40 Years of Critical Architectural Theory – 40 Years of Igma

Volume 13, No. 2, March 2009


___Kari Jormakka
  Disguise, Delimit
Notes towards the Misosophy of Architecture



Thought is primarily trespass and violence, the enemy, and nothing presupposes philosophy: everything begins with misosophy,” claims Gilles Deleuze who goes on to argue that “Something in the world forces us to think. This something is an object not of recognition but of a fundamental ‘encounter’. What is encountered may be Socrates, a temple or a demon.”[1] To flesh out this thesis, let us consider Plato’s parable of the cave, his account of the first moment of philosophical enlightenment.

Strolling in a lush grove of the Academy outside the eroded Acropolis, Plato imagines a cave with prisoners chained so tightly they cannot move at all. They sit away from the opening, staring at the dark back wall. Behind their backs, there is first a low parapet, then a bridge crossing the cave at a right angle, and further away a fire illuminating the space. For reasons that the philosopher leaves in the dark, there are people walking across the bridge, carrying statues of animals and everyday things. Seeing only the shadows the objects cast, the prisoners take the shadows to be reality, as they have been deprived of any acquaintance of the external world since birth. Ultimately, the resourceful philosopher escapes from the cave and “last of all, he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of it in the water, but he will see the sun in its own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate it as it is.”[2]

To paint this epistemological allegory, Plato need not dwell too much on the cave. In a paper on architectural theory, however, a few observations about the curious setting are in place. Firstly, the cavern functions as a prison depriving its dwellers of the freedom of movement and action. Through this function, it also excludes them from true knowledge. Secondly, the cave substitutes illusion for reality: it is actually the precondition of false perception. Acting as an aperture, the form creates shadows that contrast with their source, making it necessary to differentiate the unreal from the real. In that sense, the cave is a kind of chora, an unnamable container existing before or outside of categories such as truth and illusion.

Plato’s choice of architecture as the misosophic order was not random. Already for the first troglodytes, the unreal nature of the caves must have been obvious. A cave is often a reversal of its surroundings: the dark, labyrinthine and enclosed spaces of the cave contrast with the panoramic openness and light of the savanna (or the final revelation of Orphic initiations). The cave is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The entrances to most caves are high up but the cave itself plunges deep into the mountain, since caves are formed by water running downhill. Most importantly, caves offer silence, isolation, privacy, and secrecy, all of them qualities strikingly lacking in the primitive camp of the nomads. Such characteristics of caves may have made them singularly suitable as means to impart vital information during the Paleolithic period of cave paintings. The obstacles to overcome and the dangers to brave in entering the caves in order to view the grotto paintings might have indoctrinated the information more deeply than more convenient locations. Further, the near-impenetrability of the caves helped to restrict information, creating a social hierarchy of erudition which ranged from powerful druids to the common man and the excluded woman.[3]

Caves, then, would be a good example of what Michel Foucault named ‘heterotopias’. On the one hand, they can be seen as
counter-sites” which represent, contest, and invert “the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture” and on the other hand, they are themselves real existing places, “formed in the very founding of society”, as part of the presuppositions of social life.[4] In exhibiting such contradictory qualities, caves approach the condition of which Foucault in another context calls heterotopic thinking: they make it impossible to name this or that thing because they tangle common names and destroy syntax in advance, “and not only the syntax with which we construct sentences but also that less apparent syntax which causes words and things hold together”.[5] The contention of this paper is that architecture functions in the same way as misosophy.


In contrast to Plato’s view, Martin Heidegger argues that architecture, like the work of art in general, can be a form of truth presencing. He refers to an etymology relating ‘architecture’ to ‘techne’ which according to Heidegger means “neither art nor handicraft but rather to make something appear, within what is present, as this or that, in this way or that way”.[6] Moreover, it also means to “be entirely at home (zu Hause) in something.”[7] Techne thus conceived is said to have been concealed in ‘architecture’ since ancient times.

To explain how a work of art lets truth appear, Heidegger discusses “a Greek temple standing alone in a rock-cleft valley”. According to Heidegger, a Greek temple represents nothing but it shows the truth of the landscape: the bulkiness of the rocky ground, the violence of the storm, the space of air.

The steadfastness of the building contrasts with the surge of the surf, and its own repose brings out the raging of the sea. Tree and grass, eagle and bull, snake and cricket first enter into their distinctive shapes and thus come to appear as what they are.[8]

Which temple does he have in mind? Later in the essay, Heidegger mentions the Doric temple of Poseidon in Paestum but this can hardly be the one he is thinking of, since the Poseidonia in Paestum does not stand alone not in a rocky valley but together with other buildings on a fertile, grassy plain. Indeed, as Joseph Rykwert has pointed out, Greek temples (whether Doric, Ionic or Corinthian) are not located in rocky valleys. Rykwert also calls attention to a passage in a text by Gottfried Benn, published a year earlier than Heidegger’s, in which Greek temples are discussed in a similar way, and concludes that both Benn’s and Heidegger’s interpretations of Greek architecture have less to do with historical Greece than with a fiction created by nineteenth century philologists, mixed with a Nazi admiration for violence, power, racial pride, and homoerotic antifeminism.[9]

No less controversial is Heidegger’s other example of how an artwork reveals the truth: a van Gogh painting showing a pair of shoes. In the “dark opening of the worn insides of the shoes”, Heidegger sees

the toilsome tread of the peasant woman. In the stiffly rugged heaviness of the shoes there is the accumulated tenacity of her slow trudge through the far-spreading and ever-uniform furrows of the field swept by a raw wind. On the leather lie the dampness and richness of the soil. Under the soles slides the loneliness of the field-path as evening falls. In the shoes vibrates the silent call of the earth, its quiet gift of the ripening grain and its unexplained self-refusal in the fallow desolation of the wintry field. This equipment is pervaded by uncomplaining worry as to the certainty of bread, the wordless joy of having once more withstood want, the trembling before the impending childbed and shivering at the surrounding menace of death.”

