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Katie

Umenthum

Around the Table1: Hegelian2 Synthesis3

Characters:4

Architect, (Arch) listens to all arguments and guides contemporary design decisions. Engineer, (Eng) argues that the key to architecture is reality: environment, physics, and economics. Art Historian, (AH) argues that art, theory and history are the key to architecture. The People, (Peo) argue for their needs and the newest trends in architecture to follow popular opinion.

Scene I: Where does Architecture come from? 5 Eng: Architecture stemmed from a need6 to protect ourselves from the elements. Peo: The building follows our actions.7 There must be purpose. AH: Purpose stems from the history of the form. A building is not an empty shell. Even the first structures built served more than simple physical necessity; they provided an expression of culture8. Peo: The cultural associations dissolve over the centuries. Only the physical associations with form make
sense eternally. 9

Eng: Form must follow function;10 design must follow the materials and methods of construction.11
1 The conversation overheard by the Architect informs decisions for new design. The Architect must consider

each viewpoint as a valid argument and find the Hegelian synthesis for what must be achieved in the design decisions of today. 2 Hegel acknowledged the many polar opposites that exist throughout architecture and decided neither was completely correct. For ideally we find a balance between divergent theories. 3 Learn from the past, but create anew. New architecture, an organic living system, builds anew from the seeds of the past. Let it mix and develop not of one architect or style, but of many. (Boito, 67) 4 The characters represent different viewpoints of design that resonate in the Architects mind. The Engineer speaks for the structural responsibilities and an awareness of materials and technicalities of building. The Art Historian focuses on preserving art, culture, and the ideals behind built objects that have collected through time. The People stress that architecture must serve their needs, although they cannot say what that is. 5 The origin of Architecture and the origin of the architect stem from a deeper idea, just as art is the origin of both artist and work. We seek the reality of the art work in order to find there the art prevailing within it. (Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought 17 & 37) 6 Our work is to be based on the soil of the practical life of our time (Lessing, 53.) 7 People come together to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, and then primitive architecture is built for the event. It is not that the architecture is there at the beginning; on the contrary, it is the human act of getting together that exists first. It is only afterwards that architecture comes in to being to envelope this action. (Toyo Ito, 292) 8 Although the shelter was all man physically needed, reviving handicraft as an art worthy of the best mens efforts fulfilled a satisfaction within man that is more necessary for living than shelter, it gives us purpose and something to live for, a reason to design and build. (Pevsner, 147) 9 Degrading stone and rusting steel embody age as an eternal association with history. Weathering marks the passage of time weathering brings the virtual future of a building into dialogue with its accrual present, as both are entangled in its past. (Mostafavi & Leatherbarrow, 304) The building that embodies a history becomes more accessible to people through its faults.

Manifesto 1

Katie Umenthum

AH: If form follows function then the space dies once program changes. The form is merely physical, the meaning is ephemeral12, and the form changes when each generation reinterprets it. But a form inspired by phenomena and beauty withstands the changes of use through time. 13 Peo: When the use of a structure changes then needs have changed and it is necessary to build anew to
accommodate current needs.14

AH: The physical needs may change, but societies die without a way to hold their heritage and culture. Eng: Societies also die when they can no longer expand their capacity to accommodate the population. Arch: ARCHITECTURE TOOK ITS SHAPE FROM THE PEOPLES NEED FOR PHYSICAL SHELTER BUT IT ORIGINATES FROM A DEEPER DESIRE OF MAN TO CREATE15. GOD CREATED US IN HIS IMAGE THAT WE MAY ALSO BUILD FROM WHAT HE HAS GIVEN US. AND FROM WHAT HE CREATED WE STRIVE TO IMITATE THE PERFECTION THAT HE HAS ALREADY ACHIEVED IN THE INTRICATE BALANCES OF THE WORLD16. WE BUILD FROM RAW MATERIALS AROUND US, MORE IMPORTANTLY WE BUILD ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF PAST GENERATIONS17 Scene II: How does history influence decisions now? Eng: Design methods build from the past18. Peo. We exist now. Decisions in history were situational19. What difference do they make now that the
decision has been made and integrated into our society? What cause have we to question? 20


