Building in empty spaces (1959)

New houses and real clarity
Ernst Bloch, translated by
Frank Mecklenburg

Obstetric forceps have to be smooth, a pair of sugar-tongs not at all.

— Ernst Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia (1918)

Today, in many places, houses look as if they were ready to travel. Although they are unadorned, or precisely because of that, they express their farewell. Their interior is bright and sterile like hospital rooms, the exterior looks like boxes on top of mobile poles, but also like ships. They have flat decks, portholes, gangways, railings; they shine white and to the south, and as ships they like to disappear. Western architecture is so sensitive that for quite some time it has indirectly sensed the war that is the embodiment of Hitler, and it gets ready for that war. Thus even the form of a ship, which is purely decorative, does not seem real enough for the motif of escape that most people in the capitalist world of war have. For some time now there have been projects in this world to build houses without windows, houses that are artificially illuminated and air-conditioned, that are completely made of steel; the whole thing is like an armored house. Although during its creation, modern architecture was basically oriented toward the outside, toward the sun and the public sphere, there is now a general increasing desire for an enclosed security of life, at least in the private sphere.

The initial principle of the new architecture was openness: it broke the dark cave. It opened vistas through light glass walls, but this will for balance with the outside world came doubtlessly too early. The de-internalization (Entinnerlichung) turned into shallowness; the southern delight for the world outside, while looking at the capitalist external world today, did not turn into happiness. For there is nothing good that happens on the streets, under the sun. The open door, the wide open window is threatening during the era of Fascisization (Faschisierung). The house might again become a fortress if not the catacombs. The wide window filled with a noisy outside world needs an outside full of attractive strangers, not full of Nazis; the glass door down to the floor really presupposes sunshine that looks in and comes in, not the Gestapo. And certainly not with a connection to the trenches of World War I, but definitely with the Maginot Line of World War II, even though it was futile, the plan of a subterranean city developed — as a city of safeguard. Instead of skyscrapers, the projects of “earth-scrapers” invite, the shining holes of groundhogs, the rescuing city that consists of basements. Above, in the daylight, on the other hand, the less real but decorative escape plan of a flying city occurred, utopia-ized in Stuttgart and also in Paris: the houses rise as bullet-like forms on top of a pole, or as veritable balloons they are suspended from wire ropes. In the latter case, the suspended buildings seem particularly isolated and ready for departure. But also these playful forms only demonstrate that houses have to be dreamed of, here as caves, there on top of poles.

But what if under such conditions a jump toward brightness is to be demonstrated? That has indeed been tried in architecture, but with the affirmedly uncomfortable desire for many windows and equally sterile plain houses and instruments. Certainly, those things presented themselves as the cleansing from the junk of the last century and its terrible decorations. But the longer that lasted, the more it became clear that the mere elimination was all that remained — within the limits of late bourgeois emptiness — it had to be that way. The longer that lasted, the clearer the inscription above the Bauhaus and the slogan connected to it emerged: Hurray, we have no ideas left. When a lifestyle is as decadent as the late bourgeois one, then mere architectural reform can no longer be shrouded but must be without soul. That is the result when between plush and tubular steel chairs, between post offices in Renaissance style and egg boxes there is no third thing that grips the imagination. The effect is the more chilling as there is no longer any hiding place but only illuminated kitsch, even if, which is indisputable, the beginning had been ever so clean, that is to say, vacuum clean.

Adolf Loos in Europe and Frank Lloyd Wright in America drew the first lines of negation against the epigonic cancer. Although Wright had some hatred against the city, partly anarchistic (anarchisteldem), partly healthy, with the partition of the murderous meta-city into “home towns,” into a “Broadacre City” and ten times as much space for everybody as one was accustomed to have. On the other hand, Corbusier praised in reverse a highly urban “machine for living in”; he signified together with Gropius and others, even inferior creators of the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit), that part of engineering that presented itself as being so progressive and that was so quickly stagnant, that so quickly became scrap. Therefore, for more than a generation, these creatures of steel furniture, concrete cubes, and flat roofs stood around without a history, highly modern and boring, seemingly courageous and truly trivial, allegedly full of hatred against the empty phrases of all ornaments and yet more stuck in schemes than ever any copy of style during the terrible nineteenth century.

