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Chapter 2 The Genesis

Bernhard hoesli and the Process of Design

It is the spring of 1982;the venue,the auditorium of the School of Architectre,University of Texas at Arlington.Bernhard Hoesli is speaking to a capacity crowd;his first lecture in Texas since his departure from Austin in the summer of 1957. I have arrived late, having driven the 350miles from San Antonio to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.Though there is a substantial contingent of young architecture students for whom the lecture is only one of a series,glancing around I reacquaint myself with the older faces;the balding,graying heads in the hall----Duane Landry and Jane Lorenz Landry,Bill Odum,Bill Booziotes,Rik Mcbride,and many,many others---all former students of his,and all come to listen one more time to that heavily infected,though remarkably fluent,English;that familiar emphatic cadence,that keen,impassioned intelligence methodically,masterfully drive home the argument.Transported for the moment back in time twenty-five years,to Room 305 of the Architecture building in Austin,it is with a shock I realize that his hair is now snow white. Author
First of all you see,it was a personality,a strong,radiant,convincing,dynamic personality.And therefore either you know it or you don’t;it is something which is immediate or else it doesn’t exist. Rene Furer,interview with the author,March 1993
Bernhard Hoesli was born in the Swiss canton of Glarus in 1923.At an early age,however,he moved with his parents to Zurich where he spent his childhood years.His father was Swiss-German and his mother French.Thus the young Hoesli was not merely bilingual but,along with so many other Continentals,able to move comfortably about within a central European culture.Hence,Italy,France,and Germany were all equally accessible.He graduated from high school within a scientific and mathematical discipline.Significantly,however,in later years this early orientation seemed to him to have unduly limited his options.Rene Furer,professor of theory at the GTA(Institut fur Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur,ETH school of A rchitecture)and one of Hoesli’s assistants during the 1960s,maintains that Hoesli came to the ETH from a high school which was quite strong in math and physics.And,as he was very advanced intellectually,he might have taken up any
*1.Rene,Furer,interview with the author ,March 1993.

*2. In “Texas and Mrs.Harris”Rowe,the consummate observer,speculates on the significance of a photograph of Hoesli:“In Corbus’s Oeuvre Complete,1946-52 ,page 9, there is a picture of him sort of en profile perdu.The occasion is Picasso’s visit to the Unite at Marseilles;and while down among the Pilotis,Picasso stands,stumpy and impassive,at center stage;and to the right (looking rather like an angel from some quattrocento Annunciation),Corbu gesticulates,in left foreground and looking toward the masters,one will discover Bernhard ;so,perhaps significantly he is the only person in the group to be wearing a jacket. ”

sort of scientific curriculum.However(and this shows his complex personality),he always seemed to have the feeling that the opposite orientation---a curriculum based upon the liberal arts(literature,history,art)---would have somehow suited him better!*1 The tension between a scientific,mathematical back-ground and a historical-artistic predisposition formed the antipodes of Hoesli's professional career,As we shall see,they prefigure a life-long search f-or a methodological underpinning of the artistic impulse (the process of design)and the exploration of form itself---the search for a common denominatorin architecture and the proposition that form can be used as a tool to solve architectural problems aswell. In 1944 he graduated from the ETH in architectur.Following the war,in 1947,he left Zurich for Paris where,after briefly working in the atelier of the painter Fernand Leger,he was accepted by Le Corbusier as an assistant at the Rue de Sevres.There he wasassigned two projects that were to figure heavily in his later thinking as a teacher and acrchitect.In1948 he worked on the design of the Villa Currutchet located in Rio Plato,Brazil;and in 1949 Le Corbusier,obviously impressed with the abilities of this neophyte Swiss architect,appointed him project architect for the United Habitation,relocating HoeslitoMarseilles to manage and oversee the construction there of his own first major postwar work*2. The Villa Currutchet,a small urban infill project containing office and living quarters,epitomizes a type of Corbusian synthesis that had its origins in the Maison Domino and the Villa Carthage of the 1920s,that is,the combination of the plan libre and the L-shaped overlapping section,This little-known project had a stimulating effect upon the young Hoesli,who,obviously fascinated by its spatial implications,returned again and again to it as a touchstone in his lectures and as a point of departure---thesubject of analysis by his students.The incidence of the L-shaped overlapping section was to persist but on a much grander scale in his next assignment,the United’Habitation or Marseilles block.Hoesli’s connection with the realization of this epic work could only have reinforced his own developing historical consciousness.Again according to Furer,“Bernhard Hoesli was attracted to a Le Corbusier-Choisy axis as an alternative—as a way to accede to history in ways other than which the Ecole des Beaux-Artsoffered.Quite apart from those special cases which attracted him—he could therefore see and appreciate grand

Furer:interview with the author,March 1993.
Choisy:Auguste Choisy was a French academician contemporaneous with Guadet.He sought to discover timeless principles of architecture in systems of construction rather than in the styles and orders that had come to dominate the academy.His two-volume Histoire de l’architecture,an inclusive survey of ancient through nineteenth-century architecture,drew upon Chinese,Muslim,and African sources as well as the traditional GGreco-Roman ons.His analytical,axonometric drawings(both bird’s-eye and worm’s eye)designed to examine construction systems surely influenced Le Corbusier.

themes.” After the carnage inflicted on our cities by theexcesses of urban renewal in the name of modern architecture,I am aware of how difficult it may be for many to appreciate the extraordinary effect that the conception and construction of that freestanding ,self-contained*7 apartment building had upon a postwar generation of architects and designers.Possiblynot quite“the greatest single piece of architecture constructed since the Pyramids were built upon the sands”(as Hoesli once not altogether wryly referred to it),it was surely a high-water mark in contemporary architecture,an uncompromising,extravagant masterwork that seemed to inaugurate the new postwar era. While simultaneously in the United States the figures of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohealso loomed large(Wright was just completing plans on the research tower for the Johnson Wax complex in Racine,Wisconsin,while Mies van der Rohe would have seen the Fransworth House begin construction),Hoesli’s direct connection with both that historic undertaking in Marseilles and its author may have begun to sugge st a practical role if not a mission to him.If fate had decreed that he was to follow in the footsteps of these giants,then he would make a virtue of necessity.He would study them and their work;he would become the vessel,the bearer of the word of their greatness;he would,if possible,divine the common spiritual basis of their work and then proclaim that message and its significance to futuregenerations,Rece Furer explains, He saw himself as the generation in-between.Helived so to speak on a hill in front of the Alps.Hehad a clear notion of what was grand and great and he saw it as his duty to grasp this great event andto transmit the message.It was messianic,apostolic but in a position once removed—“We are not the makers but we see their greatness…We must look to itfor continuity;to transmit it to future generations.”
Would it have been St.Paul as a contemporary disciple of Jesus of Nazareth or an ex post facto John the Baptist? No matter.Hoesli’s rigorous academic training in science and mathematics,his lively artistic sensibility (and sense of history),combinedwith a stage presence and delivery that today couldhave accorded him his own TV series on the subject of modern architecture,established him as a teacheras much as if not more than as an architect.(Contrary to Bernard Shaw,those that can are frequently able to teach as well;those that can’t,usually can’t teach either.) Well versed in the German Wasmuth and Dutch Wendinger editions of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright but now
*7:Designed with a playground and day care center on the roof,a midblock level containing shops(to bacconist,charcuterie,laundry and dry cleaner, etc.)the Unite was also a prototype mixed-usestructure.Out of fashion with most architectural critics since the early 1960s,the Unite has nevertheless always held a strong appeal for the marseillais.For several years now there has been a waiting list for apartments.