10 Architecture is the correlation of structure and function, that if it is to be real and living and progressive its

forms must be the results of material and construction. (Schuyler, 36)


11 Buildings from an inner law without lies and ornamentation, to represent functionally their meaning and

purpose through the tension of their building masses, and to reject everything superfluous that masks their absolute form. (Gropius, 126) 12 Form and meaning exist as separate entities, yet parallel to one another. Much like a chemist who must define the exterior chemical properties versus the interior anatomical structure, so architecture is divided between the form and its meaning. (Ruskin, On Art and Life) 13 A building is a world within a world. Buildings that personify places of worship, or of home, or of other institutions of man must be true to their nature. (Kahn, Conversations with Students 28) 14 It might be more useful to recognize that certain changes are so enormous as to impose a directive which cannot be resolved in any individual life span. The People dont recognize needs beyond their living generations. (Rowe, 230) 15 The simple fusion of art and technology, of symbolical gesture and functional requirement is ideal for design that balances function and meaning. (Colin Rowe, 230) 16 Through our conscious being we sense the role of nature that made us. Our institutions of learning stem from the inspiration to learn, which is a sense of how we were made. (Kahn, Conversations with Students 18-19) 17 For literature and the arts, which are not based on mathematical reason or experimental matters, to break entirely with tradition means loosing a living, obvious, and compelling voice, and thereby losing their moral and civil effectiveness. (Boito, 67) 18 Traditional post-modernism looks back to history to see how things were done and to remind itself that many good ways of doing things which were cast aside for ideological reasons can be usefully rediscovered. (Stern, 270) 19 We freely recognize the vourishment we have received from the past; but we refuse to give up that most jealously guarded of our possessions, a free and ranging critical mind. (Rogers, 181)

Manifesto 2

Katie Umenthum

AH: Current society depends on an interpretation of its cultural heritage to remind the People where they come from.21 Eng: More so, history shows advancements in building technique and material.22 In each ancient era (stone, bronze, and iron) the products and buildings reflected the advantages of each new material. AH: And what of beauty?23 Eng: What of it? The synthesis between material and design is true beauty.24 Now with steel, glass and concrete, form can take on a new beauty instead of replicating designs that formerly represented the greatest advancements in masonry, wood and stone. AH: History provides a standard for the way things were done and defines terms within architecture such as beauty.25 The consequences of detaching from the meaning of a cultures history26 are seen more often then the opposite.27 Eng: Without progress we wither and die. To leave potential idle, we forgo the human condition to grow28 and create29. Peo: There must be growth in our society.30 And it must be beautiful. Arch: ARCHITECTURE IS BEAUTIFUL WHEN IT KNOWS ITS OWN IDEA AND HAS PURPOSE.31 HISTORY EXISTS IN DESIGN TO ENLIGHTEN THE LIVING GENERATION OF MAN. THE BEAUTY LIES IN REFERENCING ANCIENT MEANINGS OF

20

Decisions made in human history can either agree with what was once done, as in Stoicism, or disagree like