Finally, then also in France, it was enough for the tenet of such an important architect of concrete like Perret: “The ornament always hides a structural defect.” In the process a classicistic would-like-to-be, almost romantic, is not lacking, partly because of the geometric form, partly because of peace and quiet as a citizen’s first duty, partly because of abstract humanity. Corbusier’s program, “La ville radieuse,” sought some kind of Greek Paris everywhere (“Les éléments urbanistiques constitutifs de la ville”). In the Acropolis he illustrated some kind of general human spirit (“le marbre des temples porte la voix humaine”). But here Greece became an abstraction like never before as well as “Etre humain,” which was not further differentiated and to which the constructive elements are supposed to relate in a purely functional way. Also the urbanism of these steadfast functionalists is private, is abstract; for of all that “Etre humain” the real human beings in these houses and cities become normalized termites, or within a “dwelling machine” they become foreign cells, still too organic. All this is quite out of touch with real human beings, home, comfort. That is the result, has to be, as long as architecture does not care about the ground that is not right. As long as the “purity” consists of omissions and unimaginativeness, as long as the mirth consists of ostrich policy, if not of deception, and the silver sun, which wants to sparkle here all around, is chrome-plated misery. All around here architecture appears as surface, as something eternally functional. Accordingly, even with the greatest transparency, it shows no content, no burgeon and no ornament forming blossom of some content. To be sure, this abstractness connects superbly with glass, and could be strangely created in it, ground emptiness in air and light, newly cosmic from nothingness.

Bruno Taut, a disciple of Scheerbart, sketched such a “house of heaven” (see Die Stadtkrone [The Crown of the City], 1919). The floor plan consists of seven triangles, the walls, the ceiling, the floor are made of glass; the illumination turns the house into a colorful star. As the immediate successor of the “pan-cosmist” (Pankosmiker) Paul Scheerbart, who was the first to universalize glass architecture, Taut was supposed to rebuild the entire earth as a crystal. And as an example for the new transparency Taut quoted the lines from Claudel’s Annunciation: “Into the waves of divine light the architect wisely puts/The stone frame like a filter according to plan/And gives the water of a pearl to the entire building.” In addition to the most modern material, numerology also found its place in Taut’s programs, with the astral ultimately succeeding the colorfulness. Thus an Egyptian adventure from the nothing arose, and it arose in vain.

Parallel to that, a Gothic style deriving from nothingness spread, with rays and beams of no content gushing up like uncontrolled rockets. Pure functional form and unconnected exuberance thus act dualistically, but also complementarity, in a way that the machine style cools down and is relieved, but the imagination becomes even more homeless and comes out all the more. Whereas in the old architecture, particularly the three principles mentioned by Vitruvius, the utilitas and the firmitas, which were never missing, intersected with the venustas or the imagination and therefore in detail as in general decorated the entire structure, functional form and imagination do not come together anymore in the decay process, not even if the latter was an enormous, often significant one, as with some Expressionist painters — as painters, not as architects. Connection to more than the surrounding bourgeois nothingness or semi-nothingness was certainly sought. Mostly it was called half engineer-technical, half without real rhyme or reason, a connection to the “laws of the universe”: but as interesting as the results in painting, also in sculpture, might have been, the ways of Taut and Scheerbart in architecture remained fruitless.

