Walls, Geometry and Ideas, Russell Light

This lecture was a case study of Casa Poli by the architecture practice Pezo von Ellrichshausen:


Image from Arch Daily

Thinking about Architecture

Pezo and von Ellrichshausen’s approach to architecture was discussed. This approach is about the physical and embodied as well as the abstract and conceptual.

Geometry – Historical Continuity

The importance of a short text by Colin Rowe ‘The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa‘ was emphasised. Rowe showed that the designs of Le Corbusier and some Renaissance architecture were comparable and shared many geometric similarities. The Casa Poli also shares some of these features.

Walls, Promenades and Raumplan

We were then shown plans, sections, elevations and photographs of buildings with thick walls, and the importance of wall thickness was explained.  Thick walls can

  • hide changes in shapes within buildings
  • provide protection from the elements
  • give a sense of intimacy within a space
  • provide storage and space for stairs (as in the Casa Poli)

The Case Poli also exemplifies the use of promenades, which are an architectural means of moving through and around a space, and Adolf Loos‘s idea of the ‘Raumplan’, which was an influential idea in architecture; using a series of different levels, at different heights, within buildings, connected by sequences of steps.

The image below of the Casa Poli demonstrates the influence of Loos’s Raumplan:


Image from Arch Daily 


Arch Daily. (2016). Spotlight: Adolf Loos. Retrieved from https://www.archdaily.com/576187/spotlight-adolf-loos.

Arch Daily. (2008). Poli House. Retrieved from https://www.archdaily.com/476/poli-house-pezo-von-ellrichshausen.

The Architectural Review. (2010). March 1947: The mathematics of the Ideal Villa – Palladio and Le Corbusier compared. Retrieved from https://www.architectural-review.com/archive/viewpoints/1947-march-the-mathematics-of-the-ideal-villa-palladio-and-le-corbusier-compared-by-colin-rowe/8604100.article.

Biography. (2014). Le Corbusier. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/le-corbusier-9376609.

Essential Humanities. (2008). Renaissance Architecture. Retrieved from http://www.essential-humanities.net/western-art/architecture/renaissance/.

Quora. (Unknown). What is an architectural promenade?. Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-is-an-architectural-promenade.



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