wishing to see that work for himself,Hoesliabruptly left Le Corbusier’s office in 1950,traveling to the United States to satisfy his curiosity,Working for a time in New York and then briefly in Chicago,he began a systematic first hand inspection of Wright’s buildings.Far from the disappointment experienced by Colin Rowe a year or so later,on much the same tour,Hoesli was both stimulated and excited by what he found.After graduation from the ET
H,Hoesli had been greatly impressed by Henrry-Russelll Hicthcock’s Painting Towards Architecture,which set forth a direct relationship between cubism and modern architecture.Such “grand themes”as Hitchcock had proposed continued to preoccupy him as he came face to face with the built work of America’s twentieth-century master.Reflecting on the significance of those early Wright houses in Oak Park,Illinois---their increasingly sophisticated spatial elaboration---together with his own most recent experience with Le Corbusier,Hoesli slowly began to developwhat would become his own grand,unifying theme,an irreducible,comprehensive basis for understanding modern architecture.Many years afterward he would write,when I started teaching at the School of Architecture,University of Texas,Austin,USA,in the fall of 1951,I became progressively dissatisfied with theprevalent and undisputed insistence of the obvious differences among Wright,Le Corbusier and Mies.Critics as well as practicing architects explained the obvious differences to be based on irreconcilable differences of not merely a personal nature but on supposedly fundamentl and irreconcilable differencesof the conceptual bases of the architecture of these three men,More and more I became interested in the question:if not in the contrary there must be a common base of those obvious differences—a common denominator at the base of the work of Wright,Le Corbusier,and Mies,that must be assumed as a prerequisite,necessary not only for distinguishing the perceptibly obvious differences but for understandingtheless apparent but significant conceptual differences in their work*8. Never before a teacher anywhere,but fresh from his first enthusiastic exposure to Wright,Hoesli applied for an opening at the University of Texas in the spring of 1951.Accepted as an instructor in planning and design commencing that fall,he joined the faculty coincident with the arrival of the Harrises.Save for a brief introduction earlier in Californiaduring Hoesli’s circuit of the United States,Harr-is and Hoesli knew one another not at all.Yet,almost at once,Hoesli(along with Martin Kermacy and Hugo-Leipziger-Pierce)became a strong if
*8.Bernhard Hoesli “falling water”a+u,1980.
*9.Hoesli,letter to a colleague [George],September 1953,copy in Hoesli Archives,ETH,Zurich.
*10……planning and character.Suggested problem sypes:Small municipal building,town hall,small courthouse.A large detailed study of a portion of the building is to be rendered with a considerable amount of control to be included in the final of this project.”And finally from the senior year(Arc.736and737):“An Exclusive Shop.Suggested problem types:Leather goods shop,silver shop,cut glass shop,jewelry shop etc.This problem is to be a study in aesthetics,developing the character of a fashionable or exclusive shop etx”Prospectus,1952-53Design Program Committee,Hoesli Archives,ETH,Zurich.

circumspect supporter of Harris within the faculty.Concurrently Ho-esli,who was then unmarried,also began to spend aconsiderable a amount of his free time with the Harr-ises in the evenings.During these informal,social occasions,the conversation naturally enough began to revolve around the difficulties at the school of Architecture and ,very soon after that,the ways and means of introducing a more satisfactory educational program there. In the fall of 1953,Hoesli had been pleased by anew task given him by Harris.To a former colleague in New York he wrote,Contrary to my expectations,I was given no new planning assignments upon my ret-urn last fall,but put in charge of organizing and conducting the introductory course to design…I…havea completely free hand and I really enjoy puttingall ideas into effect at the foundation.As a special assignment I am to work out an integrated work program for all design courses,subject matter and method.Having some ideas,few convictions---I am free to experiment…I am trying to make everything factual,honest,sober,and fun*9.

The first Experimental Year,1953-1954
Already some years before World War II,American architectural education had reached a consensus that the Beaux-Arts system as it had evolved in America was both rigid and unwieldy as a system of education,and that its architectural ideas were moribund Schools dropped out of the system.The inspiration for the new system was the Bauhaus.The arrival of Gropius at Harvard was by no means the beginning of this transformation;it only ratified and accelerated the process.So we were actually anti-Bauhaus, rather than anti-Beaux-Arts.In fact many of the values that we espoused were closer to the best Beaux-Arts traditions,than were those of the Old Guard.We simply could not believe that a badly assimilated,misappropriated bag of tricks,devoid of understanding,borrowed from the Bauhaus,which was itself a flawed enterprise,could constitute a healthy basis for education in our time . Lee Hodgden,letter to the author,September 14,1992
At the time of Hoesli’s arrival in Austin in the early 1950s,the official method of instruction in t-he design studios of the School of Architecture,Un-iversity of Texas,was a curious misalliance of the pale remnants of the American academy and the popular Bauhaus/GSD.A Texas version of the Bauhaus introductory course was,improbably,followed by a succession of problems,non sequiturs really,that in varying degrees of

complexity furnished the opportunity for the development and refinement of rendering skills---the perfecting of drawing technique---while limiting,if not avoiding,exploration into the cause,meaning,and content of architectural space and form.These design problems were type-driven.That is,within the context of the studio,building types,thought to be emblematic,were held to represent the specific qualities of either function or process,circulation,composition(site planning),aesthetics,etc,while also embodying the more spiritual properties of architectural“character.”These might include formality,rusticity,,strength or power,efficiency,and charm*10. The University of Texas studio design mechanism,then,while dispensing candidates for graduation competent if not proficient in drafting,rendering,and the execution of watercolor washes,was considerably less able to train students intellectually in the ability to analyze, to organize,and to invent.In the very formulation of the program,the elements pointed to the expected solution,it only remained for the student to elaborate an appropriate architectural drawing.*11 Three primary assumptions seem to underlie the design studio prospectus of 1952-1953 issued by the Design Program Committee.
1. that the architectural program or problem is essentially the vehicle for the study and mastery of those individual elements of design that,added together,will constitute a complete work of architecture;
2. that “study”in this context refers less to an activity or an investigation(analysis,hypothesis,experimentation,and verification)than to some unspecified regime of “trial and error”and to an unadmitted appropriation of current architectural language—not unlike most studios today;
3. that considerations of internal space,and engineering are of only ancillary importance in architectural design. At the University of Texas in the 1950s,the ske
Letal outline of the academic system was still visible in the emphasis on drafting and presentation techniques,the operation of the closed jury system,and the type-driven projects of the design studios.Significantly,however,with the popularity of modern architecture continuing to rise rapidly,tradition and precedent,had increasingly come to be considered an inadequate basis for making architectural decisions,Therefore,following Harvard’s precedent,the study of history as an integral portion of the design studio was simply cast aside,adecision reflected in the tendency also to separate the architecture of previous periods from so-called modern
*10.Indeed,an examination of the prospectus for the design studios,1952-1953,clearly illustrates the lack of pedagogical content that persisted at every level.A selection of suggested problem types is therefore revealing(emphasis added).From the sophomore year(Arc.410k and 410L):“Small Business Establishment.Three or four elements.Problem types:Bookshop,electrical appliance shop,photograph studio.This problem is the study of the arrangement of elements in planning relative to client and proprietor usage,Also a study in the development of commercial character.”From the junior year (Arc.525,526):“Civil Building.A study in…… ”
*11. For the respectable intellectual origins of such a mechanism,a review of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts studio apparatus would be of interest to some.The adoption of the Ecole system in the United States involved some significant changes in the operation of the French atelier and the American design studio,respectively.Such changers aside,the teaching methods,curriculum,even the vocabulary of the Ecole were replicated insofar as possible. Students were first introduced to freehand drawing,descriptive geometry,and the uses of pencil,charcoal,ink,and watercolor washes. Later,the analytiques architectural studies that exercised both architecture.The prevailing view of contemporary architecture was schismatic:it was held to represent a break with the past.Any sort of critical analysis that might naturally occur in the study of Romanesque,Gothic,Renaissance,or baroque architecture was apparently quite impossible to apply.In short,modern architecture remained beyond criticism (if not castigation in some areas)and therefore beyond a conscious objective examination.Though the “modern style”had come to be admired and employed by an increasing number of students ,its formal content and its antecedents remained largely unexamined. It is here,in its dismissal of historical precedent and the rejection of theory and intellectual course content,that the powerful influence of the expressionist wing of the new Bauhaus/GSD tradition may be appreciated.Lee Hodgden,ina recent letter,recalls quite succinctly the explicit mode of German expressionism that characterized a certain aspect of the Bauhaus:
The trouble with the Bauhaus course[in basic design]was that it had been heavily permeated by Hannes Itten whose teaching theory both John[Shaw]and I deplored*12.The difficulty with an Expressionist exercise was its almost total ambiguity of purpose,since it was stated in such cryptic terms that no student could understand what the point of the exercise was,beyond the fact that it must somehow deal with some ineffable secret of art,known only to the initiated.Criticism was also unclear,amounting to some sort of art Babble,While these [exercises]were fun to do,for those who had some experience and a clear notion of what they want to do, they were very questionable teaching tools for those students who had no clue so as to interpret them*13. To the School of Architectures’ Beaux-Arts foundation, reduced by the 1950’s to a debased nomenclature and a vaporous, insipid impressionist technique in presentation, the expressionist, Bauhaus basic design course simply added another anti-intellectual veneer. As a junior-year critic, Bernhard Hoesli had by 1953 become a increasingly dissatisfied and impatient witness to this state of affairs. In his view, the curiosity and enthusiasm of the young students were progressively dampened until boredom and apathy combined to produce frustration and disillusionment. The students, haplessly and mechanically plodding through his studio courses, sought only a release his sentiments in his diary:
Why are the projects of the 4th and 5th year dull, unimaginative, not even skillful? Is it a tiring process? Why is the seed not compositional and presentation skills,were undertaken.Structures and history courses paralleled and theoretical basis for problem solving there. The esquisse system was the foundation of the design studio.The project began with the parti(parti pris,a commitmen;literally,the side taken)proposed by the student during a period of isolation and formulated as a response to a brief written program of the most general sort. The parti in the form of a sketch would serve as the basis for the further development of the project over the ensuing two to four weeks.The esquisse culminated in the project rendu,an elaborate rendered group of drawings usually including plans,sections,and elevations(but rarely a perspective,and almost certainly never a model). The esquisse system therefore enforced adherence to the parti, obliging the student to work out the inevitable difficulties and con tradictions inherent within any scheme.Thus prohibited from reevaluating initial premises and trying one or another approach,right-brain activity(intuition and inspiration)was ultimately placed in the service of the left (logic and deduction); and often as a result of an germinating? Why is the plant not developing? The last semester should be the most interesting. Maybe, there was no seed planted? Again and again: the 5th year, instead of being the most interesting, the most inspired, is the dullest. The flight of spirit is gone. The students expect a stand, a philosophy from which it is necessary to part;to assimilate and to develop from. You have to teach a method by means of details which equip you with the physical facts of professional activities, but which in themselves develop, become obsolete, which change… The method itself, if successful, must enable you to develop away from what you learned*14. To address this situation would require a new kind of teaching program, one that would
1. Have an idea of architecture.
2. Have an outlook for [its] development.
3. Have an attitude—a philosophy, not a doctrine, not a party line, but a concept—an understanding of situation.
Hoesli, in discussion with colleagues and in his diaries, continued to struggle with this idea: the teaching of design not by type or indoctrination but via a method or process flexible enough to continue to serve the students as they faced new and unfamiliar circumstances. If an alternative program was not fully formed in his mind, in December 1953 he was prepared to articulate a strong criticism of the present teaching system. In an answer to the question” what is wrong with [the] teaching,” he replies:

