Friday, July 20, 2007

Hiedegger's Hut

I've been reading an interesting little book recently - Heidegger's Hut (or Hütte). As the blurb says, "This is the most thorough architectural 'crit' of a hut ever set down, the justification for which is that the hut was the setting in which Martin Heidegger wrote phenomenological texts that became touchstones for late-twentieth-century architectural theory."

Apart from a rather obtuse Intro and Prologue, the book itself is actually quite straightforward. What it does do is give an intriguing insight into the importance of this structure and place in the Heidegger's life. Indeed, it seems intimately interwoven with his thought and philosophy. (Nor does the author gloss over the various contradictions in Heidegger's life, especially his still unresolved relationship to nazism).

It's not especially photo oriented, but for anyone interested in understanding place, this is an interesting read. Indeed, Heidegger's short essay Building Dwelling Thinking has influenced contemporary planning and architecture to such a significant degree that anyone interested in the modern city and urban condition is probably being influenced by Heidegger whether they realise it or not.

"Here is a fascinating backdoor entry into Heidegger’s (in)famous hut — that mythologically and ontologically so easily over-invested dwelling place in the Black Forest mountains of Southern Germany — from its architectural ground plan and local wood shingles to the loftier reaches of the philosopher’s thought. Author-architect Adam Sharr gives us no fawning laudatio, but a revealing, nonpartisan, demythologizing reflection on the relation between place and thought. In the process he casts Heidegger’s reflection on building, dwelling, and thinking into a new, cooler, and wider light — reaching beyond its specific locale to questions of provincialism versus cosmopolitism, localism of sustainability versus global technological society, authenticity versus agency". Pierre Joris

Here is Paul Celan's enigmatic poem (translated by Pierre Joris) written after a visit to Heidegger at die Hütte in 1966:


Arnica, eyebright, the
draft from the well with the
star-die on top,

in the

written in the book
- whose name did it record
before mine - ?
in this book
the line about
a hope, today,
for a thinker's
to come,
in the heart,

forest sward, unleveled,
orchis and orchis, singly,

crudeness, later, while driving,

he who drives us, the man,
he who also hears it,

the half-
trod log-
trails on the highmoor,


(Photo Digne Meller-Marcovicz)

No comments: