Craftsmanship in new ornament, learning from the 'details' of former industrial buildings

G.I. Curulli, J. Westra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic

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ABSTRACT Craftsmanship, which is based on manual work, is the skill aiming at the design and creation of artefacts. They require a high degree of tacit knowledge, highly technical, specialized equipment for their production. Therefore, the results cannot be other than unique products. On the contrary, industrial buildings are regarded as ordinary architectural products/volumes, of sober character, dictated by principles of mobility, efficiency and budget. This interpretation leaves out their unique spatial character, their typological characteristics and the pioneering level of technological experimentation involved in building them. These aspects find their significant expression in the crafting of the ‘details’. Firstly, this article will discuss the meaning of details in former industrial buildings, their ‘ornamental’ qualities and how they can teach us beyond the aesthetics. Secondly, this article will examine the apparent contradiction between ‘old’ crafting of factories and ‘new’ trends in crafting contemporary exteriors of buildings. To illustrate the point, the authors will investigate two specific case studies in The Netherlands. The first one is the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, a former gas factory dating from 1885 and characterized by unique ‘ornamental’ details and recently converted into new public uses. The second one is Block 11, a newly built edifice in Almere where high standard craftsmanship underlies the new ornament trend. The aim is to prove that crafted details of industrial buildings and contemporary design of architectural facades are in synergy and that craftsmanship bridges design principles and construction techniques. Finally, it can generate new ornaments in architectural design. KEYWORDS craftsmanship, ornament, synergy, industrial buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th international detail design in architecture conference (DDIA), 27-28 Okt 2011, Istanbul, Turkey
EditorsM. Cem Altun, S. Emmitt
Place of PublicationIstanbul
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Eventconference; DDIA10; 2011-10-27; 2011-10-28 -
Duration: 27 Oct 201128 Oct 2011


Conferenceconference; DDIA10; 2011-10-27; 2011-10-28


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