Heidegger’s rhapsody is entirely truthful in the sense of the correspondence theory of truth. There are three paintings by van Gogh which show a pair of shoes, and, as Meyer Schapiro has demonstrated, none show the shoes of a peasant woman from a remote Dutch village but rather those belonging to the artist himself, a member of the Parisian avant-garde, educated at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and with a career at an international art dealership Goupil & Cie in the Hague, London and Paris.[10] Even though the artist had sympathy for the plight of the peasants and the workers, he was very conscious of being different.[11]

It does seem clear that Heidegger’s argument does not bear the scrutiny of art historians but many of his apologists, including Jacques Derrida, J. J. Kockelmans and Gianni Vattimo, insist that these inaccuracies matter little, if at all, for the “letting-truth-appear” or aletheia of the work of art or architecture does not reveal isolated facts about what this or that individual thing is as it discloses to us the essential nature and structure of a whole world. A bridge, for example, lets the two sides of a river appear as opposite sides: the bridge makes the river into a place and reveals its true essence.[12]

In Sein und Zeit, Heidegger shows even more generally how equipment (Zeug) opens up and reveals the world through varieties of failure: either conspicuousness (Auffälligkeit), obtrusiveness (Aufdringlichkeit) or obstinacy (Aufsässigkeit) which constitute fissures in some smoothly functioning and therefore invisible context. A chair that has lost its leg becomes conspicuous in its useless presence; the absence of the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle renders all the other pieces obtrusive in their pointlessness; a window that should have been washed long ago obstinately refuses to be overlooked any longer.[13] In analogous way, a bridge across a river or a Greek temple standing alone, say, on a rocky hill unconceals the occurrentness of nature by being conspicuous in standing out of the context and obstinately refusing to respect the setting, undermining the invisible functioning of the river as boundary or valley as thoroughfare. Space is gathered by virtue of location which is the origin of the being of the spaces. However, the marking of the location is only possible through something exceptional, such as the bridge which is the exact negation of the river in more senses than one. Thus the unveiling of the truth about the place becomes an attack against its essential characteristics.

The specificity of a place, its genius loci, rather than being originary, may in fact be radically secondary or even parasitical. Just as a copy of a painting reframes the original as the original or constitutes originality, the incongruent addition of the bridge establishes the sameness and the integrity of the river as a place. To respond to the uniqueness of a site, an architect needs to insert universal, alien elements that function as a normalizing grid recording and celebrating particularities and idiosyncracies. What is self-evident is that there is not just one kind of difference, but any number of differences or alien elements, depending on which system one is considering. This means that the aletheia or unveiling produced by the work of architecture is always ambiguous, it is the “Offenbarung des Gottes oder des Ungeheuren.”[14] A Greek temple may show the truth of the landscape and it may also let God appear – or it may reveal something quite different.[15]


Don Ihde, in his discussion of Heidegger, quoted another view of what the ruins of the Parthenon on the rocky cliff of the Acropolis reveal: far vaster ruins of an environment which the classical Greeks desolated at the same time as they achieved the highest peaks of their cultural achievement. “In the centuries before the Golden Age of Athens, those same mountains were covered by forests and watered by springs and streams.” Plato could still see buildings in Athens with beams made of trees that used the grow on hillsides which by his day were eroded and bare; he visited shrines once dedicated to the guardians spirits of flowing springs which had since dried up.[16]

If the Greek temple unveils the ecological catastrophe of deforestation then it is not a good example of another of Heidegger´s ideas about architecture, namely that the essence of architecture, and in particular dwelling, is caring or conserving, Schonen. “Mortals dwell in that they save the earth.” With this Heidegger means that on
e has to let things be what they are in essence, set something free in its essence.

To save the earth is more than to exploit it or even wear it out. Saving the earth does not master the earth and does not subjugate it, which is merely one step from boundless spoliation. ... Mortals nurse and nurture the things that grow, and specially construct things that do not grow.[17]

We seem to have two unconcealments to choose from. Here, Heidegger explains that there are indeed two kinds of concealment, either a thing’s refusal to let its being appear in the lighting or a dissembling, in which a being appears but it presents itself as other than it is. The problem is that we can never know which form of concealment we are facing: “concealment conceals and dissembles itself.”[18] In this sense, the truth as revealed by the temple happens in this double concealment: the lighting opened up by art “is pervaded by a constant concealment in the double form of refusal and dissembling.”[19]


A hidden celebration of these contradictory and convoluted connotations is the Latin word architectus. Ostensibly a transcription of the Greek architekton, the Latin word combines archi which signifies the original, first or highest and tectus which means ‘impenetrable, secret’.

Architecture functions much like clothing, as a cover-up. The Latin verb tegere, ‘to cover’ is related to texere, (the past participle of which is textus), ’to weave’ or ’to construct’, and to the Greek tekton, ‘carpenter’, as well as the Sanskrit taksan, ’a carpenter’ or ’a builder’. Semper pointed out many more words that in German forge links between textiles and architecture (Wand, Gewand, Decke, etc.) and concluded that the first function of both clothing and architecture is masking.

If we may believe Heidegger´s Being and Time, what everyday architecture (and perhaps the solitary Greek temple as well) masks is its Unheimlichkeit, or uncanniness.[20] Heidegger declared that “at bottom the ordinary is not ordinary; it is extraordinary (ungeheuer).”[21] The familiar everyday world, such as the Schwarzwald farmhouse which Heidegger in 1951 named as a model for architecture, is precisely a “fleeing in the face of uncanniness” that “suppresses everything unfamiliar”. This implies that the familiar is merely a mask hiding an underlying, hideous violence of the world.[22] From this point of view it is proper that familiar classical ornaments constitute an elaborate architectural representation of human or animal sacrifices: guttae for example stand for drops of blood or fat. This explains how Clement of Alexandria could claim that pagan mysteries were “in one word, murders and burials”, and the temples of the pagan gods were “in reality tombs”.[23] Another Church Father, Saint Augustine points out that cities have also been founded on blood:

The founder of the earthly city (in the Bible, the city of Enoch founded by Cain) was a fratricide. Overcome with envy, he slew his own brother, a citizen of the eternal city, and a sojourner on earth. So that we cannot be surprised that this first specimen, or as the Greeks say, archetype of crime, should, long afterwards, find a corresponding crime at the foundation of that city which was destined to reign over so many nations, and be the head of this earthly city of which we speak. For of that city also, as one of their poets has mentioned, ’the first walls were stained with a brother’s blood’ or, as Roman history records, Remus was slain by his brother Romulus.”[24]

Myths about the origin of architecture reinforce the pattern linking architecture to either an original act of violence or to the concealment of a sin. The Greeks attributed architecture to Daidalos who built a labyrinth to hide the Minotaur, the result of an impure union between Queen Pasiphaë and a white bull.[25] The violence of the monster was not canceled even when contained within the walls of the first building but instead indefinitely perpetuated and organized as sacrifice.

The image of architecture as the house of sin receives its most extreme expression in Mecca. The Kaaba, from ka’beh or ’house,’ is a small windowless sanctuary which in pre-Islamic times contained the Arab pantheon. In the southeast corner, fixed at the height of five feet, is a black stone. Moslem legends say the walls of the Kaaba echoed to Adam’s prayers after he and Eve had been expelled from paradise. The black stone is one of the precious stones of paradise, brought to Abraham by the angel Gabriel; it has turned black from taking on all the sins of the world. When he touched it Mohammed wept and declared that the Kaaba was the place for the pouring forth of tears. He covered the outer walls of the sanctuary with a veil of embroidered cloth, the kiswa, reproducing and representing the logic of the Kaaba or the house: the principle of invisibility, the covering of evil.[26]


Jean-Jacques Rousseau traces every evil to the original separation of private property, writing:

The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying ‘This is mine,’ and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: ‘Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.’

