Sunday, October 24, 2010
NEW ARRIVAL: Industrial Facades by Bernd & Hilla Becher
Bernd & Hilla Becher, Industrial Facades
Hardcover (out of print)
"The more than two hundred striking duotone plates in Hilla and Bernd Becher's Industrial Facades continue the famous Dusseldorf photographers' formal investigation of industrial structures, in this case the frontal elevations of factory buildings. Like the Bechers' earlier books on water towers, blast furnaces, and gas tanks, Industrial Facades once again clearly displays their serenely cool, rigorous approach to the structures they photograph as vaariations on an ideal form. The Bechers make no attempt to analyze or explain their subjects. Captions contain only the barest of information: time and place.
Industrial Facades covers the whole range of periods and designs representing this building type: from austere brick buildings of the early industrial age and the arched windows and turrets decorating historicist facades, to the concrete and glass functionalist constructions of the 1950s and 1960s, to today's rectangular, windowless halls.
These photographs give the lie to Louis Sullivan's often misunderstood motto, "form follows function," for the external appearance of the factory buildings shown here are hardly determined by their internal working processes. For this reason, the Bechers' photographs do not really illustrate the development of modern industrial architecture, nor the achievements of functionalist building, but rather the achievements of banal, everyday architecture, produced by builders trained in crafts or by engineers trained in the necessities of the industrial process."
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