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Extra resources for The Architectural Detail
Fig. 13 Technically it presents no problems, but visu- ally it destroys the transparency of the wall and creates a solid larger than the column itself. No one would suggest, however, that Mies’s solution would have worked for Koolhaas. Mies’s detail is too resolved, balanced and complete. The essence of the McCormick Center is the ad hoc, collaged character of its details, that many of the parts do not appear to join at all, that they remain fragments. The difference between the joinery of these two buildings is not that Koolhaas’s building is not about joints; it is very much about joints, but joints as a means of fragmentation.
Ironically, details that are too well designed—on which too much emphasis is laid—can impair the overall appearance of a building. ”4 Particularly among the avant-garde, the idea of detail is currently held in low esteem. Zaha Hadid says that if they are done well, they will go away. Rem Koolhaas is equally blunt in his assessment of details; he wants to eliminate them: “For years we have concentrated on NO-detail. Sometimes we succeed—it’s gone, abstracted; sometimes we fail—it’s still there. ”5 Despite similarities of thought between the architects of 1964 and 2000, these are two different concepts of the detail.
8 This visually eased the transition to the individual skylights at the roof, but Piano deliberately overarticulated the parts as he often does, in the interest of creating what he calls a “hierarchy” of parts, so that the building will visually explain the process of its creation. Each of these four joints uses a different technology for different functional reasons. Each demonstrates a technological advance over its predecessors, but each is ultimately determined by ideological considerations— the demonstration of hierarchy for Piano, an ideology of mass production for Prouvé, abstraction for Meier, or interchangeability for Foster.