Inhabiting the Atmosphere:The Architecture of the Queen Alexandra Sanatorium
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 82, no. 3 (September 2023): 313–33.
Drawing on both archival research and recent scholarship, this article examines how medical thinking and a scientific understanding of the atmosphere shaped the design of the Queen Alexandra Sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland, designed by Pfleghard & Haefeli from 1905 onward. While the sanatorium is noteworthy in terms of both its construction and its reception in the historiography of modern architecture, this study reassesses the rationale behind the design. Proposing an environmental cure, the institution did away with the idea of architecture as a protective wrapper, and instead presented the atmosphere itself as the primary realm for human habitation. This study thus situates the sanatorium in the atmosphere rather than in the landscape, even though the building appeared to grow from the ground. Conceived with the atmosphere as its proxy envelope, the sanatorium was designed to expose its patients to the celebrated air of Davos, praised for its purity and perfect stillness.
The Aesthetics of Blurred
Boundaries: From Wölfflin's Baroque to Giedion's Interpenetration
21 Inquiries into Art, History, and the Visual, no. 04 2022 (December 2022): 817–61.
This article shows how Sigfried Giedion’s understanding of modern architecture is in part inflected by Heinrich Wölfflin’s conception of the Baroque. Durchdringung, or interpenetration, is a key concept Giedion used to capture the spatial qualities inherent to modern constructions, the boundaries of which are blurred, not unlike Wölfflin’s Baroque forms. Crucial to this analysis is Giedion’s oft-neglected dissertation Spätbarocker und romantischer Klassizismus, which brings out the connection to Wölfflin and carries the seeds of Giedion’s later historiography. In the following pages, the two seemingly different conceptions – Giedion’s modern architecture and Wölfflin’s Baroque – are linked through their underlying aesthetics to suggest a continuity in one specific concept rooted in Wölfflin’s art history: the notion of blurred boundaries.
Form Follows Facade
Log, no. 55 (Summer 2022): 31–37.
"In Berlin, Tim Altenhof critiques the newly rebuilt Humboldt Forum."