Frederick Kiesler, City of space (1925)

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Frederick (then Friedrich) Kiesler’s City of Space [Raumstadt] debuted at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, 1925. Along with Melnikov’s legendary Soviet pavilion, it was one of only two new explorations of spatial form that Theo van Doesburg actually appreciated from the whole exhibition. (Doesburg didn’t even care for Le Corbuser’s Swiss pavilion). Soon thereafter, noticing a clear affinity between his own architectural ambitions and Kiesler’s — both were inspired by Mondrian, after all — Doesburg got the Austrian designer to publish his Manifesto in the 10/11 issue of De Stijl, Vol. 6.

The text, fully translated, is reproduced below.

Friedrich Kiesler with a crowd of visitors to his Raumstadt display, 1925

Friedrich Kiesler with a crowd of visitors to his Raumstadt display, 1925

Manifesto

Frederick Kiesler
De Stijl (1925)

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Living buildings — city of space [Raumstadt] — functional architecture.

The new form of the city arises from necessity:

  • the country-city, because the separation of country and town has been abolished
  • the time-city, because time is the dimension of its spatial organization
  • the space-city, because it hovers freely in space, is decentralized into parts according to the terrain
  • the automatic city, because the daily routine of life is mechanized.

What more are our houses than stone coffins towering up from the ground into the sky? One storey high, two storeys — three hundred storeys high. Masonry rectangles and decagons? Entrenched coffins of stone, or wood, or clay, or concrete — with air-holes. Continue reading