Bonnieux (France) 9-12 June 1977
Making plans for the future

  1. Introduction
  2. Team 10 members present
  3. Bibliography

Introduction

Since Candilis had been unable to attend the meeting in Spoleto the year before, he invited Team 10 for a get-together at his holiday house La Croupatière in Bonnieux, Southern France, in 1977. Judging from the photos taken by various participants, it really was like a family gathering. The familial ambience was reinforced by the custom that had developed for members to bring along their spouses and in some cases their young adult children. Besides the inner circle, only Guedes and the younger Schiedhelm were present. Hertzberger had been invited but was unable to attend due to a heavy workload. Many conversations took place in the relaxed holiday atmosphere, with members sitting in the shade of trees on the terrace before the house, or watching the slide shows projected indoors. Drawings were pinned up for inspection and discussion on the outside walls and doors of the house.

It was within this limited family circle that a need emerged for a form of collaboration that would raise Team 10’s profile as a group. The Smithsons were particularly keen on an initiative of this kind. At the end of the meeting Peter Smithson drew up ‘A proposition at Bonnieux’, a statement in which he summed up the mood of the moment as follows. ‘The essence of Team 10 is its design morality: this long-shared morality surely ought by now to make us capable of designing reciprocally one with another as we have individually already shown that we can design reciprocally with the architecture of the past. Working with the past is of course easier — the centuries have allowed meaning and language to crystallize, and the architects can not talk back. Architecture in the present is inevitably fumbling and intuitive, in flux from day to day, without a clear face until that which is bearable at last presents itself. This will make reciprocity between designers also an affair of last moments, but the deeper underpinning of the shared morality, the shared intention, and the common formation of mind of those in the same generation should make these last moments fruitful. We believe we are under the obligation to try and do something separately together, to do with altering the feel of the emptying cities. This would present a method for an alternative urbanism: a method which I believe, would correspond to the next period of European social idealism. After all, why not try, most of our other dreams we have in some way realised.’
One of the actions undertaken was to publish a report of the Bonnieux meeting in the form of a special Team 10 issue of Deutsche Bauzeitung. It was edited by Schiedhelm, who came to be regarded as something of an heir to Woods after the latter’s death. Taking his lead from the conversations that took place in Bonnieux and the projects presented there, Peter Smithson proposed concentrating the special issue on the ‘idea of inventions and interventions within existing urban fabrics’ and to include work by some members who were not present at Bonnieux but who had attended earlier meetings, such as Pietilä, Richards and Wewerka.


Team 10 at Bonnieux, France, 1977. Photograph Schiedhelm and Partners, Berlin.

A sharp conflict flared up during preparation of the special issue about a potential contribution by Ungers. Now that polemics were appearing in the architectural press about the new phenomenon of postmodern architecture, Ungers seemed to fall into the camp of the ‘neorationalists’ rather than that of Team 10. Despite Ungers having been invited to meetings and attending them several times, and despite his organization of the Cornell lecture series, some members, particularly Van Eyck and De Carlo, raised objections to the inclusion of a contribution by him.

Another initiative for public action was connected to the Venice Biennale. The Smithsons had made a proposal to the director of the Visual Arts and Architecture section, Vittorio Gregotti, to make a Team 10 ‘live show’ if the Biennale put on their proposed CIAM exhibition (to be organized by Joseph Rykwert). This would never happen, though. On the contrary, a year later Aldo Rossi was appointed curator of the Biennale, marking the new domination of postmodernism in architectural discourse. Among many other things, this triggered a critical response from a younger generation, which included Marco Vidotto and Augusto Manzini. They recognized in Team 10 an alternative position and they started the first initiative for a Team 10 exhibition to be held in Sienna, to where De Carlo’s ILAUD had moved. Eventually, the project failed due to lack of support from the city of Siena.
However, the most significant initiative of these years, which was backed especially by Bakema, the Smithsons and Schiedhelm, was to participate in the second Internationale Bau Ausstelling (IBA or International Building Exhibition) in Berlin, planned for 1984. The theme of the Team 10 special issue turned out to tally closely with the ideas developed for the IBA under the leadership of the city architect Müller. To emphasize and articulate the polycentric character of Berlin, Müller invited architects to submit designs for nine different locations, each with a distinct identity, while respecting the ‘basic historical structure of Berlin as the continuous element’. Respect for the historical background was a subject close to the heart of Team 10, in relation for example to the rising tide of postmodernism. But despite extensive correspondence and pressure exerted on both the Bausenator and the Berlin city architect, the IBA did not invite Team 10 to take part as a group. Erskine, the Smithsons, Van Eyck and Hertzberger received individual invitations to participate in one of the various limited competitions.

The IBA eventually developed into an exposition of a younger generation of architects who were inspired largely by postmodernist and neorationalist ideas. Out of the Team 10 invitees, only Erskine and Hertzberger realized actual projects. The emphasis among the younger generation lay more on the urban image (Stadtbild) than on urban structure, and the ‘basic historical structure of Berlin as a continuous element’ meant primarily rediscovering the nineteenth-century Berlin city block and its formal articulation. This typological approach to urban structure was far removed from what Peter Smithson meant when he tried to sum up Team 10’s position as:
to make an architecture
— which establishes connections in depth into the society
— which is built for and which sees individual works as part of a fabric
— which sees the language of architecture as invention.

Max Risselada


Team 10 members present

organized by Candilis
present:
Jaap Bakema
Georges Candilis
Giancarlo De Carlo
Ralph Erskine
Aldo van Eyck
Amancio Guedes
Alexis Josic
Manfred Schiedhelm
Alison Smithson
Peter Smithson

Bibliography