goto Appendx main menu Alvaro Siza : Robert Levit
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The other significant historical strand that threads into Siza's work pertains to the relationship between the development of architectural promenade and the notion of a mobile subject. The historical evolution of architectural promenade, originally connected with landscape architecture, posited a human subject that would no longer contemplate from a single point of view a static and graspable order. It would move through a sequence of landscape environments meant to stimulate constantly varying states of sensations. Watelet, credited with making the first picturesque garden in France in the 1770s, thought (in Robin Middleton's words) that "the essential enjoyment of a landscape arose from the constantly changing experience enjoyed as one moved through it."9 The focus of the subject's attention in the garden shifted away from the apprehension of ideal geometries, or the formal relationships that seemed more important in the conceptual schema of architecture, to a focus on the continuous changing passage of sensation. A person involved in the appreciation of his or her own sensations will distinguish between these sensations, corporal and intimate, and the remoteness of an architecture's abstract autonomous conceptual order—unless of course that order, as the eighteenth-century garden theorists sought for their gardens, is dedicated to the peripatetic subjects' perceptions.
The transformation in the attitude toward the relationship between subject and object heralded by the promenade's focus on a sensorial rather than conceptual order Appendx 3 page break 80 | 81 is significant with regard to this essay's original discussion of language: if in the hierarchy of things greater value is placed on an apparently direct appeal to human sensation, certain orders whose presence can be thought without immediate reference to perception—ideal geometrical schema, for example, or the fugitive and intangible persistence of types—will appear more alien despite the fact that they too are apprehended by the human mind. Even though the environment geared toward the satisfaction of a thirst for "sensation" may be as rigorously orchestrated as the driest geometry, an apparently more spontaneous and natural appeal will be made to a self apparently involved in a more spontaneous and natural response. Forms arranged with a mind to this arousal of sensation and related to our "free" movement will seem like a more "natural" and human language, while what we might call conceptual orders will seem more and more obdurately alien—artificial and "other" like the cloak of reified languages that will not conform to the uniqueness of each human being. 
6. Villa Stein (plan)
7. Villa Savoye (view of stairs)
8. l'Esprit Nouveau (view of living room with bookshelves)
Le Corbusier was obviously interested in this wandering person, and the promenade architectural was a central theme of his work. By giving the promenades a representative physical figure and by making this figure distinct from the idealized "order" established by structure (columns and slabs), he was able to construct an architectural metaphor of the disjunction between an idealized order of architecture and the order of the peripatetic subject of sensations. Thus stairs and ramps in his architecture not only facilitate the actual movement of an individual through his buildings, but just as ergonometric furniture suggests the absent body for which it is designed, the twisting ribbon of stairs—on the left as you enter Villa Savoye, or on the right as you enter Villa Stein—suggests the phantom of that promenading subject (figures 6 and 7). The same is true of the ramps at Savoye, at the Mill Owners, and at the Dr. Currutchet house. These components of circulation follow the logic of the Appendx 3 page break 81 | 82 "free plan" and are distinct from the structure of the architecture. Thus the "free plan" not only distinguished between those eternal orders the structure would embody against nonstructural infill, but proposed a distinction between an idealized space and order and the incidental aspect of human passage. Whether we are thinking of the universal space of the columnar grid or the endurance within it of a certain Palladian aspect—the ABABA rhythm of Stein's structural grid—the percourse through the emblematic Stein house wanders "freely" across the grain. The columnar space is either a modern shell to be inhabited or a ruin through which we amble. We can thus extend the metaphorical scope that the "free plan" allows for: The stairs and ramps incarnate our contrary patterns of movement. But the "free plan" also identifies an enormous amount of what is connected with the particularization of space, the establishment of those hierarchies of dwelling connected with different rooms, windows, and their figurative aspects with the notion of a kind of permanent furniture. The apsidal wall of the Stein dining room is like a piece of furniture, while the bookshelves that are furniture and conceptually impermanent are used to articulate the space of the l'Esprit Nouveau living area (figure 8). Furniture is what we bring to a building. It reflects not the preordained order of the architecture but the more personal act of our moving in and dwelling. The "free plan" thus suggests that all those freed materials are a kind of furniture within an area distinct from the principal order of the architecture. It is evidently very much part of Le Corbusier's work. He created a dialectical opposition of an architecture of idealized order indelibly inscribed by the marks of a subject that is an other in the very midst of the architecture that shelters it. 
9. Approach to Salemi
10. San Andrea
11. Praca da Espanha
12. St. Peter's
13. St. Peter's colonnade
14. Antonello da Messina, St. Jerome in His Chamber
15.Albrecht Durer, St. Jerome in His Cabinet
Siza's sketches reflect his own relationship to that notion. Architectural, urban, and landscape settings are always shown from a point of view that implies the uniqueAppendx 3 page break 82 | 83 moment of perception of the seeing subject. The drawings do not submit to the "proper" order of the architecture; we do not see from the vertex, for instance, of a perspectivally conceived space: the drawings infrequently attempt to construct the objective description of, say, a plan. In the collection of drawings published in 1988 as Travel Sketches,10 scenes are cropped or viewed at odd and casual angles whether they are of classical buildings, spaces with baroque coordinating principles of preferred unbroken axial views, or ordinary street scenes. In a manner similar to that of the hand-held camera and with similar rhetorical effect, they represent views taken in while one casually ambles down a road or sits in a room or cafe. As in a sidelong glance, things are seen distorted, or as the view drops too low, the foreground's intimate proximity is juxtaposed onto public distance (figures 9-13). Here we might think of that comparison made by Panofsky between the "objective" distance and framing of St. Jerome Appendx 3 page break 83 | 84 in his study by Antonello da Messina and the intimacy of Durer's engraving of the same subject, which places the viewer at the very frontier of the room, the foreground rushing up, thereby making one feel on the verge of crossing through the study to St. Jerome himself (figures 14 and 15).11 

Siza's sketches make us think of the changing views taken in during a stroll. Each sketch stands emblematically for one in a series of succeeding views, implying the uninterrupted stream of our perception as we move through the space of city and country. Possibly by association with the techniques of photography and film and their connection with immediacy and unmediated (nonconceptual) recording, there is the feeling of an "eyewitness" account—of being there.next page 

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