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Introduction to architectural theory


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In this theory the form is outcome of various physical, social, psychological and symbolic functions
For example if we want to design concert hall, the form will be the abstract of functional data which is defined by the distance of the seats the place of foyer the relation between all functions and also a symbolic appearance of the building. In this type of design the context of the building is not considered and we can put the designed project in different sites and places with no attention to the contextual matters. In this theory architects must act like a scientist. It means that they have to find some form in a body of pre existing facts. So it can be named as kind of true and false game. The designer will do its job according to client`s needs climatological conditions and community values. The difference is here that architects cannot define general lows for the design solution as like as the scientists do.

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Introduction to architectural theory

  1. 1. Instructor: Prof. Dr. Nazife Özay Presentation: Ata Chokhachian
  2. 2. What is design? What is the source of architect`s design idea? At first step architect tries to collect information randomly requirements, intentions and assumptions Functional requirements Geometrical system which one comes first? Inner intuition Practice theory Many theories about the source of form are developed to improve the process of practice and on the other hand much practice was the outcome of these theories
  3. 3. Architecture theorists did not invent their theories spontaneously, but rather inherited from their cultures a number of attitudes, methods and events specific philosophies that shaped their ideas about the source of form. Most of the theories have prevailing set of beliefs and most have basic views in a culture about the nature of the world the nature of humans and their abilities and the relation between the two. The fundament is human and nature and its interaction. In order to judge the theories most of the time we have to examine them by each other it means compare or criticize head to head Theory of design education and theory of design is most of the time presented together and they need each other to be practical for both students and practitioners.
  4. 4. Theories of Form 5 factors that is the base of conceptual foundation for most of the historical theories (the factors that shaped architectural form) -Function -Creative imagination -Spirit of the age -Social and economic conditions - Form out of particular designers, cultures, climates
  5. 5. PieterCornelis"Piet"Mondriaan
  6. 6. 1. Architectural form shaped by its intended function: The form is outcome of various physical, social, psychological and symbolic functions Ex. Concert hall (seats/foyers/symbolic appearance), hospital Architect must act like a scientist(finding some form in a body of pre existing facts/a kind of true and false game) and pay attention to client`s needs climatological conditions and community values. The difference is here that architects cannot define general lows for the design solution as like as the scientists do.
  7. 7. avoid preconception find design problems gather facts analyse implications synthesize (draw out) Functional Design Process
  8. 8. The function alone cannot be the main concern in designing a building form because: All of the buildings in the same function and the same climate and place have to be in the same form There will be no evidence of particular architect`s personality in the problem solution, form generation and detailing
  9. 9. 2. architectural form is generated within the creative imagination: (personalized) The form creation process happens in architects mind and the exact source is not clear The mixture of special feelings and innovative ideas and the source is dependent on architect`s personalities In creative design theory when functional issues come inside the creative source can be crushed by too many constraints (budget, site, structure, climate) In architecture design just creativity cannot be the power of form finding because in the urban scale we need some similarities and rules not only the personal ideas. The similarities can be some patterns in functional or formal outputs. (basilica plan, courtyard, atrium)
  10. 10. 3. architecture form is shaped by the prevailing sprit of the age: (non-Physical forces) The main design is guided or based on several certain sprits or set of shared attitudes. Unconsciously the design is passed through some limitations The source if this design idea can be found in the air or in the environment of the era (age) The design will have some characteristics which manifest that it has dependency on specific style (renaissance, gothic, post modern) But again in this kind of design we have some people that have the ability to step outside of these sprits and framework whom later create a new style with their power of imagination and curiosity
  11. 11. 4.architectural form is determined by the prevailing social and economic conditions: (Physical forces) Some limits which are created by the society or politic conditions and urban scale and the building becomes the mirror of the architect`s social reality. (urban issues) The difference between design of buildings like palace in early 17th like monarchy and open plans like democratic societies in early 19th In this style also we can find quite different architectural forms created side by side in the same socio-economic system so sometimes this theory cannot be helpful Like functionalists and the sprit theories, this one also has difficulty explaining the stamp of the designer`s personality on a building form.
  12. 12. 5. architectural form derives from timeless principles of form that transcend particular designers, cultures and climates In this approach of design the designer should look for climatic and cultural issues which are timeless beauty and meaning (basilicas, courtyards, atriums) In this style there will be some universal principals of Art like rhythm, proportion, scale, contrast, color, ... which enables the designer to create endless variety of virtual forms and each one obeys the essential characteristics of good design. According to these 5 principles of visual form creation, again it is impossible to explain why many different buildings which are purported to have these universal characteristics, again look in variety shapes?
  13. 13. None of these theories seems to give complete and convincing account of the source of design idea but, now many designers tend to use several ideas simultaneously to explain the source of design idea. Simply mixing these does not make a coherent theory Here we have two believes about theory: -theories which seem that the source of the form lies outside the designer , independent of personal ideologies (functional determinism, socio-economic) - theories that the source of the form somehow lies inside the designer`s mind (individual personal views, experiences, inner emotions, insights and tastes)
  14. 14. outside external information external expressing avoid personal preconceptions get in tune with outside conditions the form product of outside determinantas the skills of design are easily thought Emphasize on functional requirements inside transpersonal conditions internal expressing personal conception turn back on outside straint the form product of inner intuitions the intuitions are inherent in the mind talk about design as creative activity
  15. 15. Subject-object problem Its originated from the ancient Greeks where they try to explain the origin and nature of universe This theory tend to explain the relationship between man and world, we have two interpretations: 1. the individual can be thought as a physical object n nature whose behaviors are completely determined by the law of universe (the person is physical object part of his surroundings) 2. the individual can be thought as a freely thinking and acting. Creative subject whose actions are determined by him/herself (the person is a subjective being stand outside his surroundings)
  16. 16. design theory 1. is scientific process of taking existing information outside (World) 2. is artistic process of inventing new information (Mind) Theorists through out history have articulated variations on 6 archetypal interpretations of the individuals relation ship to the outside world: - creation - knowledge
  17. 17. -Theories of creation 1. classical tradition: the source of form is to be found outside of the mind and as the source of the form is universally true it remains unchanged according to culture or environmental issues. So the designer must acquire the knowledge of universal language 2. romanticism: has the completely different point of view and insists that the form is to be found in the inner intuitions of individual designer. (the importance of individual ability, inspiration and genius) The education will be cultivation of personal recourses 3. positivism: this idea emphasizes the importance of external phenomena. So the material in the outside world jumps unaided into the mind. (paint whatever you see)
  18. 18. The theories of knowledge 1. empiricism: knowledge of universal and abstract concepts originated in the external world. In this theory the mind offers little to the knowledge so it is a blank tablet which the external world writes its knowledge on it. Analyze the date found in the external world synthesize out of it 2. continental rationalism: they believe that as the objective knowledge originates from the external world on the other hand the same knowledge is also somehow in the structure of the mind. 3. German idealism: they claim that the knowledge must also originate in the mind. The mind creates the world from inner resources and then surveying its own work
  19. 19. positivism (empircism) classicism (rationalism) romanticism (idealism) WorldMind Knowing (science) Creating (art)