Photo presented by Showa sekkei


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photo C


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Page of Higuchi Osamu( Interior architect )

(Mr.Higuthi suddenly passed away on 12.13.2001 .please contact to his daughter c-yama@tcct.zaq.ne.jp
if any.  webmaster.) 

ARCHITECTURE OF GERMAN PEOPLE THAT SEEMS TO INVITE INTEREST IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Osamu Higuchi

1,  Rubbish Incineration Facility
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 Lovengasse lately 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 interest.

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 Germany.

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 people. 
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!

 

Higuchi, Osamu

Director, Higuchi Environmental Architectural Design Office

Former professor, Kyoto Institute of Technorogy


Honorable member, Japan Interior Designers Association

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