Review for Peter Blundell Jones’s Hans Scharoun, originally published by Phaidon in 2004.

Peter Blundell Jone wrote his first monograph on Scharoun at a fairly young age. Presented as so far the best monograph of Scharoun, Blundell Jone combed through Scharoun’s life and career in detail, revolved around a number of major concerns of Scharoun, such as space,construction, material, site, city scape, etc. Among these aspects, the most important idea to him, in my view, was “spaces and relationships of the whole rather than in the physical construction.” (12) This concern distinguishes Scharoun from the other modern architects, thus characterizing the main feature of his practice, which was also an organic thinking in line with that of Häring).

Scharoun did not consider his buildings as isolated objects but as places. Unfortunately, even though Blundell Jones had attempted to put Scharoun back in the center of modernism, his research, nevertheless, tended to be more about built examples than discourse, thus not developing a critical account that could explain the intellectual aspects of Scharoun’s architecture that not only were unparalleled in the history of modern architecture but also largely determined his “otherness.” Even though Blundell Jones has touched on the decisive roles of philosophers such as Buber, Heidegger, and Gebser when explaining Scharoun’s design approach, he has not at all entered the path of theoretical elaboration,nor has he addressed the cultural and intellectual context upon which Scharoun’s spatial approach was based.

Posted by:Liyang DING

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