skepticism. The Stoics look upon history in terms of the true and the good, wisdom and virtue, but for many, architecture is about more than an agreement with the past. Having skepticism shows a freedom of thought, the ability to separate oneself from what has been done and choose a new method of expression. (Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 122-123) 21 Much like Hegels Geist, we only understand who we are now because of the journey we took to get here. 22 The present builders have the advantage of all the wisdom and experience of the ages to aid them in poetically inscribing todays milestone in the progress of humanity. (Gill, 87) 23 Architecture will be in bad shape if there is no impulse to prove that one can also make something beautiful without extra expense. (Berlage, 68) 24 Letting material dictate form leads towards the truth in architecture because construction should not be hidden under some fair-seeming mask, which had no affinity with it, and often represented something very different from it, but should be made apparent, and the basis of whatever adornment should be employed. (Holly, 26) 25 A fully undisturbed sense of beauty that still today leaves our generation unfulfilled, because we feel the tradition of beauty so dear to us is under attack. (Lucae, 38) 26 History allows the people to access the meaning of a structure, thus beginning a relationship. The integrity of architecture requires the existence of real relationships. The breakdown of these relationships with the world of needs, production, urban growth, collective meaning, tradition itself and professional practice correspond to their projection onto an imaginary plane of historical conjecture. (Gregotti, 283) 27 Places that have lost touch with the meaning in their culture are missing a signature, like in Egypt the houses of rich and poor alike are without character, without an Egyptian accent. The tradition is lost, and we have been cut off from our past (Fathy, 250) 28 The will to development recognizes a unified global image of our time; it presumes the longing to free spiritual values from their individual limitation and to raise them to objective validity. (Gropius, 126.) 29 By clothing modern ideas in modern dress, [we] adorn our design with living fancy, and rise to the height of our knowledge and capacities. (Sedding, 10) 30 We shall have design by living men for living men By simply mimicking the old masterpieces we are not leaving the world richer than we found it. (Sedding, 10)

Manifesto 3

Katie Umenthum
ARCHITECTURE, BECAUSE WE GRAPPLE WITH THE SAME CONCEPTS FOR ALL TIME. THE FORM, THE PHYSICAL BUILDING, IS NOT MEANT TO BE REPLICATED COLUMN FOR COLUMN, OR PEDIMENT FOR PEDIMENT.32 DEVELOPMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY AND MATERIAL CHANGE THE PHYSICALITY OF A BUILDING THROUGHOUT HISTORY. FOR LIVING ARCHITECTURE, WE MUST INCORPORATE INNOVATION33 IN NEW DESIGNS. EACH NEW STRUCTURE SHALL LOOK LESS LIKE THE LAST EVEN IF IT COMMENTS UPON THE SAME ARCHITECTURAL IDEA. CHANGING THE PHYSICAL FORM REINTERPRETS THE OLD IDEALS OF ARCHITECTURE FOR EACH NEW GENERATION AND REFLECTS A DISTINCT ATTITUDE OF THE ERA IN WHICH IT WAS BUILT.

Scene III: Where does architecture go from here? Eng: Technology permits cities to expand upwards and outwards through materials like steel and through the speed of transportation and construction methods.34 As Architecture becomes global, design becomes universal because of efficiency, specialization and the increasing ease to design across the globe. Peo: The universal architecture doesnt cater to our needs or reflect our lives.35 AH: Architecture embodies the spirit not only of a specific time36, but also a specific region.37If architecture is to resonate within a culture, it must stem from their traditions.38 Peo: Architectural ideas can carry beyond regionalism. Form and material tie a structure to a place. ENG: Understanding the region happens in the material palette and through sensitivity to the location.39 These become as important for efficient construction as global design. AH: The ultimate expression of an era can be seen in an awareness of the materials locally.40 But for the later, design; materials become an integral part of the equation.
31 The dangers of loosing an architectural tradition can be seen in Egypt, where as a direct result of this lack of

tradition [their] cities and villages are becoming more and more ugly. Every single new building manages to increase this ugliness, and every attempt to remedy the situation only underlines the ugliness more heavily. (Fathy, 250) 32 Contemporary architecture thrives on the ability and willingness to re-establish itself on a basis which cannot only deal with the past but also match it, value for value, building for building. (Stern, 270) 33 Innovation that still follows the architectural idea because of the importance of restoring that state of balance between unchecked fabulation and objective social realism necessary to prevent artistic production from degenerating into trivial self-indulgence. (Stern, 270) 34 The enlarged freedom to communicate outside ones place-community that the emerging technological and institutional changes promise, coupled with an ever-increasing mobility and ever-greater degrees of specialization will certainly mean that urbanites will deal with each other over greater and greater distances. (Webber, 202) 35 No one can look with complacency upon buildings transplanted to an alien environment. (Fathy, 250) 36 Old styles can be adapted to todays buildings in a useful and expressive way when they are copied in their organism and symbolism. (Boito, 67) 37 Regional Necessity is in each instance the mother of invention and the reason for its continuance. (Ford, 158) 38 It is the language of God. Science finds what is already there, but the artist makes that which is not there. Architecture exists from the needs that are present but creates more. (Kahn, Conversations with Students 26) 39 Environmental influences are enormously important. Concessions made to climate alone result in modifications in orientation, construction and external forms. Sensitiveness to materials new and old and their appropriate use is another of the many facets of the new architecture. (Ford, 158)

Manifesto 4

Katie Umenthum

Arch41: PAST ARCHITECTURE IS ENTIRELY NECESSARY FOR CURRENT ARCHITECTURE, WITHOUT IT A BUILDING BECOMES AN EMPTY FORM, NO DEPTH, NO MEANING.42 REGIONALISM BECOMES A PRIMARY FACTOR IN THE DESIGN PROCESS.43 IN THE ANALYSIS OF ARCHITECTURE SO MUCH IS LEFT UNEXPRESSED.44 STUDYING THE IDEA OF ARCHITECTURE45 IS MUCH LIKE A CONVERSATION. MANY OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THE CONVERSATION ARE RIGHT BY THEIR OWN STANDARDS. FINDING A TRUTH IN ARCHITECTURE DEVELOPS NOT FROM SIMPLY AGREEING OR DISAGREEING WITH DIFFERENT EXISTING IDEOLOGIES, BUT THROUGH FINDING THE NUANCES WITHIN THE ARGUMENT THAT RESONATE A DEEPER TRUTH. MY LIFE WILL BE SPENT TRYING TO FIND THE TRUTH BEHIND ARCHITECTURE. AS OF YET, THE VOICES OF OPPOSING THEORIES SHOUT FROM EITHER END OF THE SPECTRUM AND I STAND IN THE MIDDLE LISTENING, SLOWLY SHIFTING POSITION BUT CAUSIOUSLY. THERE IN LIES THE BEAUTY OF THE HEGELIAN SYNTHESIS, MAKING THE MIDDLE GROUND A PERFECTLY VALID PLACE TO STAND AND DEVELOP THE ARCHITECTURAL IDEA.

40 This is the manifestation of a region that is especially in tune with the emerging thought of the time. We call a

manifestation regional only because it has not yet emerged elsewhere. (Harris, 170)
41 As it is the province and privilege of the painter to see visions and of the poet to dream dreams. So the 42 Naturally that style should lose its archaeological character and preserve the fecundity of its own aesthetic

Architect may interpret these opinions to dream of a new design for the world. (Schuyler, 36)

seeds, from which the new culture could spring, (Boito, 67) Copying older architectural styles develops problems of its own. Too many try to copy and paste without realizing that the style is not about the form, style represents an entire era of ideology from the period. 43 A region may develop ideas. A region may accept ideas. Imagination and intelligence are necessary for both. (Harris, 170) 44 Architecture desires to be itself much like Color shines and wants only to shine. When we analyze it in rational terms by measuring its wavelengths, it is gone. It shows itself only when it remains undisclosed and unexplained. (Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought 45) 45 Architecture really does not exist Only a work of architecture exists. Architecture does exist in the mind. A man who does a work of architecture does it as an offering to the spirit of architecture a spirit, which knows no style, knows no techniques, no method. It just waits for that which presents itself. There is architecture, and t is the embodiment of the immeasurable. (Kahn, Conversations with Students 32-33)

Manifesto 5