Monday, May 19, 2008

No! Not the Passion Quilt!

Owen has asked me to do this. I’m not sure why because I've never done anything to harm him, but here goes….

The rules are as follows: Post a picture of what you are most passionate about as a teacher (I'm not a proper teacher but this doesn't seem to matter). Title your post either 'Meme:Passion Quilt (No!) - or similar. Link to this post and force (sorry, ask) five other like minded brethren to do the same.

I’ve ‘tagged’ (said in the slightly withering tone of an elderly high court judge coming across the term for the first time) Steve, because he is, I believe, an ‘educator’ and also because he once tagged me - although it was slightly before I started reading his excellent site - so I feel I have some kind of excuse, Sir Norman Blogster because he has strong views on education, Annie because although she has absolutely no idea who I am she might say something funny, Jon because he will hate doing it and Anne because I like I like.

I’ve chosen this because it’s my favourite building (ahhh!) and because as a friend of mine once said; “The whole of architecture is in this room”. It is a picture of the interior of the Muller House by Adolf Loos. The first time I saw it I was perplexed by what the fuss was all about. Now I think it brilliant.

It’s spatially inventive, materially rich, socially provocative and psychologically complex. It’s both beautiful and strange. It collapses any number of oppositions: tradition and modernity, opulence and austerity, comfort and risk and leaves them all up in the air, in a state of perpetual motion. As an architect you couldn’t do any better.

It also reminds me of two key moments in my own education. One was reading the brilliant essay by Beatriz Colominia about this house which opened my eyes to a whole way of looking at and experiencing architecture, and the other was a lecture by Robin Evans on the social and psychological development of domestic architecture, the relationship between the forms, shapes and organisations of architecture and the social organisation of the family. Both of them suggested that architecture, uniquely perhaps, has a constructive role in the way we organise ourselves as bodies in space. Not as an excursion or a comment in the way that a play or an art installation might, but there, right in the centre, all the time, everywhere.


owen hatherley said...

Ta for doing this - there was really no compulsion of course... I've just started reading Colomina's Privacy and Publicity, funnily enough - I'm not generally an interiors person, shall we say, but it's intriguing nonetheless...

Charles Holland said...

I'm nothing if not well behaved. She's very good I think though that beatriz Colomina. The best of that breed (as it were) who imported critical theory and Derrida into architectural theory. And her stuff on Loos, for good or bad, has become the accepted line now which was unthinkable twenty odd years ago given what a stern old puritan he was held to be.

Anne said...

Oh dear. I'm not sure I understand that meme entirely, but will have a bash. Nice to be tagged, thanks.