To answer the question we ask,” What is wrong with most contemporary architecture?”

1. Repetition of forms without understanding. 2. Lack of study, of development.[the innumerable “day sketch buildings”] 3. The lack of large-scale design consciousness. 4. The lack of discrimination, selection, study, refinement. 5. The lack of coherence, consistency. 6. The preoccupation with exterior form and not with cause, meaning, content.

Three months later, in March of 1954, Hoesli concluded that the “main key to improving teaching” is not to become preoccupied with “the subject matter” that one losses sight of “the student, empirical reevaluation or second thoughts,the trick would be to push the acceptable limits of an interpretation of the parti to a point just short of an hors de concours (literally,out of competition). In the sudio,drawing,not speech,was the preferred means of communication between student and critic(one draws his proposition;the other draws his response,etc.)Indeed between student and juror all communication would be reduced to drawing, as one of the objectives of the closed jurying system was to prevent verbal explanations of the project from intruding on the process of deliberation (written explanations were likeswise prohibited).Drawings, since they were thought to be the architect’s primary form of communication,were expected to stand alone and to provide the jury with a full and accurate presentation of the project solution. In support of such a pedagogical system,one could scarcely find a more appropriate spokesman than Geoffrey Scott,author of The Architecture of Humanism,first published at the height of academic influence in 1914. For Scott, it was the fact of the Italian Renaissance and its architectural formulas accomplished his capacity to learn, his possibility to learn, his method,” indeed, “the methods of the human mind to learn” (his emphases). Hoesli insists that the question “How does one learn?” ought to be the primary focus rather than “What is necessary to be learned?” “Once this is clearly realized,” he continues,“ then the way is open for the discovery of new methods and means.”
During that school year, 1953-1954, Hoesli had begun to record the daily activities of the class, the progress of the students, their response to the teaching, the results of their work, and his own reflections and conclusions. Methodically and meticulously, in both English and German, these handwritten, unedited logs were continued until his departure from the drawing ,and examination results ,they provide a thorough record of Hoesli’s progress toward a comprehensive theory of the teaching of architecture and the progress of design.
Hoesli approached first semester of sophomore design in September 1953 with what must have been at least some trepidation, mixed with a lively personal enthusiasm. Had these young sophomore students learned anything at all from their freshman year in introductory design, and could one build upon that first year’s work? The first problem was to be “A Shelter for a Bus Stop.” As the exercise was diagnostic, direction or criticism from Hoesli was minimal. The results after two weeks’ work dismayed him. He wrote,

Even in the first purposely simple problem the typical distribution within all classes becomes apparent, a sampling of good and bad, as well as the usual tendencies toward architectural abominations! Whether ten or more weeks of so called abstract exercise preceded this first problem of design makes no difference. Since there is no direct correlation between such exercise and architectural design,… they can be left out just as well. The initial difficulties are the same—now, or in December or next April. It remains to be seen whether or not this play at “abstract” [design]might not even have a harmful influence.

Obviously at sea, in Hoesli’s opinion, the class as a whole must first establish a new, firmer, basis for approaching architectural design problems. New habits and, importantly, new work attitudes must quickly be adopted. Hoesli tells the class to begin to keep a daily record of their thoughts—a personal notebook that will accompany them throughout the year. “Learn to through a “revival of scholarship, the invention of printing and the discovery of Vitruvius” that formed the foundation for the academic tradition. From this, the academy’s great value was to assert a universal truth, a “canon of forms by which even the uninspired architect could secure at least a measure of distinction.” “in this,” he observes, “its function was not to restrain a too impatient and pictorial energy but to set a standard and convey a method.” Little evidence of any of this rigor remained at the School of Architecture by 1953-1954, however.

