Architectural Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern

Katrina Gauci
Mind Map by Katrina Gauci, updated more than 1 year ago
Katrina Gauci
Created by Katrina Gauci about 5 years ago


Mind Map on Architectural Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern, created by Katrina Gauci on 01/10/2015.

Resource summary

Architectural Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern
1 Phenomenology (from Greek phainómenon "that which appears" and lógos "study") is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness.
2 The term architectural phenomenology came into wide use in the post-war period to refer to the study of architecture as it presents itself to consciousness in terms of so-called archetypal human experiences, such as the bodily orientation of up and down, the perce- ptions of light and shadow, or the feelings of dryness and wetness.
3 Examining architecture through questions of perception and affect, as opposed to the analytic tradition of analysing buildings in terms of stylistic rules of composition.
4 architectural phenomenology was a continuation of efforts to restore the lost unity of experience architecturally, but it was also different insofar as it posited authentic experience as something timeless and fundamentally external to modernity.
5 Post modern architecture - experience architecture - a major triumph over the aesthetic and intellectual constraints of modern architecture.
5.1 Jean Labatut, Charles Moore, Christian Norberg-Schulz, and Kenneth Frampton, whose teachings and writings made their impact on architectural culture slowly and deliberately, over decades rather than years.
5.1.1 Their ambivalence of the relationship between theory and practice sowed the seeds of anti-intellectualism into contemporary architectural theory.
6 Architectural pheno- menology refers to this ambiguous intellectual realm, and to the process whereby architects grew self-aware of its ambiguity, testing, contesting, celebrating, and exploiting it for the purpose of defending the belief that architectural practice embodied a unique mode of intellectuality that could not be separated from aesthetic experience.
7 Design vs Theory
7.1 Some enthusiastically embrace it – usually the design faculty – commonly using it to signify, more or less restrictively, the ideas of paying close attention to the role that sensory experience plays in our understanding of architecture, and of designing in such a way as to rein- force recognizable patterns of experiencing buildings.
7.2 Others emphatically reject it – typically the history and theory faculty – as a soft type of history and theory at best, and at worst as a dangerous form of detheorized history and dehistoricized theory, which takes the critical bite out of intellectual work in order to operatively legitimate architec- ture’s status quo.
8 Architectural phenomenology was an early phase in the intellectual devel- opment of postmodernism.
8.1 It was important not only for setting the stage for later struc- turalist and post-structuralist phases of post- modernism but also for radically expanding what was deemed legitimate intellectual work in architecture.
8.2 theoretical questions regarding the authenticity of the human experience of architecture and place, and the stability of history as a grounding source of design.
8.2.1 these questions were turned into their negative form during the later deconstructivist phase of postmodernism, but remained its defining themes.
8.3 Robert Venturi, whose Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
8.3.1 Refer to text from Theory and Manifestos
8.4 Change in concepts over phenomenology is affected by architects generation and the situation in which they live
8.5 Arguments counteracting phenomenology
8.5.1 Architecture and Politics
8.6 Deconstructive post modernism
8.6.1 reproached architectural phenomenology for mishandling the postmodernist themes of history and theory, and for having essen- tialized both into a specious notion of univer- sal human experience.
9 abatut had made the case that the historical sources of architecture should be expanded beyond the reduced vocabulary of classicism to include roadside commercial advertising billboards and other emblems of popular culture.
9.1 The key to that expansion was Labatut’s four-step process to learn to experience existing things in a modern way, assimilate the inner experiential lessons, forget the outer form of the object, and create the same experience within a different form
10 Architectural phenomenology coalesced into a coherent discourse through the intertwining of the search for authentic experience and the search to reconcile modernism with its own history.
11 Architectural phenomenology, the dis- course that wove together sensorial experi- ence and architectural history, achieved coherence by interlacing three thematic strands. Woven together, these three strands defined architectural phenomenology and its legacy.
11.1 (1) EXPERIENCE: - the senses were not historically determined - buildings are designed with the human body in mind - bodily experience became the point of entry for spiritualist and religious interpretations of architecture - began to turn against modernism’s secular objectivity.
11.2 (2) HISTORY: - modernist belief that historical buildings were expressions of a deeper structuring reality, which was thought to remain constant across time.
11.3 (3) THEORY: - emerged as an early instance of interdisciplinarity - supports the thesis that experience was the ‘essence’ of architecture - architects searched for evidence in other disciplines, most notably in phenomenological philosophy - an ambiguous but unique realm, at the intersection of the professional architect’s and the historian’s practice - transformed the tradition of architectural historiography - resulting in important new theories and modes of writing architectural history, which incorporated the visual and experiential sensitivity of architectural design.
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