ARCHITECTURE OF GERMAN PEOPLE THAT SEEMS TO INVITE INTEREST IN THE 21ST CENTURY
A new constructor was built in Mai-shima, a reclaimed island
of Osaka, in April, 2001. The formal
name of the construction is "Mai-shima Factory of Department of
Environmental Enterprise of Osaka City." A big official name but, as a matter of fact, it is a rubbish
incineration facility(RIF). RIF always
carries some kind of dark image these days, however, this building is outstandingly
fashionable.(see photo A-1, 2)
It seems to be mistaken as a pavilion building of exhibition
by the outside wall porcelainous painted patterns colored by red and orange,
many onion-shaped towers here and there, and all shining in gold. Anyone who has informed more or less in
architecture can surmise that the arichitects of the building are Freedensreig
Hundertwasser of Vienna, and Showa Sekkei,Inc.,Osaka.
Hundertwasser, who was formerly a painter but disliked
geometric line, built houses like RIF. His Hundertwasserhaus at
became a sight seeing spot in Vienna. Sorrow to say, however, he passed away on Queen Elizabeth 2 on the
Pacific in the beginning of 2000.
Knowing of him and his fashion, two things stimulate our
The first is that the reason of why Osaka City chosen an avant-garte architect as he, that is,
what message the administrators and officers wanted to tell us the citizens of
Osaka through this architecture. The
another is that the broadness of architecture of the Germans, or the German people
might be better in this case. Of the
former I would like to have an opportunity to ask to the director of the
constructor of Osaka City sometime. Of
the latter is the reason of this paper that I would like to express my opinion.
2, The Broadness
of Architecture of the Germans
Observing the architecture in Vienna recently, I am
surprised at the "broadness of art and design (especially architectural
design) of the Germans." The
change of the trend in architecture in the 20th century, needless to say, is
"the change of ups and downs of modern architecture itself." It may not be too exaggerating to say that
Germany was the major stage of its history in the first half of the 20th
century. Though France and Belgium had
taken the world of "Art Nouveau,"
later the stage was all dominated by the German people through the "Secession Movement,"
"Deutscher Werkbund," and until the modern architectural design was
lastly developed and established by "BauHaus."
It was also the fact that, along with the replacement of the
center of world politic and culture from Europe to America, many German people
migrated to the United States in 1930's, made their base there, and continued
their work worldwide.
However, it was also the fact that, when a big wave of the
"Post-Modern Art Movement" that was represented by a paper of an
American architect, Robert Venturi's, "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture" in 1966, many Germanic German-peoples formed a strong
hold of the movement.
People will notice the fact that influential groups of the
North and South always appeared to be conflicting and struggling in the German history of art and
culture. The northern Germanic German-people
developed clear ) and heavy Romanesque culture, but the southern Germanic
people developed gorgeouse Baroque
and Rococo art in the southern
It is my opinion that those who completed the "modern
architectural design" and who are
running a head of the post-modern architecture are both the Germans.
Vienna, where the palace of Hapsburg and other palaces and condomimiums
are, is now an exhibition of
post-modern architecture. Letti Candle
Shop(photo B) that was designed by Hans Hollein first appeared at
Kohlmarkt Strasse down town in 1965 and soon later Schullin Jewelry Shop(photo
C) by the same architect showed its decent style across the street.
If you take a short walk to Stehansdom, there you see Hoas
Hous by the same architect in 1990 and it is now a topic of people's talk. Contrasting to the change of his
architecture from divers cynical appearance first to moderate mode gradually,
the Central Bank by architect Gunter
Domenig who leads Grazer Schule, a group that tries to break out of balance
challenging against modern architecture, shows its strange appearance.
Now, comes Hundertwasser.
3, The German
people who run from
One Extreme to Other Extreme
The desire to show the power of sovereign king, the desire
to show the authority of Roman archbishops who were confronted by Protestant
Reformation, and the desire to make illusory space that draw people to heaven
all led way to the appearance of magnificent and brilliant visual space. The result of these desire can be seen in Baroqueor Rococo styled architectures such as palaces and pilgrim cathedrals
built in the 17th and 18th century.
It is a great surprise, however, in the beginning of 20th
century, the same Germans created the coldest rational and functional
architectures as expressed in the statement of Adolf Loos, "Decoration is
evil." Germany and Austria that
have overcome two painful World Wars are now beginning to show a surprising
transfiguration again today.
It is interesting to notice that Berlin, one capital of the
German people, is now a demonstration city for noted architects from many
countries of the world, and Vienna, another capital, is an exhibition city of
young, liberal architects who are expected to show the future of the German
The German people who are able to move from "Baroque or Rococo" to "modern architecture" like nothing! Now they are moving from "modern
architecture" to "post-modern architecture" so easily!
Director, Higuchi Environmental Architectural Design Office
Former professor, Kyoto Institute of $B#T#e#c#h#n#o#r#o#g#y(B
Honorable member, Japan Interior Designers Association