Equal Weight

From "All He Surveyed", Paul Goldberger's article on the architect Palladio, in current New Yorker (3.30.09) :

"It’s odd to think of history’s most famous architect being as obsessed with animal smells as he was with scale and proportion. But not being afraid of the ordinary side of his job was a key component of Palladio’s genius. To him, architecture existed to solve problems, and he seems to have given equal weight to elevating the image of his clients, making their lives function more smoothly, and creating beautiful objects for the world. Figuring out where to put the farm animals and shaping designs of transcendent beauty were all in a day’s work."

1 comment:

Mairi said...

James Fenton, in his review of the Palladio show at the royal Academy, speaks of the unpleasantness of photographs of Palladio's villas, of "the fussy cleanliness and excessive tidiness of the approaches, and of the general lack of agricultural activity. These barns and these granaries should not always be empty. Where are the people? Where are the horses and oxen? Where is the mud? What happened to all the urine? Where are the beans laid out to dry on the floor of the piano nobile, the washing strung out on the lines in the great frescoed salone? Where are the grains of wheat caught between the bricks on the stairs after the sacks have been carried to the attic granary to be spread out on the roof?" In the catalogue of his disappointments he lays out for us the functioning lives Palladio was designing for. He also mentions a sheet of drawings of extraordinary abstract beauty from Burlington House, illustrating military formations. Apparently Palladio's interest in solving problems through design extended to military strategy and the choreography of its maneouvres.