The courtyard walls of Villa Além, the architect Valerio Olgiati’s home in Alentejo, Portugal, made from subtly tinted concrete.
成为 21 世纪雄心勃勃的建筑师的基本问题是，在经历了 10,000 年的建筑之后，几乎所有可能的优秀设计都已经由先于您的建筑师完成。 我们已经经历了 10,000 年的建筑创新收益递减。
毫不奇怪，受人尊敬的建筑师，例如 Valerio Olgiati，往往具有征服者的个性：
The living room of Villa Além, with linen velvet cushions and an Isamu Noguchi paper lantern.
来自 纽约时报' 风格杂志 T:
……一座建筑——甚至你的家——应该舒适吗？ ……但是，那些不这么想的人有时可以创造出最卓越的设计； 谁可以在拒绝尊重公约规则的情况下推动他们的领域向前发展。 友好、讨人喜欢或易于理解的设计也是如此——选择所有，但如果每个人都建造舒适或讨人喜欢的建筑，那么建筑会在哪里？
In our biannual Design issues, we celebrate people who choose the other way. Not always, and not only, but often enough that their projects make us see anew, make us question what we’d long assumed: What is the purpose of a building? How about a chair? How about a garden? Of course, money helps enable many of these rebellions, but it’s not a prerequisite, and nor does money guarantee interesting design. What’s more important is a strong point of view, even if that point of view can be difficult to articulate.
Take, for example, the Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati. Olgiati, 63, who lives in his tiny Alpine hometown of Flims, has only produced some two dozen buildings over the course of his long career, and yet he has had more influence on his peers than someone much more prolific. His refusal to concede — to clients, to the market, to closely held ideas about what architecture should be and do — not to mention his projects themselves, which are expressions of his commitment to pure abstraction, toward non-allusive or -referential design, make him sui generis in a field that has become bloated with money, ego and personalities.
You may not want to live in an Olgiati structure yourself. You may not like them. (Olgiati probably wouldn’t care either way.) But what you can’t do is deny them: not their inventiveness, not their strangeness, not their distinctiveness. And really, isn’t that what design is meant to do? Challenge us, provoke us, unsettle our expectations. Comfort is welcome. But discomfort can be, too.
还有更多来自 “纽约时报” on the Swiss architect who has become the most fashionable purveyor of the Aboveground Hitler’s Bunker school of ugly concrete buildings:
The dramatically sloped concrete exterior of the Plantahof auditorium.
An Architect Who’s Known for Aesthetic Purity and Counts Kanye West as a Client
The cult Swiss talent Valerio Olgiati creates austere, often concrete spaces that eschew references to history or place.
By Nancy Hass Photographs by Mikael Olsson
… His 25 or so conceptual, meticulously crafted structures, as well as his computer renderings of those never (or at least not yet) erected, have become legendary for their idea-driven purity and shocking forms. … He is regarded as a bulwark of incorruptibility in a world of starchitects who stamp their names on billionaire-friendly residential towers and Instagrammable but ultimately gimmicky buildings. Relying upon a theoretical framework and his own volcanic charisma — he has a reputation for reducing students to tears, and has never shied from expressing contempt for peers who he believes have sold out — his Howard Roarkian devotion stands out as a rebuke to an architecturally milquetoast, commercially driven era. …
Last year, mid-lockdown, the musician Kanye West, whose passion for contemporary design is well documented, took his jet to Zurich for a day, then drove to Flims to dine with Olgiati in a local restaurant. The meeting landed the architect a commission for both a Los Angeles apartment for the recently separated West and a quixotic megaproject that would render literal the underground nature of the architect’s appeal: an artists’ colony built beneath West’s Wyoming ranch (which is reportedly 4,500 acres), as vast as the subterranean cities of Turkey’s Cappadocia, with up to 200 dwellings, as well as studio spaces and a performance venue. …
As with award-winning Los Angeles architect Thom Mayne, Ogliati appears to be motivated not just by egomania but by misanthropy and sadism:
The School at Paspels, completed in 1998, is a bunkerlike structure intended for primary school students, built into a steep hillside in rural Switzerland. The three-story pale concrete exterior is rigidly rectangular, punctuated only by a few elongated, symmetrical frameless window openings. Inside, the four larch-wood-lined classrooms are set about four degrees off kilter from each other; moving through the building, you sense the slight distortion, as though the structure itself were in motion.
One of three nearly identical bedrooms in Villa Além.
After all, who hasn’t wanted to torment children by forcing them to spend much of their childhood in an off-kilter bunker?
What unifies these disparate structures, other than their unforgiving material, is Olgiati’s professional philosophy, which he espouses at international lectures and through classes at the Academy of Architecture Mendrisio near the Swiss-Italian border. Says the British ur-minimalist John Pawson, known for residences that evoke a Zen state of nothingness: “With me, all I can do is show the work, but Valerio has the big idea.”
OLGIATI CALLS THAT idea “non-referentiality.” Historical context is dead, he believes: Architecture should be an end unto itself instead of a reflection of its era, local culture or any sort of concocted narrative. “People think it’s crazy to believe you can make something truly new, but that’s because they lack talent and imagination; they are stuck,” he says. To him, vernacular references get in the way of making truly great buildings. Besides, he argues, such constructs are often tortured and artificial — or made up after the fact — with a self-righteousness he finds repugnant.
Who is less self-righteous than an architect who lectures endlessly on his Big Idea?
A visit to Olgiati’s vacation home, Villa Além:
From a distance, amid gnarled cork trees and a few low-slung farmhouses, its form evokes a massive open gray cardboard box.
即便是 纽约时报 critic gets the joke.
But inside, up a 110-foot set of concrete stairs — there’s no railing —
Although all the surfaces and structural elements are concrete, including furniture of Olgiati’s own design, the stark effect is softened by velvet sofa cushions as gray as nearly everything else in the room. (“Linen velvet,” he clarifies. “Just the right texture and amount of relaxation.”) As darkness descends — he’s served both lunch and dinner, including a saffron risotto with green beans, during a 12-hour conversation that has careened from Le Corbusier (“His buildings have no soul”) to issues of race in America (“Why can’t you people figure this out?”) to his disdain for the Pritzker Prize (“It’s become just about who is culturally acceptable, not about the architecture at all”) …
… But his most formative period was the two years he spent in Los Angeles in the early 1990s… Frank Gehry and 形态结构, the collective led by 汤姆·梅恩, were then experimenting with wild geometry, found objects and innovative materials, which made the city a locus of contemporary design.
Ironically, Gehry’s handful of not-ugly buildings are not ugly because he references his hobby, sailboats, which always look nice.
With no contacts, Olgiati had to leave California before gaining a professional foothold, which he still regrets, even though his career flourished only after he returned to his more conservative home country.
Where his father was a famous architect.
“In Switzerland,” he says, “you win the poker game when you have the best cards. There [Los Angeles], you win because you play the best game. I liked the bluffing, the bravado. I would have stayed if I could have.”
The most important thing he learned in the United States, he adds, was that the world had permanently changed, and architecture needed to follow. Ours, he believes, is a globally mashed-up era with no meaningful shared references or objective truth. And so buildings, he says, must stand on their own. … takes his own inspiration, for example, from the monolithic rock pile structures of the Aztecs, for which historians cannot find an antecedent.
Why am I not surprised that human sacrifice platforms appeal to Ogliati? So, maybe I was unfair to the conquistadors by comparing Ogliati to them. At least they were repulsed by Aztec human sacrifices.