl Friedrich Schinkel a Louis I. Kahn

González Peña, Nuria (2016). Traslaciones culturales británicas : "The English Journey" (1826) : de Karl Friedrich Schinkel a Louis I. Kahn. Thesis (Doctoral), E.T.S. Arquitectura (UPM).


Title: Traslaciones culturales británicas : "The English Journey" (1826) : de Karl Friedrich Schinkel a Louis I. Kahn
  • González Peña, Nuria
  • Climent Ortiz, Javier
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Read date: 2016
Faculty: E.T.S. Arquitectura (UPM)
Department: Proyectos Arquitectónicos
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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El lenguaje de la arquitectura se retroalimenta de si mismo en un canibalismo que acaba siendo estéril. La intención de entender el comportamiento de materiales y elementos de construcción llevó a los arquitectos a convertirse primero en teóricos y después en historiadores. Agotadas las fuentes clásicas el arquitecto se siente perdido en su propio tiempo tratando de conciliar los métodos con el pasado y el presente. Vitruvio, Alberti y Schinkel se encontraron con el mismo problema. Esta investigación que se ha llevado a cabo en Italia, Francia, Alemania, Inglaterra y los Estados Unidos, ha encontrado a través del uso del lenguaje arquitectónico, indicios que llevan a pensar que en las traslaciones culturales británicas se encuentra suficiente material 9 como para propiciar el cambio de una época, de un estilo o de un pensamiento arquitectónico. El método de revisión constante de las partes del proceso arquitectónico y sus resultados, a fin de extraer conclusiones que lleven a modificaciones necesarias, se ha encontrado con una nueva fuente, las traslaciones culturales, que abrirán el objetivo de la arquitectura para enriquecerla desde otros ámbitos. El lenguaje moderno y auténtico que Kahn sintetiza10, tiene resonancias culturales sobre la base de distintas fuentes. El historiador norteamericano Vincent Scully11, dejó escrito en 1962, que en los proyectos de Louis Kahn se vieron influencias de Schinkel. Pero, ¿conocemos las implicaciones? Las traslaciones culturales que ello conlleva tienen pendiente un estudio dificilmente abarcable. Algunos ya están en ello12. La investigación indaga en el cuaderno de apuntes del viaje a Inglaterra de Schinkel en 1826 y confronta sus notas y dibujos con el pensamiento de Kahn. Este es un viaje por los retos de la arquitectura y de su lenguaje. Esta tesis se alejó de la arquitectura para acercarse a la sociedad y la cultura británicas de principios del siglo XIX, en busca de las fuentes de inspiración de la propia arquitectura. En la investigación se vio que los modelos a partir de los cuales se desarrolló el Movimiento Moderno, procedían en parte, de ámbitos británicos ajenos a la arquitectura. Este trabajo sugiere un nuevo punto de aproximación a la historia del Movimiento Moderno, que se enfrenta a la opinión tradicional encabezada por Pevsner, que afirmaba que la única aportación de Gran Bretaña al Movimiento Moderno había sido el libro de Muthesius "La casa inglesa"(1904). La investigación se llevó a cabo gracias al cuaderno de viaje a Inglaterra de Schinkel en 1826. El libro Karl Friedrich Schinkel “The English Journey” Journal of a Visit to France and Britain in 1826 , de David Bindman y Gottfried Riemann (1993), recoge el contenido del manuscrito. En el escrito se pone de relieve que los intereses de Schinkel no tenían mucho que ver con los de la mayoría de los arquitectos de su época. Desde esta consideración se desarrolló el estudio de su obra posterior a 1826. Al estudiar la obra de Louis I. Kahn, aparecen puntos de encuentro con Schinkel, tanto en su obra arquitectónica como didáctica, que muestran en qué medida se dio una traslación cultural británica asociada a la arquitectura que llevaba aparejada los lógicos cambios inherentes a todo desplazamiento. ABSTRACT Culture underlies the architectural reality, almost everyone recognizes this. The Modern Movement was seen as a social project.1 The key to the German role in the architecture of the nineteenth century was found in the thought of Emil Kaufmann (1891-1953). According to whom the French architecture of the Enlightenment and the Revolution had equalled and even surpassed traditional German classicism represented by Schinkel. Therefore, the pioneer was Schinkel. It was an indirect reference to the study of Paul Klopfer, Von Schinkel bis Palladio (Palladio to Schinkel).2 Thereafter, the interest in architecture is gradually modifi ed and geographically distanced from Germany. In France and Italy a break is achieved with the "heteronomous" baroque compositional ways, by introducing modern forms of "autonomous and free" provision that would establish the abstraction of the Modern Movement. For Kaufmann the pioneer of change was Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736- 1806), whose work is prior to Schinkel. From reading the diary the close relationship between Schinkel and French culture is evident. Amongst other things, he spoke French and moved with ease in French society in which he was comfortable. Despite the warm reception of French architects, and being received in the Institute de France, where he presented his work,3 no reference is made to the work by Ledoux (1736-1806), Boullée (1728-1799) or Piranesi (1720-1778). All of whom were regarded as visionaries of new architecture. But nevertheless, on that same trip he had been invited to dinner with some of the most prominent scholars, whom he knew very well. From his relationship of familiarity with French society and culture, perhaps it is not surprising that no mention is made in the travelogue about architecture and architects with whom he was so familiar with. The part of the trip that impresses him the most is the beginning when leaving France to cross the English Channel to Dover. As this was the first visit to England and he encountered great communication difficulties, since he neither spoke nor understood English. However, British cultivated people used to speak French fl uently, so simultaneous translation of French were his only means of communication. It is very likely that this sense of social isolation and frustration, gave rise to a more intense introspective and conscious contact with British culture. When Kaufmann died in 1953, he left written in his posthumous book: "I do not think I have solved the enormous problem of explaining why the architectural transformation took place towards 1800." 