Animals on the Roof: A discussion with Kostas Tsiambaos
In his autobiography titled Building Life (1977), the renowned architect and urban planner Georges Candilis dedicated a few pages of his book to a small vernacular building located in the Greek island of Aegina. The so-called Rodakis house (by the name of its creator and first owner) had been an enduring source of inspiration for Candilis not only for its modern, abstract form, but also because of its symbolic sculpted animals –a duck, a pig, a snake, and a pigeon– that were placed on its roof. These expressive animal sculptures added power and meaning to the simple, minimal structure; they were understood as communal emblems of an alternative modernity, a less technical and positivist one, one that preserved the hope that progress can still be compatible with the archaic, the indigenous, the mythical, and the sacred. Following the Candilis narrative, I will comment on a few case-studies in which such animal references and representations seem to play a critical role in relation to modern architecture and urban planning. Animals often appear as typical objects of otherness; they serve as models, paradigms, and metaphors that attempt to radically question the identities, definitions and boundaries of modernity by calling for the end of architecture the way we know it.
Monday, November 25, 2019, 12:00 pm / Princeton University, School of Architecture, Room N107
Comment: Esther da Costa Meyer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Art & Archaeology