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.”
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.”
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
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.
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”.
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”.
Moreover, it also means to “be entirely at home (zu Hause) in something.”
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.”
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.
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
Even though the artist had sympathy for the plight of the peasants and
the workers, he was very conscious of being different.
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.
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.
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
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.”
A Greek temple may show the truth of the landscape and it may also let
God appear – or it may reveal something quite different.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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,
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,
Heidegger declared that “at bottom the ordinary is not ordinary; it
is extraordinary (ungeheuer).”
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.
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”.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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’.
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.
Private property establishes permanent differences among the members of
the band, upsetting the nomad structures. Plato notes as much, writing
“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 ...”
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...”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.
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.
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’.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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
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
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.”
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.
Without the architectural separation of private property or koina,
including women, children and other things, men would live in peace.
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.
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”.
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.
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.”
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
Occasionally, lucus is even used in the meaning ‘light’, as in
Tertullian’s expression, cum primo lucu, ‘at daybreak’.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
 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
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
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
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.
Deleuze, Gilles, Difference and Repetition, Tr. Paul Patton.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, 139.
Plato, Republic, bk vii, 514-515.
Pfeiffer, John E., The Creative Explosion. An Inquiry into the
Origins of Art and Religion. New York: Harper and Row, 1982, 131-2.
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.
Foucault, Michel (1970) The Order of Things: an Archaeology of
the Human Sciences. Tr. Alan Sheridan-Smith. New York: Random
Heidegger, Martin, Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes. Stuttgart:
Reclam, 1992, pp. 58-59 et passim.
Heidegger, Martin, The Question Concerning Technology,
Basic Writings. Ed. David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper &
Row, 1976, p. 294.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Wegmarken, pp. 354, 356.
“Durch den Tempel west der Gott im Tempel an.”
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.
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,
Heidegger, Origin, 176, Ursprung, 52.
Heidegger, Origin, 176, Ursprung, 52-3.
Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time. Tr. John Macquarrie and
Edward Robinson. New York: Harper & Row, 1962, p. 322.
Heidegger, Ursprung des Kunstwerkes, 53; Origin of the Work
of Art, 176.
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.
Civitas Dei XV.5. The reference Augustine has in mind is Lucan,
Phar., i, 95.
Minos himself was the son of Zeus and Europa.
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.
Ibid., II, 1. p. 170; II, 20, p. 177.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality.
Freud, Sigmund, Das Unheimliche, Psychologische Schriften.
Band IV. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag, 1976, p. 247.
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
Pfeiffer, John E., The Creative Explosion. An Inquiry into the
Origins of Art and Religion. New York: Harper and Row, 1982, 65,
Republic 550d. Republic 548a.
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich von, The Philosophy of Hegel.
Edited and translated by Carl J. Friedrich. New York: Random House,
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.”
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.
Coulanges, Fustel de, The Ancient City, Garden City, NY: Doubleday,
n. d., 44-48.
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.’
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,
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,
As quoted in Pouchelle, op. cit., 135.
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,
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.
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.
Heidegger, Martin, Building Dwelling Thinking, Basic Writings.
Ed. David Farrell Krell. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.
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.
Republic 417a; 458c; 464b, 464d, 547b, 548a, 550d, Laws, 807b, etc.
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
Vitruvius, De Architectura, III, pref.
N. N., Mies van der Rohe. Tulenkantajat nro 2 / 1930,19.
Helsinki.; Meyer, 34.
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.
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.
See Pehnt, Wolfgang, Expressionist architecture. Transl. by
J. A.Underwood and Edith Küstner. London: Thames and Hudson, 1979,
37 et passim.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Heidegger, Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes. 53, Heidegger, “Origin
of the Work of Art”, 176.
De institutione oratoria, 1, 6.
Tertuallianus, Ad. 5, 3, 56.
Tacitus, History, 1, 66: Plinius, Nat. Hist. 3, 4, 5,
Vico, Giambattista, Scienza nuova, Bari, 1928, 15; as quoted
by Grassi, Ernesto, Die Macht der Phantasie. Frankfurt am Main:
Hain, 1992, p. 251.
Roberts, David, The Age of the Pyramids, National Geographic,
January 1995, 14.
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.
Aristotle, Politica, 1313b18-25.
Mendelssohn, Kurt, The Riddle of the Pyramids, New York: Praeger
Publishers, 1974, 141-200.