4 The interpretation of technological modernity and progress development by Reyner Banham confronts the formal search by Colin Rowe for historical references. But is it possible to reconcile both approaches? Rowe 5 argues that the first drawings by Mies and the sketches by Gropius seemed to be infl uenced by the work of Schinkel. Furthermore, it is not only Vincent Scully, but also Colin Rowe who pointed to the figure of Schinkel when talking about possible influences on the main performers of the Modern Movement. There is no doubt that Schinkel united both technical and historical factors in his work. Therefore both approaches by Rowe and Banham were indeed accurate and rather complemented each other. Furthermore, the two most influential American architectural historians, Rowe and Scully both make references to Schinkel as an inspirational figure on the pioneers of the Modern Movement. According to the traditional account of the history of architecture, during the fi rst two decades of the twentieth century in Western Europe, a cultural movement called "Modern" emerges as it is a break with art and literature of the past. The previous century recognized the achievement of scientific thought and technological advances, but all changes made under the seal of the Modern Movement, were seen from the perspective of transformation and a break with the nineteenth-century thought. This concept of modernity moved to North America, where it evolved to create a unique style, which upon reaching maturity, was then exported. This thesis suggests that this discourse may be incomplete and the origins of the Modern Movement can be found at the beginning of the nineteenth century, which arises from an analysis of elements of the twentieth century. The suggestion was based on the prior knowledge of a single work by Schinkel: the Bauakademie, which began to function in 1835 and was demolished in 1962, when the reconstruction work to restore the damage from World War II was well under way. The modern features of the building did not fit in with neither the idea that it was an isolated case nor with the absence of past records. Moreover, the work of American architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) is studied in two major texts, the book Louis Kahn, essential texts by Twombly (2003) and his first monograph work by Vincent Scully, Louis I. Kahn, Makers of Contemporary Architecture which was published in 1962, which coincidentally was the same year that the Bauakademie was demolished. The first book provides the writings and lectures of the architect as a reference to understanding his thinking. The second provides data in order to gain insights on the architect and his work and contains a quote, which states, that the architects of Kahn's circle acknowledged the influence of Schinkel in the projects of both houses, Adler and DeVore, 1954. "The houses were not constructed, but Philip Johnson, as others have already pointed out, was reminded by them of Schinkel and freely adapted their scheme for his highly successful Boissonnas House, designed in 1955-56." Scully, in the text, refers to Louis Kahn’s designs for Adler and DeVore houses in 1954 which were never constructed but were published in Perspecta the following year. n the search of evidence in Kahn’s work of British cultural translations of 1826, this research draws a parallel between the interests of Schinkel and Kahn, in an attempt to find the cultural contact between them. Both are architects, both are interested in building and urban design. Both give architecture classes at the university. The concepts of nature, light, structure, material and the coherence between them all, have many points in common which are outlined in this thesis by comparing both societies and the types of architecture. Schinkel’s coherence is Kahn’s harmony, and the formal identifi cation of structure by Schinkel is the formal manifestation of physical structure by Kahn.7 The lines of composition the German architect establishes in a manual are abstracted by the American architect based on his particular concept of monumentality. This study collects the British cultural translations in the work and thought of Louis Kahn, based on Schinkel's trip to Britain in 1826 as an infl uence. The work by Schinkel and Kahn as painters and artists complete the profile of both architects who combined their interest in technical innovation and art history. They combined new structural methods with the use of old materials to create new forms. This was seen in the architecture in Manchester in 1826, which hosted the most complex and innovative structures using traditional materials, creating a new way of doing architecture. Kahn and Schinkel combined their artistic vision with this industrial way of architecture to create impressive buildings that possessed the added value which can only be produced by an artistic mind. But nevertheless we can say that some of the major topics of interest to Schinkel, found in the notes of the trip to Britain in 1826, although trapped in endless variations, cultural conditioning and techniques, have also been identifi ed in Louis Kahn’s work in this study. These topics refer to structure, facade, roof, volumes, use of materials, the study of natural light and coherence, as well as the interest in nature and art. From the study of American architect, the use of materials, light and interest in nature and art, were the great achievements in the work by Kahn.8 All of which with the exception of the artistic aspect were found in the architecture of Manchester in 1826. After the trip to the United States, and an inspection of projects by the American architect, the data collected was conclusive.

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Item ID: 43818
DC Identifier:
OAI Identifier:
DOI: 10.20868/UPM.thesis.43818
Deposited by: Archivo Digital UPM 2
Deposited on: 02 Nov 2016 14:57
Last Modified: 22 May 2020 08:16
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