New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

THE EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF MANUAL WORK AND HANDICRAFT IN RELATION TO ARCHITECTURE

By JOSEF ALBERS

In an industrial age, when machines dominate production, it seems significant that building, considered as a key industry, depends to a large extent on work by hand. To architects and engineers alike, the prefabricated house, though promoted for decades, remains a problem. Its solution will be related to psychological conditions as well as to technical and economic conditions.

We may consider the dependence on manual work either as unfortunate and antiquated, or as unavoidable, and even fortunate; it will remain a necessity as long as individual needs in I housing are recognized. It will continue until building has achieved such final development as has been reached, for example, by, the bicycle. As long as we continue to experiment with new materials and new techniques, good craftsmen will be as indispensable as good designers. The more we integrate design with craftsmanship, however, the more we shall save manual effort.

Here we shall confine ourselves to the educational value of manual work and craftsmanship, particularly in architecture.

To see the value of handicraft, which persists despite increasing machine-craft, is to recognize its continuing influence. To this end, let us I first compare some hand processes and machine processes of similar functions. Machine weaving has been developed from hand

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