Erik Wegerhoff's e book “Automobile and Architecture” | EUROtoday

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Dhe really apocalyptic invention of the 20th century, the American architectural historian Kenneth Frampton wrote in 1999, was not the atomic bomb however the vehicle. The cynicism of this comparability turns into extra comprehensible if you add up the lives, cities and landscapes that fell sufferer to the streets of the Hundred Years' War. The Zurich architectural theorist Erik Wegerhoff doesn't let such warnings cease him from dedicating an enthusiastic obituary to the century of the automotive. His e book “Automobile and Architecture” goals to “appreciate the creative power of the car” with ten essays from a declared historic distance, however “without anger about the impact of the car on the environment”.

Instead, Wegerhoff follows the coevolution of buildings and autos and begins by utilizing the instance of the prepare station palaces of the nineteenth century to explain how the statics of structure met the dynamics of mobility. With their pillar fronts and triumphal arch portals, the stations not solely served as metropolis gates for exits into the open air, but in addition as “buffer stops” in opposition to quick entrances – even when in Paris in 1895 or Frankfurt am Main in 1901, trains generally broke via unchecked into the reception halls and station eating places.

Racing vehicles and Greek temples

The first specialised automotive roads in Germany, such because the Berlin Avus in 1921 or sections of the “HaFraBa” axis from Hamburg by way of Frankfurt to Basel, had been as straight as railway tracks and consisted of race tracks that had been designed for beforehand unthinkable high speeds of as much as 100 kilometers per hour with out intersections, curves or controls had been. But as a result of an increasing number of drivers had been coming to a cease the wrong way up in a ditch, consciousness of the stress between accelerating and braking grew. With the Nazi Reich highways, which, in accordance with their chief planner Todt, had been meant to change into “a work of art in the landscape,” Wegerhoff describes how Germany was reworked right into a uniform pace space.

Wegerhoff additionally derives the fundamental pressure of contemporary development from the bodily inertia of cellular objects, which achieves the next, steady stability of hundreds and hundreds, pressure and stress with bolstered concrete constructions. In 1924, Le Corbusier designed a home in Paris for the painter and racing driver Amédée Ozenfant, which absorbed the kinetic power of the automotive within the floor ground storage and continued it on foot by way of a spiral staircase to the dwelling rooms above. For his Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier derived the ground plan from the turning circle of incoming autos and continued the kinetic impulses vertically as a “promenade architecturale” by way of ramps, spirals and ribbon home windows within the type of windshields. And in his architectural treatises he in contrast racing vehicles and Greek temples as equal fashions of the very best technical requirements.