By Kyle Fountain
In his discussion Rappel A L’ Ordre, The Case for the Tectonic, Frampton chooses to eliminate the requirement for skin when considering a building’s presence.1 Two of his profound examinations are found via structural expression and joint, and jointless, or as he calls it the “dis-joint” Frampton believes that making details such as the joint visible can have ideological and cultural implications. Still, he warns that these details cannot be a function of the economy or chosen based on commodity, but rather careful selection and artistically placed.1
There are many architectural precedents that fully embrace the idea of expressing the structure as well as harmoniously joining, or in the case of the “dis-joint,” ending one material and commencing with the next. Renzo Piano is one master of the expressive structure and artfully detailed joinery. Although the Pompidou Center was a collaborative design, Piano has consistently continued his structural and detailed joint expressions throughout his career.
A seamless transition from environment to structure to skin is a terrific way to portray a feeling of openness to the public, and surrounding culture. Still, many designs have taken the idea of structural expression to mean move columns and beams from the interior to the exterior. However, Frampton iterates that an emphasis on structure isn’t to promote constructivism or desconstructivism, but to promote the origin of the term tectonic as “belonging to a building”1
In the end, it is important to understand the positive and negative effects a skin of a building may have on the region and context. Likewise, simply moving the structure to the exterior is not a simple exercise in relocation, but that the joining of the structure to themselves as well as the region is also very important. Frampton’s goal through this discussion is to reposition architects from a commodity based designer, to a holistic, critical regionalist.1
1. Frampton, Kenneth “Rappel A L’ Ordre, The Case for the Tectonic.” Architectural Design 60, no.3-4(1990): 19-25.