Bernd & Hilla Becher: Basic Forms / Grundformen
Basic Forms is a brief, handy, visual introduction to the encyclopedic formal canon of industrial buildings in the Western world – and the Bechers devoted their life’s work to documenting it.
The book brings together, as its title implies, basic forms of all kinds of industrial structures in a representative selection of 61 photographs. The different forms of the most frequent types of structure are presented like the letters of an alphabet. The Bechers’ repertoire of topics encompasses the following key categories:
– large-scale containers such as water towers, grain silos, coal bunkers, gas tanks, etc.;
– building-shaped large plants of the coal and steel industry including furnaces, winding and cooling towers, lime kilns, crushers, processing plants, etc.;
– details of individual units in the factory halls themselves.
Taken with extreme objectivity and technical precision, as well as the famous shadow-less “Becher light”, the photos reveal the hidden poetry and aesthetic beauty of the architecture of these functional and utility buildings of our industrial culture.
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