Industrial Facades

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9780262023887: Industrial Facades
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The more than two hundred striking duotone plates in Hilla and Bernd Becher's Industrial Facades continue the famousD?orf photographers' formal investigation of industrial structures, in this case the frontal elevations of factory buildings. Like the Bechers' earlier books on water towers, blast furnaces, and gas tanks, Industrial Facades once again clearly displays their serenely cool, rigorous approach to the structures they photograph as vaariations on an ideal form. The Bechers make no attempt to analyze or explain their subjects. Captions contain only the barest of information: time and place.

Industrial Facades covers the whole range of periods and designs representing this building type: from austere brick buildings of the early industrial age and the arched windows and turrets decorating historicist facades, to the concrete and glass functionalist constructions of the 1950s and 1960s, to today's rectangular, windowless halls.

These photographs give the lie to Louis Sullivan's often misunderstood motto, "form follows function," for the external appearance of the factory buildings shown here are hardly determined by their internal working processes. For this reason, the Bechers' photographs do not really illustrate the development of modern industrial architecture, nor the achievements of functionalist building, but rather the achievements of banal, everyday architecture, produced by builders trained in crafts or by engineers trained in the necessities of the industrial process.
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About the Author:

Bernd and Hilla Becher have collaborated since 1959. Founders of the internationally acclaimed Becher class at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, they have received numerous awards, including the Golden Lion at the 1990 Venice Biennale and the 2002 Erasmus Award. Bernd Becher retired as Professor at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art in 1999.

From Publishers Weekly:

The German husband-and-wife authors are industrial photographers aesthetically concerned with integrated form and substance. They previously have produced individual volumes on water towers, blast furnaces, gas tanks and other subjects of clearly related function. The current collection is more recondite, with 264 impeccable and richly reproduced plates--squarely frontal, inanimate and pictorially unadorned--depicting small to middle-range industrial installations in Europe and America. Minimally linked to one another chiefly through camera style, the pictures are identified starkly in German: ``Ironworks, Brandenburg'' or ``Large Shop, Sachsen-Anhalt.'' There is little of architecture here, save for classically derivative arches, gables and pilasters adapted by craftsmen and engineers to ``the sheer necessities of industrial working processes,'' as Bussmann muses in his introduction. An item for specialists if ever there was one.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Becher, Hilla, Becher, Bernd
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