The Belgian architect Lucien Kroll is known internationally for his iconoclastic way of making architecture; his complex and idiosyncratic forms delight some, enrage others, and intrigue many. His medical faculty buildings for the University of Louvain outside of Brussels aroused widespread controversy in the early 1970s, their fragmented and improvisational appearance - the result of a deliberate participatory design process - in stark contrast to the adjacent massive and repetitive hospital, the embodiment of a centralized bureaucracy.
In An Architecture of Complexity Kroll describes his working method and the theory that informs it, with reference to and illustrations of actual building projects over a period of twenty years. During this time, while harboring no love of technology itself, Kroll has made a long and detailed study of system building and has experimented with industrialized building methods and computer-aided design. Here he shows how rich the potential can be when these advanced techniques can be employed to create variety and complexity. In plain, intelligent professional talk, Kroll discusses the problems he wrestles with and explains how his architecture is done.
Unlike most of the proponents of "soft" architecture, Kroll shows how standardized industrialized components and, more recently, use of the computer can yield highly customized buildings and spaces that are less expensive than handcrafted buildings. He also investigates the role that architects have among other specialists and criticizes the "militaristic" approach to modernist architecture and the postmodernist use of history as a catalog of forms for stylistic purposes.
The translator, Peter Blundell Jones, is an architect, lecturer, and frequent contributor to architectural journals.
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