Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unit, pattern, site: The space packed architecture of Alfred Neumann, 1949–1968
by Segal, Rafael, Ph.D., Princeton University, 2011, 587; 3452627
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation documents and analyzes the work of Alfred Neumann in Israel between 1949 and 1968. Neumann’s approach to architecture reflected a paradigm shift from the notion of ‘building as object’ to ‘building as pattern,’ and served as a critique of Israel's overarching acceptance of the International Style. His projects explored the use of non-orthogonal, polyhedral geometries in the creation of new architectural forms and expressions, while responding to human scale and specific conditions of site, notably the urban context, topography, light and climate.

Alfred Neumann (1900-1968), a Czech based architect who studied and worked in Vienna and Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, immigrated to Israel in 1949 where he became a prominent teacher, theorist and practitioner. The architectural partnership he established with his former students, Zvi Hecker and Eldar Sharon, produced one of the most original bodies of work of the 1960s. Neumann’s projects gained extensive international recognition through numerous leading publications of the time, yet to date no research has been undertaken on his work.

This dissertation sets up an analytical framework through which Alfred Neumann’s work can be theorized and discussed in relation to parallel themes and directions in post-World War II architecture. A close reading of Neumann’s buildings and designs deduces a set of principles that guides his process of generating built form. Emerging from Neumann’s practice and writings, these principles are described in relation to the intrinsic qualities of his designs and as they relate to both the Israeli context and the international discourse. The dissertation discusses three main themes that contextualize his work: the architectural ‘unit of measure’ and post-World War II discourse on Theories of Proportion, 1960s pattern thinking in architecture and the idea of spatial patterning as a strategy for design, and the sociopolitical and cultural formation of the State of Israel in which Neumann’s work took place. The first extensive archive of Alfred Neumann’s writings, buildings and designs follows the dissertation text.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Boyer, M. Christine
School: Princeton University
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 72/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history, Design, Architecture
Keywords: Architecture, Humanism, Israel, Modernism, Neumann, Alfred, Packing, Space-packing
Publication Number: 3452627
ISBN: 978-1-124-59440-8
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