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Neuroarchitecture

978-3-86859-479-9 https://www.jovis.de/de/buecher/product/neuroarchitecture.html

18 exhausted from the

18 exhausted from the journey. But sleep is out of the question in this inferno of unfamiliar objects. All his senses are on the alert, on the defensive, wakeful and taut, and as painfully incapable of relaxing as the tortured body of La Balue in the cage in which he could neither stand upright nor sit down. There is no room for his body in this extensive and dreadful apartment, because his attention has peopled it with gigantic furniture, with a storm of noises and an agony of colors.” 23 The rooms, which have dissolved in the frenzy of impressions, deny him the reference points of pattern and structure that make identification and security possible. Ways into a system that is made possible only by security must first be found and developed, so that we can then slowly inscribe in our memory the traces that become identifiable, at first by day and later also at night. The imaginary defenselessness of the delicate child is heightened by undressing and the onset of a feeling of isolation. The moment of abandonment takes on the character of a leitmotiv as the image of isolation in a wide space. “Being alone in this room that is not even a room but a cave of wild beasts, surrounded on all sides by irreconcilable strangers, whose private sphere he has disturbed, he wishes to die. His grandmother comes in and comforts him.” 24 The strange bed refuses to offer a place of safety. One of the constants of the narrative is the emphasis on the connection between lying in the room and the displacement of perception that sets in in the darkness of the night. Return and Security The documentation of the Darmstadt Symposium of 1951 gives us an insight into how, a few years after the end of World War Two, the image of man from the anthropological point of view was set in the context of a new form of building. Instead of citing Muthesius, Taut, Aalto, Scharoun, or Wright as architectural references, they turned to the Jugendstil architecture of Darmstadt. Fifty years had passed since the first exhibition of the artists’ colony in 1901, which had the title “Ein Dokument deutscher Kunst” (A Document of German Art). “The artists’ colony was founded in 1899 by Ernst Ludwig. His motto was ‘Mein Hessenland blühe und in ihm die Kunst’ (My Hesse should flourish, and the art in Hesse too), and he expected the combination of art and trade to provide economic impetus for his state. The artists’ goal was to be the development of modern, forward-looking forms of construction and living. To this end, Ernst Ludwig brought several Jugendstil artists together in Darmstadt: Peter Behrens , Paul Bürck, Rudolf Bosselt, Hans Christiansen, Ludwig Habich, Patriz Huber and Joseph Maria Olbrich.” 25 The year 1951 offered an opportunity to look in detail at the architectural movements of the intervening period and recall them in the accompanying exhibition. The participants in the conference were related to the exhibits presented there. Fifty years of German architectural history were displayed and discussed. Com-

ARCHITECTURE 19 Joseph Maria Olbrich, Hochzeitsturm (Wedding Tower), Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt (1908) mon features can be found in the opinions expressed. It becomes very clear that all the authors were critical of the way people in the expanding cities were compelled to live, which could be observed in the planning and projects between 1890 and 1910 and would continue to be updated as the ideology of a mechanistic “machine for living.” In Darmstadt—and this is what makes the reports of the conference so forward-looking—the contributions of Hans Gerhard Evers, Otto Bartning, Otto Ernst Schweizer, Rudolf Schwarz, Martin Heidegger, and Jóse Ortega y Gasset provided convincing arguments with clear anthropological and philosophical requirements, successfully mounting a logical counterargument against the functionalism that already characterized the residential building of those years and would continue to do so. “The human mind somehow has the secret ability to set up abstract systems, in which it fetters and incarcerates itself. The nineteenth century invented such systems with immense constructivist perspicacity.” 26 The participants lamented the loss of holistic living, which from the very start had systematically suppressed vital needs through the increasing industrialization of housing areas. “I only need to remember Scheler, …, who tried to show that the concept never delivers the truth, because in itself it has only realized the clutching, gripping hand, and that one only becomes aware of objects when feeling is added to the concept of the hand as something that grips. … When another person comes along and says that the ear is also necessary for recognition of the world, …, because it can perceive the sound in the world, this concept by no means sufficient; man must use all his senses” to free