The Otterlo Circles by Aldo van Eyck. Collage as condensed theory


  • Mariabruna Fabrizi Université Paris-Est


Parole chiave:

Imagination, Theory, Twin phenomenon, Poetical image, Relativism


In 1959, on the occasion of the last CIAM conference, Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck produced the “Otterlo Circles”, a collage of photographs, drawings, and texts which synthesised his view on the production of architecture. In the collage, two circles represent the relationship between architectural and social values. On the left, a circle labelled par nous (“by us”) contained a photograph of the Temple of Athens Nike on the Acropolis, a drawing of a Contra-construction by Theo van Doesburg, and a photograph of Aoulef, a town in the Sahara. This circle represented how architecture should, in the perspective of Aldo van Eyck, absorb the values of classical, modernist and vernacular architecture. In the second circle, named pour nous, (“for us”) he showed “a Sardic statuette of a sitting woman with child, an Etruscan statuette of a standing man and, beneath these, a Cypriot burial gift, a round dish decorated with a small community of people, representing a harmonious society”. Through this collage, and the talks and texts which accompanied it, van Eyck implicitly suggested how the images he collected throughout his life could interact to produce a new discourse. Along the path which leads from his collection of images to the construction of his architectural imagination and the elaboration of a discourse around architecture, the images become agents capable of guiding the architect toward the construction of a new practice capable of harmoniously synthesising different traditions.




Come citare

Fabrizi, M. (2020). The Otterlo Circles by Aldo van Eyck. Collage as condensed theory. Piano B. Arti E Culture Visive, 4(2), 1-15.