Formal Analysis

Elective: Formal Analysis

Instructor: Peter Eisenman

Collaborate with Jerome Tryon

2020 Spring

Barcelona Pavilion

Mies van der Rohe, 1928

According to our analysis of the Barcelona Pavilion by ‎Ludwig Mies van der Rohe‎, Mies was interested in a balanced compositional building but rejected bilateral symmetry as the major compositional system. Instead of by lateral symmetry he favored a grid reflected symmetry at the building scale (drawing 1) and horizontal symmetry at the room-scale that resolves in the perspectival experience of the viewer(drawing 2). Furthermore, when placing the walls and columns, Mies did not follow the rational grid system he set up by the plinth but instead drew multiple misalignments between architectural elements creating a contrast between where the elements should be placed according to rational alignments and where they actually are.  This results in the idea of two architectures, one conceptual and one actual.   The conceptual building exists in the rational expectation of wall and column placement set up by the plinth while the real building exists as a series of architectural elements that shape spaces loosely aligned to the rationality of the plinth.  The spaces shaped by the walls and columns, both conceptual and actual, are analyzed as a third element that bleeds into and flows out of a series of virtual rooms.  Mies uses this spatial bleed to develop a hierarchy of spaces that culminates in the central space of the pavilion where his chairs are displayed (model).

 

When placing the walls and columns, Mies van der Rohe did not follow the rational grid system he set up by the plinth but instead drew multiple misalignments. This results in the idea of two architectures, one conceptual and one actual.   The conceptual building exists in the rational expectation of wall and column placement set up by the plinth while the real building exists as a series of architectural elements that shape sentimental spaces.

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State Gallery Stuttgart

James Stirling, 1843

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Vanna Venturi House

Robert Venturi, 1964

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