Truth to Materials
Truth to materials is an architectural theory based on the idea that materials should be used where they are most appropriate, and without their natural qualities being concealed in any way. I have researched designers whose work focuses on the material properties.
Henry Moore was an english artist best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art, but also for his carvings, drawings, prints and designed textiles and tapestries. He often made work inspired by the human body and natural forms and textures like stones, shells and sticks. He was also inspired by the dramatic Yorkshire landscape where he grew up as a child.
In 1954 he was commissioned to design and install a large wall relief into Joost Boks’ new construction centre in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The project is made up of approximately 16,000 hand-carved Dutch bricks, his only work completed in the humble material. The organic designs are both concave and convex, beautifully constructed by two master bricklayers. The centre has undergone structural changes over the years but thankfully the brick wall has been preserved. I love how the wall sits intentionally unsymmetrical, complimenting the character of the brick. The warm colour tones broken up by concave organic forms, an interesting sculpture.
Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany in 1919, and it is where the ‘truth to materials’ was taught, believing that material should be used in the most honest way possible, the nature of the material should not be modified in any way and for supportive materials such as steel should be exposed rather than hidden within the form of the furniture or building.
The Fagus Factory façade comprises of more glass than brick and instead of conventional load-bearing exterior walls, Gropius had made the bold and innovative decision to place reinforced concrete columns inside the building to free the façade. A series of brick piers suspend iron frames between that supports glass inserts. Metal panels were placed within the iron frame to conceal the floor slabs behind. (Pascucci, 2018)
(Pascucci, 2018) https://www.archdaily.com/612249/ad-classics-fagus-factory-walter-gropius-adolf-meyer (accessed 30.9.22)
Fig. 1 – Recumbent Figure by Henry Moore https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/henry-moore-om-ch-recumbent-figure-r1147451 (accessed 28.9.22)
Fig. 2 – A selection of photo’s of Henry Moores’ Wall Relief Design https://www.bkor.nl/en/documentatie/hommage-aan-de-baksteen/ https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/henry-moore-wall-relief-no1-rotterdam and https://www.archdaily.com/593572/sculptural-brickwork-henry-moore-s-reliefs-in-rotterdam (accessed 30.9.22)
Fig. 3 – The Fagus Factory designed by Walter Gropius https://www.archdaily.com/612249/ad-classics-fagus-factory-walter-gropius-adolf-meyer (accessed 30.9.22)