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Simple Forms of Building

It has long been a tradition among architects to praise the advantages of simplicity. Eliminating the redundant to focus on essentials was a central aim of the Modern Movement. Ludwig Wittgenstein said that a good architect does not submit to every temptation he encounters; on the contrary, he should resist as many as possible. What Wittgenstein meant is illustrated by the virtuosity with which Sigurd Lewerentz uses simple materials, or by the reductive quality found in Tadao Ando’s spaces for meditation. Anyone with the least experience of design knows how hard it is to achieve a state of simplicity. To condense architecture into a simple form in the face of often complex constraints requires great precision in determining proportions and usually involves an elaborate planning process.

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DETAIL 6/2003

Simple Forms of Building

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