By  Piero Luigi Carcerano

皮埃罗·路易吉·卡塞罗纳 著

The Challenge of Detail between Representation and Reality


The debate on Realism in architecture is a complex and challenging issue involving the relationship between critical thinking and the representation of the objectivity of the built world. The dispute between the vision of Gianni Vattimo , a supporter of the relativism of interpretations, and that of Maurizio Ferraris , a defender of the objectivity of facts, offers food for thought on how to deal with architectural reality.

关于建筑现实主义的争论是一个复杂且具有挑战性的问题,它涉及批判性思维与建筑世界客观性表象之间的关系。诠释相对主义的支持者贾尼·瓦蒂莫 (Gianni Vattimo)与事实客观性的捍卫者毛里齐奥·费拉里斯(Maurizio Ferraris)的观点之争,为如何处理建筑现实提供了思考的素材。

The struggle between relativism and objectivity manifests itself in architecture on both a theoretical and practical level. On the one hand, New Realism seeks to eliminate the superfluous and the decorative, reducing architecture to its essential form, as an expression of an unamenable reality. This approach wants to underline the priority of the facts and the material concreteness of the building, setting aside any additional elements. However, this view can risk trivializing architecture, making it a mere inert record of data, devoid of depth and meaning.


On the other hand, there is the importance of the architectural detail, which can be understood both as a “particular” in the philosophical sense of Gianni Vattimo, i.e. a specific interpretation of the whole, and as an architectural “detail”, a fundamental element that reveals the construction system and the overall sense of the building. This approach embraces the idea that architecture is a form of art and cultural expression, capable of capturing the entire dialectical structure of its era and its environment.

另一方面,建筑细节也很重要,可以将它理解为贾尼·瓦蒂莫 (Gianni Vattimo)哲学意义上的“特殊性”,即对整体的具体诠释,也可以理解为建筑“细节”,它是揭示建筑体系和建筑整体感的基本要素。这种方法主张建筑是一种艺术文化的表达形式,能够捕捉其时代和环境下的整个辩证结构。

Architecture can represent a third way, a synthesis between the particular and the universal, between the individual and the generic. It can become a place of resistance, a point of connection between the subject and the real world. In this sense, the architectural detail becomes a link to reality, which escapes the domain of interpretation and reveals itself in its complexity and authenticity.


The Legacy of Realism in Contemporary Architecture: From Structural Simplicity to Authenticity of Detail


The Realism architectural movement emerged in the 19th century, mainly in the mid- to late-century period. It developed in parallel with the artistic and literary movement of Realism, which sought to represent objective reality without idealization or excessive romanticism.


In the realm of architecture, Realism was expressed through the use of materials and construction styles that reflected the functionality and practical needs of the building, avoiding unnecessary ornamentation and detailing. Realist architecture was characterized by simplicity and sobriety of form, placing emphasis on structure and the use of local materials.


It should be emphasized that the concept of realism in architecture can vary over time and space, as the term can be interpreted in different ways by different eras and cultures. Furthermore, some later architectural movements, such as the 20th century Neo-rationalism, have also embraced some of the realist ideas regarding the priority of facts and material concreteness.


Examples of architecture that embrace this perspective can be found in the current of Neo-rationalism, which emphasized construction as a direct expression of static resistance, dissolving the decorative into the tectonic. The works of architects such as Mario Ridolfi and Ludovico Quaroni , who have favored the simplicity of forms and material concreteness, show how architecture can be a vehicle for understanding reality through its relationship with detail.

现代新理性主义中也能找到支持此观点的建筑案例,它们强调建筑是静态阻力的直接表达,将装饰融入建构中。像马里奥·里多尔菲(Mario Ridolfi)和卢多维科·夸罗尼(Ludovico Quaroni)这样的建筑师,他们偏爱形式简单和材料具体,他们的作品展示了建筑是如何通过与细节的关系来理解现实的。

Another example would be the Neorealist architecture approach of post-World War II Italy. This current has adopted a simple and artisanal language, enhancing accessory elements and details as a means of creating an authentic architecture close to people’s lives. Townships and popular neighborhoods, such as Mario Ridolfi’s Tiburtino district, have become scenarios of real life and of resistance to structural and formal banalization.

另一个例子是二战后意大利的新现实主义建筑方法。这股潮流采用了简单的手工语言,强化了附属元素和细节,创造贴切民众生活的真实建筑。马里奥·里多尔菲 (Mario Ridolfi)的蒂布蒂诺区(Tiburtino)等乡镇和受欢迎的社区已经成为对现实生活及对结构、形式平庸化抵制的真实写照。

Furthermore, the conception of the architectural detail as a part that evokes the whole, which represents reality by metonymy or synecdoche, is reflected in the works of artists such as György Lukács. His idea of “particularity” as a synthesis that organically unites the generic and the individual can be applied to architecture as a way of representing the entire dialectical structure of one’s historical situation.