analyze one’s own work,” says Hoesli. “Learn to understand how one has arrived at a result. The result is not so important, but rather how the result is established—to see the way.” Hoesli asks his students to cultivate an attitude of openness, objective, and the capacity to listen, to be receptive, to learn, not to prove,[or]to demonstrate what he already knows. Changing, [either]work on drawings or models implies a readiness to abandon, to explore, to try … Long before one picks up the pencil and starts to draw, thinking has to be done preliminarily and that as a consequence, success or failure is already pre-established in the thought process: it is like a hike with new paths constantly crossing; constantly new decisions. Also it’s important to account..for the path to be taken,to understand how the final result was influenced or conditioned.
The Lesson of the Day Instead of plunging into the next architectural problem, Hoesli issued a series of related two- and three- dimensional exercise or “plates.” In a class discussion and analysis during these exercises, Hoesli spoke to the students about the goal of the exercise: the introduction of the concepts of space and composition. “Space is a defined area determined by its limits,” he notes, “Internal space which is in the form and External space, the remaining white area outside the form.” He asks the class to consider that the two are inseparable, bound together by shape and outline. As to composition, Hoesli insists that it is not a result but a activity, in which to compose is to create, to establish order. The characteristics of that order are consistency (unity)hierarchy(dominance-subordination-articulation), and completeness. In these particular exercises order is to be achieved through the employment of a cellular structure, a modular unit, and by an economy of means. Significantly, Hoesli cautions the student against results that are merely decorative or illustrative rather than a specific response to the started requirements or objectives of the exercise. Here, for the first time, the concept of the “lesson of the day”is introduced. In Hoesli’s view, it is important that the students come to appreciate through these early cut and paste exercises that specific actions may produce specific results. For an exercise to achieve its aim, to meet the minimal requirements, two fundamental conditions must be met: the exact number of elements stipulated must be utilized, and the stated goal of the exercise must be achieved (e.g., to “define space” or to “introduce a system of rank or scale”). In these requirements, Hoesli was attempting to inject a large measure of objectivity into the process of composition or design. Thus,
*12.Hannes ltten preceded Josef Albers as the director of the preliminary course. Oskar Schlemmer, one of the early masters of the Bauhaus, described ltten’s approach: “He projects pictures and the students are supposed to draw this or that in them which is essential, mostly the movement, the chief line, curve…Then he shows the weeping Mary Magdalen of the Grünewald altar. The students strive to puzzle something essential out of its great complexity. Ltten sees these attempts and school in 1957. Together with written programs, students thunders “if you had any feeling for art, you would not draw in the presence of this representation of weeping which is so sublime that you could be the weeping of the world, you would just there, dissolved in tears.’ So saying, he slams the door!” (Howard Dearstyne, inside the Bauhaus, ed. David Spaeth [New York : Rizzoli,1986], p.86.)

in this early group of exercise, the establishment of order might come to understood by the students as a rational process, neither mysterious nor arbitrary. Finally , in order to demonstrate the connection between these diagrammatic exercises and architecture , Hoesli followed the studio activity with a slide lecture illustrating modular planning in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, director Harwell Harris, as well as the students from Hoesli’s previous classes. Here Hoesli was able to demonstrate similar systems of order, “consistency, dominance, completeness,” this time in the form of an architectural plan. For the next problem, a “Swiss Poster Exhibition,” Hoesli attempted to establish a correlation between the ordering of space, movement , and the concept of hierarchy introduced in the four previous exercise and their application in a quasi-architectural problem. The program simply proposed that 50 posters of the same size be displayed within Room 105(the large lecture hall of the Architecture building). The aim was to create a sequence of spaces leading the viewer through an exhibit of modular elements. In this problem Hoesli wished to establish in the mind of the student the concept of design as a method, a process. To this end, much attention was directed toward the analytical pre-drawing phase: a report was prepared, relational diagrams were required, and colleague Martin Kermacy talked to the class about basic structural principles in their building construction class, Arc. 217.
Contrary to previously established procedures in the design studio, Hoesli was concerned that, even in this early preliminary project, all elements of design be present for the students at once. In his notes, taken following jurying of the problem, he wrote:
Arrangement, organization of the work: the idea was not separate the abstract treatment of an architectural assignment from its natural connection but rather to incorporate it into method as a phase of the design process…It shows that it is possible to respect all elements of design without intimidating or inhibiting the students through too many requirements. It is even possible in this first exercise in a design course to respect the totality of the design elements in their relation to each other: for instance, functionality, circulation, construction, color, material, felling and meaning. It is also possible to allow the students to work with color without misleading or intimidating them with the mechanics of water colors. It is a simple successful example of a sassignment, restricted in size but
*13. Lee Hodgden , letter to the author, Septembe 1992.
*14. This and following passages are all from Hoesli’s diaries of 1953-1957, in the Hoesli Archives, ETH, rich.

complete in the type and number of architectural elements which demonstrates that there is no rational reason to emphasize a single selected design element neither in a beginning course nor in any other course. It is possible to consider all elements at all times from the beginning on .
The results of the entire class are very encouraging. Particularly obvious are:
A. The surprising variety, particularly of the set-up of the exhibit, of the concepts, and of the construction possibilities for the exhibit walls or stands.
B. The felling of scale: the relevance of the exhibit:even the less successful students have discovered what scale means, have discovered such a concept exists.
C. The enjoyable “realism,” that is, the healthy and natural respect for construction. Except for a few, all models look “possible.” One has the felling the exhibit could be built as it presented. The construct looks realistic. It is encouraging to see how the natural creative faculties begin to stir.

Six weeks into the semester, in a talk with the class, Hoesli reiterated the events of the period: the two- and three- dimensional exercises (space divided, space accented, and space enclosed) and importantly, the elements of the design process as they have so far experienced it. He diagrammed the steps of this processin class(fig.18). Clearly, he was concerned not with the design of the item itself but rather with the creative process, and he was keen to make this explicit to his class: Since it appears that design is a process,… an activity and not an object, one can learn a method of design only—not a design or designs.” “ It is wrong to say a church, a house, a poster is a good design”;rather “it is a good residence, church or poster” because it is the result of a well-designed process. “One can learn the method of designing a residence, not the design of a residence.”

The Primitive Shelter During the previous year, Hoesli had observed with great interest the formulation of a simple but elegant problem that had been devised for the sophomore design studio by colleagues Eugene George and Claude Pendley, “A Primitive Shelter.” He quoted George and Pendley:”The purpose of this problem is to acquaint the student with a form of design procedure which may be applied equally well to a

primitive shelter or to a complete large-scale construction project; i.e., research; assimilation of data; translation of data into from[design]; design evaluation and presentation.”
For Hoesli, who developed his own version of the exercise in the fall of 1953, the appeal of the shelter problem lay in its incorporation of all the elements of a complete architectural project: structure, space, scale, and function. And as the shelter was to be worked up and executed three-dimensionally, solely in model form, the necessity for elaborate, time-consuming drafting was obviated.
The problem, of two weeks’ duration, was given only the most general sort of program:
Assume that you are the sole survivor of a shipwreck and have landed on a uninhabited island with the position: longitude 153°45′west, latitude 16°45′south. Your immediate need is a shelter to protect you from the elements but since it will have to serve an indefinite period of time (until you are rescued) as your habitation, it should satisfy as an agreeable and useful place your psychological and physiological needs. The habitation will necessarily be construct of indigenous materials with the aid of your pocket knife and a axe which you were fortunate enough to salvage from your life boat which was destroyed in landing.

In class, the students experimented with toothpicks and glue, creating simple structures and exploring lateral stability and braking . Hoesli monitored the class’s progress, interrupting at times and periodically calling the class together in ad hoc discussions to amplify general principles as they arose out of the work in the studio. For activities, he attempted to dispel the notion that the shelter must be uncomfortable, clarifying the term primitive and exploring the concepts of luxury in use and economy in means. And, even at this early juncture , he introduced the separation of function between structural supports and spatial definition: “First attempts to point out difference in structural and screening functions; hence structural parts and screening parts.”
In emphasizing that form develops from plan and structure, he wanted the students to understand that form is result, and there is often to be “acceptance of the unexpected in it.” However, all too suddenly it seems, the project was due. Hoesli, somewhat frustrated and disappointed with the results, acknowledged his own failure is not anticipating the difficulties that even such a

simple problem as this posed for the students at this stage in their development.
Barely two weeks’ work. What we have in hand is a first working model. Unfortunately there is no enough time to evaluate it completely. Without evaluation, the entire assignment is almost without value. We need about ten more days; taking advantage of this loosened ground, of the “worked up” material.
My mistake: I have unnecessarily complicated the problem through the complexity of “areas.”
Instantly, all think of bedrooms, living rooms, etc.

