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Architectural theory

“The societal function of architecture is the innovative ordering and framing of communicative interaction.” – Patrik Schumacher.

Architectural theory is, for me, one of the most fascinating, thought provoking, complex areas of study out there.

The great thing about me saying this is Architectural theory delves into almost every possible study available – science, maths, sociology, anthropology, semiology, religion, psychology, the arts (as opposed to Art with a capital ‘A’), history, philosophy etc etc etc. If you’re after a starting point I suggest you read ‘Rethinking Architecture’ by Neil Leach. It’s possibly one of my favorite books. I also suggest an essay by Jorge Silvetti titled ‘The muses are not amused: pandemonium in the house of Architecture‘. For me this essay, which I read for the first time mid last year, changed the way I look at design. It is an extremely hard read and something you may need to read a few times over, but once its underlying ideas begin to come through you will see where I am coming from.

It’s early on a Saturday morning (around 7am) and rather than getting ready for my Saturday morning 10km run, I am lying in bed nursing a badly sprained ankle watching a lecture by Patrik Schumacher titled ‘Parametric Order-21st Century Architectural Order‘ held @ Harvard GSD earlier this year. Patrik is the co-founder of Zaha Hadid Architects, one of the many talent filled architectural studios currently in practice. Lectures like this are so extremely inspiring! I cannot help but miss the design studios at uni, which is a little ironic given I am in bed missing something in which I barely get the time to sleep in a bed… let alone lye awake in one.

The three key notions, as Patrik entitles them, which set the underpinning structure for his theory are :
  • Parametric organisation
  • Parametric phenomenology
  • Parametric semiology (semiology is the study of signs or signifiers)

The slide following the one which contained the three notions above has been placed below. This, in many ways, can be seen as Patrik’s architectural manifesto I think. I have uploaded the entire lecture below also. Well worth watching when you have a spare 2.5hrs.

Patrik Schumacher's Architectural manifesto


Categories: Blog
Posted by Brett Wawn on October 5, 2012

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