Material Dialectic. Donald Judd and Philip Johnson

María Teresa Muñoz

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The aim of this writing is to consider how a certain material dialectic is stated in the so called Mansana de Chinati, a complex built by the sculptor Donald Judd in the city of Marfa, Texas, from 1974 onwards, when  compared with the two houses built by the architect Philip Johnson in his  state of New Canaan, Connecticut, around 1950.

Both in New Canaan and in la Mansana de Chinati we find a dialectical  opposition between industrial and handicraft architecture, as both Philip  Johnson and Donald Judd consider that there is a main architecture, where material and industrial techniques are used, and a subordinate or service  architecture which is built with adobe or brick and handicraft techniques. This latter architecture will embody all the qualities associated with poverty, as material abundance or spatial closure. Nevertheless, the exhibition of poverty has not as its definite aim the domestic handicraft buildings, built with adobe or brick, but it will be at the service of that other architecture, built with industrial techniques, that has to give up comfort and wellbeing o at least conceal them in the form of radical austerity.

Palabras clave

Industry; handicraft; material dialectic; comfort; austerity; poverty

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