此外,建筑细节以部分唤起整体的这一概念,以转喻或提喻的手法象征现实,这在卢卡奇·格奥尔格(György Lukács)等艺术家的作品中得到了体现。卢卡奇的“特殊性”理念是一种将一般和个体有机结合的综合方式,可将其应用到建筑中,描绘其历史情境的整个辩证结构。

Contemporary Explorations in Architecture: From Simplicity to Technological Experimentation


In contemporary architecture, the interpretation of the language of detail and of the relationship between subject and reality takes on different facets. Today’s architects address the issue of Realism in a variety of ways, ranging from minimalist, conceptual, eclectic and innovative approaches.


On the one hand, some contemporary architects embrace a minimalist and rational approach, drawing inspiration from post-war Neorealism and Neo-rationalism theories. These designers focus on material concreteness, trying to express the reality of the building through essential details and simple shapes. The architecture of Mies van der Rohe , for example, is often cited as an example of this vision, where every detail is reduced to the essentials, revealing the truth of the construction.

一方面,一些当代建筑师采用极简主义和理性主义的方法,从战后的新现实主义和新理性主义理论中汲取灵感。这些设计师注重材料的具体性,试图通过基本细节和简单造型来表达建筑的真实性。例如,密斯·凡德罗(Mies Van der Rohe)的建筑经常被引作这一构想的例子,其每个细节都简化至最基本要素,揭示了建筑的真相。

On the other hand, there are architects who adopt a conceptual and symbolic approach to the language of detail. These designers try to capture the essence of a place or an idea through significant details and full of symbolism. Swiss architect Peter Zumthor is known for his sensitive and poetic approach, in which every detail is designed to evoke specific emotions and sensations in the architecture user.

另一方面,有些建筑师对采用概念性和象征性的方法来表达细节。这些设计师试图通过重要的细节和充满象征意义的方式来捕捉某处或某个想法的本质。瑞士建筑师彼得·卒姆托(Peter Zumthor)以其敏锐又诗意的方法而闻名,其每个细节都用来唤起建筑使用者的特定情感和知觉。

In the contemporary scene, there are also eclectic architects who mix elements from different eras and styles to create a unique and original language of detail. These designers often experiment with new materials and construction techniques, trying to express the complexity of reality through a plurality of voices and meanings. One of these is Thom Mayne – American architect, founder of the Morphosis studio. Thom Mayne has left his mark with iconic projects, including the 2017 Cooper Union New Academic Building headquarters in New York and the Bloomberg Center at Cornell University in New York (USA), just to name a few notable examples.

在当代场景中,也有折中主义的建筑师,他们将不同时代和风格的元素混合在一起,创造出独特而原始的细节语言。他们经常尝试新的材料和建造技术,试图通过多元化的声音和意义来表达现实的复杂性。美国建筑师汤姆·梅恩(Thom Mayne)便是其中之一,他是模弗西斯建筑事务所的创始人。汤姆·梅恩(Thom Mayne)在标志性的项目中留下了自己的印记,其中有2017年纽约库珀联盟新学术大楼总部和纽约康奈尔大学新区彭博中心,这里简单举几个著名的例子。

Furthermore, some contemporary architects interpret the language of detail in an innovative way, exploiting digital technologies and new materials to create futuristic and futuristic works. These designers embrace the power of innovation and experimentation, seeking to anticipate the future and express reality in forms never seen before. I take for example the architecture of Jean Nouvel – French architect who won the Pritzker Prize in 2008. His works range from cultural buildings, such as the Arab World Institute in Paris, to iconic skyscrapers such as the Agbar Tower in Barcelona.

此外,一些当代建筑师以创新的方式诠释细节语言,利用数字技术和新材料创造未来主义作品。他们积极借助创新和实验的力量,试图预测未来并以一种前所未有的方式表达现实。我以2008年获得普利兹克奖的法国建筑师让·努维尔(Jean Nouvel)的建筑为例,他的作品涵盖法国巴黎塞纳河畔的阿拉伯世界研究中心等文化建筑,以及巴塞罗那的阿格巴塔等标志性摩天大楼。

Contemporary architecture approaches Realism through a broad spectrum of approaches and interpretations in the language of detail. From minimalist and rational forms to symbolic and poetic details, from eclectic compositions to innovative and futuristic designs, today’s architects continue to explore the meaning and representation of architecture in the contemporary world, offering a plurality of voices and perspectives on the built reality.



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