Vol. 6, No1 ( September 2001)

"I used to know a man. He knew the whole timetable by heart, because only trains could make him happy… He knew each train, knew where it was coming from, where it was going to, at what time it was supposed to arrive at what place, what trains would depart from there and accordingly when these trains were supposed to arrive at any station. He knew the train numbers, knew the days they were supposed to ride and whether they have a diner, whether they wait for connections or not. He knew which trains carry a postal car and how much you have to pay for a ticket to Frauenfeld, to Olten, to Niederbipp or to any other place…Yet he himself never entered a train. This would make no sense, he said, as he knew in advance when exactly the train would arrive. "Only people with a bad memory use trains" he said, "because having a good memory like myself they would remember the departure and arrival time and thus would not need to take a train in order to experience the time." I tried to explain to him, I said "Look, there are people who enjoy the ride, they like to take a train and look out of the window, watch the scenery and see where they pass by." In fact, he turned angry, believing I would make fun of him and he replied: "even that is written in the timetable, they will pass Luterbach, Deftingen, Wangen, Niederbipp, Önsingen, Oberbuchsiten, Egerkingen and Hägendorf." He even started to call the people at the station names. He shouted at them:…"You will pass Hangendorf" and he belived in doing so he would spoil their fun. He shouted: "You idiot, you already took that ride yesterday" and as people simply laughed he started to tear them from the running boards…"I can explain it all" he shouted, " you will pass Hägendorf at 2.27 pm, I know for sure, and you will see, you waste your money for nothing, you can read it all in the timetable." Eventually he started to beat people "That´s what you get for not listening" he shouted .
(Peter Bichsel, aus ‚Kindergeschichten')

1. Immateriality and Materiality
Ukraine 2000: the Architecture of "New Immaterialization"

"Immaterialization" in architectural ideology of the XX century emerged every time in the crisis professional consciousness against a background of the turning-points in culture and social-political life. Such was Russia of the 20-ies ("prouns" of Lissitski and constructivism of VHUTEMAS). In the 60-ies on the background of the crisis of stalinism – "paper architecture", "The Magnificent Seven" and "New Element of Settling" groups.
Now, when the FSU still can’t get out from a run of economic and social-political crisis, the popularity of deconstructivism, environmental approach and the idea of "community architecture" seems not to be accident – they are the most "immaterial’ from the actual architectural menu

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Ephemeral and Monumental Attempt to Materiality and Architecture in the 20th Century

The paper proposes a historiographic approach to the relations of time, materiality, architecture and its  theory. It discusses three heterogeneous interpretations of this relation: the founding principles of preservation, the reactions to a „de-materialized“ architecture, and the effect of models of metabolism on the understanding of the materiality of building.

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2. Aesthetic Practice

Seeking a practical aesthetic.
The reconciliation of art and science in the architectural writings of William Richard Lethaby (1857-1931).

Defining art and architecture as ‘the well doing of what needs doing,’ the English architect and theorist William Lethaby (1857-1931) adhered to a Ruskinian theory of making and its associated moral aesthetic. However, by arguing that architecture must represent both ‘Science’ and ‘Art’ Lethaby developed a conception of architecture which tempered the moral orthodoxy evident in the Ruskinian model. It is in this cultivation of an syncretic and somewhat ambivalent thesis of architecture that a new practical aesthetic emerges..
Taktilität und Raumerfahrung bei Wittgenstein

Bei dem Bau seines Hauses in Wien hat sich Ludwig Wittgenstein mit dem für ihn neuen Medium der Architektur auseinandergesetzt. Es ging ihm dabei um die körperliche Erfahrung von Räumen, um die Auseinandersetzung mit Materialien und um die taktile Aneignung der Umwelt. Vermutet wird, dass diese Umorientierung seiner Interessen und seine Hinwendung zu einer selbstkonstruierten materiellen Welt jenseits der Texte, tiefe Spuren in seinem Denken hinterlassen hat. Einige davon lassen sich in seinen Aufzeichnungen aus der Zeit nach dem Hausbau entdecken.