Architecture cannot at all flourish in the late capitalist hollow space since it is, far more than the other fine arts, a social creation and remains that way. Only the beginnings of a different society will make true architecture possible again, one that is filled at the same time constructively and ornamentally by its own artistic volition. The abstract engineer style will not, under any circumstances, become qualitative, despite the phrases that its literati add to it, despite the deceptive freshness of “modernity” with which the polished-up death is presented like morning glory. Today’s technology, which is itself still so abstract, does lead out of the hollow space, even as it is fashioned as an aesthetic one, as an artistic substitute. Rather this hollow space penetrates the so-called art of engineering (Ingenieurkunst) as much as the latter increases the hollowness by its own emptiness. The only significant thing in all this is the direction of departure of these phenomena generated by themselves, i.e., the house as a ship. Certainly, further elements of change are also prepared in here, to the same degree as the flourishing new human relations and relations to nature of a new society are mature and clear enough to manifest themselves also in architectural outlines and ornaments. Full of heritage, without historicism, even more so — as is self-evident by now — without the infamous copies of styles, the knotty romanticism of the Gründerjahre. Therefore, it is absolutely right to be against the extremes, box or kitsch: cleansing of all that has still been preserved, preparation to cultivate and channel all emerging sources to gain architectural exuberance. All this is preceded by the radical distinction between architecture and machine. And also the relatively most interesting thing of today and yesterday, i.e., the Utopia of the glass building, needs shapes that deserve transparency. It needs configurations that retain the human being as a question and the crystal as an answer that has to be mediated yet, an answer that still has to be opened. Maybe then the architect will give his work “the water of a pearl,” but also at last, a lost, less transparent cipher: the architectural exuberance in nuce — the ornament.

25 Avenue de Versailles, Paris- the roof deck with the Eiffel Tower in the background Designers Jean Ginsberg (1905-1983) and Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990)

25 Avenue de Versailles, Paris: Roof deck with the Eiffel Tower behind it
Designers Jean Ginsberg (1905-1983) and Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990)

City planning, ideal cities, and again real clarity:

The penetration of the crystal with fullness

If connected with others, houses do not look ready to travel anymore. The good architect needs groups, plazas, a city. The city shall no longer need to vanish, it shall have long-term planning. That is one of tomorrow’s hopes, and where tomorrow already dawns, it is today’s.

But that hope is as old as architecture itself, remains inscribed in it and self-evident. Therefore, urban planning is not at all limited to modern times. Even though it is often to be found then, it appeared already in the last century and thus also intersected there in a peculiar way. To be sure, the bourgeois society is calculating and organized around the profit principle, but due to the anarchic economy, it is also a disarranged society, one of economic coincidence. Therefore, it is particularly the industrial cities and the residential districts of the last century to which we owe the great courage of construction speculators, the absolute lack of reflection and of planning. The only thing homogeneous is their dreariness, the chasms, the desolate line of streets leading into nowhere, the kitsch of their own style of misery or stolen ostentatiousness; the rest of the layout, nevertheless, is anarchic like profiteering on which it is based.

In the process the so-called developed cities of the pre-capitalist era in particular did not at all spring up at random due to the mode of production that was still regulated. Antiquity passed on distinct city planning, from the time before Alexander, the rash founder of cities from the Nile to the Himalayas. From the beginning deliberate precaution distinguished the architect, even in striking proximity to the socially constructive. Aristotle mentioned such an architect called Hippodamos, namely, in a striking duplicity of architectural and political planning: “Hippodamos, son of Euryphon of Miletus, who invented the sectioning (diairesis) of towns and who cut through the Piraeus…was at the same time the first who, without being a practicing politician, undertook to say something about the perfect state constitution (Politics II, cap. 8). Hence the contact of architectural and political planning is that old: the aforementioned Hippodamos had also planned a diairesis on the state ground for the purpose of the cult, the public service, of private property and had his development plan almost socially based. Moreover, the excesses of planning were not missing that have always been part of the caesarean madness and that took their building craze into account, and yet it was a planned and methodical madness. Alexander and his architect Dinocrates dreamt of carving out the entire cape of Athos and turning it into a colonizable colossus. On the left hand, the mountain statue was supposed to carry a town; on the right hand, a basin was to accumulate all rivers of the mountains and flow into the sea as an antique Niagara. That was an urban fantasy that also in terms of thorough reflection, not only in terms of extravagance, was not paralleled by any constructive-Baroque or neo-feudal kind. Although it was half geomantic, then of an astrological nature, city planning existed when Augustus let Rome be transformed from bricks to marble, and then when Constantine turned Byzantium into the capital of the Empire.