Rousseau concludes that iron and wheat civilized men, and ruined Mankind.[27]

The invention of agriculture, perhaps the biggest mistake women ever made, brought with it hierarchic social organization, required for the completion of massive projects; writing in the form of inventories of grain stocks, interspersed with accounts of battle; private property and architecture to separate and protect it; and finally organized warfare – while there is no injustice when there is no property, as John Locke remarks, an agricultural society is always at risk not only from a poor harvest but also from neighboring communities that covet their crops.[28]

The invention of agriculture provoked the development of the architectural separation of private property from the public domain, the natural and ownerless environment. The word Ackerbau indicates as much. It consists of two elements, Bau or bauen which comes from Indo-European root bhu, to ‘grow, become, be, dwell, build’, and Acker which refers to the division or measuring, as in the word ‘acre’, of the land or the field into private domains. Acker is related to agri- in the word ‘agriculture’; ‘culture’ comes from Latin colere, to ‘care’ (whence ‘colony’); originally, colere was related to Sanskrit carati, ‘moves himself’, ‘wanders’, like a nomad.

The origin of architecture is related to agricultural needs. The Greek word keuthmos, ‘dwelling’ is derived from the Sanskrit kotah, shed, hut; kutah, ‘house’, kutaruh ‘tent’ and kutih a ‘cottage’ or ’hut’. These in turn are related to the Sanskrit word kupah means a ‘hole’, ‘cave’, ‘well’; kutah means a ‘pot’ or a ‘pitcher’; kundam refers to a ‘pitcher’ or ‘pot’, or ‘hollow’ and kuharah or kuharam  means ‘a cavern, hole’, a place for storing wheat or property. In other words, the house belongs together with other hollow objects within which things are stored. From this family, a number of words in other Indo-European languages are derived, including the Tamil word kuti meaning ‘hut’, ‘house’, ‘village’, ‘family’; and koti, meaning ‘city’, as well as the Latin custodia, ‘a guarding, a hut,’ and the Serbian kuca, ‘a house’.

The social function of separating private property through architectural structures is connected with the secrecy of ritual. The past participle of secernere, the Latin word meaning ‘to separate’ is secretus; it also gives the word secretum which means ‘hidden place’. In German, the home is a secret place, as the word heimlich connotes both ‘hominess’ and the ‘hidden,’ ‘concealed’, ‘secret’; moreover, it is sometimes synonymous with its opposite, unheimlich, as Freud was happy to observe in his essay on the Uncanny.[29] It should also be remembered that the English noun ‘hide’ either means ‘skin’, as in Greek kutos and Latin cutis, or refers to the measure of land reckoned as that sufficient to support a free family with dependants in which case it is related to the Latin civis, ‘citizen’. The verb ‘to hide’ goes back to the Greek keuthein, ‘to conceal’ and keuthmos, ‘dwelling’, both of which derive from the Sanskrit words kutah, ‘house’ which is very similar to the word kutah, ‘false, untrue, deceitful’, related to kutam, ‘illusion, trick’, kuhakah, ‘a cheat’.[30]


The consequences of private property are, however, more relevant to the present inquiry. While the !Kung Bushmen may admire a precious object, say a fine hunting knife or a colorful sweater or glass beads, and accept it as a gift they will soon want to get rid of it, giving it to another member of the band or of another band. Children are trained from the first few months after birth to give things away. Between the ages of five and nine, children have interiorized this rule. From an archaeological perspective, it is not until the Upper Paleolithic age that one begins to detect the first traces of economic inequality. One of the earliest site is Sungir northeast of Moscow, a burial ground 20,000 to 25,000 years old which contains the remains of a man, a woman and two boys, decorated with thousands of pierced mammoth-ivory beads, arctic-fox canine teeth, assorted rings and bracelets of mammoth ivory, and sixteen spears, darts, and daggers.[31]

Private property establishes permanent differences among the members of the band, upsetting the nomad structures. Plato notes as much, writing that the

treasure house which each possesses filled with gold destroys that polity...” “...such men... will be avid of wealth, like those in an oligarchy, and will cherish a fierce secret lust for gold and silver, owning storehouses and private treasuries where they may hide them away, and also the enclosures of their homes, literal private love-nests in which they can lavish their wealth on their women ...”[32]

Private property imprisons the individual and turns him into a thing as well; Plato’s example is the tyrant who collects gold and silver in his house but as the

only of citizens may not travel abroad or view any of the sacred festivals that other freemen yearn to see, but he must live for the most part cowering in the recesses of his house like a woman...”[33]

These differences subsequently give rise to the legitimizing notion of an individual or personality. In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel argues that

the person distinguishing himself from himself, relates himself to another person, both having definite existence for each other only so far as they both are owners of property.”[34]

Moreover, private property also enforced the necessity of marriage as a way of securing a legitimate heir of known parentage; thus, Plato urges Athenians to “make the houses precede marriage, and crown all our architectural work with our marriage-laws.”[35] As is well-known, Plato did not approve of private property and the architecture that supports it. A state of leisure cannot be

fully realized ... so long as women and children and houses remain private, and all these things are established as the private property of individuals.” [36]


In addition to fostering notions of secrecy, privacy and the individual, the visual obstruction by architectural structures also generates power. The more hidden one is, the less vulnerable and hence the more powerful one becomes. The pseudo-Aristotelian treatise, On the World, describes how the king of Persia remained invisible to everyone in his palace, closed in by gateways, doors, and curtains, but continued to reign through his administrators, fighters, and informants; the author explains that the most powerful of kings, god rules the universe even more invisibly and undetectably.[37] Of course, visual obstruction also brings about the fear of conspiracy, of the evil eye and of occult powers – whence arises the need for surveillance both outside and inside the house.

The use of the house as a control mechanism is clearly written in language. The Latin domus and Greek domos derive from the Sanskrit damah, ‘house, home’ and damah, ‘taming, control, discipline’ which also yields damunah, ‘householder, master,’ and damayati, ‘subdues, overpowers, controls one’s self’ which in Latin becomes domo, domare, ‘tame’. The house is the place where animals are overpowered, tamed or disciplined; next, domestication is extended to human beings which produces the concomitant concept of famula, famulus, a client, servant or slave; an apocryphal etymology links the Latin famula to the Oscan famel, servant, and faama, house, and ultimately to another Sanskrit word for house, dhaman. As the process of domestication progresses, familia first adopts the meaning of ‘household’, meaning master, mistress, children, servants and slaves. Ultimately, familia takes on its modern sense, referring to the nuclear family: discipline is then completely interiorized.