The large size of the sophomore class also affected the quality of instruction. Responsible for 14students in his own section. Hoesli lamented:”The classes are too large. Eight students are all that we can handle in three hours. In these first years where the supervision, the stimulation and the criticism are necessary on an almost minute-to-minute basis.” But, even with these difficulties, Hoeli has been able to communicate to his students a fundamental idea: “As to form, do not to ask, ‘how does it look?’, but, ‘what does it do?’ then make the expression of whatever from or parts you have—simple, i.e., direct. Pure.”
The Lectures Hoesli also inaugurated a series of lectures that semester,designed to provide an intellectual basis for the studio work. He had conceived these lectures as far more than the instructional talks that were the staple of the design studios in the past. Periodically and in addition to the ad hoc discussions arising out of the work in studio, Hoesli called the class together in Room 305,the small, stepped-floor lecture hall directly above the library on the third floor of the Architecture building. These formal lectures, accompanied by slides and blackboard diagrams, were organized around specific themes and ideas. For example, in talks to the class on “Form as a Result of the Design Process,” he stressed that form is “not an automatic result” but requires a conscious effort stemming from the application of compositional principles, a designed performance, and the available tools and methods of construction. In this respect, there can be no preestablished or preexisting form. Though this may seem to be a contradiction of the prior injunction not to consider appearance(“do not ask,’ How does it look?’”), Hoesli seemed simply concerned that the students work without preconceptions. There should be “no expectations”, he says, “no shock or fear of the result.” Mostly,

however, the talk dealt with the students’ present situation, the pre-drawing phase of the design process. The activities in this phase, according to Hoesli, are: 1. Unalterable data. 2. Variables, variable factors. 3. Activities and use contemplated. 4. Areas required. 5. Description of these areas: their spatial properties and emotional content. 6. Diagrammatic arrangement of areas---the relational diagram.
One of the last of these lectures was coordinated with the final stage of the semester’s final project; and Hoesli’s lecture, “The Architecyural Drawing,” attempted to shed light on the nature and meaning of this very visible aspect of the design process. Earlier in the semester, Hoesli had proposed “the dual nature of all architectural drawings: a symbol for a ‘slice of reality’and an abstract figure.” He elaborated now: “Any architectural drawing is a two-dimensional presentation of a three-dimensional reality, but a representation of reality. Relatively new, since the Renaissance, it is a piece of information, for the client, builder, or the craftsman.” Far from the end in itself, for Hoesli drawing should be a means to an end: succinct and direct, designed to accurately portray space, form, structure, and detail. In diagram and illustration, Hoesli explained the purpose of the plan, the section, and the elevation. “ There are two kinds of drawing, section a vertical cut. Elevations and pictorials are considered to be projections. The plan is a diagram used to define or to control areas and the sequence of areas, the flow of circulation (fig.21). Thus, in rendering their plans, the students should “try to see which parts are structurally needed and which are for screening only.” In this way a clear statement of the “structural idea” can be made graphically (fig.22). The section is a diagram used to control height (fig.23). In this way, says Hoesli , “we create volume,” for it is “plans and sections together which create space.” Elevations are “ a result” of both plan and section (fig.24). For Hoesli, it is clear that “it is in section that architecture is created!”
The Hunting Cabin: The Design Process Takes Shape Assaying new terrain, sometimes prodding the class, sometimes retracing steps, Hoesli shepherded his young students as he himself explored a way of rationalizing the creative process of design. The last problem of the semester, “ A Hunting Cabin,”

provided the latest indication of how far this understanding had permeated the class. The program, by far the most detailed to date as to function, siting , and spatial development, is noteworthy in two respects. Drawing from what he perceived to be the mistake of the primitive shelter problem, Hoesli explicitly stipulates that the students are to “create the feeling of one space rather than a combination of several rooms.” Secondly, no elaborate final drawings are required, simply the accurate record of the development of the design of the cabin. The program is shown in figure 25. One illustration of Hoesli’s faithful recording of the work of the class, a diary entry from December 7 , 1953, details a particularly crucial aspect of the work process: the early transition from the pre-drawing analytical phase to the actual drawing phase. One week into the problem, the diagrams of the relationship of areas having been completed, the task of converting these diagrams into space and form is at hand. For the first hour of class the students work individually in the studio, as Hoesli introduces the Mehrdeutige way of sketching. (Mehrdeutige in this context is meant to convey the notion of ambiguity, “ the possibility of multiple interpretations.”) He writes,

Continuation of the work on transition from diagram to plan. First, “insert” the diagram in the site plan with immediate consideration of view, breeze, trees, topography, relative dimensions. Thus in spite of being diagrammatical it is more than a simple diagram. Loose sketches—no definite forms—no “congealing” yet. Sketches are to be such that the active imagination can possibly “see something into it; highlight” or “detach” one or another of the “loose forms.”

At the beginning of the second hour, Hoesli called the class together to evaluate their process, to critique individual work, and to encourage promising approaches. Contrasting “a dead, sterile drawing and a live drawing,” he sought to draw a distinction between drawing that serves as an indication of thought processes and drawing that is frozen by preconception and convention: “ Display and discussion of students’ drawings. Definite criticism or praise of the aforementioned details. Explain the purpose of these early cautious drawings.” Finally, in order to provide a measure of their progress in developing these early thinking drawings, Hoesli conclude this

review session with some slides of plan sketches by Frank Lloyd Wright. For the third hour, the students returned “back to the lab. To color the areas immediately---same color=same area. Then, project an area diagram into a finished plan---set it in---which is contrary to the next phase---to develop a plan around an area or an area diagram.” For one such example of the day’s work, student J.Lorenz is particularly noteworthy (fig.26).

The Design Notebook and Its Impact on the Design Process All during the year, the students were to have kept a record of their activities, lectures notes, and ideas. In a first review of these note- books in mid-December,Hoesli found that,lacking organization,the notebooks were “too meager,…incomplete.”He therefore suggested that the notebooks be indexed and organized under the headings:

A. Concerning the design process, 1. Design process. 2. Principles of composition. 3. Scale. 4. Form in architectural design. 5. Concerning scale. 6. Concerning architectural drawing. B. Concerning the nature and use of materials. C. Concerning construction. D. Problems,reports,assignments,reviews,etc.
Nevertheless,by the end of the first semester Hoesli could record that“a‘scrapbook’of the entire process,is excellent,process consciousness seems almost inevitable.”The design notebook,organizee though unedited,provided the individual students with a record of their thinking and a record of their discovery of the phases of the process of design.At the beginning of the spring semester,Hoesli,confident that the class was now fully prepared to analyzedthese phases and to recogniaze and account for their individual actions,called for a written report,a description in their own words of their understanding of the design process.As a first step,he suggested that the class return once more to their design portfolios and notes to ask themselves,”how did I do it?What first;then what,and what next?”
A portion of one such report,prepared by student A.Tung,demonstrates the value of such process consciousness and its vital relationship to the creation of

architecture(fig.27).Observably,in this exegesis of the emergence of the plan,student Tung has begun the cultivation of that inner guide so essential in the creative process.Seen in this respect,the dynamic of the design process is essentially a self-actuating one.For Hoesli,the sequence is a continuum:“Work,”then “an outline derived from [the work].”“Work again,”according to principles revealed and understood. Then “analysis”and a “deepening of understanding,”then a refinement or a “detailing or the original outline.Thus,the formulation of principles must come after the work;so that the inevitable misinterpretations of the words of the teacher and possible other influences will never quite delete the first personal experience.”
Here at last Hoesli seems to be cautioning against the temptation to substitute doctrine or formula for experience and reflection.Direct personal experience with all phases of the process---programming,diagramming,composition,etc.----must always precede the construction of any general principles or theories.Thus,the student should resist the flight to either an authoritative set of principles or the latest periodical when confronted with a new problem to be solved,relying instead upon direct experience and understanding gained through a growing familiarity with the design process. In early to mid-January 1954,as the class was working en chharrette*15 and as the deadline and the end of the semester neared,Hoesli,pleased with the progress of class,noted:”Today things seem to crystallize.After the lecture,a basic framing plan was worked out.Yellow joists,red beams,black supports….the logic of elements….Last adjustments.Sections,elevations congeal.”Happily,it all seemed to be “rather effort less”: “We work with concentration.The deadline is near.The facades are simple and ‘clear.’The floor plants show space.It is a pleasure to see.About 25% of the class works late,to 10 PM.Good atmosphere in the room—all have that first fever.”And he delivered a final charge: 1. No last minute changes. 2. Before drawing:everything should be decided;everything thought out and know.Then you are free to draw,to concentrate,relaxed. 3. Prepare a timetable in order to prevent panic.Budget your time,set up a work schedule. As the projects were received for grading,Hoesli,with some satisfaction,felt that it was an “excellent problem.Simple and at the same time rich enough to keep imagination and *15.The charrette or cart that was trundled through the streets and alleys of Paris surrounding the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to collect the work of the students there would often find those unprepared accompanying the charrette with pen and ink in hand,making after-the-last-minute emendations to their drawings.A charrette has therefore come to describe the period of feverish preparation of final drawings just before the deadline.

capacity busy….So,it was demonstrated that a problem can be so selected and so conducted that it is easy enough to be handled but complete as to all parts of architectural life.” At the end of the fist semester’s experiment in the reform of the curriculum,and based upon all indications and signs,Hoesli concluded that a goal had been reached;the students had “knowl-edge,[an] exact,personal concept,gained by experience and tested by a design problem and written exam of the design process.”

The Presentation Drawing Phase Prior to 1953—1954,a heavy emphasis was places on drawing technique at the school. “Atmospheric”renderings,lurid watercolor washes,and impressionistic vignettes were the order of the day.To Hoesli’s eye they were emblematic of a lack of logic and discipline.Due to the absence of a teachable process of design and a low level of spatial awareness,it seemed to him that a flagrant,arbitrary willfulness had come to inhabit the design studio.Thus he was convinced that a reevaluation of the nature and purpose of the presentation drawing was also necessary.In a lecture given that spring of 1954 on “The Relation of Architecture to Rendering,”Hoesli demonstrated with slides that “the’style’of a drawing is not an arbitrary choice”but flows from the vision of the architect or his personal “Architectural expression.”He compared the drawings and architecture of Wright,Le Corbusier,Neutra,and Leonardo da Vinci.Alluding to the relationship between “architecture and the environment or architecture and nature,”Hoesli declared that architecture can be neither merely an extension of nature nor solely independent of her influence.Although nature and architecture mutually influence each other,this does not indicate that one has to submit to the other.The architectural object cannot look “natural.”it is man made.It is an organism in its own right.It lives in contrast to Nature.Together—Nature and Building—should create a third,a new,unified effect….We must attempt to create anew!The red roof overhang and the green foliage,the blue of the sky,the clouds—all together one. In fact,this lecture was designed to illuminate the work of the studio at that moment,the latest exercise devised by him.Continuing with the material available at the commencement of the semester,the “final”drawings of the hunting cabin problem,Hoesli sought to distinguish the process of design from the mechanics of presentation drawing.The purpose of the exercise was simply to isolate difficulties and

allow the student to concentrate on one thing at a time.The goals of the exercise were “to provide an objective control of the quality of the students’pencil work;to improve technique immediately;and”(forthrightly and pragmatically speaking) “to provide the student with some reference material which will help him to get an office job during a vacation.”
With the presentation drawings of the hunting cabin in hand,Hoesli had the students,in groups of three,check was completed,a new portfolio of drawings was to be created.Hoesli called for an emphasis upon the development of the plan. “The principle of subordination applies,”he stated; “the plan as the main thing must be dominant.”Building cross sections and elevations shortly followed,Hoesli discussing ways in which to improve the “readability”of the drawings. Depth was to be indicated by varying the degree of the pencil or pen line, with a heavy profile serving to indicate those objects close to the picture plane and lighter lines those elements further away.Cut or section lines,similarly to floor plans,were to be poched or blackened in.
The Isometric Drawing and a Stock-Taking Although Hoesli had come to view the ubiquitious use of the perspective drawing at Texas as a means of disguise,he was quite well aware of the usefulness,if not power,of the three-dimensional drawing to depict architectural form and space. Thus it was that he introduced his students to the intellectual equivalent and alternative to the perspective drawing-the isometric. A vertical projection of the plan, rotated on 30- to 60-degree plane, this had the effect of a revelation to Hoesli’s young sophomore students. Unprepared at this early stage in their development to attempt perspective drawing, they found that these geometric abstractions, composed with no more than a T-square and triangle, provided a convenient, readily understandable illustration of their projects. As Hoesli noted with pleasure,
Die Isometric, vor allem die Untersuch erweist sich als genialer Einfall. It is very inspiring to see how much the most inexperienced student can achieve with that simple tool. At a time when practically all of them have no idea of perspective drawing, the isometric provides a perfectly adequate, simple means to visualize their design object. It is both a pictorial illustration and a means of study at the same time. Instead of frustrating them at an extremely impressionable moment, in forcing them to use perspective, they can develop an exciting presentation in a perfectly natural way.

As notable examples and to challenge the students, isometric drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier were shown. In contrast to the capacity of the perspective to alter reality, the primary effect of these isometric drawings would always be “accuracy and precision in visualization,” Hoesli added. The structural basis for a final presentation having now been established, the students began their final renderings in colored pencil. Hoesli noted,
Important instruction:
Start working with color from a central point, and develop it with all the colors present, at once, as a whole. Then start radiating from that beginning, the center becoming more and more intense and nearing completion as a larger and larger area is being worked at. Thus the drawing as a whole develops with all elements simultaneously growing. The process is growth and not an addition, a “filling in” of color nor a “coloring” of a drawing. Similarly, the original drawing must be developed and completed as a whole. If this procedure is followed, then the student will “avoid the schism [between] sketch and rendering” and the following will result: 1. From the start the student will learn to see that drawing is a whole, indivisible, and continuous process. He will not get entrenched in the “rendering frustration” which is inevitably the result of first carefully sketching, then reproducing a “good” drawing on an immaculate sheet of paper and then proceeding to “render” it. 2. Drawing will become a natural and unconscious way of expression, an activity like breathing or walking, reading or talking. 3. Furthermore this will implant in the student the only reasonable approach possible today in a practicing office. There is no time to ”redraw,” to make a “neat drawing.” Any drawing off the drawing board must be presentable at any time. At all time it must be a whole, regardless of its stage of completion, regardless of whether it is a sketch barely laid out or an elaborate drawing of many hours. As work progressed, the students began to lay watercolor washes on the bird’s-eye isometric drawing. He noted, “There are three planes: the tree tops, the roofs, the ground. The

purpose of the wash is to define these planes, to indicate them more clearly, to make clear their special condition. The purpose of the wash is not to add color, nor to make it more ‘realistic,’ not to make it life-like.” Rather, the application of the wash was meant to emphasize the abstract quality of the drawing, giving specificity to the three horizontal planes, distinguishing them, and strengthening the volumetric and analytical aspect of the isometric. By the end of February, the final phase of design process was completed. “All in good spirits,” Hoesli observed. Later that day, he summarized the results of the exercise:
1. The immediate purpose was to introduce every student to the current techniques of graphic work; to give the student a chance to try at least once every possible medium and technique, so that he may discover what suits him personally. He should be encouraged to make the most out of what he has: to develop his own strength.
2. Not having to worry about the design proper, by using the drawings of the last problem, the student can now feel free to concentrate on drafting skill, details of construction, scale, presentation, etc.
3. At the time when everything the student does is new, the separation of design and presentation is essential. With these Presentation Exercises,… the cycle of the design process is completed: namely,
1. A first problem, the poster Exhibit, was accomplished with close guidance; day-by-day instruction. 2. Afterwards, then an analysis of the activity reveals itself as a process. A generalization is attempted, the nature of the process is discovered and fixed: a development from ideal to visual form. 3. This process has phases. First, emphasis on programming; then on design; last on presentation.

A Ceramics Workshop: Too Much, Too Soon Clearly, that fist year could be characterized as a larger experiment comprised of a number of smaller individual experiments. To this point it may have seemed that Hoesli had avoided any degree of failure, either in his choice of exercises or in his capacity to improvise, in negotiating his way around potential

difficulties. While this is true in general, the experience of the “Ceramics Workshop” problem served to remind him that he was capable of overestimating his student’ ability to adapt and respond to new circumstances in some crucial ways. In the first place, the problem was quite unlike anything the students had heretofore encountered (fig.28). The program in and of itself was probably not overly demanding, but the spatial situation was quite sophisticated. An actual property, the New Orleans Bar, a short distance away between the campus and the state capitol building, was proposed to serve as combined studio, shop, and offices for a potter. While an adaptive reuse project such as this must surely be fixture in most design studios around the country today, in 1954,during the ascendance of modern architecture, such a proposition would have been undeniably extraordinary. Following a visit with Burton Wilson, a local potter, and a tour of the property, the students undertook measured drawings of the buildings. Hoesli wrote, “The entire class period of three hours was devoted to a thorough inspection of the New Orleans Bar at Red River Street. Exquisite spaces and space relationships, drawing.” Discussing these drawing with the class, Hoesli clarified their meaning and purpose: “Everything in architecture is Dimension. The very ‘material’ of design is space; the material the architecture works with. Space is determined by dimensions.” The surfaces of materials and their tactile effect are only incidental, Hoesli believed: “One can choose materials, but what one can do with them is really rather limited.” “In the realm of space---in the realm of dimension,” however, there are “unlimited possibilities---here the architect is free.” It seemed “particularly true that in 1954 there are no more material limitations to structure---anything has become possible.” However, by the following week, as the students lingered over the drawings, it was clear to Hoesli that the class was intimidated, if not overwhelmed. How, where to begin? As Hoesli spoke briefly on “the pre-drawing phase of Design,” or, “How to overcome the emptiness of the white sheet,” he diagrammed the pre-drawing phase (fig.29) and attempted to spark the students’ effects: 1. The purpose of that first phase of “design” is to start thinking, then to get the thinking organized. 2. Clarity of thinking precedes clarity of solution … decisions which determine

the success or failure of a design long before one starts to draw. 3.Then, a gradual, “indirect” approach; a process of natural transition from words to visual form.
To no avail, however, and as Hoesli made the rounds, discussing the relational diagrams with individual students, the class, for the most part fixated on the existing spaces of the bar, was as yet unable to distinguish between the symbolic nature of a relational diagram and diagrammatic layout or a plan. It seemed as though the relational diagram, “a picture recording an organization of elements which has developed in the mind of the designer,” had come to obscure the “endeavored goal---the activity of creating order.” Suddenly, an inspiration.

I had an idea. I suggested to several students that they make three-dimensional relational diagrams [fig.30]. The results were astonishing.
1. Not only was the common misunderstanding avoided,
2. But it is easily shown that different diagrams could be arranged for the same set of requirements by the same student-depending on the “pattern or organization” he decided to use; depending on what elements or factor he chose to make the nucleus of his pattern-creating process of making order. From here it becomes quite apparent to the student that not only different solutions to one design problem are possible, but also that these different solutions are determined by a shift of emphasis, by selecting a different “motif,” by viewing the set of circumstances from a different angle, by considering different aspects with differing importance.
3. Already the individuality of the student is manifested.
4. And all this at the “pre-drawing” phase of work on an architectural design problem.. Experience like this will give student an entirely approach design.”

This hope was not yet to be fully realized. With the relational diagrams behind them, as the class turned its attention to the next phase of the design process (the synthesis of program and spatial environs), once again the students seemed bewildered. As the anticipated breakthrough into “architecture” seemed to recede before them, the students also seemed increasingly unwilling to explore new approaches. On March 18, Hoesli wrote with some frustration, “It is still a veritable fight to get most of the students to make several sketches. It

seems that the cursed attitude of ‘get the work done’-which usually means ‘Let’s get it over with’- is deep rooted and extremely resistant to change.” Thus it was that a somewhat discouraged and perplexed Hoesli and his students attended a slide lecture that evening delivered by his newest colleague on the faculty, Colin Rowe. This inaugural lecture by Rowe enunciated a view of contemporary architecture that had been proposed as the basis of the new teaching program. Barely outlined in that extraordinary memorandum from Hoesli and Rowe to director Harris,written only five days earlier on March 13,1954,its ultimate intellectual impact upon the subsequent direction of the school is probably incalculable.It seems also to have been delivered at an opportune moment for Hoesli’s own students.

In this lecture,Rowe proposed a history-the “Main Generative Concepts”---of contemporary architecture.In a transition from what Rowe called”fluid”to “generative”space,the relationship between the work of Wright, the De Stijl movement, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe was set forth. In classic Wolfflinian fashion ,Wright’s explosion of the box throught the transparent extension and interpenetration of space (exemplified in the Oak park houses of 1985-1910)was set alongside the paintings of van Doesburg and Mondrian and the sculpture of Vantongerloo. In this way a segue from Wright through De stijl to both Mies and Le Corbusier was able to be effected, since a discussion of spatial composition and the organization of space in De Stijl painting led in two directions: toward the painting of Le Corbusier and thence to the Maison Domino and its separation of functions, and also to Mies’s brick country house of 1923.from there it was a short step to a “radical dissection” of Mies’s recent works-the dissolution of the plan into its constituent elements of wall ,columns,and partitions-whereby Wright’s “fluid space”(the explosion of the box) had now become Mies’s “generative” or “continuous” space. It was a masterful presentation (principally direceted of course to the Harrises) and one that, while guaranteeing a Wrightian pedigree for Mies, also managed to open a side door for Le Corbusier. It subsequently proved to be an opening through which Rommel might possibly have driven his Afrika Corps. Apart from its strategic implications, however, the tactical effect of this veritable barrage of ideas and images seems to have contributed to a loosening up of Hoesli’s class,removing

a sort of logjam. The following day, everyone seemed to move into high gear. Hoesli wrote,“Third afternoon. Ideas begin to settle out. Only very few students are lost in their approach or frustrated in their sketching manners. Again I am surprised to see how fast and almost without effort ‘form’ is given birth.” Upon reviewing the sketches Hoesli spoke to the class,attempting to encourage an expansion of the search for a design scheme.“Find as many possibilities as you can,expand the scope of the problem rather than limit it , widen the range of your attention.Design may be seen as two inverse procedures---to produce schemes,to select and then discard.”In his diary he noted.
1. Never immediately accept what seems to be the obvious limitations of a problem.
2. Always try to get into a position in which you can choose.Create that situation.
3. Again,stress the development of many different sketches,possible solutions,and variations from which to choose. Clearly,the experience had demonstrated the futility of attempting to proceed too rapidly with the class. As the students prepared the final drawings,Hoesli had some very clear reservations.Perhaps the problem had been too complex,too advanced for this stage of the students’development ?In a diary entry he reflected,“The space requirements of the problem were really too difficult.The experience from the Hunting Cabin renewed:simple spaces serve the same purpose and do not unnecessarily burden the student.”Yet, a week later, as he surveyed the finished product,Hoesli was somewhat more sanguine:“Final work. It seems that all preparatory work will bear fruit. The quality of work improves considerably. Drawing become firmer. Design is more assured. The media are used more consciously.” Nonetheless,it is noteworthy to observe that, as in the case of the “Bus Shelter”problem, nowhere in Hoesli’s extensive archives can one find any results of this problem, a sure sign that as an example of the fruit of the process of design he was less than pleased with the outcome.
The Design Examination At the end of the semester.Hoesli prepared an examination based on material covered in his lectures as well as the activities of the design studio.The examination consisted of twelve questions to be answered in essay form. Representative and selected answers to the design examination may be found in the appendix,but a few examples

will provide a sense of the calss’s grasp of the intellectual basis of the design process.

Question Why does it make sense to understand architectural design as an activity?

Answer It is seen that all the words appositive to architectural design are words of action. Transition from one thing to another, composition, process are words of action, procedure; they imply activity and movement. Architectural design is a movement, not an inanimate thing. An activity. Thus as an activity, a thing that is done, not the product of doing ,we can begin to study and understand this activity; we see that there is the product of an activity that was carried out well. This gives freedom; this gives understanding.(Also much more fun.)(Unknown student)

Answer Activity means development and this is brought about by a continuous creation of order.(J.Lorez)

Question Why is it necessary and impotant to seek several possible solutions for every design problem?

