apposing the shells of architectural thought

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In contrast to the transparency of the Bauhaus, which Rowe-Slutzky pejoratively called "literal," the "phenomenal" transparency of the Villa Garches is distinguished by the indirectness of its self-disclosure and its reliance on the cognitive device of the facade to represent the three-dimensional internal order of the building. It might be added that Rowe-Slutzky's interpretation of the villa complies with Hildebrand's call to form three-dimensional objects in such a way as to "afford a planar visual impression" and that it was this doubleordered property of their analysis that prompted Rosalind Krauss's admiration in 1980. But as she noted, converting the assumption of transparent expression into the selfconscious "opacity" of the formalism of Stéphane Mallarmé and Viktor Shklovsky simply set up a "second order transparency" with claims to ontological certainty that were displaced in architectural theory only with the introduction of structutalist linguistics.24
While the divisions, openings, and projections of the facade at Hejduk's Bernstein House register aspects of the interior in the manner of the Villa Gatches, the building could also be said to body itself forth more directly by placing elements of the interior on the outside and obscuring the representational device of the facade. This duplication of formal strategies for the disclosure of the inner being of the building effectively undermines both. Moreover, by emptying out the interior Hejduk problematizes the assumption that the object has an inner essence that is susceptible to external expression. The Bernstein House, then, signals not only a crisis in the modernist project of transparency--be it first or second order--but its conversion into the opacity of the mask for the Masque.

24. Rosalind Krauss, "Death of a Hermeneutic Phantom : Materialization of the Sign in the Work of Peter Eisenman," Architecture and Urbanism 01 (January 1980): 189-217




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