Berlage acknowledged that geometry, or, in his terms, the mathematical science, is “not only of great usefulness in the creation of artistic form but is also an absolute necessity” (185). The assertion was based on his refusion of the“arbitrariness” in architectural treatment, especially over the debates of“beautiful or not beautiful.” By disputing the “arbitrariness,” he emphasized on, rather than how a work of art looks, how the forms come into being, which means the logic with which the respective building masses have been brought into accord. He believed that there exists an “absolute unity” in diversity,which can be understood as the “final condition of ‘style’” (186), as “his aim was the definition of style, which he saw as the essential link between architectural production and cultural context” (1). He sees nature as the source in which we can find the “fixed law.” And because this specific conditions of these laws produce all possible variation and relations, which do not proceed at random but according to the very same laws, he takes geometric form as the best representational form of these laws governed the creation of art. As Berlage said,” since these laws of the form are of a mathematical nature throughout the universe, a work of art should thereby also be formed according to mathematical laws” (187). 

–    Berlage, in 1905 lecture “Thoughts on style” stated “since architecture is the art of spatial enclosure, we must emphasize the architectonic nature of space, in both a constructive and a decorative sense. For this reason, a building should not be considered primarily from the outside” (152). In an article in 1908, he declared even more categorically, “the purpose of architecture is to create space, and it should thus proceed from space” (209).

–    Berlage also laid down the metaphysical principle that nature creates her myriad forms with the simplest means and with a consistent underlying logic. From this principle, Berlage derives the ideas of repose, unity, and order (geometry), which he argues will be the attributes of the new style.

Posted by:Liyang DING

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