Intrapolis | Walter Jonas

Walter Jonas was born on 1910 in Oberursel, Germany. He was a graphic artist and art critic, but his researches and interest led him to design a city called Intrapolis. Based on his finding that traditional or modern homes were all oriented towards the outside, but instead of great landscapes and views, they had noise, dust and noxious gases, Jonas has worked in rethinking the meaning of “home”. Inspired by a trip to Brazil in 1958, Jonas has developed a vision of a new humane urban form: the Intrapolis. This is directed against the traditional way of urban development.

The concept, created by Jonas with Intrapolis goes beyond the concept of funnels city and connects the meaning of Introversion and Polis. Jonas saw the principle of introversion not only as an important component of balance in the society, but also as a counterpoint to the hustle and extroversion of the turbulent world of his time. In a most architectural sense, introversion also acts in contrast to the traditional design of houses and towns with the living space inside, while the roads, stairs and elevators are located outside.

Jonas wrote:

Contrary to the concept extroversion or housing oriented toward the outside we propose an idea inwardly. We believe that, precisely for the modern man, and a fortiori lice man of tomorrow, the home must become a place of meditation and individualization […] There is a second very important point: we must save as much as possible the surface soil, and it will not succeed as a high concentration of population and, simultaneously, by minimal contact with the ground.

His funnel city is a kind of artificial valley with homes opening to the interior of the funnel. The design of the terraced, inward-arranged housing is compact and allows good light and visibility. Through the funnel-shaped building structure more undeveloped green space for the public is available.

Each funnel is formed, until the first third of its height, with the facilities for which artificial light is sufficient. Administration, department stores, cinemas and other public facilities are housed in the funnel base. Each funnel has a superstructure that supports the central patio or planted with trees. Schools are often grouped around the patio, on the circle below, then on the following circles which follow-shaped arena, lay the apartments and gardens. The individual units may be increased or decreased as needed. Jonas believes that such a funnel structure to promote the solidarity of the residents themselves and also just the older generation would integrate better into the community.

Walter Jonas was a founding member of the Groupe International d’Architecture Prospective (GIAP), with Yona Friedman and involving Ionel Schein. In 1967 he was involved together with German and Swiss architects in the creation of a German-speaking section in Zurich.

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