Insel Hombroich

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Tom
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Insel Hombroich

Post by Tom »

You guys ever heard of this place?
I had seen the Siza building but didn't know it was an entire complex.

There are a lot of buildings here. The MAP might be the best place to access them.
One has to "work" this website to find everything.

https://www.inselhombroich.de/en/stiftung

SDR
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by SDR »

"Upon the suggestion of the founder of Stiftung Insel Hombroich, the sculptor and draughtsman Erwin Heerich (1922–2004) translated his terse geometric sculptural and drawn works into the architectural plane. Ten walk-in sculptures came about as museum buildings for Museum Insel Hombroich, with an exterior of reclaimed hand-made, fired Dutch brick."

Architecture characterized as "walk-in sculpture." Or does the characterization necessarily render the word "architecture" inappropriate---or worse ?

S

SDR
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by SDR »

Rather a different aesthetic from, say, Marfa ? Like the brick . . .

S

Tom
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by Tom »

Definite Judd influence - right on target.
I think there is also influence from Hans van der Laan the Dominican Friar:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_van_der_Laan

SDR
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by SDR »

I wouldn't suggest an influence from---or to---Judd's spread; merely an interesting coexistence ?

Thanks for introducing Hans van der Laan; his furniture is especially exciting. More images: https://www.google.com/search?q=Hans+va ... 16&bih=952

S

Tom
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by Tom »

More on Van Der Laan: He made his own set of proprtional blocks for teaching like Froebel.
https://domhansvanderlaan.nl/theory-practice/

The student experiment with 36 stones in this paper is kinda cool, so is the comparison between his proportional system and the Golden Mean:
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/B ... 425c020421

Tom
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by Tom »

It's interesting to consider work like Van der Laans that is so strickly numerically controlled.
Then wonder at work like Mondrian who one would suppose did the same thing, but not at all.
Mondrian compositions were stirckly intuitive - no mathematics.

SDR
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by SDR »

The question to ask is, "Why ? Why is a designer drawn to invent systems of rational (if objectively unnecessary) measuring and proportioning systems ? And why are laymen attracted to these strictures, and to the designers who extol their (ultimately inexplicable) virtues ?"

Is it because we trust neither intuition on the one hand, nor function-based design decisions on the other ? Are they a devine gift of the gods ? Are they a crutch ? Do the designers---and we---find pre-determined "design rules" somehow more satisfying that either of the aforementioned design methods ?

Note that, while Mr Wright favored the use of a design grid, he did not as far as we know also rely on a set of rules governing proportion. He apparently trusted his eye to make decisions about "how wide, how high, how long," beyond fitting his parts and pieces to a the chosen grid. That does not in itself make him a better---or a worse---designer than one who uses no grid, no system of proportion. What if anything does it mean ?

S

Tom
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by Tom »

I think the best one line answer to those questions concerns the desire to avoid the arbitrary.
But there is a strong tradition here especially in pre-scientific historical architecture.
Alberti, Palladio, Vitruvius, ... Corbusier - ask them.

Attempting to read Voet's article on Laan's is not totally incomprehensible.
I certainly learned something from it.
... and certainly for Laan's the evidence of God in nature and the human relation
to it is an issue.
At least that is what Voet decribes.

Roderick Grant
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by Roderick Grant »

I couldn't access "continue reading," so I don't know how Voet and van der Laan addressed the Golden Mean or the irrational number 1.3247 vs. 1.618034, which is the Golden Mean relationship, but the Golden Mean is a geometry that exists throughout nature. If there is a fundamental geometry in nature, it is that and nothing else.

I was thinking along similar lines yesterday while watching the interesting, though frustrating (yelling at the TV screen does no good) Robert Lawrence Kuhn show, "Closer to Truth: Cosmos. Consciousness. God." The show tries to find absolute connections between religion and science, in last night's case, "Why Philosophy of Art?" to which there is only one answer, "Why Not?" Philosophy, in the end, if it has an end, is a pastime. Kuhn and the several persons he talked to, including only one artist, who had the most intelligent response, couldn't get closer to truth. There is no final 'truth.'

I believe that if one wants to determine FLW's approach to design, it is probably the fact that he was, basically, a geometer. Math may be a useful tool in defining for oneself what art should be, but it isn't really anything to hang your hat on, generally speaking. When it came to geometry in ancient Greece, they relied on the Golden Mean.

God in nature is something, I suppose, but as with Kuhn's show, the more I hear theology intellectualized, the sillier it seems.

SDR
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by SDR »

"The desire to avoid the arbitrary" is the best possible answer that I could hope for; thank you.


I am a bit surprised that both van der Laan and Voet proceed without defining or explaining the term "plastic number." Hence:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_number

"Unlike the names of the golden ratio and silver ratio, the word plastic was not intended by van der Laan to refer to a specific substance, but rather in its adjectival sense, meaning something that can be given a three-dimensional shape."

From Voet I get: The work of an architect like van der Laan is to make the simple complex; to introduce an artificial or unnecessary complexity and mystery to the subject---reflecting, apparently, the complexity and mystery of God---from which after much thought is derived an answer to a question no one asked: "How do you measure space ?" Answer: by counting. "What are the maximum and the minimum dimensions of an object which can be perceived or discriminated by the human observer ?" Answer: a plastic number, a number "that can be given a three-dimensional shape."

In Acquinas' readng of Aristotle's "Metaphysics" van der Laan is said to have found lifelong inspiration, in the form of a "definition of a yardstick indivisible and relative to scale." The passage itself could not be more vague in its presentation of this "yardstick"---as I read it: "[a] thing from which, as far as our perception goes, nothing can be added or subtracted . . ." Pardon me ?

Credit to Ms Voet, for diving into a land where angels might fear to tread: following the tortuous path blazed by architect van der Laan wherever it might lead, and fearing not to point out a basic flaw in the work of her subject, making it clear that he arrived at the "plastic number ratio" 4:3 without showing how it could be, as he claimed, the only possible answer to his question. Whereupon the author rolls up her figurative sleeves and proceeds to "define this design tool without the mystifying framework that van der Laan created for it."


In any event, the man created some handsome sober and spare spaces enclosed by masonry, and for their interiors a collection of inspired furniture made of boards of wood. For that at least I thank him . . .

S

SDR
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by SDR »

There is a wealth of images of the architect's work online. A First Dibs page has a low pew for sale (or sold) at c. $14,000.

Here is a lengthy illustrated account of time spent at the Abbey at Vaals:

https://www.locusiste.org/blog/2012/11/ ... y-at-vaals

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by Roderick Grant »

Reminds me of that Albee play about taking a long trip to cover a short distance.

Tom
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Re: Insel Hombroich

Post by Tom »

I glanced through the locusiste site. I'll spend more time with it later.
He does have some good shots of the place posted.

The exterior elevations of Van der Laan's work sometimes strikes me as bad.
His system I think is intended to smooth out transitions but some of those
punched hole elevations are just ugly - could have used some intuition I think.

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