Andreas Brandt: Haus und Landschaft in Asien. Dörfer, Häuser und Tempel in Nepal, Orissa, Vietnam und der Mongolei 2000-2009. House and Landscape in Asia. Villages, Houses and Temples in Nepal, Orissa, Vietnam and Mongolia 2000-2009 (deutsch/engl.). Berlin 2011. 200 S.

The title of this bi-lingual book accurately describes the content. The author, trained as an architect, divulges rural landscapes through his professional eyes, but with a specific view that seems to be unique today. With an innocent eye - in the best sense of its meaning - he contemplates examples of "architecture without architects" (Rudofsky 1964) and unfurls houses in their local fabric.

The author's ability to see, to measure and to draw provides the reader with an insight into house structures that is rare in architecture and geography. Beyond any specific interest in consulting or "development" - the only exception is the suggestion for a museum at the location of an ancient Mongolian monastery in Erdene Zuu - the attraction of community hamlets and sophistication of house-building with local material and in tune with specific ecological and societal settings is revealed. Andreas Brandt masters pen and pencil, alienates topographical maps, and augments his drawings with black and white photographs. Thus, the coloured pencil drawings provide selective views that no photographs can match. The comparison is obvious in several cases. A concentrated view of the pencil drawing reveals much more. We discover details in house construction, understand the technical background, the composition and junction of materials. With this perspective it is possible to learn a lot about spatial allocation and division as well as about placements of utensils and storage. The rural house tells a story about its inhabitants. Beyond the house that is highlighted in subset detail, the rural land use is devotedly drawn and places the habitation as part of a community settlement in its environment. The houses and villages are somehow randomly displayed, as the author availed the opportunity to spend time there on different travels and assignments. An exhilarant perspective on Asian villages is presented here, supporting the surmise that much more can be discovered in remote locations all over the world. The opulent volume is a feast for our eyes and deserves the attention of all readers who aim to look behind the obvious.
Hermann Kreutzmann

Reference:
Rudofsky, Bernard (1964): Architecture without architects. A short introduction into non-pedigreed architecture. New York.

Quelle: Erdkunde, 65. Jahrgang, 2011, Heft 3, S. 308

 

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