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Concepts in Architecture

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Concepts and Architectural Design, Concept Hierarchies, Five Types of Concepts

Concepts in Architecture

  1. 1. IVTH YEAR, THEORY OF ARCHITECTURE, DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE, SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY, Concepts in Architecture Asst. Prof. Sumantra Misra, M.Arch, PhD Research Scholar, Department of Architecture, School of Engineering, Adama Science and Technology University
  2. 2. Module Structure Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concept Hierarchies Appropriateness Self Criticism Five Types of Concepts Analogies Metaphors andSimiles Essences Direct Responseand Problem Solving Ideals
  3. 3. A simple definition of a concept suggests that concepts are ideas that integrate various elements into a whole. These elements can be ideas, notions, thoughts, and observations. Concepts are the antithesis of notions, which do not make any pretense about being appropriate. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts
  4. 4. Concepts are the antithesis of notions, which do not make any pretense about being appropriate. A concept implies appropriateness; it supports the main intentions and goals of a project and respects each project’s unique characteristics and restrictions. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts
  5. 5. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts – 5 Similes architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations,
  6. 6. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes Architectural ideas are concepts that have been reduced to a formal architectonic concern like daylight, space, sequences of spaces, integration of structure and form, and sitting in the landscape.
  7. 7. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes Each can influence the general design of a building. The specific architectonic concern is then used as the basis for the design decisions that follow.
  8. 8. architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes A theme is a specific pattern or idea that recurs throughout the design of a project Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts
  9. 9. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes Charles Moore suggests that his work is a search for the particular way in which each of several themes or principles that interest him can be developed.
  10. 10. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes The title of a booklet on Louis I, Kahn’s Kimball Art Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas, is “Light is the Theme.”
  11. 11. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes Super organizing ideas refer to the general geometric configurations or hierarchies that the parts of a project should respect.
  12. 12. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes Urban design and campus planning provide some clear examples in which overall organizing patterns are established and the pattern idled in.
  13. 13. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes This was true in Jefferson’s design, where there is a clear overall pattern yet the individual houses have their own identities.
  14. 14. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes The goal of the super organizing idea was to give enough structure to the pattern so that the individual parts could be developed with their own idiosyncrasies and still support the whole.
  15. 15. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes The parti (Scheme) and esquisse (sketch) are the conceptual and graphic products of a particular method of instruction developed in the Beaux Arts Schools of France during the nineteenth century.
  16. 16. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes This method demanded that students develop their conceptual skills to a high level. They were expected to develop a concept and preliminary sketch of the building configuration in the first few hours of work on a project and to hold to that parti throughout the project.
  17. 17. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes Literal translation is a phrase used by Edward Larrabee Barnes to describe the goal of developing a concept and diagram that can become the simplified plan for the project.
  18. 18. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes To Barnes, the concept for a project should be expressible in the kind of sketch one might do on a napkin. Presumably, that original diagram would be just as visible and identifiable in the finished building as it was on the napkin.
  19. 19. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts architectural ideas, themes, super organizing ideas, parti and esquisse, literal translations, Concepts – 5 Similes This method demanded that students develop their conceptual skills to a high level. They were expected to develop a concept and preliminary sketch of the building configuration in the first few hours of work on a project and to hold to that parti throughout the project.
  20. 20. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Concept formulation is not an automatic activity; it takes a concentrated effort to develop a concept that appropriately integrates things not previously brought together.
  21. 21. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Bringing things together is a creative act-one that designers, architects, critics, artists, musicians, and writers have identified as being about 10 percent inspiration or genius and 90 percent hard work.
  22. 22. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Concept formulation is an unfamiliar activity for most people, and students of architecture have as much trouble mastering it as they do other aspects of design.
  23. 23. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Three problems block skill development in conceptualizing. •The first block deals with problems of communication, •the second with inexperience, and •the third with the problems of generating hierarchies.
  24. 24. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Three problems block skill development in conceptualizing. •The first block deals with problems of communication, Surprisingly, the most difficult communication problem is not in explaining our concepts to others, but in explaining our ideas to our selves. Designers learn to develop a dialogue within their own minds as a prelude to explaining ideas to others.
