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The Wittgenstein House [Hardcover]

Bernhard Leitner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £30.00
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Book Description

18 April 2001
In 1926 philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein designed and built a house in Vienna for his sister. The only building designed by Wittgenstein, it crystallized his philosophy of architecture - notable for its clarity, precision, and austerity - and served as a foil for his written work. This book presents a detailed investigation of the house, based on 30 years of extensive research. It examines the formal properties of the structure, including Wittgenstein's attention to proportion, detail, and colour. It is also the story of one man's relationship to the building: in 1971, author Bernhard Leitner was instrumental in saving the wittgenstein house from destruction and having it declared as a national landmark. In the years since, he has continuously refined his ideas about the house and its architect. The photographs are accompanied by archival images showing the house as it was originally built, before numerous alterations.

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The Wittgenstein House + Wittgenstein's House: Language, Space and Architecture
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (18 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568982518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568982519
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 21.3 x 28.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Architecture cannot be applied philosophy. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars Witty 11 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book on the house Wittgenstein designed for his sister between 1926 and 28. Although it goes into what might seem initially like rather fine detail in fact that is the delight of the book - most books on architecture fall into the coffee-table trap - pretty pictures and analysis-lite. The attempt to write paras a la Wittgenstein is sweet rather than too annoying but the details tell an awful lot about his approach and focus on the really key fact about the house - this was not Witt playing at applied philosophy - it was architecture, he really focussed on the basics - how a wall meets a floor, how pillar meet a ceiling and where, how floor tiles add to the feeling of a room. While Tractatus may be impenetrable for the most part to non logicians (and apparently to all logicians too) the building shows a sensual approach (in a Viennese teutonic context!) that is suprising - no white walls anywhere and a handrail for holding on to thought through with enormous care. Witt had the money to do it - very few would, a sympa sister as client, and it seems it probably kept him busy instead of suiciding himself like two of his brothers in a difficult patch. For me this unlikely book is a whole lot better and more satisfying about architecture than any I have read - quite a tribute as the author spent 30 yrs saving the building, yet manages helpful analysis for the ordinary reader. A treat.
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A rather interesting book about a building designed by a Viennese philosophical genius. Well-written with some history of thwarted attempts by the Viennese to demolish it.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wittgenstein House 4 May 2008
By Light reader - Published on Amazon.com
I actually own the paperbound that I bought in Vienna in 1973 --never did get to see inside the house though. Excellent book with very nice photographs. I would have bought a hard-bound version if available at the time as mine has received a lot of wear. The detail in his architecture is very representative of his writings after the Tractatus. Buy it.
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