While the mechanisms for controlling access to spaces and behavior in general are striking in a city with its property lines made visible by signs, locks and fences, analogous restrictions of behavior escape consciousness in the home because the control focuses inward. In particular, the house as a place of confinement contributes to the domestication of women who in the Biblical Tenth Commandment are grouped together with houses, slaves, and domesticated animals, such as cows and asses. The Greek verb damain, akin to domos, connotes this most forcibly since it translates both as ‘to overpower’, ‘to subdue’, ‘to break’, ‘to tame’, and ‘to give in marriage’: the legal term for a wife, damar, survives in the English as ‘dame’ which signifies a tamed woman. In ancient Greek houses, women were segregated to separate quarters; Aeschines reports how an Athenian father walled his daughter up alive in a deserted house after finding out she was no longer a virgin.[38]

The main focus is the control of female sexuality and marriage is the beginning of the domesticating process. The ancient Roman marriage ceremony, modelled closely on the Greek, consisted of three acts: the sacrifice of the daughter or her extrication from her family by her father (traditio); the conduction of the bride to the groom’s house (deductio in domum); the couple’s sacrifice to the Penates, the husband’s domestic gods and the ancestors, as well as a ritual meal (confarreatio). The second, transitional stage actually simulated abduction. The husband feigned forceful seizure of his screaming bride; the women accompanying the bride pretended to defend her in vain. Finally, the husband carried the wife into his house, taking great care that her feet did not contaminate the doorsill for she was still impure, unconnected to any hearth and therefore supremely foreign and dangerous. Even though most Roman rituals connected to the ”sacred marriage” gradually vanished as the ancient beliefs died out, the abduction ritual of carrying the bride over the threshold has, significantly enough, survived to our day.[39]

Once the wife has entered the doorway, the building also contributes to her subjection. A sister of agriculture, architecture simultaneously imitates and outlaws the female body. Etymologically, we can postulate levels of enclosure from skin to clothes to dwellings and to the sky. The words ‘house’ and ‘hut’ have the same root as the words ‘hose’ and ‘shoe,’ namely the Indo-European *(s)keu-, *(s)keu∂-, *(s)ku, meaning ‘to cover, to enclose’, which also yields the words ‘skin’ and ‘sky’.[40] To complete this layering another level must be added to the innermost core: the Latin cunnus, or ‘vulva’, also derives from the same Sanskrit word skutas, ‘covered’ and the root *(s)keu; finally, so does the word obscurus. The essence of enclosure is obscuring, making something visually inaccessible. The female womb forms the most hidden space in the layering of enclosures. St. Augustine refers to the virginal womb as a hortus clausus or a walled garden “the gate to which shall remain locked.”[41] The control of passage into this garden assumes a crucial significance in the sedentary society with its stabilization of the family structure.

The image of the womb as an architectural structure is a recurring metaphor. The Medieval mystic Hildegard von Bingen, for example, likens the reproductive system of young girls to an unfinished house “where only the foundations have been laid, and the walls are not yet completed” while between the ages of 15 and 20 the womb is “like a house which is already finished on the outside and roofed in, and which is now being furnished”. Eventually,

after the seed of the man, which can be visualized as  a man, has safely reached its destination, then around it there develops out of the woman’s menstrual blood a membrane which surrounds it like a little vessel ... so that the form lies in the midst of it, like a man in the innermost chamber of his house.”[42]

Given the metaphor of the womb as inner space or a room in a house, it is to be expected that women stand for dark shadows while men stand for light in many traditional models of thinking, e. g. Pythagoreanism. The dark womb-like hut needs fenestration; the word fenestra, ‘a window’, is related to the Latin penes, ‘within’, and its derivatives, penetrare, ‘to go inside’, Penates, and, of course, penis. Just as a rapist uses forced penetration as a way of asserting his authority, power, or control over the woman, the original function of fenestration is to extend the inhabitant’s control to the area surrounding the home. Windows were not originally punched into the wall only to let light in the home – this could have been achieved by fire or candles or a simple skylight which could also double as a chimney – but to magnify the domestic or private sphere by including the yard in the visual dominion of the master. The Finnish word for ‘window’, ikkuna, goes back to its Russian equivalent, okno, a derivation of oko, eye. Likewise, ‘window’ derives from vindauga, ‘eye of the wind’, a word which articulates both functions of fenestration.

In many early cultures, the eye was believed to be an active organ which sent its rays to the outside world; we can find this doctrine as late as the Optics of Euclid. This also explains the concept of the evil eye. According to Calasiris in Heliodorus’ novel Aethiopica, when anyone looks with envy at that which is noble he fills the space with hatred and blows his bitter breath into that which is near. Furthermore, the ancients often associated the eye with the erect male organ. In Greek art, the phallus with an eye often stares at naked women.[43] This motif may assert masculine dominance, for the phallus is as aggressive and expansive (but also as vulnerable) as an oculus malignus. The Romans, for example, occasionally collapsed the difference between the eye, the fascinum (or the object of vision which captivates the eye) and the male organ.[44]

Insofar the house is seen as a womb it is also relevant to point out that in a stable, sedentary society, the womb holds the secret of paternity; it is the arché of the family. Thus, the status and the authority of the father ultimately depend on his opposite, the infidelity and mobility of the mother who therefore must be repressed and controlled. Women in Classical Greece and afterwards have always been subjected to a stricter code of clothing, designed to keep the skin and the sexual organs hidden. Likewise, architectural coverings have also been used to protect or confine women more than men and keep them away from the eyes of strangers.


For Adolf Loos, women’s clothing served other purposes as well. Echoing Casanova’s observation that a totally naked woman is without charm or mystery, Loos asserted without hesitation that a naked woman is unattractive to man but fashion can create erotic significance where anatomy fails. “Woman covered herself, she became a riddle to man, in order to implant in his heart a desire for the riddle’s solution.”[45] Both Loos and Gottfried Semper imputed the same power to architecture, the power to mask an underlying banal or terrifying reality with a seductive mask. Would this be true of wohnen in specific? While in Building Dwelling Thinking, Heidegger categorically states that bauen really means living and concludes that wohnen or dwelling is Man’s way of being in the world, he does not really elaborate on the roots of wohnen,[46] besides saying that the Old Saxon wuon means ‘to remain’ or ‘stay in a place’ and the Gothic wunian means ‘to be at peace’. He points out that the word Friede derives from das Frye, ‘the free’, and the fry means preserved from harm and danger, safeguarded in a preserve.

It should not be forgotten that the word wohnen comes from the Indoeuropean root *uen(∂), to ‘desire’, ‘beg’ whence also the Latin venus, veneris, ‘desire’, ‘lust’. Moreover, the English equivalent for wohnen, ‘dwelling’ derives from the Germanic root dwel, represented also by the Low German dwelen, ‘to be stupid’, Old English dwola ‘heretic, error’, dwolian, ‘wander’, and ‘lead astray’, and ultimately from the Sanskrit word dhwer, ‘to deceive’, ‘mislead’ – could that be verführen, to ‘seduce’? The idea that the origin of architecture lies in desire and its method is seduction has been popular since the Renaissance. Filarete, for one, defined building as

nothing more than a voluptuous pleasure. Anyone who has experienced it knows that there is so much pleasure and desire in building that how­ever much a man does, he wants to do more.”[47]


Filarete may not have been right: not everyone was as much seduced by architecture. Greek Utopian writers had attacked architecture as a source of friction among men. In a desperate and confused attempt to recover the golden age, Plato called for the abolition of marriage, parentage and their prerequisite, private houses.[48] Without the architectural separation of private property or koina, including women, children and other things, men would live in peace.[49] Vitruvius reports Socrates as saying that the human breast should have been furnished with open windows, so that men might not keep their feelings concealed but have them open to view.[50] Like many Classical thinkers, Vitruvius seems to be yearning for the nomadic open vision and its concomitant honesty and frankness but is unable to express himself except in terms of the sedentary metaphor of inside versus outside. Applied to an individual rather than a community, this metaphor is problematic because it requires the postulation of a separate interior space within the person, occupied by a soul, a daimon or a homunculus.

The Vitruvian ideal was revived as an architectural paradigm by the generation of the 1920s. Defending his glass skyscrapers, Mies van der Rohe explained that glass is a beautiful symbol for tomorrow: its transparency reflects the will of the new man to honesty, away from darkness and secrecy. More practically, Hannes Meyer justified his design for the League of Nations competition in 1927 with reference to the programmatic aspirations of the League: to replace the clandestine methods of an obsolete diplomacy of secrecy with openness and sincerity. Hence, Meyer claimed that his project has keine Winkelgänge für die Winkelzüge der Diplomaten, sondern offene Glasräume für die öffentlichen Unterhandlungen offener Menschen,no crooked corridors for crooked diplomacy but open glazed rooms for public negotiations of open men”.[51]

The principle was by no means peculiar to the League of Nations project but rather a popular slogan shared by different political agendas. André Breton, for one, expressed a longing to live in a glass house where nothing is secret and into which everybody can see. At the other end of the political spectrum, Benito Mussolini used the same metaphor, demanding that fascism must be a glass house into which everyone can see; this intention prompted Giuseppe Terragni to open the facade of Casa del Fascio.[52]  The metaphor goes back at least to Pierre Joseph Proudhon’s proposal of turning the vacant Palace of Industry of the 1855 World Exhibition in Paris into a permanent exposition. One of the founders of anarchism, Proudhon argued for an open architecture on moral grounds:

Today’s commerce as a rule establishes absolute secrecy in its operations. ... The organizers of the Exposition will replace such excessive secrecy with complete openness. ... Society must divulge everything and fully submit itself to public opinion. Everything must be displayed in plain view of the master, who is none other than the public itself.”[53]

Some of Proudhon’s architectural and social visions were shared not so much by the rationalists and the functionalists but the expressionists who propounded ‘crystallic’ architecture on the grounds that the crystal conceals nothing.[54] To review a more complete analysis of the dark implications of traditional dwellings one has to go to Paul Scheerbart, an expressionist writer and an advocate of glass architecture. He insisted that Backsteinkultur bringt uns nur Leid, “brick culture only produces suffering”. He explained that

we mostly inhabit closed spaces. These form the milieu from which our culture develops. Our culture is an exact product of our architecture. If we wish to raise our culture to a higher plane, so must we ... change our architecture. And this will be possible only when we remove the sense of enclosure from the spaces where we live. And this will we only achieve by introducing Glass Architecture which will let the sunlight and the light of the moon and stars shine into the room, not through a couple of windows but, as nearly as possible, through whole walls of coloured glass. The new milieu so created will bring us a new culture.”

Scheerbart condensed his theory in the fourteen aphorisms he wrote for Bruno Taut’s Glass Pavilion in the 1914 Cologne Werkbund Exhibition. The third one proclaimed that das bunte Glas zerstört den Haß or “colored glass destroys hatred”. It is an idealist contention but not without empirical support: in contemporary hunter/gatherer societies, organized fighting is rarely reported but it is common among domesticated peoples with permanent enclosures to obstruct visual contact.[55]

In his books Alpine Architektur, Die Auflösung der Städte and Der Weltbaumeister, Taut launched an overall attack on domestication and its effects. Declaring that stone buildings make stone hearts, he devised collective crystalline architecture. The dissolution of the cities was for him a means to prevent war by erasing the border lines between city and countryside and annulling both the Stadt and the Staat, the city and the state. No more could one declare that a particular brook marks the boundary of private property; instead, men would live in free communal responsiveness. Somewhat more romantically, Taut also anticipated that the new community would sponsor a new sexual morality, the total unconcealment of sexuality.

To a modest degree, the expressionist vision of glass architecture was realized. Glass curtain wall facades are typical of late modernist architecture even though totally transparent glass houses, like the one in New Canaan, designed by Philip Johnson to commemorate the ruins of a Polish village destroyed by Nazi troops, remain programmatic exceptions.[56] In a less direct way, the ideal of total visibility does pervade the interior of modern office buildings as well as modernist urban design: both the panoptical workplace and the functionalist city with its structure of repetitive parallel blocks become spaces of visual surveillance. Here, visuality does not imply a return to a nomadic open culture but the very intensification of its opposite.

Visually open architecture only becomes a possibility when privacy mechanisms and other social structures are developed enough not to depend on closed spaces. The aforementioned Vitruvian ideal of transparency actually reflects on the way the Roman nobility asserted and reproduced its position by displaying its power and wealth through euergetic donations and through the daily ritual of salutatio, the visit by dependents (or ‘clients’) to their patron, the paterfamilias.[57] To create a magnificent setting for this display, the Roman house was arranged along vistas symmetrically framed by columns and doorways, terminating in the figure of the master. Thus, for example in 91 B.C., tribunus plebis Livius Drusus told his architect to arrange his house so that whatever he did was visible to everybody.[58]

In a developed society, the family and the school instill a strong sense of individuality and secrecy through various means which cannot be undone by architectural visibility alone. In modern cities, the notion of privacy is less dependent on vision than before. The immense size of the metropolis leads to ubiquitous anonymity and disinterestedness which acts to restore the privacy of the individual even in the absence of visual disguise.

The glass revolution of modernism did not produce the anticipated revolution, perhaps because models of personhood and privacy had already been consolidated in other cultural practices or because architecture is by nature ‘obscure,’ another derivative of the Sanskrit word skutas, ‘covered’ and the root *(s)keu. The essence of enclosure is obscuring, making something visually inaccessible. The obscuring is not necessarily negative, at least if we follow Heidegger who explains that truth occurs in the opposition of lighting and double concealing and so “concealment as refusal is not simply and only the limit of knowledge ... but the beginning of the lighting of what is lighted”. The openness of the clearing makes the concealment of what is hidden apparent, while the concealedness of the latter accentuates the openness of the former. Thus, Heidegger concludes: “truth, in essence, is un-truth” for truth is not a thing but a happening and it happens by belligerently conquering and exposing that which is concealed.[59]

In this sense we may approach Quintilian’s famous suggestion that a dark forest is called in Latin lucus, a word derived from the verb luceo, ‘to shine’, or the noun lux, ‘light’.[60] Occasionally, lucus is even used in the meaning ‘light’, as in Tertullian’s expression, cum primo lucu, ‘at daybreak’.[61] Quintillian’s query whether all words have their origin in their opposite was taken much further by Karl Abel and Sigmund Freud some hundred years ago. Moreover, many cities in Gaul and Spain were named Lucus, the most important being the Lucus Augusti, a city of the Vocontii.[62] The reason for calling a city lucus, forest/light was explained by Giambattista Vico remarked that clearings in the forest were called luci or lighting in most European languages, and that the first cities were built in such clearings which originally had been burned to make place for agriculture. The origin of architecture, then, lies in the overlay of light as darkness and brightness.[63] Heidegger’s notion of a Lichtung is, however, different from Vico’s. He insisted it is not connected to the word licht, meaning ‘bright’ but to the word leicht, meaning ‘light-weight’: “Etwas lichten bedeutet: etwas leicht, etwas frei und offen machen.”[64] In this sense, the aletheia or lighting offered by philosophical speculation makes the truth open to all, removing the veils of convention and architecture that conspire to hide the truth and keep it private.


Architecture is not about revealing truths but about simulating, masking and hiding. Misosophy thus conceived has been concealed in architecture since ancient times. Consider the pyramids, the very foundation of our notion of architecture.

Herodotus says that the pyramids in Giza were tombs for the pharaohs but it seems excessive to spend 25 million tons of quarried limestone only to bury three pharaohs. The problem becomes more puzzling when we realize that the pyramid age was relatively brief, at least by ancient Egyptian standards: the five largest pyramids were built in one century. Before and after this period, such expenditure was apparently not found acceptable, since pharaohs were buried less ostentatiously for centuries. Moreover, in the fourth dynasty, for example, there were more large pyramids than pharaohs to be buried in them.

The conspicuous uselessness of Egyptian monuments is nowhere more striking as in the first one, Zoser’s complex in Saqqara. Immovable doors were hung on hinges carved out of stone; most of the entries on the facade were false; the interiors of several dummy temples were packed with rubble. To explain such non-functional elements, some archaeologists postulate a hypothetical Old Kingdom belief that a work of art, a building or a chant had power and utility in the afterlife in direct proportion to its uselessness in this world: each false door worked in the afterlife precisely because it did not work now. [65] There are other theories as well. The 13th century work Hitat by the Cairo historian al-Maqrizi records Arab legends according to which the pyramids were antediluvian repositories of knowledge, designed by Hermes Trismegistos after he read in the stars the coming of the Great Flood; other texts claim that King Saurid built the pyramid in such a way that it embodies all knowledge of geometry, astronomy and medicine.[66]
After al-Maqrizi’s Pyramid Chapter became available in French translation in the early 19th century, ‘pyramidology’ has flourished, culminating on the one hand in Charles Piazzi Smyth’s system of reading prophecies about the end of the world from the measurements of the inner corridors and chambers and, on the other, in Erich von Däniken’s conviction that the pyramids are the work of aliens from outer space.

A better explanation of the pyramids can be found in Aristotle’s Politica in which the philosopher advocates great building programs as a means for tyrants to keep the people poor and hard at work, thus preventing conspiracies and uprisings. For Aristotle,

“the Pyramids of Egypt afford an example of this policy; also the offerings of the family of Cypselus, and the building of the temple of Olympian Zeus by the Peisistratidae, and the great Polycratean monuments at Samos; all these works were alike intended to occupy the people and keep them poor”.[67]

Before the pyramid age, the majority of the population in Egypt lived in more or less independent villages. During the annual flooding of the Nile, farmers could not work and used the time to raid other villages for cattle and women. The architect of the first pyramid, Imhotep, employed the villagers during this restless time of tribal warfare. For three or four months every year, some 70,000 men took orders from the central administration and were fed and clothed by the administration. In Egypt, the government stabilized the country by usurping the role of the villages and the tribes; thus the first seeds of a nation state organization were sown. When government was entralized to a degree not encountered before in history, pyramid building stopped.[68] The symbolic or referential meaning of the pyramid, whatever that may have been for the Egyptians, was used as misinformation, a foil to avert gazes from its performative or ritualistic meaning, the consolidation of nascent state power.



[1] Deleuze, Gilles, Difference and Repetition, Tr. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, 139.

[2] Plato, Republic, bk vii, 514-515.

[3] Pfeiffer, John E., The Creative Explosion. An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion. New York: Harper and Row, 1982, 131-2.

[4] Foucault, Michel, Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias. in Ockman, Joan, Architecture Culture 1943-1968. A Documentary Anthology. New York: Rizzoli/Columbia University. 1993, 422.

[5] Foucault, Michel (1970) The Order of Things: an Archaeology of the Human Sciences. Tr. Alan Sheridan-Smith. New York: Random House.

[6] Heidegger, Martin, Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1992, pp. 58-59 et passim.

[7] Heidegger, Martin, The Question Concerning Technology, Basic Writings. Ed. David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper & Row, 1976, p. 294.

[8] Heidegger, Martin, Bauen Wohnen Denken, in Mensch und Raum. Das Darmstädter Gespräch 1951. Hrsg. Ulrich Conrads und Peter Neitzke. Bauwelt Fundamente 94. Braunschweig: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1991, 94. Heidegger, Martin, ”Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes.” 38, Heidegger, Martin, ”Origin of the Work of Art,” Basic Writings. Ed. David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper & Row, 1976, 169. Versényi, Laszlo, Heidegger, Being, and Truth. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965, 92.