Last but not least, the Middle Ages, claimed by romanticism and its restitution as being particularly “instinctive,” was rich in city planning sui generis. The early medieval settlement was centered around a castle with precise premeditation; the colonial towns in Southern France, in Eastern Germany even displayed a regularly repeated planning. Of course, all this remains true, despite all the individualistic accident as then exploded in the construction anarchy (Bau-Anarchie) of the nineteenth century: only capitalist calculation, that other side of the commodity society, let rational urban Utopias emerge in particularly great numbers. That stood in a pathetic-constructive contrast to the same economic anarchy of which calculation, as an abstract law dealing with accident, is itself a part.

Especially before the French Revolution, when the mass of small and medium-sized individual entrepreneurs was still not emancipated, when the period of manufacture established a general, comprehensive regulating bureaucracy, the planned design succeeded, the checkerboard, the ring — in brief, a formal urban calculation of planning and new foundation. All this, no matter how wild the cartouche bulged from a certain building, no matter how bold the group of buildings placed along the winding veduta: the ground plan of the individual Baroque building was as symmetrical as the designed group of buildings. Here the Versaille garden and Descartes reigned, not Galli-Bibiena; only rococo suspended that symmetry. The checkerboard design of a Baroque foundation like Mannheim stood in contrast to the organic-excessive style of Baroque architecture in an almost non-synchronous, almost classical way. Goethe, who otherwise despised the Baroque style, said in Hermann und Dorothea that the Mannheim layout was built bright and friendly. This was the same tension that was in the cultivated conversations of Baroque society itself: the most interesting topic was human passions, and there was only one competitor: the interest in mathematics. The engineer who built fortresses joined with the architects of castles and churches: many of the major Baroque architects, Hildebrandt, Balthasar Neumann, Welsch, Eosander, came from the field of functional military buildings, and they kept on managing these areas along with their architectural fantasies.

The Baroque style amazingly tolerated that simultaneity of inebriation and bourgeois calculation, of Counter-Reformation and military geometry; the latter succeeded as a recourse to Renaissance patterns primarily in city planning. Here we find the same contrast everywhere that also contained the mechanization of the conception of the world culminating in the seventeenth century toward the excessive, organic Baroque ornament. Certainly the mathematics of that era was also a dynamic one, the concept of the mathematical function pervaded, the fluxion and differential calculus, the veduta of something infinite. But in Descartes, as in Spinoza, the conception of the world itself was inorganic, basically a mechanical one; thus the Baroque philosophy reigned also in the construction plan with crystal clarity if possible, more geometrico. Hence, next to the organic redundancy in sculpture, architecture, and also poetry, the mathematical façade rose, i.e., clarity, i.e., the crystal. Yes, we might say that next to the “Gothic style” of Baroque construction stood the “Egypt” of the intellectual Baroque (Denkbarock), most strikingly in Spinozism. These crystal structures connected very easily with all tendencies for order, the Hispanizations in neo-feudal Baroque. That is even revealed in the differences of the Utopian architectures as they occurred in the novels dealing with state concepts (Staatsromanen) of the Renaissance and then in those of the Baroque. While the liberal social Utopia of Thomas More decorated its superior state with individual houses, with low buildings, with loose garden cities, one hundred years later Campanella’s authoritarian utopia displayed apartment houses, high-rises, a completely centralized city plan. Herewith concentric walls, with cosmic wall frescoes, with circular structures in general — the mathematical exact measure as such prevailed, in consequence of the other, even astrologically determined utopia of order (Ordnungs-utopie).

