My Manifesto Collection

October 22, 2007

I’ve been gathering the writing of previous architects on housing and how it can/should be changing the world. Here’s my little collection so far:
N. John Habraken
Supports: An Alternative to Mass Housing

“If in housing we wish to restore human relationships, but mean to exclude today’s technical possibilities, we are following a road to the past, a road we cannot follow. If we wish only to develop the technological potential without touching human relationships, we end up with something like mass housing. … The impoverishment of human society in mass housing towns is becoming generally recognized. Like a caterpillar in a cocoon, we have surrounded ourselves with a technical potential which, as yet, has not found its proper purpose. The time has come to free ourselves and regain the initiative. …
“If new forms of human housing offer new opportunities, we must be able to say why they are preferable to old ones. To do that a clear insight is needed into what dwelling really means. Once we agree that it is necessary to introduce the inhabitant or active force into the housing process, we can face the future with confidence. Building has always been a matter of confidence and to make this a reality we must be clear and unequivocal about the nature of man’s housing needs.?a
Sim Van der Ryn and Sterling Bunnell
Integral Design

“The task, then, of integral design at the household level is to begin to recreate the opportunities for people to derive meaning and satisfaction from their experience of natural cycles as these occur in the household. This assumes that the occupant becomes and active and intelligent participant in managing, maintaining and adapting the dwelling. The ‘hot rod’ is one example of an aesthetic that grows out of the young American male’s attempt to find meaning in every day industrial culture. Maybe the day is not too far off when millions of Americans will be ‘hot rodding’ their new denatured houses into finely tuned, multi-channeled, closed-looped, organic instruments for processing natures flow.?b
Christopher Day
Places of the Soul

“Architecture has such profound effects on the human being, on place, on human consciousnesses, and ultimately on the world, that it is far too important to bother with stylistic means of appealing to fashion. … Anything with such powerful effects has responsibilities – power, if not checked by responsibility, is dangerous thing! Architecture has responsibilities to minimize adverse biological effects on occupants, responsibilities to be sensitive to and act harmoniously in the surroundings, responsibilities to the human individualities who will come into contact with the building, responsibilities not only in the visual aesthetic sphere and through the outer senses but also to the intangible but perceptible ‘spirit of place.’?c
Peter Calthorpe
The Next American Metropolis

“Its time to redefine the American Dream. We must make it more accessible to our diverse population: singles, the working poor, the elderly, and the pressed middle class families who can no longer afford the ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ version of the good life. Certain traditional values – diversity, community, frugality, and human scale – should be the foundation of a new direction for both the American Dream and the American Metropolis. These values are not a retreat to nostalgia or imitation, but a recognition that certain qualities of culture and community are timeless. And that these timeless imperatives must be married to the modern condition in new ways.?d
Sim van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan
Ecological Design

“First Principle: Solutions Grow from Place
Ecological design begins with the intimate knowledge of a particular place. Therefore, it is small-scale and direct, responsive to both local conditions and local people. If we are sensitive to the nuances of place, we can inhabit without destroying …?e
Frank Lloyd Wright
Organic Architecture

“To thus make of a human dwelling-place a complete work of art, in itself expressive and beautiful, intimately related to modern life and fit to live in, lending itself more freely and suitably to the individual needs of the dwellers as itself an harmonious entity, fitting in colour, pattern and nature the utilities and be really an expression of them in character, – this is the tall modern American opportunity in Architecture. True basis of a true Culture. An exalted view to take of the ‘property instinct’ of our times??f

Le Corbusier
Towards A New Architecture: Guiding Principles

“Mass-production houses
A great epoch has begun.
There exists a new spirit.
Industry, overwhelming us like a flood which rolls on towards its destined ends, has furnished us with new tools adapted to this new epoch, animated by the new spirit.
Economic law inevitably governs our acts and our thoughts.
The problem of the house is a problem of the epoch. The equilibrium of society today depends upon it. Architecture has for its first duty, in this period of renewal, that of bringing about a revision of values, a revision of the constituent elements of the house.
Mass-production is based on analysis and experiment.
Industry on the grand scale must occupy itself with building and establish the elements of the house on amass-production basis.
We must create the mass-production spirit.
The spirit of constructing mass-production houses.
The spirit of living in mass-production houses.
If we eliminate from our hearts and minds all dead concepts in regard t the house and look at the question from a critical and objective point of view we shall arrive at the “House-Machine,? the mass-production house, healthy (and morally so too) and beautiful in the same way that the working tools and instruments which accompany our existence are beautiful. Beautiful also with all the animation that the artist’s sensibility can add to severe and pure functioning elements.?g
Walter Gropius
Principles of Bauhaus Production

“Modern man, who no longer dresses in historical garments but whereas modern clothes, also needs a modern home appropriate to him and his time, equipped with all the modern devices of daily use. … On the whole, the necessities of life are the same for the majority of people. The home and its furnishings are mass consumer goods, and their design is more a matter of reason than a matter of passion. The machine – capable of producing standardized products – is an effective device, which, by means of mechanical aids – steam and electricity – can free the individual from working manually for the satisfaction of his daily needs and can provide him with mass-produced products that are cheaper and better than those manufactured by hand.?h
Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret
Five Points towards a new Architecture
“The theoretical considerations set out below are based on many years of practical experience on building sites.
Theory demands concise formulation.
The following points in no way relate to aesthetic fantasies or a striving for fashionable effects, but concern architectural facts that imply an entirety new kind of building, from the dwelling house to palatial edifices.
The supports. To solve a problem scientifically means in the first place to distinguish between its elements. Hence in the case of a building ….i

Hannes Meyer

“the new house is a prefabricated building for site assembly; as such it is an industrial product and the work of a variety of specialists: economists, statisticians, hygienists, climatologists, industrial engineers, standardization experts, heating engineers … and the architect? … he was an artist and now becomes a specialist in organization!
the new house is a social enterprise. it frees the building industry from partial seasonal unemployment and from the odium of unemployment relief work. by rationalized housekeeping methods it saves the housewife from household slavery, and by rationalized gardening methods it protects the householder from the dilettantism of the small gardener. it is primarily a social enterprise because it is – like every government standard – the standardized, industrial product of a nameless community of inventors.?j
Mould Manifesto against rationalism in architecture
A cage construction or utilitarian construction is a building that remains alien to all three categories of people that have to do with it!
1. The architect has no relationship to the building.
Even if he is the greatest architectural genius he cannot foresee what kind of person is going to live in it. The so-called human measurement in architecture is a criminal deception. Particularly when this measurement has emerged as an average value from a public opinion poll.
2. The bricklayer has no relationship to the building.
If, for example, he wants to build a wall just a little differently in accordance with his personal ideas, if he has any, he loses his job. And anyhow he really doesn’t care, because he isn’t going to live in the building.
3. The occupant has no relationship to the building.
Because he hasn’t built it but has merely moved in. His human needs, his human space are certain to be quite different. And this remains a fact even if the architect and the bricklayer try to build exactly according to the instructions of the occupant and employer.
Only when the architect, bricklayer and occupant are a unity, i.e. one and the same person, can one speak of architecture. Everything else is not architecture but the physical incarnation of a criminal act.
Architect-bricklayer-occupant are a trinity just like God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Note the similarity, almost the identity of the trinities. If the unity architecture-bricklayer-occupant is lost there is no architecture, just as the objects being fabricated today cannot be regarded as architecture. Man must regain his critical-creative function, which he has lost and without which he ceases to exist as a human being.?k


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