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  • Unlike the early Corbusier Hopper was never quite

    2018-11-14

    Unlike the early Corbusier, Hopper was never quite willing to succumb to space and its promise of limitless freedom. Even a cursory scan of Hopper׳s chronology would reveal that he was torn for more than thirty years. In 1960, the group of women and men in People in the Sun no longer unanimously stare at the space: the man sitting in the back row in fact is completely absorbed in his book (or rather just a thin piece of paper? )! Wildness, for Hopper, is not completely devoid of fear: the “menacing twilit trees” can be “disturbing” and “faintly hectic” (Updike, 2005, p. 199) (Cape Cod Morning, 1950). This period, in the middle of twentieth century, incidentally, was about the same time when Corbusier had completed Les Maisons Jaoul, and the enigmatic Chapel of Ronchamp, which is an internalised architectural device to give you the access to God, and maybe the inner world of self.
    Reluctant modernists? Let us to return to Utzon׳s houses: The modern master was photographed sitting in a chair on the outside platform of Can Feliz – his last house, with his hand raised above his forehead to shade his eyes, he gazed towards the sea, but was torn between his self-imposed solitude in a “cave” behind him, and the raised plateau leading to the world out there before him. To leave the house behind and venture into the vast space without hesitation is the modern spirit par excellence: “One of the sorrows of civilization is that we must live in houses. I do believe that we were meant to sleep lying on our backs and looking at the stars,” says Gustave Flaubert. But like the figure in a late Hopper, Utzon׳s gaze at space is slightly tarnished by the shade he potassium phosphate monobasic cost for his eyes and his comfortable sedentary posture. Such gaze of course would have been redundant in a Chinese courtyard, which never really makes it to Utzon׳s house to give him the upright axis mundi that answers only Heaven above. The modern master, peculiarly, was always attracted to the kind of idle life of the Chinese so convincingly romanticised by the Chinese writer Li Yutang. Perhaps he was a little exhausted by the rat race of being perpetually nomadic. This, then, brings me to suspect: Would Utzon, and for that matter Le Corbusier, Luis Barragán, Edward Hopper, Louis Kahn and Eileen Gray, really want to be modern?
    Introduction Houses have always been built according to the needs of their inhabitants. However, in recent decades, irregular and undesirable changes that are not based on real needs but are mere imitations have been applied to buildings. The beginning of this trend can be traced back to the introduction of western architecture to Tehran by the first generation of Iranian architects during the reign of Naser-oddin Shah in the second half of the 19th century (Alalhesabi and Korrani, 2013). These architects were mainly concerned about promoting modernist architecture in Iran, specifically in the Pahlavi period. Therefore, Iranian modernization in architecture is rooted in the works of these architects (BaniMasoud, 2009). As a result, Iranian architecture, which was closely interwoven with rich Iranian traditions, and the quality of residential buildings were transformed after the return of Iranian architects who were sent to Europe to study architecture (Alalhesabi and Korrani, 2013). The number of residential buildings has increased because of the urgent housing needs of the growing population. A very good example of a large-scale construction in Iran is the recent project of Maskan-e Mehr. This nationwide project is carried out by the government to build inexpensive residential complexes in large quantities for families with no permanent places of residence. Maskan-e Mehr buildings are representative of the contemporary style of residential architecture in Iran. Mostly constructed in living quarters on the outskirts of cities and towns, these buildings represent an unprecedented experience in affordable housing. The main objective of the Maskan-e Mehr project is to provide housing within a short period and with the lowest construction costs (Nastaran and Ra׳naee, 2010).