[9] Rykwert, Joseph, The Dancing Column. On Order in Architecture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996, pp. 379-381. In 1934, Benn wrote: “The Greek temple does not represent anything, it is not comprehensible, the column is not natural, they [the column and the temple] do not assume any cultic or political intention. ... The Dorians work at the stone, they leave it unpainted. Their statues are naked. Dorian is the skin, but tight over the muscles, manly flesh. ... at the back of the Panhellenically conceived outline of the Greeks stands the grey column without a base, the temple of ashlar blocks, the men’s camp on the right bank of the Eurotas.” Rykwert retorts that Sparta (evoked by the reference to the Eurotas) had no major stone Doric temple and that Doric columns were not of grey, bare stone but stuccoed and painted in bright colors.

[10] Schapiro, Meyer, The Still Life as a Personal Object – A Note on Heidegger and van Gogh and Further Notes on Heidegger and van Gogh. Theory and Philosophy of Art: Style, Artist, and Society. Selected Papers, vol. IV. New York: George Braziller, 1994, 135-151.

[11] In describing his early masterpiece Potato Eaters, the artist explained: “I wanted to convey a picture of a way of life quite different from ours, from that of civilized people.” As quoted in Saltzman, Cynthia, Portrait of Dr. Gachet. The Story of a Van Gogh Masterpiece. New York: Viking, 1998, p. 10.

[12] Heidegger, Martin, Bauen Wohnen Denken, in Mensch und Raum. Das Darmstädter Gespräch 1951. Hrsg. Ulrich Conrads und Peter Neitzke. Bauwelt Fundamente 94. Braunschweig: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1991, 94. “Sie [die Brücke] verbindet nicht nur schon verhandene Ufer. Im Übergang der Brücke treten die Ufer erst als Ufer hervor. Die Brücke läßt sie eigens gegeneinander über liegen. Die andere Seite ist durch die Brücke gegen die eine abgesetzt.”

[13] Cf. Harries, Karsten, Context, Confusion, Folly. Perspecta 27, 1992, 23. Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time. Tr. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, 1962, 102-107.

[14] Wegmarken, pp. 354, 356.

[15] Durch den Tempel west der Gott im Tempel an.” Ursprung, 37.

[16] Ihde, Don, Post-Phenomenology, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1993, 104-105. Ihde quotes J. Donald Hughes´book Ecology in Ancient Civilizations., Albequerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1975, 1.

[17] Heidegger, Bauen Wohnen Denken, in Mensch und Raum. Das Darmstädter Gespräch 1951. Hrsg. Ulrich Conrads und Peter Neitzke. Bauwelt Fundamente 94. Braunschweig: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1991, pp. 92-93.

[18] Heidegger, Origin, 176, Ursprung, 52.

[19] Heidegger, Origin, 176, Ursprung, 52-3.

[20] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time. Tr. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper & Row, 1962, p. 322.

[21] Heidegger, Ursprung des Kunstwerkes, 53; Origin of the Work of Art, 176.

[22] Wigley, p. 109.

[23] Clement of Alexandria, The Exhortation to the Greeks. A Rich Man’s Salvation. To the Newly Baptized. Tr. by G. W. Butterworth. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press / London: Heinemann, 1982, ii, 16, p. 39; iii, 40, p. 99. See also Hersey, George L., The Lost Meaning of Classical Architecture. Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press, 1988, pp. 31, 40, 42.

[24] Civitas Dei XV.5. The reference Augustine has in mind is Lucan, Phar., i, 95.

[25]  Minos himself was the son of Zeus and Europa.

[26] The Kaaba, which is also described as bait Allah or God’s dwelling, originally housed the feminine deity Al'Lat in her three manifestations, Q're or the maiden/crescent moon, Al'Uzza or the mother/full-moon, and Al'Menat, the goddess of divination. Appropriately, the black stone is fitted into a metal encasement, the almond-shape of which has been likened to the female genitals by some commentators. In this reading, the Islamic kiswa hides the female organ, rather like the veil hides the woman's face.

[27] Ibid., II, 1. p. 170; II, 20, p. 177.

[28] Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. II, 17.

[29] Freud, Sigmund, Das Unheimliche, Psychologische Schriften. Band IV. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag, 1976, p. 247.

[30]  It is worth noting that the Egyptian hieroglyph that means ‘to hide’, hap, depicts an architectural configuration, a corner (or three nestled L’s, and resembles the hieroglyph meaning ’corner’ and the one meaning ‘official’, genb. See Budge, Sir E. A Wallis, Egyptian Language. Lessons in Egyptian Hieroglyphics. New York: Dorset Press, 1993.

[31] Pfeiffer, John E., The Creative Explosion. An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion. New York: Harper and Row, 1982, 65, 67.

[32] Republic 550d. Republic 548a.

[33] Republic 579b.

[34]  Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich von, The Philosophy of Hegel. Edited and translated by Carl J. Friedrich. New York: Random House, 1954, 240-241.

[35]  Laws 778c.

[36] Laws 807b

[37] De mundo, 398a; as quoted by Burkert, Walter, Creation of the Sacred, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 1998, 98. In Politica, Aristotle discusses the principles how a tyrant can maintain his power by similar means. He writes: “A tyrant should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies, like the 'female detectives' at Syracuse, and the eavesdroppers whom Hiero was in the habit of sending to any place of resort or meeting; for the fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out. Another art of the tyrant is to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables, and the rich with one another.”

[38] As quoted by Keuls, Eva, The Reign of the Phallus, 1985, 209. Eva Keuls also proposes that there was in Athens a special women’s police, gynaikonomoi, whose task was to restrict the movements of women in the cities.

[39] Coulanges, Fustel de, The Ancient City, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, n. d., 44-48.

[40] The same is true of the German words Haus, Hütte, Hort, Hose, Schuh and Haut. The ‘hide’ of an animal is of the same root as the Latin cutis, ‘skin’, or Greek kutos ‘hollow vessel’, akin to Latin scutum ashield, Sanskrit skauti, skunati, ‘he covers.’

[41] In Adversus Jovinianum, St. Jerome declared that the hortus conclusus is “an image suggesting Mary, Mother and Virgin”. Later, Albertus Magnus described Mary as an enclosed garden into which Christ descended like dew. Opera Omnia, 36:707. As quoted in Delumeau, Jean, History of Paradise. The Garden of Eden in Myth and Tradition. Tr. Matthew O’Connoll. New York: Continuum, 1995, 124.
The thirteenth-century writer Bartholomew of England described the womb as a dwelling places with two cells or rooms and also likens the “little chamber” of the uterus to the Temple of Jerusalem, writing:
Thus it is 46 days after the conception of the child that it comes of life and is perfectly formed... just so did Saint Augustine reckon the building of the Temple of Jerusalem, which was made in 46 years, the [which-sic] temple he compares with the body of Jesus Christ... He shows that, just as the temple was built in 46 years, so the human body is made and formed in 46 normal days.” As quoted in Delumeau, 136.

