Excerpt | Like A Good Society

the first thing which taut identified in katsura was that anonymous quality he had always considered the essence of good architecture. he was convinced that the work of a great artist shod transcend subjectivity and the vanity of self-expression. in this spirit, gazing at the villa he exclaimed, " not an individualistic building, everything seems egalitarean." at katsura, taut actually found the ideas for a new architecture that he had already applied in his working-class housing estate in berlin, designed in the twenties.

an architectural work is anonymous to the extent that the architect's hand cannot be identified and it is impossible to attribute it to the "style" typical of a period. for his reason taut also rejected formalism: on his principles architecture was supposed to be freed from the shackles of the historical styles as well as contemporary "modernism". architecture - so taut declared in die neue baukunst - will be made to participate in the "new order of our existence", freed from all social constraints.

already in 1929, as the result of this vision, taut set himself the objective of "achieving an authentic freedom in the elements of architecture... freedom for the individual elements means that all of them cooperate in a perfectly equal way, so effacing any hierarchy of higher and lower, since the indispensability of the individual components is immediately obvious."

taut expressed these ideas in his album devoted to katsura. on sheet 12, next to the plan of the old shoin with the moon-viewing platform and the garden with its stone pathways that intersect diagonally, taut wrote, "why is it that no line of the house is continued into the garden? because each element - house, water, landing stage, tree, stone - has an independent life. it only seeks good relationships - like a good society."

Speidel, M (2004) Bruno Taut and the Katsura Villa

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