The Poetic Dimension in Architecture #1 – Hermann Czech

"Less" or "More"? Our Postmodern Condition, a lecture by Hermann Czech, as part of The Poetic Dimension in Architecture lecture series.

Hermann Czech
"Less" or "More"?: Our Postmodern Condition

“In the theory of landscaping there is a dialectic of different standpoints: designing 'against' nature, veneration of nature, and, finally, imitation and allegory, or, in other words, designing 'parallel to nature'. We approach the existent in a similar manner. The more we comprehend it, the less we must stand in opposition to it, and the easier it will be to understand our decisions as a continuation of the whole. Transforming an existing building is more interesting than building a new one – because, in essence, everything is transformation. Anyone who only comes up with a rectangular grid for an oblique-angled site is an oaf...”
Hermann Czech, "Pluralism", a+u, No. 554 (Nov 2011), p112.

Hermann Czech is a practicing architect who lives and works in Vienna. Born in Vienna in 1936, Czech is the author of numerous critical and theoretical publications concerning the works of Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Josef Frank and Christopher Alexander. In Czech’s theory (“architecture is background”) the notions of conversion and mannerism play a significant role.

As noted by Job Floris in Oase, No.86 (2011), “Hermann Czech gained fame throughout Europe in the 1970s with his delicate architectural reconversions of bars in Vienna and several public buildings, based on the strategy of continuation and convention instead of contrast... Amid a climate of reformation and avant-gardism, his critical... position forms an important counterpart, pleading for subtlety, irony and undogmatic use of historical knowledge."

Photographs of the outside of a building and the inside of a restaurant.
Date/Time Tuesday 21 March 2017, 6.30pm
Location Central House, 1st floor, Room CE1-16
Contact Florian Beigel,
Follow The Cass @thecassart

To Hermann Czech,
An apology from an anonymous listener, please excuse my silence, it was out of foolish fear
that my words did not escape my mind.
You spoke of mannerism
You spoke of chandeliers
You spoke of the use of classical forms in productive ways
You spoke of many things, but these are the dots I trace for this question.
About meaning as narrative,
Is narrative in building exclusively a story about the history of architecture?
What about real history and the constant narrative of ordinary living? 
Do we just reiterate different processions through time? Can we do more? 
How do we obtain an object that is 'to the point' to move the conversation of history into the future?
Do we protest against forgetting?
How do you see these things?
Estelle Hobeika

The Poetic Dimension in Architecture lecture series