I focused my masters thesis on silence in architecture, and here I have been collecting examples of what silent architecture could be.
I spent the summer traveling and developing my thesis topic under the guise of wanderlust summer.
     Maybe, then, Ludwig’s fantastic Gesamtkunstwerk at his Grotto of Venus at Linderhof (1876–1877) was an appropriate prototype for the decor of the constructed situation (fig. 3.2). Furnished with stalactites of cast iron coated with cement, it contained a lake fed by a waterfall and a stage hung with a drop scene representing the first act of Wagner’s dramatic opera Tannhäuser. Electric light could be controlled to change the colors of the set at will, including the effect of a rainbow. On the lake, which could be ruffled by artificial waves, Ludwig kept two swans and a cockle boat. In his survey of Ludwig’s architecture, Michael Petzet has noted that “this ’total’ theatre afforded the solitary visitor the complete illusion of stage and auditorium in one, the ultimate improvement on the nineteenth-century peepshow stage; it did not separate the onlooker from the stage by the dark abyss of the empty auditorium,” a compression suited to the aspirations of the constructed situation. Petzet describes how, “gliding in his boat over the lake in the middle of the stage, or sitting on the various raised seats at the side, the King experienced an ‘action’ that consisted only in the change of lighting effects and the change of scenery viewed from different points. … Through a peephole framed by the grotto wall, the King could even see the real scenery and a nearby castle outside.”34 The editors of Potlatch understood completely the totality of fantastic experience that had been sought by the mad king. “The subterranean river which was his theater or the plaster statues in the gardens signal this absolutist enterprise, and its drama,” Potlatch enthused.
-Simon Sadler, The Situationist City
install theme