Answer Designing is a series of decisions. The importance of seeking several possible solutions for each individual problem within the whole problem is that by choosing from several possible solutions to each problem, the designer gains confidence.(R.G.Studer)

Answer It is always important and necessary to seek many solutions to a problem. For practical reasons: because there are many solutions to every problem. One way may be better than another, two may be combined to produce a better one. Other reasons, just as important, if not more so are: to keep yourself in a position to choose. Never feel as though you are being forced to choose anything. If you are, it indicates a weakness in your design.---If you present to your client three or four possible solutions to his problem he will think,” Here is a man who has really worked on my problem.” To guide the client into choosing the correct solution so that he thinks he is the designer; this please him very much, and a pleased client is good business. The assurance and confidence you get by knowing you have chosen the best of many solutions will be self-gratifying to

you also.(J.Scoggins)

Question List and describe the four major steps of the ‘drawing’ phase of design.

Answer 1.Place your relational diagram on the site making any immediate changes that seem necessary because of the site.
2.Study your site through every means at your disposal and try to turn disadvantages into advantages. Make your design become a part of the site. Careful freehand sketches, isometrics, photographs and sections all help you learn your site and its possibilities.
3.Loose sketching to scale helps stimulate your imagination. Mechanical drawing tends to slow your thinking. You should try to make as many useful sketches as possible including sections perspectives, isometrics and plans and have each set follow a scheme.
4.Have as many schemes and arrangements as possible. This puts you in a selective mood and gives you confidence. Too few drawings tend to apply pressure on you and tend to tie down your imagination. (F.C. Herber , Jr.)*16

Hoesli was quite pleased with the class’s performance.

Astonishingly satisfactory results. Of course one has to take into account that a certain percentage is just memorized. But the formulations of most answers are so personal that there remains no doubt that the students have assimilated the information, that they have made it their own, and so were capable to give answers in their own words. I am amazed to realize for the first time the success of a method. It seems that a thoroughly sound and solid foundation has been created. We were able to give information without stifling, to train without creating limitations. The student has learned and at the same time the horizon has widened. Near the end of the spring semester.Hoesli delivered a lecture, his last of the semester, in which he surveyed the past year. In his diary he noted,“Such a survey is very important. It gives the teacher a chance to round out and complete his material. It provides him the opportunity to work out the overall aspects of the entire body of knowledge he has dealt with. He can tie it together,put it into proper relationship with other knowledge and provide an outlook, stimulating the appetite for the coming courses.” In a final diary entry,he summarized the important
*16.Material from the Hoesli Archives,ETH,Zurich.The following comments are again from Hoesli’s diaries.

discoveries and listed the teaching methods used in the conduct of the sophomore design studio:

GOAL FOR SOPHOMORE YEAR:
1. To realize that architectural design is a process.
2. To know what the typical phases of this process are.
3. De-emphasize the architectural results as such;emphasize the phases of work,not the result. For the first time I have the impression that,with a program as followed this year,an instructor can really evaluate a students’ progress.
The method used was:
1. Do not combine difficulties,but separate them and handle them separately:design and drawing.
2.Have no “final presentation”but a record of the students’work, his portfolio of all sketches.This gives an insight into his way of work.
3. Have lectures on all important aspects; lecures not merely instructions.Work out the abstract content in these lectures.Formulate in generalities after having introduced and often practiced in specific terms.
4. Give written exams in which the students must express himself relating detailed knowledge to general aspects.

“It is encouraging,”he notes,” to realize at the end of a year that this method, which was developed while working, provides a means to provoke and, at the same time, observe mental growth.” On September 29,1954,in a talk with his new colleagues who were to teach the freshman and sophomore design courses that fall,Hoesli spoke of a new approach toward teaching during the early, formative years of the student. In this presentation he questioned the prevailing reaching methods and clearly described his own sense of ,or wish for,a new an more creative approach.He began, I believe the education of the architect should follow the inductive method, that is to say,the basic concepts and principles should result from experiment an first-hand experience [derived]from work and projects. ”Theory”should be specific,that is,it is always to be added as a supplement or as a generalization from or of a personal expience,if the design work gives rise to it ; be it in the form of questions that come to the student, or be it in the necessity to master further material of thought. Secondly, lectures on the theory of architecture are to

be avoided in the first semester of design work for, without encountering resonance it can not remain grafted to the student’s mind. Instead he is first to obtain a personal experience, only then can he understand the generalized elaborations and honor them and enjoy them. However.”the integration of history and construction theory would be important and necessary additions to the lecture.”These lectures could,of course,”become increasingly complex,general,cerebral with the age and experience of the student.” Hoesli questioned “the peculiar idea that…lectures are only to be given for direction.” He deplored the structure of the design courses;the assignment of endless problem types; “constantly varying projects which never allow the student to repeat something,to improve upon it,to practice…to learn.”“To learn from mistakes.”said Hoesli,“is the essence of the structure of the design process . Instead,the student is chased through never varying situations clothed in different guises.”And he disputed,

the terndency in lectures,textbooks,texts,etc,to deduce today’s situation from the past. It is understandable.Le Corbusier,Giedion,Richards all developed the present from the past. In itself this seems not only obvious but logical,rational and…quite necessary.And it is also unavoidable.However,through the specific,only relatively valid concepts will be created,that is,a certain landscape of concepts is created where first one must learn from the mistakes and the manifestations of the past in order to understand respectively the present and its manifestation.As long as this is in relation to a generation which was connected through its own experience with the immediate past which is used as matrix, no objections could be uttered,for it was mainly becoming conscious of the known…But with today’s students for whom Gropius and Le Corbusier are already past and surpassed, this process becomes more and more tedious and questionable. Instead it must be possible to develop the principles important to the present through the thing in itself.” Finally,Hoesli stressed that the relationship between teacher and student is one of interdependence,requiring of the teacher as much as of the student.A great mistake is committed when “we only’demand’from the student without giving;when the function of the critique is understood as only extracting,not as giving,as caring.” ”We forget,” says Hoesli, “ that we have to

put something in the student before we can ask something of him.” These concise remarks and the results of Hoesli’s first-year experiment were to become the foundation upon which the new program was erected. It all seems as plausible an approach toward the teaching of architecture today as when it was first introduced in Austin forty years ago.

Prologue The past eight months had seen a prototype of the new teaching introduced by Bernhard Hoesli at the school of Architecture. Experimental,methodical,and selective,as an alternative it lies somewhere between the two current teaching doctrines. In its reliance on method and the employment of example, it would resemble the academy. In its insistence on investigation, experimentation, and personal choice and expression, it drew substantially from the philosophy of the Bauhaus/GSD. Chapters3 and 4 trace the development of the new curriculum. However,the unique vision of architectural space that infused this methodology is as yet somewhat obscured by Hoesli’s preoccupation with the invention of the design process itself. The novel assertion of the primacy of space,of that which is simultaneously contained and defined within and without the envelope of building, proceeds from the belief in a fundamental, all-encompassing, even spiritual conception of architecture. Invisible yet palpable, transcending style,culture,and time,it was a conception that would be rapidly advanced by Harris’s new faculty in the coming year. The investment of a logical system---Hoesli’s process of design-with a truly powerful idea—the vision of an architecture of space—utterly transformed the course of the school over the next five years and, when that program was abruptly terminated, continued to supply sufficient interest and material to influence the course of architectural education in both the United States and Europe over the following thirty-five years. It is certain that the evolution of that program depended on the contributions of many, both faculty and students. However,through writing, teaching, and by virtue of a daunting intellect, no one could have been more influential, more indispensable to the intellectual underpinnings of that program than Hoesli’s own colleague and alter ego, Colin Rowe. It is therefore to that interesting, inscrutable young man improbably drawn to A ustin,Texas, in the mid-1950s that we are obliged to turn next.

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