[42] As quoted in Pouchelle, op. cit., 135.

[43] Heliodorus, Aethiopica, bk 3. Françoise Frontisi-Ducroix speculates that the phallus may have an eye because it is a living being and in Greece life was defined in terms of sight; or because man (unlike woman) sees his organ and vision is reciprocal; or because the eye of the phallus represents the masculine right to look at woman. She points out that the phallus with an eye never appears in the company of man in Greek art. Frontisi-Ducroix, Françoise, Eros, Desire, and the Gaze. in Sexuality in Ancient Art. Ed. Natalie Boymel Kampen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, 93-95, 99.

[44] Onians, op. cit., 78-79. Cf. Barton, Carlin A., The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans. The Gladiator and the Monster. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993, 96.

[45] Steele, Valerie, Fashion and Eroticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, 15; Loos, Adolf, ”Damenmode.” Sämtliche Schriften, Vol. 1: Ins Leere Gesprochen. Trotzdem. Wien/München: Verlag Herold, 1962, 158. Cf. Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.

[46] Heidegger, Martin, Building Dwelling Thinking, Basic Writings. Ed. David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

[47] Filarete, Trattato dell’architettura, folio 9 r-v; fol.8r. Cf. Alberti, Leone Battista, Ten Books on Architecture. London: Alec Tiranti Ltd, 1955, i, 4, vi, 6.

[48] Republic 417a; 458c; 464b, 464d, 547b, 548a, 550d, Laws, 807b, etc.

[49] Pomerey, Sarah B., Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves. Women in Classical Antiquity. New York: Schocken Books, 1975, p. 116. Plato, Republic, 457c-461e. Cf. Herodotus, Histories, 4.104.1 on the Agathyrsi, also compare the Nasamones and the Massagetae, Histories 4.172.2.

[50] Vitruvius, De Architectura, III, pref.

[51] N. N., Mies van der Rohe. Tulenkantajat nro 2 / 1930,19. Helsinki.; Meyer, 34.

[52] For Terragni, see Shapiro, Ellen R., Introduction. Gruppo Sette: ‘Architecture’ (1926) and ’Architecture (II): The Foreigners’(1927). Oppositions Fall 1976 / 6. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 88.

[53] Proudhon,  Théorie de la propriété suivie d’un nouveau plan de l’exposition perpétuelle. Oeuvres complètes de Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Paris: Flammarion, 1926, 251-252, 286. As quoted in Hamon, Philippe, Expositions. Tr. Katia Sainson-Frank and Lisa Maguire. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992, 82.

[54] See Pehnt, Wolfgang, Expressionist architecture. Transl. by J. A.Underwood and Edith Küstner. London: Thames and Hudson, 1979, 37 et passim.

[55] Wilson, 181; Scheerbart in Glass Architecture by Paul Scheerbart and Alpine Architecture by Bruno Taut. Ed. Dennis Sharp, tr. James Palmes and Shirley Palmer, New York, Washington: Praeger Publishers, 1972. Pehnt, 74.

[56]The cylinder, made of the same brick as the platform from which it springs, was not derived from Mies, but rather from a burned-out village I saw once where nothing was left but the foundations and chimneys of brick. Over the chimney I slipped a steel cage with a glass skin.” Peter Eisenman, who in the seventies was assigned to write a biography of Johnson, gives more details of the anecdote. In Eisenman’s reading, “the Glass House is Johnson’s own monument to the horrors of war. It is as once a ruin and also an ideal model of a more perfect society; it is the nothingness of glass and the wholeness of abstract form. How potent this image will remain long after all of us have gone, as a fitting requiem for both a man’s life and his career as an architect!” More recently, challenged on this point, Johnson regretted making the reference to the destroyed village, “because the burned-out village was in the Second World War, and I was on the wrong side. … But it was a horrifying sight. … And it was so beautiful. That is a horrible thing to say, but ruins are beautiful. You can’t help it. Fascination with ruins, it’s endless.” See Johnson, Philip, House at New Canaan. Architectural Review 108, Sept. 1950, pp. 152-159; reprinted in Whitney, David and Kipnis, Jeffrey, Philip Johnson. The Glass House. New York: Pantheon, 1993, pp. 9-15. For Philip Johnson’s political attitudes and also traces of similar Nietzscheanism in Eisenman, see Varnelis, Kazys, “'We Cannot Not Know History’ Philip Johnson’s Politics and Cynical Survival.” In JAE, Vol. 49/2, Nov. 1995, pp. 92-104. For the biography project, see Varnelis, p. 100 and Schulze, Franz, Philip Johnson: Life and Work. New York: Knopf, 1994, pp. 372-373; and Eisenman, Peter, Introduction, in Stern, Robert A. M., and Eisenman, Peter D. (eds.) Philip Johnson. Writings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 25. Also see Lewis, Hilary, and O’Connor, John, Philip Johnson. The Architect in His Own Words. New York: Rizzoli, 1994, p. 33.

[57] Ethica Nicomachea , iv, 2 (1122a35, 1123a4-8); De Virtutibus et Vitiis 1250b25-27. The acts of mangnificence are first and foremost liturgies of which the Philosopher mentions trierarchia, choregia and architheoria.  See also Tarn, W. W. (William Woodthorpe), Hellenistic Civilization. 3rd Rev. Ed. by G.T. Griffith. New York: Meridian, 1961, 108-109. Veyne, Paul, Bread and Circuses. Historical Sociology and Political Pluralism. Tr. Brian Pearce. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992, 16, 99.

[58] Livius fromVelleius Paterculus 2.14.3; as quoted by Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew, Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994, 5, 17-23, 44. It should be added that within a year of his house being finished Livius was murdered by an intruder.

[59] Heidegger, Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes. 53, Heidegger, “Origin of the Work of Art”, 176.

[60] De institutione oratoria, 1, 6.

[61] Tertuallianus, Ad. 5, 3, 56.

[62] Tacitus, History, 1, 66: Plinius, Nat. Hist. 3, 4, 5, § 37.

[63] Vico, Giambattista, Scienza nuova, Bari, 1928, 15; as quoted by Grassi, Ernesto, Die Macht der Phantasie. Frankfurt am Main: Hain, 1992, p. 251.

[64] Grassi, p. 252.

[65] Roberts, David, The Age of the Pyramids, National Geographic, January 1995, 14.

[66] See Al Maqrizi, Das Pyramidenkapitel in al-Makrizi’s ‘Hitat’. Herausgegeben und übersetzt von Erich Graefe. Leipzig: J. C. Hinrich’sche Buchhandlung, 1911, 69-76.

[67] Aristotle, Politica, 1313b18-25.

[68] Mendelssohn, Kurt, The Riddle of the Pyramids, New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974, 141-200.