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Von Ledoux bis Mies: The modern plinth as isolating element

Kaminer, Tahl ORCID: 2019. Von Ledoux bis Mies: The modern plinth as isolating element. arq: Architectural Research Quarterly 23 (1) , pp. 21-32. 10.1017/S1359135519000083

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Articles from the last few decades by three scholars, K. Michael Hays, Fritz Neumeyer and Pier Vittorio Aureli, posit the argument that the function of the plinths in the work of Mies van der Rohe is mediation. This paper responds by interrogating the function of the plinth in modern architecture, beginning with Enlightenment, and argues that first-and-foremost, the function of the modern plinth is isolation and transcendence. The modern plinth is here shown to accentuate certain features of the base as a means of synchronising it with modern values, particularly humanism and the (artistic) autonomy of the artefact. The paper revisits Enlightenment sculpture in order to highlight the spatial issue that is the kernel of the function of the plinth: enabling or preventing a continuum of the space of the artefact and the ‘real’ space of the spectators, before turning to Enlightenment architecture and the work of Ledoux and Schinkel. The latter demonstrate the emergence of ideas of architectural autonomy that are identifiable in the work of Mies as well. The paper, then, focuses on the relation of the artefact to its environment as articulated by the plinth. It refers to key moments in which the question of the plinth has been brought to the fore in order to produce a more rigorous understanding of the modern plinth.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 1359-1355
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 March 2019
Date of Acceptance: 19 December 2018
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 17:50

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