Design through synthesis: the role of sculpture in the design process of Max Bill

  • Tania Calovi Pereira Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos-Unisinos


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, research into the understanding of visual space in the arts and sciences narrowed the distinctions between architecture and the arts, contributing to a growing desire to unify all the senses in the production of more meaningful art and architecture. The Bauhaus, in its proposed synthesis of the arts, left with few examples of architecture, but the modern desire for the unification of the formal vocabulary of architecture and the arts persisted, and was advanced especially through the reduction and refinement of their elements.

I argue that Max Bill, a Bauhaus graduate, realized this synthesis of the arts through his Concrete design method, which reconciled the rational and the intuitive through conceptual associations between different media. His approach to design resisted formalism and arbitrary decisions, and went far beyond the visual by producing designs which embraced functionality, creativity and simplicity, and unfolded in a diverse array of forms instead of repetitive formulas.

To this day formalism and a superficial regard for aesthetics hinders discussion and the exchange of concepts between art and architecture, especially regarding the design process. This paper will explore the methods and conceptual underpinnings of Max Bill’s sculptural work and architecture through case studies from 1932 through 1968.


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Biografia do Autor

Tania Calovi Pereira, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos-Unisinos

Tania Calovi Pereira is an architect who received her Architecture PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Architecture Master’s Degree from Brazil’s Federal University in Porto Alegre.  She teaches design studios, and lectures on modern and contemporary history and theory at undergraduate and graduate levels.  She also researches and writes on these topics, focusing on the interrelated design processes of art and architecture.


Como Citar
PEREIRA, Tania Calovi. Design through synthesis: the role of sculpture in the design process of Max Bill. Joelho. Revista de Cultura Arquitectónica, [S.l.], n. 4, nov. 2013. ISSN 1647-8681. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 22 jun. 2018.
Articles Joelho 4


Design thinking