A fold to infinity

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Photo: © Ricardo Gomez Angel.

An exercise in style around Gilles Deleuze some buildings with curves and inflection; points of beauty, to be discovered around the world. NB: this article is obviously an invitation to travel. - Isabelle Cerboneschi.

"Baroque does not refer to an essence, but rather to an operative function, to a trait. He keeps creasing. He did not invent the thing: there are all the folds coming from the East, the Greek folds , Roman, Romanesque, Gothic, Classical ... But he bends and curls folds, pushes them to infinity, fold by fold, fold according to fold. The line of the Baroque is the fold that goes to infinity. " *

In discovering some stunning architectures of beauty, whose suppleness is only apparent, I thought of a fabric that would have been stopped in its movement, like the stone statues of the tales of my childhood.

Seeing all these folds that are the result of a voluntary gesture, because it was necessary for someone to make the decision and the care to twist the material, to arch, bend, while giving it the appearance of freedom, seeing these images of beloved buildings, I thought about this book by Gilles Deleuze: Le Pli. He evoked baroque art, but his thoughts also apply to contemporary architecture, when it takes freedom with flatness. With their ridges, soft curves, fullness and looseness, these monumental works seem to free themselves from the surrounding space.

Take for example the station ofPort Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH), in the Lower Manhattan district of New York, drawn by Santiago Calatrava. It looks like a bird whose wings form lines that seem to want to continue, beyond the building, leaving the eye to invent an imaginary trajectory. "The problem is not how to make a fold, but how to continue it, make it cross the ceiling, carry it to infinity," wrote Gilles Deleuze. There is that in the PATH station ...

I could talk endlessly about the folds and folds drawn by the architects Herzog & de Meuron for Messe Platz in Basel, on the flights of Santiago Calatrava, on the gentle curves desired by Zaha Hadid for the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, in Seoul, or all the convolutions of Frank Gehry, to whom we owe, in particular, the Museum Guggenheim de Bilbao and the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, with his Ductal®, a white concrete created especially for the building.

These architects are designers of concrete, artists of the flight arrested. In the interstices of their folds of matter, in these bends, in these concavities drawn by the hand of a man, a third thing can interfere without encountering the flatness of a facade. And this thing, it would be the wind. "The fold is inseparable from the wind," wrote Gilles Deleuze.

It's as if these buildings wanted to get out of the box, expand, unfold, unfold, while we know it's impossible. The fold does not limit: it offers the opportunity to conquer space. And those who drew these folds of concrete, glass or steel have launched some lines that cross the air time ...

* Gilles Deleuze, "Le Pli, Leibniz and the Baroque" Les Editions de Minuit, 29 June 2011.

Museu Blau, The Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona. Photo: © Maxime the Tale of Floris.

Blok 46c, Korth Tielens Architects, Amsterdam. Photo: © Eugen Esanu.

Ginza Place, Klein Ditheim Architects, Ginza, Tokyo. Photo: © Dmitri Popov.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright, New York. Photo: © Drew Patrick Miller.

Metal structure of the facade of a shopping center in Dresden, Germany. Photo: © Silvio Kundt.

PATH Station, New York, Santiago Calatrava. Photo: © Joshua Newton.

Photo: © Kimon-Maritz.

Station Reggio Emilia-Mediopadana, Santiago Calatrava. Photo: © Luca Bravo.

Museum ABC, Madrid, Aranguren & Gallegos Architects. Photo: © Joel Filipe.

Milwaulkee Art Museum, USA, Santiago Calatrava. Photo: © Jeremy Yap.

Mass Platz, Basel, Herzog & de Meuron. Photo: © Samuel Zeller.

The concrete folds of the Chicago Aqua Tower, Jeanne Gang. Photo: © Christian Perner.

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