terça-feira, 3 de janeiro de 2012

Visions of Space - Robert Hughes

First aired BBC4, 2003; ABC, 2004 In 'Visions of Space', Robert Hughes tackles the work and lives of three remarkable 20th-century architects: Albert Speer, Mies van der Rohe, and Antonio Gaudi - whose work did so much to shape the modern world.
Hughes looks at how each one used space in different ways to express our response, respectively, to the power of religion (Gaudi), the power of the State (Speer), and the power of the corporation (Mies van der Rohe).

Episode 1 of 3
Antoni Gaudi: God's Architect
Robert Hughes returns to Spain to explore the legacy of Antoni Gaudi, the last great cathedral builder of the 20th century.
Gaudi was an intensely Catholic celibate who, despite his austere life, created some of the most sensuous buildings ever known. On his journey through Gaudi's life and work, Hughes (an ex-Catholic himself) explains how a man as religious and conservative as Gaudi could become such an innovative 20th-century giant.

Episode 2 of 3
Albert Speer: Size Matters
In 1979 Robert Hughes met and interviewed Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer, for his landmark series, Shock of the New. Speer died shortly afterwards but in 2002, Hughes discovered the long-lost tape of that conversation and was inspired to travel back to Germany to examine the legacy of a man who was, for a brief period, the most powerful architect in the world.

It covers a very much overlooked subject of urban planning and housing under Hitler’s regime.Speer’s aborted designs bring a fascinating insight into the manipulation of style, space, and size to achieve political and ideological goals. After watching this episode, the intelligent viewer will undoubtedly become more aware of instances in daily life where grandiosity (physical or otherwise) is used as a subconscious means of fostering collectivism and avoiding criticism.

Hughes turns his keen eye and incisive mind to the life and work of Albert Speer, confidant of Adolf Hitler and the man chosen to construct the sorts of buildings and stadiums suitable to accompany the Nazi leader’s dreams of world domination.

Hughes ponders the role that Speer, with his imposing, austere design style, his “stripped down, modernised classicism”, played in shaping the 20th century and wonders what might have been if his side had won. He also examines the claims that Speer, despite his subsequent denials, had a role to play in the atrocities committed against the Jewish population. Hughes’s profile is aided by the discovery of an old and long-presumed lost audio tape of an interview that he conducted with the ageing architect just before his death in 1981. Touring the little that remains of Speer’s work in Germany, Hughes pronounces it to be “devoid of all fantasy, except fantasies of power . . . Its elegance soon became a crushing orderliness. It was about architecture as ideology: function, obedience, efficiency.”

Episode 3 of 3
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: Less is More

This BBC episode features the German architect, Mies van der Rohe, who moved to America and discovered the face of the modern corporate city.

Following Mies' footsteps we see how an architect who began his career making kitschy, Hansel and Gretel style houses with pointy roofs, little windows and squat floorplans transformed himself into the master of international modernism - the architect of light and space.

Mies is the father of the contemporary vogue for loft living - what he was building in the 1920s still looks futuristic now. Similarly, his New York masterpiece the Seagrams Building provided the blueprint for the modern office building - without Mies no major city on Earth would look as it does.

But despite his undeniable impact there is something in Mies' work that Hughes finds shockingly neglectful of real human needs. This master builder could spend days working out how to turn a corner with a skilfully placed beam and totally ignore the legitimate wishes and desires of those who used his buildings.

Nevertheless, Mies definition of real order and how this influences his work was: "The real order is that what St. Augustine said about the the disposition of equal and unequal things - giving to each what deserves, according to their nature."

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