Walter Benjamin reads Sigfried Giedion, Bauen in Frankreich (1928)

From The Arcades Project, pg. 40:

Old name for department stores: docks à bon marché that is, “discount docks.” <Sigfried> Giedion, Bauen in Frankreich <Leipzig and Berlin, 1928>, p. 31.

Evolution of the department store from the shop that was housed in arcades. Principle of the department store: “The floors form a single space. They can be taken in, so to speak, ‘at a glance’.” Giedion, Bauen in Frankreich, p. 34.

Giedion shows (in Bauen in Frankreich, p. 35) how the axiom, “Welcome the crowd and keep it seduced” (Science et l’industrie, 143 [1925], p. 6), leads to corrupt architectural practices in the construction of the department store Au Printemps (1881-1889). Function of commodity capital!

Cover to Giedion's Bauen in Frankreich (1928)

Cover to Giedion’s Bauen in Frankreich (1928)

Pg. 153.

The first act of Offenbach’s Vie parisienne takes place in a railroad station. “The industrial movement seems to run in the blood of this generation — to such an extent that, for example, Flachat has built his house on a plot. of land where, on either side, trains are always whistling by.” Sigfried Giedion, Bauen in Frankreich (Leipzig and Berlin <1928>), p. 13. Eugène Flachat (1802-1873), builder of rail-roads, designer.

On the Galerie d’Orléans in the Palais-Royal (1829-1831): “Even Fontaine, one of’ the originators of the Empire style, is converted in later years to the new material. In 1835-1836, moreover, he replaced the wooden flooring of the Galerie des Batailes in Versailles with an iron assembly. These galleries, like those in the Palais-Royal, were subsequently perfected in Italy. For us, they are a point of departure for new architectural problems: train stations, and the like.” Sigfried Giedion, Bauen in Frankreich, p. 21. Continue reading