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Phenomenon

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					Phenomenon
    Christian Norberg-Schulz

•   One of the key figures in bringing phenomenology from philosophy to
    architecture
•   Interprets the ideas of Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) from ‘Building Dwelling
    Thinking’

•   Norberg-Schulz, Intentions in Architecture (1963)
    Uses linguistics, perceptual psychology and phenomenology in order to
    propose an understanding of architecture

•   Phenomenology defined by Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) as a ‘systematic
    investigation of consciousness and its objects’

•   Norberg-Schulz:
    phenomenology is a method that helps establish a   ‘return to things’ - as
    opposed to abstraction and mental constructs.
•   Norberg-Schulz claims phenomenology to be useful in architecture in that it is
    about creating places and hence making the environment
    meaningful

•   He brings back the ancient Roman concept of Genius Loci, the spirit of a
    place
•   It is the ‘other’ than humanity needs to confront in order to ‘dwell’ (i.e.
    meaningfully exist)

•   Dwelling = ‘being at peace in a protected place’
•   Enclosure becomes the archetypal act of building; it is the ‘true’ origin of
    architecture
•   Enclosure = differentiating a place within space


•   He places emphasis on the basic architectural elements: wall, floor, ceiling
•   Equivalent to horizon, boundary and frame in nature


•   ‘Architecture clarifies the location of human existence’
•   Vittorio Gregotti: the site needs to intensify through an act of building
•   It needs to offer an understanding of nature and man’s role in it

•   Other than focus on site, phenomenology also focuses on tectonics
•   Architectural detail is taken to explain and clarify the character of the
    environment


•   Phenomenology brought back the     sensuous qualities of materials,
    light and colour + the symbolic meaning of structural detail (joints)

•   All these are, according to Norberg-Schulz, extremely important as   poetic
    components of dwelling
•   His critique of modernist architecture: in insisting on functionality and abstraction
    it forgot the importance of ‘dwelling’

•   While meaning is approached though semiology, he finds it inadequate to
    addressing architecture


•   Architecture should provide an existential foothold, orientation in
    space, and identification with place; this is the opposite of alienation

•   Was influenced by Kevin Lynch’s Image of the City (1960)

•   For Norberg-Schulz, architecture ‘presents’, ‘brings into presence’ - it does
    not represent
    Juhani Pallasmaa

•   Concerned with the loss of communicative power in architecture

•   Meaning in architecture depends on the ability to symbolise human presence
    It also depends on spatial experience


    The experience of architecture is   synthetic and operates on many levels -
•   Mental/physical
•   Cultural/biological
•   Collective/individual


•   He redresses the question of experience through the notions of memory,
    imagination and the unconscious

•   Claims that the richest interpretations come from the simplest forms:
    Column, gable, arch, dome, tower, etc.
•   Kenneth Frampton (in 1974)

    4 reasons the architecture (at the time) wasn’t contributing to ‘dwelling’:

•   1 not all building is architecture - and people fail to recognise that

•   2 industrialised construction is not suffieciently questioned - emphasis should
    shift to craftsmanship

•   3 the apparent autonomy of the practice is at odds with ‘place-making’

•   4 loss of rapport with nature - technology-led destruction of resources


    Architecture should demarcate a place - which has important political
    and symbolic value
•   Frampton moves on in the 1980s to propose the notion of   Critical
    Regionalism
    (term originally coined by Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

•   The text goes on to become extremely influential on practitioners
•   Combines critical theory with phenomenology

•   The critical aspect:
    Marxist interpretation of consumerism and of architecture’s becoming
    ‘fashion’
•   The phenomenological aspect:
    Insists on place and tectonics

•   The aspect of site in Critical Regionalism relies on Vittorio Gregotti’s
    understanding (‘building the site’) and is shown to be manifest in the work of
    Alvar Aalto and Louis Kahn

    Also important:
•   the use of local materials and craftsmanship
•   light and climate
•   Critical Regionalism offers resistance to the homogenisation of the built
    environment

•   But that doesn’t mean that it is opposed to modernism or that it advocates
    vernacular styles

•   The pre-WW2 modernism is commended by Frampton


•   He also adopts the already existing distinction between   culture and
    civilisation which in his work corresponds to the difference between
    nature and technology
    Tadao Ando

•   Stresses the importance of site and locality, while acknowledging that it is a
    question of ‘development through and beyond modernism’

•   Works with: clear function, simplicity of form, and introduction of nature
•   Nature + use of materials = reflection (the poetic and spiritual aspects)


•   Architecture produces a new landscape and should therefore be
    responding to the characteristics of the particular place
•   A good balance leads to a ‘spiritual awakening’ (similar to ‘dwelling’)

•   But part of all this is a distinction between Eastern and Western attitudes and
    traditions regarding nature:
    Japanese - between nature and architecture there is a spiritual threshold;
    Western - the same thing is supposedly perceived as a boundary

•   Materials: seemingly just concrete - but also light, wind…
Ando, Azuma House, Sumiyoshi, 1975-6
Ando, Church of Light, Osaka, 1988-9
Ando, Church on the Water, Toammu, 1985-8
Ando, The Water Temple,
Awaji, 1990-1
Ando, Chikatsu Asuka Historical Museum, Osaka, 1991-4
Ando, Japan Pavilion for EXPO ‘92, Seville
Ando, The Museum of Wood, Hyogo, 1993-4
Ando, Koshino House, Kobe, 1980-4
Peter Zumthor

				
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