An Architecture Of Abstraction
Charles Gwathmey (Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects)


Charles Gwathmey

©Monica Pidgeon

My name is Chris Gwathmey. I'm a partner in the firm Gwathmey Siegel, Archi— tects. Robert Seigel is an integral part of the ethic of this firm's work. I thought it would be most interesting to talk about the history of our work as it has proceeded over the last 20 years; and make reference to particular buildings, not with a value judgement of what the building is but with the principle about architecture that we feel has prevailed and has informed us and keeps reinforming us continuously as we investigate new ways to elaborate on the language of Modernism. We're still Modern architects, we believe in the ideas of Modernism as opposed to the dogma of Modernism. And the difference is that a dogma is myopic and tends to dead—end whereas the ideas of a philosophy allow for intervention and expansion and elaboration, all of which we feel we are both able and willing to do, given the thrust of the times and the whole issue of history, preservation and the idea that you save anything in art that is valid as opposed to destroying a building. And that has caused many Modern architects to re—evaluate the whole issue of preservation and language and con— text in a way which earlier, in the early periods of Modernism, were rejected out of hand. So I think the times have changed but I think the idea of the work has maintained itself both specifically and also in buildings which are in concert and in relationships with other buildings.


Gwathmey Residence & Studio

©Norman Mcgrath

I think it's fair to go back 20 years to my parents' house which represents, and still does, the idea of volumetric and spatial interpenetration)an assemb— lage of forms which are indicative of use, and the resultant composition being clearly derived from a geometric and reductive base flat represents on its own terms a singular object that has hierarchical components but is read as a single idea that is elaborated in the abstract or reductive sense as opposed to the ornamental or decorative sense.

Thanks for previewing this talk

If you would like to view the whole talk please follow one of the following links


Or if you already have an account: