AUJOURD’HUI N° 55-56 – U.S.A. – ENGLISH SUMMARY by Patrice GOULET and Pierre LACOMBE. U.S.A. P. 3 The aim of our issue devoted to U.S.A. is not to give an over-ail picture of American environment but to highlight what we consider to be most up-to-date. Four themes have been choosen for architecture: Louis Kahn and the Salk Institute which is pure demonstration of his design where the different components are expressed in linked values with simplicity and force, confirming the order of movement; the Technology Center at the University of Colorado, a spectacular example of a modern trend under development defining a new silhouette more complex, improvised, basing its expression on environment; some exemples of private house design revealing similar inspiration to the second, and finally Esherick and Moore, two architects questioning fundamental problems simply and realistically as illustrated in the Sea Ranch scheme. In the sphere of painting and sculpture, the four themes choosen are d’oser to modern imagery, although in fact they are a faked reflexion of it. Pop-Art the most widely known medium is represented here by its most typical masters; Happenings, falsifications of action, are closely linked to pop-art and under-line the importance of improvised and continuous extension of creating life; primary structures featured in the Jewish Museum exhibition reveals the same preoccupations as ail other American artistic movements, particularly refusai to be confined by the object, culture or the picturesque, above ail this sculpture shows the force and power of form over space; Systemic painting which as presented by L. Alloway at the Guggenheim Museum has a certain relationship to primary structure sculpture where cuttings and fragments amplify the action of painted form. The common factor in these new trends in art is the need felt to question attitudes, culture, history and reality, to discover new inspiration. Lyndon explains: We didn’t create the world we are in and we have to dodge about in defiance faced with the remains of preceding generations. If we are to draw up valid living patterns for to-day, we must reconcile ourselves with the world as we found it with its environments, situations and places. by Patrice GOULET and Pierre LACOMBE. RECENT PRIVATE HOUSE DESIGN. p. 20 n is interesting to analyse the work of young architects since the influence they undergo and the ideas which preoccupy them are at the very heart of contemporary events in architecture, they translate dominant tendancies. These artists do net try to elaborate an ideal prototype, their conception of a house is much more elementary, often close to child imagery. With no preconceived ideas they delve for their inspiration in local environment and historical and modern architecture with equal ease. More than creation, their work is improvisation. This notion is maintained throughout the various stages of design, similar to a « happening » where the artist defines a starting point, then draws inspiration from subsidiary events to keep the action moving. The work Reinecke and Sellers is the result of this taken to its extremity, since they encourage a design to corne to life through an incidental action, such as placing a rough beam and letting it suggest future movement, becoming more than improvisation, an accident. These artists accept complexity, contradiction, almost incoherence. Tolerance and the gift of assimilation are essentiel to them and to the inhabitants of these houses who must also contribute something to the design. These homes are usually brutal, rough but vigorous, corners and angles are bold, roof design is treated as importantly as the elevation and windows are placed solely for the view and lighting. The house becomes an envelope, sheltering a unique, closed volume, limiting the inside from the outside, cut off from surrounding nature by decks and stairs. The conceptions of Venturi, who describes himself as a « Pop architect » are very popular to-day. He accepts his rote of combining worn out clichés in new contexts, since society exerts its efforts, money and technology in other fields. He is not against simplicity, but against simplification. Modern architecture detests imperfection but this urge prevents its evolution. Venturi prefers to be « undecided », since as soon as an artist searches for perfection in form, it is already out of date. by Patrice GOULET and Pierre LACOMBE. J. ESHERICK, C.W. MOORE. p. 50 The « Bay Region » style, unlike the Chicago School which was overwhelmed by European influence, has remained true to its traditions since its creation at the beginning of the century. Its outstanding feature is the extensive use of wood for (rames, partitions, cladding. Set aside from versatile struggles, this trend has been a favourable climate for research of great originality, but its interesting aspect cornes not only from its local colour but also from the ideas its followers reveal and the audience they capture. The first impression of somewhat commonplace design given by Echerick’s houses is quickly banished as the observer becomes aware of the architect’s conceptions which spring from a desire to reconsider, to rediscover, to give second throughts to problems, to methods, to aims whatever their importance, to enable the inhabitant to fulfill his desires. Esherick challenges ail judgement on the finished product, considering that architecture only exists in a life of a building, a life which begins in the first stages of design and is Prolonged beyond the actuel construction. Therefore his work can only be examined effectively if taken as an instrument given to the inhabitant, and can only be judged in the light of the use it lends itself to. In contrast to Esherick’s hesitation and anxiety, Moore reveals a humorous love of lite, with his joyful medley of chimneys and columns upsetting ail the rules and taboos of modern architecture. But this simplicity really hides a deap understanding of problems, using skill and even refinement. Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull and Whitaker devote much of their talent to expenmenting their ideas, mainly the importance of each component and the creation of place. Lyndon explains that architecture gives people the POssibility of placing themselves in space, time and the order of things, it gives them an « inside ». The difference ‘between inside and outside is the vert’ basis of ail architecture and the passage from one to the other is and bas always been one of its fundamental principles. A. close study of their work reveals how skillfully they carried out these theories—starting with a square plan, a pyramid-shaped, a tower, they rhanipulate them to create special places adding outhouses, to produce a final design rich and varied. Their design raises the problems of architecture once more and their art is an interrogation as well as a reply. hseph ESHERICK. THE REALITY AND MEANING OF ARCHITECTURE. p. 51 « When he draws up a project an architect is in a ambiguous position—his work must not hamper or limit, but it must do more than help. His problem is to produce the best possible environment to enable the user to reach  »’,11Ment. He must distinguish what is valid in given circumstances and inte-grate it in his design. The environment must be adaptable to future develop-ment as the inhabitant wishes, since the user and uses are of prime importance, not the architecture, nor questions of aesthetics. Beauty is the consequence of judiciousness and net an aim sought for itself ». Joseph Esherick, January 1967. Through sculpture and medical drawings, Esherick developed an early teste for structure. His work is the direct expression of his ideas. He believes that we are on the brink of a unification era, when physical and social sciences will combine, since they have much in common. There is no reason why architecture should net benefit from this unifying tendancy but this cannot be achieved unless the level of discourse in the profession is raised. At the moment this is concerned only with the new cuit of beauty for beauty’s sake. No successful architecture can be formulated on a generalized system of aesthetics, it must be based on a way of lite. Esherick believes that there lias been confusion between the process and the end product. We think of the building, instead of man living in and using space, we have been concerned with expressions instead of realities. A building is really little more than a background, a set of diagrammatic ideas; how well these ideas are communicated is what makes a building interesting. One of the difficulties of the design process is that many architects have been trained primarily in convergent processes, the « esquisse » quickly drawn up and subsequently refined, produces an essentially focal architecture dealing with known images and using them to develop a design solution that consequently is limited to a modification of past solutions. A new and rigid academy of form fias appeared, and we are faced with the old problem of being unable to understand meanings, to grasp at forms. We use convergent thinking when what we need is to think divergently to succeed in innovation, to generate divergent opinions and a number of different alternatives, and then develop some method of selection that is net arbitrary but has a definite criterion. The industrial process, a functional element of architecture, is limited by preconceptions. Nevertheless a machine aesthetic has been constructed, and while this has a transient importance in indicating future possibilities, it is still an aesthetic system, therefore a limiting element. For example the industrial process has nothing built into it that suggests a moduler system, and it should be possible now to organize a completely automatic factory that never produces the same thing twice. Esherick is net ready to reveal how this would work but he feels that the new field of general systems holds promise for architecture, in their intermediate position between the generalized constructions of pure mathematics and the specific theories of specialized discipline such as physical and social sciences. Esherick looks on the direct application of general systems theory to architecture as a possibility worth exploring, but net yet sure. They could be used at the programming stage of a project, but Esherick believes that an architectural problem should be solved out of its own ingredients, and this includes finding out what the client really wants. The use of computer techniques could also be studied for shaping the over-ail physical environment. A scientific and systematic approach to the process of architecture does net depend on broad general laws but on the particular nature of each problem, nothing need be relegated to arbitrary categories. With this it should be possible to move on to a plastic, free approach where our primary media are space, light and time—where the building itself disappears and the user senses only space, light and time. To Esherick the practice of architecture is the search for form, and a deeper understanding of form is the goal of his investigations of the scientific method. Architecture should be composed of common objects, consciously preserving conflicts and ambiguous qualities. Former design theories directed their energies toward a certain appearance of the end product, but this approach leaves no room for man’s needs, purposes and will. The very ambiguity of the social science problem, its vagueness, are in fact elements of life itself, and design must preserve this capacity for ambiguity. Esherick’s own design process is somewhat circuitous, conducted through conversations with the client during which he sketches « thinking always in terms of space ». No drawings are prepared between meetings, and only blank sheets of paper are brought to them. Recent projects show a probing approach to the « eventuality » of architectural form. Coupled with his almost passionate desire to have his buildings continuously reflect the changing qualities of nature, this inevitably ieads to many changes within the building itself. « I am against the jewelry school where you try to produce one gem that is constant under ail conditions ». by C.W. MOORE and D. LYNDON. THE ARCHITECT’S MISSION – CREATING PLACES. p. 72 Architecture is in a bad way. Ils craftsmen learn to respect materials, organise space and volume, some can even master the magic flow of light. But nevertheless our environment is more and more in disorder, foreign to nature and hostile to human lite. The order of nature is destroyed but nothing closer to human understanding has been treated to replace it. ln this disorder the basic function of architecture is forgotten, beyond providing shelter and handling materials, it should create places, take possession of a defined area. Taking possession of space has become an art where the act itself is abstracted and symbolised, for example by stones in Japanese gardens. This is enthralling but also disappointing, because we need to possess in abstraction not only a naturel world but one made up of forms and ideas conceived by Man. Who takes possession of what and in the name of whom? For the moment we feel uneasy about this. At one extreme modest building plots are too small and at the other civic centres are sited on town outskirts simply to facilitate parking. Well-known architects are perpetually in search of the magic moment. They innovate ail the time, unfortunately without experience since we cannot be certain how a building or at town works or what effect it produces on people. The very language necessary to describe this act of possession is wanting and most certainly because the need to use it has never been felt. We need a theory, a set of rules to examine how and for whom our structures must work, what they are and how they affect the lite of users. A useful distinction between architectural forms includes those elaborated from general solutions (diagrams of an independent idea conceived abstractly) or specific solutions which began with a place which they enhance and render suitable to the needs of the user. Our worries begin when there are too many generalities and net enough specifics, too much expression and net enough responce, too much invention and net enough discovery. Unfortunately widely varied places are being rapidly spoilt under a meaningless film of monotonous construction. These structures will fall into ruin but the obliteration of nature will be permanent, therefore we have an urgent need to understand places before we lose them. Traditional methods for choosing and setting up places are stil) valid-focal points such as monuments and obelisks plotted in ancient cities to show the pilgrim where he was and where he was going from one basilica to another, the importance of being there. Mapping out limits is essentiel and their absence possible accounts for the disappointing sensation of being nowhere that we feel in new cities. The urban quality of Manhattan is incontestable since it is surrounded by water, San Francisco is held in by a traffic belt. The feelings of place may exist independently of traditional means such as procession avenues, limits and FIND ART DOC