CONTEMPORARY WORLD ARCHITECTURE
...is a comprehensive survey of inter national architecture at the turning point of a new century. Focusing on modern building types and the forces that shape them, it offers a critical study of more than six hundred buildings by key architects worldwide. Analysing thirteen separate building categories, it traces the pluralist paths of architectural thinking from the seventies to the start of the new millennium. The evolving story of these new forms, with their underlying quest for aesthetic consensus, is told by HUGH PEARMAN
Perhaps at the back of everyone's mind was Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) and his doctrine of anthroposophy: the world explained spiritually rather than rationally. Steiner schools - more than 170 of them, worldwide - are the most visible residue of his teaching. Steiner's Goetheanum at Dornach in Germany, 1924-8, gives us the picture: a resolute rejection of the right angle, forms not so much organic as mineral. Later, engineering developments derived at least partly from natural forms provided a new impetus for the Steiner movement. In the mid 1990s, the Steiner School built in Stavanger, Norway, byArbeidgruppen HUS, was a timber-clad, shingle tiled, breathing' natural construction based upon the form of their hyperbolic paraboloid roof struc tures.
As the hyperbolic paraboloid is a doublecurved shell whose geometry is generated by straight lines, this can be said to be the ultimate Steineresque paradox. But by the end of the century, you did not have to be a nutty professor to subscribe to this kind of thinking: the desire for 'organic' forms in architecture had come to transcend most stylistic and technological boundaries, thus putting Frank Lloyd Wright right back on the agenda. For education - and particularly for the schooling of young children it was seized upon worldwide. Some very folksy designs emerged: fora time it seemed as if the neolithic ringhut was to be the architectural lodestone of the epoch.