But beyond that, ever since the city planning of the Baroque, the overall geometrical became the keyword of each bourgeois ideal city and has remained the calculated city. This is true except for those eras that did not know any city planning at all anymore, i.e., the second half of the nineteenth century, when city planning was not only thwarted by individual profiteering but completely abolished. Nevertheless, until then and again in the monopoly capitalist period, in a so-called controlled, imperialist economy, a cult of regular structures, buildings, and urban maps bordering the Egyptian reigned over and over again. At the same time it excluded, except for some swerving luxury in the streets of the fashionable residential districts, any contact with the Gothic urban map, with the crookedness, with the deeply comfortable fullness of the old German towns. The bonds that were not provided by the capitalist society were meant to be replaced or newly created by the geometry of the city. Now that geometry became the utopia of the entire newer bourgeois city structure. That will immediately become clear when we examine individual cases of some of its significant examples. On the whole, these examples contain the contrast to the economy of accident, namely, with an increasing anarchy of the latter, but these examples equally and increasingly contain the apologetic affirmation of their alienation and soullessness. In the best of cases, i.e., solely in the program external to the uncovering realization, they contain the problem of a crystal city (Stadtkristall) behind which the concrete order — the order applied to what? — presses through or is still hidden.

Thus there was definitely a search to give a clearer frame to the disorderly life. The earliest design of this kind was created in 1505 by Fra Giocondo: the ideal city is circular; in the middle is a round square with dome constructions, and from this square the streets, are radially arranged. In 1593, Scamozzi, the architect of the Procuracy on St. Mark’s Square, designed a regular urban polygon (Stadtpolygon) with corresponding gates, with equal halves and quarters — Palma Nuova near Udine was later built that way. In 1598, in Vasari il Giovane’s work the Citta Ideale became a combination of rectangular and radial structures: in the middle is the main square with axial buildings; eight radially arranged streets start from there with gates as their aims. Other streets are arranged in a rectangular network. Piranesi (1720-1778), who was only appreciated much too long as the etcher of Roman ruins, used early classicism to provide the ideal city, not only in its design but also in its streets of houses and its decorations, with the symmetry that became increasingly absent in bourgeois society. Soviet architecture even adapted certain elements and city planning Utopias of Piranesi — the Soviet architect Sidorov called him “penseur dans la domaine de l’architecture” particularly arcades and public squares, tower structures and the proportion of heights.

Maybe the most peculiar designer of futurist settlements that can be found in all of Utopian architecture is the French revolutionary architect Ledoux, who has only today been fully appreciated (see [Emil] Kaufmann, Von Ledoux his Corbusier [From Ledoux to Corbusier], 1933). He did not make classicism as representative as the Empire style did, but he made it more multifarious. Ledoux (1736-1806) designed the ideal city Chaux, namely, a priori as a community structured by vocations. Thus the building formation is broken up into smaller groups, and it is integrated at the same time; the modern pavilion system appeared. Instead of an inner city formation and endless peripheries, Ledoux designed park areas everywhere with work centers and the “corresponding architecture,” which expressed their utilization. The ideal city contained various types of buildings in accordance with the vocations of their dwellers — the houses of the lumberjack, of the field guard, of the merchant, and so on. The ideal city even contained a “house of passions” — a kind of temple of sexual emancipation — a “house for the glory of the women,” a “house of harmony.” But with the geometry, with the stereometry of these houses the relative partitioning has its limitations; superior to the partitioning is the characteristic Utopia of order in all modern age city planning. The geometric allegory, which Ledoux bestowed on his constructions, pointed to this kind of Utopia of order as a geometrically directed, persuasively Egyptian one. Therefore, despite the pavilion system, a military geometry predominated that recalls Campanella’s city, where not even the astrological allusions were missing. The woodcutter dwelt under a pyramidal roof, the field guard in a spherical house that depicted the globe, the “ville naissante” as a whole was surrounded by an ellipse corresponding to the planetary orbits. In this way the pathos of the bond emerged in Ledoux’s ideal city too — and in a surprisingly anticipatory way amidst the French Revolution. Ledoux called the architect “God’s rival”; that is a tremendous self-consciousness of human creation; but the world that he wants to form in such a Promethean way nestles within the orders of a cosmos that is seen as complete, namely, as a geometrically complete one. Just as Piranesi connected classicistic motifs with the ideal urban geometry, Ledoux took Masonic-Egyptian ones: their content was a Utopian collectivity, though he himself was stuck in the body of a crystalline, much too crystalline urban Utopia.

