• Tegethoff in his essay discusses several characteristics of the conception of Miesian space. (1) the composition of walls (segments) defies the system of enclosure in terms of separating areas, thus resulting in a constant flux rather than usual division. For Mies, glass in Mies’s projects, such as the brick country house, is used as substance as much as absence, an even thinner membrane between interior and exterior space. (2) the clear division of interior and exterior now has been become blur, transformed into a state of gradual changing density. This dualistic relationship has been “neutralized,” and replaced by a kind of “gradual progression.” A traditionally qualitative disparity is now a matter of quantitative distinction, or, to me, an organic order analogous to the “life-process.” (3) as depriving all the topographical, orientational, and landscape condition, the house itself, given its life-progression-like ground plan composition, the interior has the potential to become a force field with exclusive reference to itself. (4) As Tegethoff was the first to realize, the large glass planes in the brick country house serve opposite but related functions. From the outside they are ‘impenetrable membranes, either dazzling with reflected light or, as the light wanes in intensity, curtained by the darkness of the room behind.’ from within, meanwhile, they selectively relation to the outdoors but pictorializing key views. much of this would have been achieved by the insertion of the fenestration in brick walls of unusual thinness, so that almost no shadow lines would be created by overhanging roof sections or window frames…. while creating walls of a new thinness, so that, as in the concrete house, the view would become virtually part of the wall plane. (5) as a result, “rendered” by framed views, remote landscape is turned into a pure and simple “backdrop,” possessing the similar quality as the horizontal opening in Le Corbusier’s house experiments. (6) in the mid-30s, in his court-house phase, the wall element, which was treated as “partitions” to blur the spatial contour, close up to form rectangular courts, which are integral parts of the house. It is a different kind of relationship between interior and exterior. I would like to argue that both spatial conceptions reflected Mies’s aim to ‘bring Nature, man, and nature together in higher unity,’ an all-encompassing topography; the manipulation of depth perception is key, as Tegethoff wrote, “The gulf between interior and exterior, between observer and landscape is by no means neutralized as a result, but is rather heightened to extreme subtlety. At the point of direct confrontation the only remaining link between the two spheres is the visual aspect, for the spiritual link between them is now entirely lacking… At an indefinite distance behind the glass dividing walls of the resort and Farnsworth houses the landscape is drawn up in layers parallel to the plane of the drawing so that the dimension of depth is more or less eliminated” (122). In the court-house case, it is crucial to repeat what Tegethoff pointed out: “yet where the eye can penetrate through an aperture to the outside… the parallel alignment and the bracket-shaped recesses of the wall projections cause the distancing effect to appear magnified and the landscape to seem strangely remote.” (a sense of ‘outside or outside’) (7) Mies’s spatial configuration is in line with the collage technique, which is most suitable medium to convey the desired spatial effect, namely, an impression of space with multiple overlaps and reduction to scale so that perspective guidelines are superfluous (a sense of surplus). 
  • As in the interview with Christian Norberg-Schulz, “‘Nature has its own life to lead, too. We should avoid disturbing it with the color of our houses and interior decorations. Yet we should endeavor to merge Nature, houses and man in a higher unity. if you regard Nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it is given a deeper significance than if you are standing outside. In the first case, more of Nature is expressed—it becomes part of a greater whole.” (1958)
Posted by:Liyang DING

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