James Stirling + Partner

Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen     Düsseldorf

1   b   c   d   e   f

Analogous Building   2287
Ideal City Reenactment   2297
Lauf Haus der Kunst   2306

not there   3800 3800b 3800f 3800m

Towards a Metabolic Architecture
A comparative analysis of Schinkel's Altes Museum and Stirling's Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen, plus a critique of Benevolo and Vidler; a full analysis of the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen design.

scale and architecture
The Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen brings up the issue of fitting a new building design within an established, in this case urban, context. ...the issue of designing "in scale." The most obvious examples to call out are the monumental entrance pavilion (open porch) and the use of existing facades to enclose the structure of the new design. When looking at the broken facade, I could venture to speculate that Stirling may be allegorically showing the arrival of a new urban scale (European urban) and the breakdown and disappearance of the old urban scale.
...the cubic pavilion and the circular (void) drum of the courtyard. Each is a reverse positive/negative of the other, and the large pure forms may be part of a new way to approach scale in architecture.
...the similarity between the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen and the Altes Museum (i.e., metabolic development)...

scale and architecture
...compare the stone work of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum with the stone work of the Customs House of the Packhof, the Altes Museum, and the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen. ...a comparison of the different museum plans would make a nice documentation.

regarding St. Pierre at Firminy-Vert     3138m

model data
...worm's eye axonometrics... ...Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen.

Museum for Nordrhein-Westfalen

Quondam: a virtual museum of architecture     3120

Stirling interpretations    

Ideal City Reenactment     2297

S/AM post-Vidler/Rowe
...the Stirling/Altes Museum connection is not only to be found at the Staatsgalerie, but at the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen as well.
The issue of "defacement" is very evident at the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen, where the pavilion is in fact the face removed and turned into an independent entity.
With the "face" pulled away, the building's interior is pulled with it, and like Schinkel's porch at the Altes Museum, a realm of exterior/interior ambiguity is created. This inside/outside area of the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen is the step before the "porch" of the Altes Museum becomes totally open (outside, exterior) at the Staatsgalerie.
The circumstance at the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen that confirms the Altes Museum connection is the vertical circulation that is now exposed by the removal (transposition) of the buildings facade (face). Two different means of ascension (a ramp and an elevator) are disposed (placed) symmetrically with regard to the museum's central axis through the main building block and the circular court. The twin staircases at the Altes Museum are transformed into a "modern" idiom at the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen. This is the key that locks the design connection into place. There is some reference to the dual ascension at the Staatsgalerie, especially immediately behind the "screen" of trees. The rest of the vertical circulation at the Staatsgalerie is not symmetrically positioned, yet there is the grouping of ramp and elevator used in the buildings lobby. I will have to make reference to the ramp and elevator combination that first appeared in Stirlings work at the Olivetti Headquarters, but I will say that the dual vertical motif found a perfect place within the Schinkel/Altes Museum analogy. The Olivetti design does, however, point back to Le Corbusier (and even to Hejduk/Bye House) and particularly the Maison Dom-ino. The Olivetti building, of course, also has broader connections to Le Corbusier's Olivetti Center at Milan...

architectural promenade
A good portion of the architectural promenade formula can also be found in the entry sequence of Schinkel's Altes Museum. The facade/colonnade is the forest, and again the pilotis holding up the box. The dark portal under the stairs is the journey into hell. The ascension of the stairs is the inside/outside experience of purgatory, the middle level. And the museum's central pantheon is paradise, heaven, and the solarium. This interpretation of the Altes Museum, furthermore, sheds new light on Stirling's Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen and Neue Staatsgalerie.

Stirling's Muses
...the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen reenacts the movement/circulation path of the Altes Museum--much more so than the Staatsgalerie--and this manifestation of path and goal relates to the Le Corbusian promenade architecturale.

Museum for Nordrhein-Westfalen

Museum for Nordrhein-Westfalen

From: Stirling's Inheritance To: Stirling's Legacy Re: Stirling's Muses 2.0     5698

animated gifs @ Quondam
...showing a model being pieced together part by part... ...the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen.