The “tuning in with the cosmos,” which in the works of Taut and Corbusier still arched over the purpose of human architecture and its shapes, this secular astral myth that was touched not only in phrases but also in the idolatry of an external frame, thus in the urban Utopias, demonstrated to the entire modern age its effectiveness. Within the capitalist calculation it demonstrated its effectiveness mathematically. In the feeling contrasting the increasing anarchy of economy and culture it demonstrated its effectiveness based on sentimentality. Therefore, it resulted in the attraction toward the crystal as the closest contrasting strictness, resulted in addition to calculation and calculus in the power of geometry, which at least seemed to be stripped of spreading human confusion. Moreover, recently there is a particularly alienating motive, which is basically the only original one. It is engineering as architecture, which has a significant Utopian effect. Now it is engineering into which architecture as the real art has been incorporated and from which it has to reemerge on the threshold of a concrete society. What it means here is the new combination of the old Utopia of crystallization with the desire to disorganize. This kind of combination is precisely related to the abstract technology itself with which the new architecture is so closely linked and provides also disorganization sui generis for the crystalline urban Utopia, which is a disorganization well-known from neighboring technological areas. Thus the house without an aura, the city map made of affirmed lifelessness and distance to people, made from cones of rays as such or other imitations of projective geometry, corresponds to the machine that no longer resembles the human being.

25 Avenue de Versailles, Paris: The upper storeys and roof deck seen from the rear courtyard

25 Avenue de Versailles, Paris: The upper storeys
and roof deck seen from the rear courtyard (1931)

Functional architecture reflects and doubles anyway the icy realm of commodity world automation, its alienation, its labor-divided human beings, its abstract technology. As much as technology might possibly advance into the non-Euclidian, architectural space demonstrates, insofar as it advances into “abstract” composition — particularly in glass structures — the unmistakable ambition to depict empirically an imaginary space. Expressionism experimented with it by generating stereometric figures through rotating or swinging bodies, which at least have nothing in common with the perspective visual space (Sehraum); an architecture of the abstract, which wants to be quasimeta-cubic, sometimes seeks structures appearing to be similarly remote, not organic anymore, not even anymore meso-cosmical. Of course, the space of these bodies of rotation remains as Euclidian as any other, and the so-called un-Euclidian pan-geometry (see Panofsky, Vortrdge der Bibliothek Warburg, [Lectures of the Warburg Library], 1927, p. 330) provides positive ways for architecture also in the symbolic allusions. The only thing that remains important is that the crystalline dominates in all city planning since the Renaissance including that of the otherwise organically drifting Baroque. It seeks cosmic connections, but it also looks for some daring of extra-organic remoteness, although — as is in technology — still without any material contact despite all the “turning in with the cosmos.” Nevertheless, in those instances where expressionism did not only, as it so often did, throw excess of pure subjectivity into the void, it experimented also with the problems of object-like, highly abstract forms of the works, which provided profound expression for the human subject, a “forest of the crystal ego” (Ichkristallwald).

