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Thomas Deckker Architect: temporary truck stop, M20
Lorry Drivers are human, too
2021
Marc-Antoine Laugier: Essai sur l'Architecture
John Onians: ‘Architecture, Metaphor and the Mind’
2021
Sir John Vanbrugh: Seaton Delaval, Northumberland (1720–28) from Colen Campbell: Vitruvius Britannicus vol 3 (1725)
Seaton Delaval: the aesthetic castle
2021
Jules Hardouin-Mansart: Les Invalides, Paris (1676) Section showing the double dome
The Temple of Apollo at Stourhead: architecture and astronomy
2021
Eric de Maré: Fishermen’s’ huts, Hastings (1956) © Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Eric de Maré: The Extraordinary Aesthetics of the Ordinary
2021
Iannis Xenakis: score for Syrmos, for string orchestra (1959) © Editions Salabert E. A. S. 17516
Iannis Xenakis: Music, Architecture and War
2021
United Visual Artists: Etymologies 2017 © United Visual Artists
United Visual Artists
2020
Margaret Howell: Campaign 2020 © Margaret Howell
Margaret Howell
2020
Palaces of Darius and Xerxes, Persepolis, Iran
The Plans of Antiquity
2020
Cristobal Balenciaga: Skirt Suit, 1964 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Cristobal Balenciaga
2020
Mathias Goeritz: La serpiente de El Eco, 1953 © Sothebys
Mathias Goeritz: 'Emotional Architecture'
2020
Richard Serra: Weight and Measure 1992 © Richard Serra
Weight and Measure
2020
Tony Smith: Playground, 1962 © Tony Smith Estate
Art and Experience
2020
Highway Construction © Caterpillar Archives
Landscape and Infrastructure
2020
Frank Gohlke: Lightning Flash, Lamesa, Texas © Frank Gohlke
Grain Elevators
2020
Iannis Xenakis: score for Syrmos, for string orchestra (1959) © Editions Salabert E. A. S. 17516

Iannis Xenakis: score for Syrmos, for string orchestra (1959)
© Editions Salabert E. A. S. 17516

Iannis Xenakis: Music, Architecture and War
Out of the self-indulgent and self-obsessed chaos of ‘serious’ music in the 1950s and 1960s the composer, engineer and architect Iannis Xenakis stands out as a rational and approachable composer. Xenakis was the founder and principal exponent of stochastic music: combinations of musical patterns that are generated by mathematical processes but whose outcomes cannot be predicted. Xenakis applied these theories in both music and architecture: strangely war was, in many ways, an epiphany in his intellectual development.

Xenakis was born in Romania of a Greek family, and studied engineering in Athens before WWII. During the war Xenakis was in the Greek resistance, and then and during the ensuing civil war encountered war at first hand. After fleeing Greece because of his communist sympathies, Xenakis settled in Paris and began work with Le Corbusier, initially as an engineer. He did not have, at this time, any idea of pursing a career in music or architecture.

Xenakis developed his theories of stochastic composition in Le Corbusier's studio. He recalled the chanting of crowds in demonstrations that he had witnessed in Athens and volleys of gunfire as examples of found stochastic sounds. Somewhere I heard him tell a story that, during one battle, he escaped from the German guns though a pass in the mountains, but paused and turned back in the pass, at great risk to his life, captivated by the patterns of tracer fire in the valley below. The story that it was here that he lost his eye is apocryphal, however. I like to think of this experience as his first epiphany.

Xenakis's meeting with Le Corbusier was a second epiphany; it made him realise his own desire for and capabilities in design and composition. His first role was as engineer, and then architect, for the Couvent de la Tourette, the Benedictine teaching monastery designed and built between 1953-60. He introduced what Le Corbusier called ondulatoires, a mullion wall based on stochastic patterns - a varying sequence of larger and smaller window panes - the major mullions in concrete, the minor transoms in steel - that defined the public spaces, in contrast to the fixed sizes of windows in the individual monks cells.
Le Corbusier: Couvent de la Tourette; passage showing ondulatoires, photo © Thomas Deckker 1996
Le Corbusier: Couvent de la Tourette; passage showing ondulatoires,
photo © Thomas Deckker 1996
The Couvent de la Tourette functioned for only 8 years, until it was abandoned by students monks following les événements of 1968. It has been possible since then to stay as a guest in the Couvent, which gives an opportunity to experience a Le Corbusiser building intimately.

Xenakis's second work for Le Corbusier was as project architect for the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels Expo in 1958. The pavilion was composed of a series of hyperbolic paraboloids creating fluid and shifting spaces, known as ruled surfaces. The pavilion contained a music and light show, Poème électronique, by Edgard Varèse, one of the originators of electric music. The design was apparently inspired by Xenakis’s composition Metastaseis, written in 1953–54. It's easy to see, in hindsight, the similarities between tracer fire and ruled surfaces.
Tracer Fire from ships supporting D-Day © IWM A 24427
Tracer Fire from ships supporting D-Day
photo © IWM A 24427
The Pavilion has been reconstructed virtually by Vincenzo Lombardo, Associate professor of Informatics at the Università degli Studi di Torino.

Stochastic music can be seen as a precursor of minimal music by composers such as Steve Reich and John Luther Adams, in two aspects in particular: a sound world made of percussive instruments and repeated patterns of sounds (such as Xenakis's Pleïades for 6 percussionists of 1978 and Reich's Six Marimbas of 1986) and the sense of a composition developing over time according to unfathomable rules.

Thoms Deckker proposed an exhibition of mathematical models as a Geddes Fellow at the University of Dundee.
Thomas Deckker
London 2020