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Architecural Theory - Essay Example

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Name Tutor Date Architectural Theory An architect does not arrive at his, or her finished product solely by a sequence of rationalizations, like a scientist, nor does he or she reach them by uninhibited intuitions, like a musician or a painter…
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Architecural Theory
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Download file to see previous pages One is the external world, while the other is the hypothetical or internal world of our thoughts, imaginings, and interpretations, the world of psychology. The internal world houses our conceptions of the external, molded by notions handed down or across generations persuading or convincing; it is the realm of our rehearsals, associations, ideals, expectations, and hopes for it. This paper attempts to analyze a single architectural theory. Within the discipline of architecture, theory is a disclosure that describes the practice and production of architecture and identifies challenges to it. Theory overlaps with but differs from architectural history, which is descriptive of past work, and from criticism, a narrow activity of judgment and interpretation of specific existing works relative to the critic’s or architect’s stated standards (Johnson 9). Theory is different from these activities because it poses substitute remedies grounded on observations of the existing condition of the discipline, or presents new thought paradigms for approaching the issues (Ots and Alfano 17). It is tentative, anticipatory, and catalytic character makes theoretical activity different from history and criticism. Theory operates on different levels of abstraction, evaluating the architectural profession, its intentions, and its cultural relevance at large. Theory deals with architecture’s aspirations as well as its accomplishments (Johnson 11). Theory can be characterized by several attitudes towards the preservation of its subject matter: for the most part of it is prescriptive, proscriptive, affirmative, or critical. All of these differ from a natural, descriptive position. Prescriptive theory offers new or revived solutions for specific problems (Bertens 22). This theory functions by establishing new norms for practice. It, thus, promotes positive standards and sometimes even a design method. This type can be critical or affirmative of the status quo. The tone in either instance is often polemical. Almost similar to the prescriptive theory is the proscriptive theory. However, it differs in the sense that the standards state what is to be avoided in the design. Good architecture or urbanism in proscriptive terms is defined by the absence of negative attitudes. Functional zoning is an example of proscriptive theory (Ballantyne 15). Broader than descriptive and prescriptive writing, critical theory evaluates the built world and its relationships to the society it serves. This kind of polemical writing often has an expressed political or ethical orientation and intends to stimulate change. Among many possible orientations, critical theory can be ideologically based in Marxism or feminism (Hays 36). A typical example of critical theory is an architect and theorist Kenneth Frampton’s critical regionalism, which proposes resistance to the homogenization of the visual environment through the particularities of mediated, local building traditions. Critical theory is speculative, questioning, and sometimes utopian (White 24). Throughout history, one can identify recurring architectural themes that demand resolution, both conceptually and physically. Physical questions are resolved tectonically, while conceptual or intellectual questions are problematized in the manner of philosophy (Ots and Alfano 31). Perennial theoretical questions include the origins and limits of architecture, the relationship of architecture to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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