In a more certain and legitimate way, i.e., connected with a still rising bourgeois society, mannerism not only confronted the Baroque with the utmost subjectivity of “mood” and expression and simultaneously contrasted it with the strongest boldness in statuary modeling (Correggio, Tintoretto, El Greco, but also as early as Michelangelo) but drove the latter into the Baroque. And today, as is already well-known, the incredible problems of a “Gothic style” within the crystal arises, in a way as if the entire nature of the crystal in spatial art (Raumkunst), instead of eventually only leading into the Egyptian clarity of death, malgre lui, was a particularly keenly darting humanity. Therefore, as an upshot, or better as the problem of an upshot, we have: How can human fullness be rebuilt in clarity? How can the order of an architectonic crystal be penetrated with the true tree of life, with the human ornament? A synthesis between the architectural Utopia of Egypt, on the one hand, and Gothic, on the other, is impossible; it would be a foolish, epigonal fantasy. But there is a genuine third possibility, which has not appeared anywhere yet, above rigidity and exuberance, in housing projects as well as in architecture.

Just this is the power of Marxism to posit order as the end so that human fullness gains space. In Marxism the contents, which emerged in all former abstract social Utopias in alternative ways, i.e., subjective freedom (More) or constructed order (Campanella), are mediated not synthetically but rather productively and thus raised to a third, the constructed realm of freedom itself. Also in regard to the orders of nature, Marxism is far away from subjectless-undialectical depiction, hence from that “tuning in with the cosmos.” The concrete tendency is rather the humanization of nature. Thus the space architecture of a classless society will hardly remain abstract crystalline, in contrast to the anarchy of the economy (which then will have vanished). In the old city plannings, in the works of Piranesi and Ledoux, a sense for space occurs sometimes, a completely new one although classicistically encapsulated. Yet, it leaves abstract crystal form or those devoid of people far behind. A non-formalistic glass sculpture or glass architecture also reaches, as mentioned before, into unknown forms of construction at times, forms of space. They penetrate in there, curious curves and stereometries penetrate with a seemingly cosmic expression, but in reality it is human. Here the human sense of anticipation starts from the center of the crystal, perhaps mediated by it but certainly only through it. This sense of anticipation starts with an extroversion toward the cosmos; however, in its bend backward, it moves to the lineament of a home. Architecture as such is and remains the attempt to produce the human home — from the given purpose of dwelling to the appearance of a more beautiful world of proportion and ornament.

According to Hegel’s truthful and not only idealistic definition, architecture sees its purpose in shaping inorganic nature in a way that it as an artistic outside world becomes kin to the spirit. The spirit means the human subject, which is still searching for what can be called related to it. In different societies this subject (Wesen) always builds different corners, arches, domes, towers of an earth that focused on the human being. Thus the architectural Utopia is the beginning and the end of ageographic Utopia itself, all this search for precious stones on the face of the geode Earth, the dream of an earthly paradise. Great architecture wanted to present itself as a constructed Arcadia and even more. And if it carried something mournful, some tragic mystery, as in the Gothic style, it was only to bring it to the difficult euphony. Might is the wealth derived from a few basic elements, mighty the alternative between a columned hall in Karnak and Sainte Chapelle in Paris, between our picture of home here, truss and light there. But protective circle, pre-built home: that is what the basic outlines of a better world mean in respect to their realization in architecture. Here the aesthetic figure emerges as an encircling one, in such a form that all other fine art forms have their place and rank in it: the paintings on the wall, the sculptures in the niche. The encircling provides home or comes in contact with it: all great constructions were sui generis built into the Utopia, into the anticipation of a space adequate for human beings. And the thus erected humanity transposed to rigidly significant spatial form is, as a task, equally a moving of the organic, of the humane into the crystal as well as and above all the penetration of the crystalline with stimulus, humanity, and fullness.

When the conditions of the order of freedom are not partial anymore, then the path will finally be open again for the unity of physical construction and organic ornament, open to the gift of the ornament. The path will be really open for the first time without having to alternate, to mix or to isolate time and again that which — no Egypt here, no Gothic there — is termed the crystal or the tree of life. The crystal is the frame. Indeed, it is the horizon of peace, but the ornament of the human tree of life is the only real content of that overall peace and clarity. The better world that the great architecture forms and depicts in an anticipatory way consists of the stones of life as a real task vivis ex lapidibus.

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