Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design


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Briefly, those that are interested in "architecture beyond environment" might also want to peruse Gissen's Subnature more on my blog. Not to mention that anyone who's familiar with Geoff Manaugh's book and blog, or Mammoth , or InfraNet Lab , or Pruned would also be interested in this project. I hope it'll be a key volume on the shelf for anyone who wants to look beyond LEED points and architectural greenwash.

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See the Amazon page to order ships in early June for N. If you are affiliated with an academic institution that subscribes to Wiley-Interscience titles, you can check out the pdf's HERE , or you can also order digital copies via that last link. Related: Cero9 at work, as seen on Archdaily last year. The printed edition is available as of April 15 in the UK, and possibly other parts of Europe. North America: Early June. Will post a brief news item again when it's shipping in the U.

Ah yes. Forgot to mention that in the post. It is available in the UK and I guess Europe?

Early June for North America apparently. Thanks innes. Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site? Features News Events Competitions. One may say that, perhaps, architectural works do have all the properties of the material objects they consist in, but have in addition some properties not possessed by the objects, such as, for example, some aesthetic properties.

However, this discussion falls under the much more general issue of grounding the metaphysical difference between a work of art and the mere object it consists in, and is beyond the scope of this paper. Those who defend the building view will not be so naive as to maintain that architects cannot be in practice as architects also through creating things that are neither buildings nor—under some conceptions—material objects. Think of a urban square: this is a kind of thing that typically architects bring into existence, in spite of its apparently lacking some central features that identify material objects.

In fact, differently from ordinary material objects, urban squares seem to be entities topologically open in all directions but downward. No doubt they have no upper boundaries. Nor can we consider urban squares as mere surfaces, because—to say one thing—they seem to include the empty space people can walk through. Nonetheless it seems perfectly adequate to see urban squares as spatiotemporal particulars possessing a shape, a size, a location, and even a history. So the building view should be extended as to also account for those architectural works that coincide with spatiotemporal particulars other than material objects, yet much similar to them.

I assume such extension to be not particularly problematic. Rather, I want to stress that the building view is just one of many options; and, some alternative conceptions may capture more incisively what architects really do, or are asked to do by our societies, at least on some occasions. A first and fundamental choice is about considering architectural works to be concrete or at least spatiotemporal entities—as the building view does—or, by contrast, abstract entities lacking a spatiotemporal location.

The ontology of the architectural work and its closeness to the culinary work

Abstract entities, in turn, can be either mind-independent paradigmatic universals, 1 as well as abstract particulars if any or mind-dependent ideas. If you consider architectural works to be abstract entities, then—in opposition to advocates of the building view—you do not take them to need to be physically erected in order to fully exist. Although not every abstract entity is necessarily a type, a common way of seeing one kind of works symphonies included as abstract entities is recognising them as types, that is, as general sort of things admitting of particular concrete or at least spatiotemporal instances, or tokens Wetzel The same can be done with respect to architectural works.

At first glance understanding architectural works as types may appear as an ill-conceived idea, because it may seem that for something to be a genuine type it must admit of several possible concrete instances possessing different spatiotemporal locations; while, on the contrary, architectural works as abstract entities although lacking themselves, of course, a spatiotemporal location are often essentially characterised by time- and site-specific properties in the first place, thus limiting the spatiotemporal locations of their tokens to just one.

On further inspection, however, this is not a serious difficulty.

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Indeed for something to be a type it is sufficient that its tokens can differ in some respect , not necessarily in their spatiotemporal location. So there is room for considering architectural works as types also if they appear to be essentially characterised by time- and site-specific properties, provided that two possible genuine realisations of the work are not necessarily identical under every respect. Armstrong In any case, it is important to keep in mind that what we have to do with here is a trichotomy: abstract entity that is not also a type versus type versus concrete particular.

A second important choice is that among a narrow and a broad view of the architectural work. On a broad view, on the contrary, the spatial boundaries of the architectural work can be much more extended than that, and also, the work can constitutively possess much more kinds of properties. For instance, a supporter of the broad view may argue that whenever a new building designed by an architect is erected, the authentic architectural work that is thus produced is of very greater area or size: a new district or, even, a new town.

In fact not only a narrowly and, similarly, a broadly identified work can be an abstract entity, and possibly a type, rather than a concrete particular the second split being orthogonal to the first , but also—and we come to a third fundamental choice—it can be an event rather than an object. The third option is orthogonal to the other two; hence the building view is just one in twelve possibilities.

But how should we interpret the idea that the architectural work is really an event?


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Of course there are plenty of approaches in the history of architecture that have stressed how important it is for architects to think in terms of processes. Yet these suggestions were rarely meant to undermine the building view, which on the contrary was implicitly presupposed. Where can we find an architectural work literally regarded as an event? To begin with, Lopes has maintained that while according to standard Western ontology an architectural work is an object token and, more specifically, a material building, in traditional Japanese ontology architectural works are event tokens, which may also include one or more round of reconstruction.

Is there room for the idea that an architectural work is really an event also in the Western world? A range of recent work by geographers drawing primarily on the insights of actor network theory Lees ; Llewellyn ; Jacobs ; Jacobs et al.

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This is the main reason why some Jacobs ; Rose et al. In consequence, many architects aware of this kind of literature have explicitly embraced the idea that what they essentially and eventually produce as architects are rather complex spatial processes prioritizing social and economic objectives than material objects Lorne Perhaps this is the most adequate vision of the event that the goshoden of Ise Jingu may consist in.

Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment

And, again, one can or better, must combine each of these separate options with the idea that the architectural work is the event token or, as an alternative, the event as an abstract entity, somehow identified. As previously clarified, it is possible to understand an architectural work as an abstract entity in two ways: as a mere abstract entity, and as an abstract entity that is also a type. While mere abstract entities do not admit of more than one and a single concrete realisation, types do. Bearing this difference in mind, let us try to identify the abstract entity that the architectural work might be.

A most natural move is perhaps identifying it with the content of the architectural design. But this move will reveal hasty. For the content of the architectural design often contains too little information in respect to the abstract entity the work should consist in, if at all. Architectural works are often constituted also by properties over which the architectural design normally remains silent, such as, environmental, geographical or social properties.

In fact, if we imagine to have the capability to relocate buildings to a far way location after meticulous stone-by-stone transfer, still we must admit that some of the corresponding architectural works would not survive the change. For example, Palazzo Sansedoni, or the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, would not survive a relocation to Tokyo—while an anonymous block of flats probably would Bacchini I take the reason to be that some architectural works, but not all, are to be broadly identified.

By contrast, taking the architectural work to reside in the content of the architectural design normally is identifying it narrowly. This is the first reason why we should abstain from always equating the abstract entity the architectural work may consist in with the content of the architectural design. Of course some architectural designs can and actually do make reference to some environmental, geographical or social properties as constitutive properties of the work. Could we take the corresponding broadly identified architectural works to consist in the content of such designs?

Consider, first, that in any case identifying the architectural work with the content of the architectural design entails allowing that the work is completed when the design is completed, and before that any physical realisation appears. I think that there is room for ascribing multiple realisability also to those architectural designs indicating some environmental, geographical or social properties as constitutive properties of the work. So, if architectural works have to consist in the content of architectural designs, then architectural works are types in any case.

Photographer: Patrick Reynolds. Contractor: John Armstrong. So, architecture is not a two-stage activity after all—at least not always.


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  8. Ironically, then, the more architects are imaginative and resourceful, the less they are to be considered as the unique authors of the architectural works they design. Few other fields of human activity resemble architecture in this respect. One possibly the only is cooking. Of course, we remain also free to say that the culinary works are the concrete particulars, or the mere abstract entities corresponding to each of them. But this option—like for architecture—becomes more and more attractive, even inescapable, as we examine forms of cooking progressively more tending to innovate and characterised by a higher degree of freshness and novelty.

    Gualtiero Marchesi, Dripping of Fish Photographer: Massimo Borghi. However, one may object that my argument is ill-conceived.

    But while this appears to be true of Number 8 and Under Pohutukawa Residence , both of which consist in one and a single, non-reproducible concrete particular or, at most and perhaps not in the Number 8 case, in a mere abstract entity only determinable after that the one corresponding concrete particular appears , Dripping of Fish may rather seem a type.

    After all, Marchesi seems to have physically realised it plenty of times. The problem, I think, is that we forget that cooking is special in that each concrete particular is necessarily destroyed 12 by the one person that has a full experience of it. This is why Marchesi had to replicate Dripping of Fish plenty of times: because the original Dripping of Fish was actually destroyed in when someone perhaps Marchesi himself ate it 13 ; and, replicating it again and again was the best way to let other persons have an experience as closest as possible to his.

    Rather, there are plenty of works— Dripping - of - Fish 1 , Dripping - of - Fish 2 , Dripping - of - Fish 3 , Dripping - of - Fish 4 , and so on—each consisting in a concrete particular very soon destroyed by someone or, perhaps, gone rotten , and sharing as many properties as possible, though necessarily not all of them. The situation would be identical for architecture, and painting, if also in these fields concrete particulars were necessarily destroyed by people fully perceiving them.

    Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design by David Gissen

    Suppose that this were the case, and Pollock and Herbst Architects had to continuously replicate Number 8 and Under Pohutukawa Residence in order to let people have an experience similar to that of their destroyers. By contrast, if culinary works were not doomed to early destruction and could be gustatively experienced by infinitely many people without being dissolved, Marchesi would likely have produced just Dripping - of - Fish 1 —or at most a few more variations, as painters do—and then would have moved on.

    Indeed painters do happen to paint sequences of works that are almost identical to each other. Yet the works are invariably the concrete particulars. Nobody would say that there is a work of art, whose name is Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin and whose author is Vincent Van Gogh, consisting in one type and instanced five times.

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    Therefore stereotypical and vernacular architecture stands to Under Pohutukawa Residence as stereotypical and traditional cooking stands to Dripping of Fish i that is, to each single member of the Dripping of Fish series. While in stereotypical cases the work can be regarded as a narrow type specified by the architectural design, or the recipe, when we come to more original and creative cases the work is a concrete particular, or at most a mere abstract entity only determinable after that the one corresponding concrete particular appears.

    Moreover, such concrete particular or, such mere abstract entity is often to be identified broadly. Understanding why this requirement holds for architecture—and in the first place what it is for an architectural work to be identified broadly—is relatively simple. We judge that we can relocate an anonymous block of flats, or a kitHAUS pre-fab module, without attempting on its identity. Therefore, no environmental or geographical property is constitutive of the architectural works that the anonymous block of flats, and the kitHAUS pre-fab module, are or, are instances of.

    Therefore, such architectural works can be identified narrowly; and we are free to equate them with the concrete particulars, a mere abstract entity, or the type expressed by the architectural design, which is normally narrow. In the Under Pohutukawa Residence , however, we cannot dismiss as contingent any of relational properties between the house and its amazing natural context. Not only destroying the beach, or the Pohutukawa trees, would destroy the work or, this instance of the work.

    Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design
    Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design
    Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design
    Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design
    Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design

Related Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment: Architectural Design



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