Wednesday, November 08, 2017

ArchitectureAU reviews Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright's Robin Boyd: Spatial Continuity.
In the first part of the book, which draws extensively on Heideggerian philosophy, Baracco and Wright argue that Boyd’s work deviates from mainstream international modernism and displays an “affinity with cultures and sensibilities that are in touch with the history, geography and culture of their places.” This point is well taken and, like Baracco and Wright’s suggestion that Boyd’s buildings were spatially ingenious and established a relevant dialogue with their context, it is widely accepted. Thus, when reading the first part of the book, a question emerges: Do we need Heideggerian theory to validate these observations? And, more broadly, does Boyd’s work need to be theorized in this way? What does drawing out parallels between Heidegger’s “critique of the objectifying nature of Western thought” and his philosophy to mitigate the modern overemphasis for rational representation through “meditative thinking” as a coexisting and parallel sensibility of “calculative thinking” on the one hand, and the “spatial continuity” recognized in Boyd’s work on the other, add to our knowledge of the architect’s thought and design approach? Particularly given that – to the authors’ admission – Boyd was “hardly involved with the field of philosophy, and there is no evidence that he read or discussed any work by the German philosopher.”

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