Functionality? in Luzern 機能性?ルサーンより


This building at Luzern is a complex made up of of an auditorium, art museum and… designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. It is located right on the shore of the lake …which is the center of the city and the most prestigious location. Unfortunately there was a conference going on and we could not go inside. The auditorium acoustics were designed by an acoustic engineering firm which we used to share an office with in NY. We should have brought their recommendation but, too late. We had lunch at one of several restaurants in the complex. It has a nice view but looked like self serve and inexpensive, though when we looked at the price I was unsure if we could choose a dish. It seems they give a tour, but you need a reservation and more fancier than we thought. It includes architectural guide, dinner at the restaurant and watching performance at the hall.

コモからの日帰りでスイスのルサーン(ルツェルン)に来た。目当てはフランスの建築家ジャンヌベールがデザインした建物。コンサートホール、美術館、その他レストランなどといっしょになった大複合施設。ルサーンはスイスのこじんまりとした, しかし主要な都市のひとつ。ヨーロッパで最も有名な音楽祭の一つが毎年ここで開かれ、世界中から人々が集まる。建物は湖の岸の上、町の中心の最もプレステージの高い場所にに建っている。あいにく、コンファレンスをやっていて中は見られず。ホールの音響設計はかつて、いっしょに仕事をしたりしていた事務所がをやったので、彼らの紹介状を持ってくれば入れたかもと、悔やんでみても後の祭り。レストランには入れるから、そこで中を観たこということにしよう!と言うことで、レストランで食事をした。いくつもレストランが中にあったけれど、ここはセルフサービスだから、安そうだし、それいて、ちょっと高級に見えた。広場に面して湖の眺望がある。レジの前まで来たときには、外国人にはつらいスイスの物価水準を再確認。建物のツアーもあるけれど、予約が必要らしいし、建築を見せるだけでなく, デザインの説明、レストランでの食事、コンサート鑑賞がパッケージになった文化・エンターテイメントの一大ツアーだから、それこそ費用が掛かる。 20140318_152619

The building is very interesting. We know this design through many publications but it is so different to experience it in reality. The humongous roof really floats above your head without supporting columns. You understand it through the images but never get the full experience from them. It creates a huge overhang that works as a shelter. The canopy is even extended over the water. The space is so open yet still gives a sense of protection. Shelter may not be a good word because there is no enclosure to protect you, it is just a roof. This crazy roof is also working as a marquee for the concert hall and the gesture is the focal point of the city, announcing “this is it”. The design is functioning as the cultural center of the city. Is the purpose of this design for aesthetics or function? Probably this question no longer sounds appropriate.


We have been thinking that the talk about “functionality” is obsolete. We hear criticism that a building has poor functionality and we actually use that word but I doubt it is one of most major goals for architects nowadays. I mean we no longer think there is a dichotomy between “function” and “beauty”. I recall someone said ”I want to build something very functional first and then make it humbly beautiful”. Is that really possible? Some beautiful surface can be added and cover up something functional? Dichotomy is a good way to analyze something by making clear your idea, lighting up something undivided in your brain, but it is also a trap, your thought is restricted to one way and cannot be detached from that way of thinking.


Think about a pencil. Where did that form came from? The Hexagonal section fits your hand very well and the length is not too long or too heavy. Is this produced just by aiming at functionality? The first designer I guess picked this form from among an infinite number of possibilities. The simple form has a complete beauty. Can this form be generated by aiming at just function? I do not think it is possible. Even if you try, you cannot avoid your esthetic sense. I think giving a form to an abstract function requires your sense of beauty because the function itself cannot take any form. In other words you can build something functional but it does not determine the form. You still have thousands of choices. Only bad design and good design exist. Human products cannot be detached from beauty. After all only beautifully functional or ugly functional objects exist. If you are trapped by the obsession of dichotomy between functionality and beauty, you often hear the excuse; “Forget the beauty (that is additional stuff) we do not have the money for it“.


nice and Interesting housing. very near to our target building. This area does not look like the center of the town  面白そうな集合住宅。ホールのすぐ近く、町の中心のようには見えない。

While visiting at Luzern we thought about another thing. Who requires music to be functional? Music does function (lullabies, war chants, marches, even opera?) Music is for fun but instead architecture is not for fun, it is to support the musical performance. Architecture cannot appear to be fun as its direct priority, only after satisfying the support of the music, function first then fun as an addition. Is that fair? If so why does architecture have to be functional first? Why can’t architecture pursue the same goal music pursues, which is not ONLY function.


Are our ideas above just architects’ jargon? Maybe. Anyway since did not see the inside of the building we walked around the area. Actually we needed to see the hosting city around our target building to understand it. Knowing we were going back to Como soon, it was a brief check. This is a mixed use housing and shop complex, one of the buildings which attracted our attention. It is located in the center of the city but does not look so. In the end what we were impressed with is how this hall functions for the city it is located in.

ここで考えてみたことは建築家のたわごとに聞こえるかもしれない。そうかもしれない。 ともあれ、目的の建物の中に入れないので、この周辺をブラブラ歩くことにした。これらの写真の建物や町の様子はひどく興味が引かれた。大都市の中心なのに、日本のような商店やビジネスだけに偏ったようには見えない。人々が市井の生活を楽しんでいる様子がみえる。建物を擁している町を理解しないで、その建物単体をうんぬんするのは意味が無いように思えた。結局、最も印象づけられたことは、このジャンヌーベルの建物がこの町に対して素晴らしく機能しているということだった。だからここでも、彼の建築の写真はほとん ど撮らずじまい。



Library. no time to go in. quiet and simple.( next one too)  図書館、中を見る時間なし。地味だけれど良さそう。(次の写真も)



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