appeal for the widespread use of reinforced concrete (“to build all of one material”5) in the service of five architectural innovations it made possible. Like Yeh and Jerrard’s Folding Structure, Le Corbusier’s reinforced concrete was both structure and skin, presented in idealized, iconic terms. The concrete frame would result in a new way to live, from the scale of the house to the city. But the most interesting thing about The Five Points is the unanticipated diversity of results generated when they were implemented in specific projects, for example in Le Corbusier’s villas of the twenties. Similarly, The Folding Structure offers more as a unique form, within a context and at a particular size, than could be anticipated by the scaleable geometric rules that created it.
The World from Here
In a very different kind of project, the parameters of function in the exhibition design for The World from Here: Treasures of the Great Libraries of Los Angeles were highly prescribed, as were those of budget and time. The show, on view last year at the UCLA Hammer Museum, presented unique, rare books full of visual detail in a large open space typically used for art exhibitions. The challenge for Durfee Regn Sandhaus became one of synthesizing viewer movement, vision and information. They present their exhibition design in two panoramic photographs by Joshua White. The ancient and contemporary rare books on a range of subjects were from collections in the Los Angeles area and selected for the quality of their printing, graphics, illustrations and historical significance. Taken from various collections at UCLA, USC and The Getty, among others, they include Piranesi’s Le Antichita Romane, John Cage’s musical notation book and a number of ancient Asian scrolls and scriptures. The designers had to mediate between the large number of works at a small scale and high level of detail - and an audience, on foot. They accomplished this with birch display cases subtly glowing with color inside a dark, quiet, environment. The books on appeared to hover, and all visual attention was directed to the pages. Conceptual aspects of the objects were highlighted by video, audio and interactive sliding panels unobtrusively built into the vitrines. Curving and winding through the gallery, the display cases provided the viewer with a trompe- d’oeuil continuity at a datum-line while mediating the linearity and rhythm of the experience of moving from one book to the next. Handrails served as surfaces for information, allowing the objects on display not to be interrupted with interpretive
5 Le Corbusier, The Five Points “2. Roof Terraces” quoted in Leonardo Benevolo History of Modern Architecture, Volume 2 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971), 444