Language & Voice
A "perceptually effective sequence" is something that an architect can intentionally design. Le Corbusier did it at the Villa Savoye, which is "understandable" without referencing any literary source. Le Corbusier also did it within the Palais des Congrès (1964), Terragni did it within the Danteum (1938), and James Stirling did it within the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen (1977) and within the Wallraf-Richartz Museum (1977). Sadly, none of these buildings was ever executed, hence their designs are not prominent examples within architectural history. It was precisely because of the sequences within these designs however, that prompted me to create computer models of these buildings (in the early 1990s). I also wrote several articles and essay on the "promenade architecturale" which were published at www.quondam.com. My point now is that had these buildings been built, just maybe there might now be a far better understanding (and hence better teaching) of just how effective a deliberately designed architectural sequence can be.
Granted, any architect designed "preferred route" can be misunderstood or even ignored by a building's user, but that shouldn't prevent architects from at least trying to add "architectural language" to how a building is moved through.
What I find most interesting about designing architectural sequence is that the sequence itself is not actual form, rather the gaps between actual forms. For me, it's another example of learning from lacunae.

Reenactionary Architecturism
"Stirling Muses" and the further work needed to complete it.

Ottopian House II     2306c

Museum Collecting
On the virtual side: Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, House 10/Museum, Museum of Knowledge, Museum of Arts & Crafts (2), Altes Museum, Museum of Architecture, Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum Annex, Working Title Museum(s), Acropolis Q, Haus der Kunst.

2006.02.18 14:53
Quondam's 10th Anniversary
Here's the second image online at Quondam - A Virtual Museum of Architecture 21 November 1996. the lobby of a non-existent museum containing exterior images of the same non-existent museum

2008.02.01 12:25
who wants to poche?
Dubai [Home] Sweet [Home] Dubai--Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen animated up.

2008.05.29 09:27
Can you say canonical?
Moretti: Casa del Girasole (Eisenman)
Mies: Seagrams (Eisenman)
Le Corbusier: Palais des Congrès (me)
Le Corbusier: Olivetti Center Milan (me)
Kahn: Dominican Sisters Convent (me)
Venturi & Rauch: Franklin Court (me)
Stirling: Leicester Engineering (Eisenman, "Real and English")
Stirling: Nordrhine/Westfalen Museum (me)
Stirling: Wallraf-Richartz Museum (me)
Rossi: Modena Cemetery (Eisenman)
Koolhaas: Patent Office (me)
Libeskind: who cares (me)
Gehry: Wagner Residence and other residences of that era (me, just to be a bit obscure)

2008.06.28 08:47
Can you say canonical?
A close reading of Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000 very much discloses a sublimated implicit nth canonical building, videlicet Quondam, a virtual museum of architecture: 1996-. [Elaboration forthcoming most likely elsewhere.]
The stars of Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000, somewhat ironically, are not actual buildings at all, viz. the Palais des Congrès-Strasbourg (1962-64) and the Jessieu Libraries (1992-93). In the Forward, Stan Allen refers to the Palais des Congrès as a "previously somewhat overlooked building." As it happened, Arcadia's 1991 published analysis of the Palais des Congrès became one of the corner stones of Quondam. Was Koolhaas aware of Arcadia's analysis within the Loeb Library at Harvard?
In a geometrically progressive sense, Eisenman describes canonical buildings as designs which themselves manifest a close reading. Albeit requiring a 'photo-finish', Stirling wins the "architect as close reader" award, with many close seconds. Stirling perfected the reenactionary architecturism kick.
While reading/skimming through Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000, I often wish Koolhaas was the author rather than Eisenman (although Eisenman does indeed set a fine stage himself), but, alas, Koolhaas has already designed another nth canonical building, viz. OMA's Patent Office:
"Social Condenser" (1982)
"Strategy of the Void I" (Planning) (1987)
"Timed Erasures" (1991)
"Loop-Trick" (1987)
"Strategy of the Void II" (Building) (1989)
"Stacked Freedoms" (1989)
"Inside-Out City" (1993)
"Disconnect" (1994)
"Everywhere and Nowhere" (1994)
"Variable Speed Museum" (1995)
"Inertness Modified" (1997)
Tall & Slender (1996)
Skyscraper Loop (2002)
"Cake-tin Architecture" (2002)
"The End of the Road" (2003)

2010.12.08 11:07
"On Criticism" an aggregate thread
From: Stirling's Inheritance
To: Stirling's Legacy
Re: Stirling's Muses
Part I   5697
From: Stirling's Inheritance
To: Stirling's Legacy
Re: Stirling's Muses
Part II
to see that reenactment and novelty within architectural design are not mutually exclusive. Nor does reenactment inhibit possibilities, rather, it engenders possibilities--much like a "second chance" where you can choose to do things differently. I wonder, is that what Repetition and Difference is really all about, subsequent chances?

The new Museum of Architecture contains...     3120e

The Tempietto within the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen     3120g




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