Analogy versus Metaphor: Aldo van Eyck’s Poetic Images In-Between Fields

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The Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck wrote the Tree-Leaf Statement in 1961, as a visiting professor at Washington University. Contrary to what it may seem, the words were in fact a declaration against the direct analogy of tree-city, since Van Eyck rejected the use of tree hierarchies within the urbanism of his time. "The tree analogy fails altogether [...] direct analogy leads nowhere, neither to the idea of the tree nor of the city". Instead, Van Eyck proposed a kaleidoscopic poetic image that succeeded in capturing the deep meaning of his own urban thinking, which he called the configurative discipline. However, the tree-leaf metaphor also resulted in a strong dispute within Team 10 that caused an important shift in Van Eyck’s career, who subsequently limited himself to exploring the intrinsic quality of architectural space and abandoned large scale projects. We propose in this article that this event demonstrates the power and danger of metaphors as poetic images that grow in-between fields, and that can yield incredible transformative powers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMetaphorical Practices in Architecture
Subtitle of host publicationMetaphors as Method and Subject in the Production of Architecture
EditorsSarah Borree, Stephanie Knuth, Moritz Röger
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003299219
ISBN (Print)9781032289342
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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