  25. 25. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Three problems block skill development in conceptualizing. •The first block deals with problems of communication, Another communication problem that influences concept formulation is graphic communication. In architecture, everything must get drawn if it is to be build, and drawings comprise half of the contract documents for building. The process of sketching should begin early so that the proposal and its concept can continually be criticized and improved.
  26. 26. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Three problems block skill development in conceptualizing. •the second with inexperience, Concepts are difficult to invent if they are an unfamiliar aspect of architecture. Since many buildings are built without the benefit of a concept and since most critics and many architects avoid writing about them, it is relatively easy for the beginning designer to have no ambitions for concepts and no understanding of the role they play in building design.
  27. 27. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Three problems block skill development in conceptualizing. •the third with the problems of generating hierarchies. This is especially a problem for the beginning student who, because of lack of experience, has difficulty deciding if an idea is a brilliant concept or an awful one. The architect must be able to make discerning judgments.
  28. 28. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Ideas are specific, concrete thoughts we have as the result of an understanding insight, or observation. Buildings and building design are composed of many small decisions, and it is important to develop skills in generating ideas and concepts that respond to the wide variety of issues that emerge. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios
  29. 29. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Notions are very similar to ideas except that there is a connotation of randomness. Notions are ideas that are presumed to be insubstantial, unsubstantiated, or often trivial when tested against other ideas. Still, there is always the possibility that there is an important germ of truth hiding in even a glib remark. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  30. 30. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design One of the basic tenets of scientific problem solving, or synectics, as it is called by Gordon, is random idea generation. When one is working on a problem that has evaded resolution, any idea or notion might contain the germ of the solution. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  31. 31. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Synectics and other idea-generation techniques depend on the ability of a small group of people to generate many ideas- some of them apparently absurd, irrelevant, and notional-as the initial and critical step in a process aimed at resolving the problem. Students can expect to be inventing notions when they wish they were inventing concepts. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  32. 32. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Concepts are similar to ideas, in that they are specific thoughts we have as a result of an understanding, except that a concept has this particular characteristic. It is a thought concerning the way several elements or characteristics can be combined into a single thing. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  33. 33. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design In architecture, a concept also identifies how various aspects of the requirements for a building can be brought together in a specific thought that directly influences the design and its configuration. A concept in architecture is an ambitious thing, the result of a concentrated and imaginative effort to bring apparently dissimilar things together. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  34. 34. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design The character or expression of any building can only be achieved if it is itself a total expression. Like any work of art, it must be dominated by a strong, simple concept. All of its parts must be an active part of one dominant attitude. This is true whether the elements and decisions are big, early ones, like plan and structural systems, or later ones, like interior color and door knobs. This challenge of making a building a total expression seems to me the highest and most difficult one. But it is the one that I think must concern all of us most. – Eero Saarinen Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  35. 35. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Given that the requirements for a building can number in the hundreds, supplemented by additional requirements and goals that the architects themselves incorporate, it should be apparent that a single concept statement that ties all the elements together could be both ambitious and elusive. Architects, in their writings and lectures about the concepts behind their designs, often offer short essays of scenarios that tie together all the important factors and ideas that influenced their solution. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  36. 36. Concepts and Architectural Design While the goal in developing a concept appropriate to a project is to integrate the various parts into a unified whole, a designer expects the final building itself to be the integrated statement of several concepts. The name for this design strategy based on concepts for individual parts is instrumentalism. An incremental attitude toward design suggests that architecture comes from resolving individual issues according to their own needs, and not by searching for overall concepts. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts
  37. 37. Concepts and Architectural Design Another strategy or resolving this dilemma is for the architect to be less demanding about how much a concept should include. Saarinen, although known for his enthusiasm for using concepts, typically generated only very general conceptual statements for his buildings. Saarinen often developed concepts only for one or two issues in a project, leaving the development of other aspects of the design to circumstances. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts
  38. 38. Concepts and Architectural Design The conceptual scenario expands the concept statement, turning it into a short essay that includes more than one major issue and identifies more than one set of visual images for the project. The conceptual scenario can be used to identify how all the important ideas and issues that might be left out in a briefer conceptual statement could be brought together in a longer prose statement. Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts
  39. 39. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts and Architectural Design Why not, then, build a temple, not to GOD in that way -more sentimental than sense - but build a temple to man, appropriate to his uses as a meeting place, in which to study man himself for his God’s sake? A modern meeting-house and good-time place. Build a beautiful ROOM proportioned to this purpose. Make it beautiful in this simple sense. A natural building for natural Man. . . That ROOM; it began to be that same night. Enter the realm of architectural ideas. The first idea - to keep a noble ROOM in mind, and let the room shape the whole edifice, let the room inside be the architecture outside. Frank Lloyd Wright Ideas Notions Concepts andIdeas Conceptual Scenarios Concepts
  40. 40. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts The sequence is ordered as: notion, idea, concept, and scenario. This is based on a pattern of increasing complexity, appropriateness, and depth of thought. In the early stages of a project, ideas have a good chance of being notion able, especially if minds are open to innovative, unusual, and imaginative thoughts that might help resolve unique or difficult design and programmatic requirements. At some point architects become more informed and familiar with the project and begin to identify some notions as more important and more appropriate than others. Finally, similarities, potential interactions, and groupings of ideas become apparent. These observations create the base from which a sustained argument for doing things is developed. Concept Hierarchies Appropriateness Self Criticism Concepts
  41. 41. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts The problem of choosing an appropriate form for concepts- whether metaphors, analogies, or scenarios-is less important than the self-criticism applied to those concepts as they are formulated. The key question in critical dialogue is still, “Is this idea appropriate to the project?” Both the concept and the solution should ultimately be appropriate and integrated with problems and activities of the building. Concept Hierarchies Appropriateness Self Criticism Concepts
  42. 42. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Another interesting variation on the question of appropriateness is whether or not concepts are necessary and appropriate for all building types. Are they appropriate for some buildings and not others? Both architects and critics have argued that not all buildings are” sculpturally” important or “foreground” buildings, that some buildings deserve to be “background” building Concept Hierarchies Appropriateness Self Criticism Concepts
  43. 43. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Five Types of Concepts Analogies Metaphors andSimiles Essences Direct Responseand Problem Solving Ideals There are five types of concepts: analogies (looking at other things), metaphors (looking at abstractions), essences (looking beyond the programmatic needs), programmatic concepts (looking at the stated requirements, and ideals (looking at universal values).
  44. 44. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Five Types of Concepts Analogies Metaphors andSimiles Essences Direct Responseand Problem Solving Ideals Most frequently used device Identify possible, literal relationships between things. One thing is identified as having all the desired characteristics, and thus it becomes a model for the project at hand. direct analogyies can be used in which one building provides an appropriate image for another project
  45. 45. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Five Types of Concepts Analogies Metaphors andSimiles Essences Direct Responseand Problem Solving Ideals Like analogies, metaphors identify relationships between things. However, the relationships are abstract rather than literal. Similes are metaphors that use the words “like” or” as” to express a relationship. Metaphors and similes identify possible patterns of parallel relationships while analogies identify possible literal relationships.
  46. 46. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Five Types of Concepts Analogies Metaphors andSimiles Essences Direct Responseand Problem Solving Ideals Essences distill and concentrate aspects of more complex issues into terse, explicit statements. Essence connotes insights into the most critical and intrinsic aspects of the thing being analyzed. A statement of the essence of something can also be the result of discovering and identifying the roots of an issue.
  47. 47. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Five Types of Concepts Analogies Metaphors andSimiles Essences Direct Responseand Problem Solving Ideals Not all concept capture the essence of a project, nor do they all symbolize the function of all the activities in a building. Concepts can be developed around more pragmatic issues often explicitly identified in the building program. While many architects take pride in their ability to solve a client’s problems, only a few actually make a pragmatic approach sound inspiring and many designers inadvertently avoid working on the problem at hand while trying to be creative.
  48. 48. Concepts and Architectural Design Concept Heirarchies Five types of Concepts Concepts Five Types of Concepts Analogies Metaphors andSimiles Essences Direct Responseand Problem Solving Ideals In contrast to the previous categories of concepts, which suggest that the architect look inside the problem or at a similar problem to discover appropriate concepts, ideal concepts are those that architects bring to the problem. If architects bring the right concept to the project, they are praised for their genius. If their choice is inappropriate, it becomes a preconception and their basic competence is questioned. Ideal concepts represent the highest aspirations and goals of the architect.
  49. 49. Thank you.

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