Architecture as Aesthetic Practice?
On the Discontent with Architecture

Can architecture be understood as an "aesthetic praxis"? The Greeks understood "praxis" as a self-justifying whole. But life cannot be understood as such a praxis:there is no meaning that gathers it into such a whole. For that very reason our life is haunted by the dangerous ream of art embracing life. This danger also shadows architecture. Architecture especially invites us to consider critically the possiblity od art embracing life.

Experience with Architecture and Practical Aesthetic

With my lecture I want to make a contribution to what architecture means, taking up aspects that in my opinion do not get adequate attention when discussing about aesthetical practice and aesthetical experience. Based on examples suggesting that there are experiences with an architecture which does not stick to reflection but is actually being applied, aesthectical experience with architecture is being focused in an interesting new manner: Not only do we learn to "differently" use architecture in its specific usefulness but at the same time gain an experience about ourselves as residents. To better understand this mutual occurrence of usefulness and beauty we may need an understanding of the aesthetical aspect that has always been expecting what is beautiful and pleasant (as well as good) in our real life. A practical aesthetic of architecture - as opposed to a critical theory of architecture - would have to deliver a thorough analysis of the results of this architectural experience and what can be said about it.

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3. Creative Practice
Creativity of Action

All human action is potentially creative in character, not just aesthetic practice. Nevertheless, the largest part of social sciences uses models of rationally or normatively oriented action. In contrast to this a theory of the creativity of action - as it is outlined here - transcends a teleologically limited understanding of intentionality; it includes non-instrumental forms of relationship to one's body and regards individuality as embedded in forms of "primary sociality."

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___Hans Lenk
Post(post)modern Creativity

Are postmodern approaches especially creative? Is creativity but the ability to play with "creative" variants and combinations of styles and quotations? After a sketch of postmodern orientations particularly in architecture some critical aspects of all too simple interpretations of postmodernism are discussed and some exaggerations (e. g. anti-rule-orientation) are rejected. The question still is would creativity outlive postmodernism and what is characteristic for creativity in general. Psychological association theories and combinatory approaches are summarized as explicitly dealt with in the author's book Kreative Aufstiege (Creative Ascents). Notably psychological theories are highlighted and related to the understanding of creating new rules and creations as well as interpretations. In addition the new approaches regarding creativity from the point of view of yet deterministic (but potentially also probabilistic) chaos theory are discussed. This leads to an analysis of the role of new ideas, associations and metaphors, in particular creative metaphors which seem to be the essence of creativity and higher level creativity in particular. Creative metaphors are called "Kreataphern" ("creataphors"), i. e. dynamical, productive and fertile reflectaphors in imaginations and fantasy. The role of playing with imaginations and fantasies is emphasized like the creative ventures of philosophizing as an ever-transcending activity of interpretations and meta-interpretation.
Thus we can state as a resume: Postmodernism – also in architecture – does indeed satisfy the requirements of a bisociative and multi-associative combinatory creativity relying on playful combinations and quotations beyond uniform styles. It seems to be less conducive to deal with Kantian concepts of the genius, i. e. the development and foundation of totally new realms, rules and in principle-perspectives. The fractal and chaos theoretical approaches of computer aesthetics (including iterations, self-similarities, cumulation of levels and "self-quotations") may be in accordance with the "playful" moment of postmodernism, but fundamental constitutive creataphors opening up total new realms and perspectives as well as principles are rarely the offspring of postmodern playfulness. However, the potentials of chaos theoretical and fractal geometric approaches (epitomizing the passing of chaotic zones and a "tightrope walk at the edge of chaos") with respect to gaining really fundamental new realms, rules and world perspectives by creative metaphors (creataphors) and general creative processes would require more in-depth studies of methodological and psychological provenance.

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The connectivity of appearance / form, use and social value is considered by viewing real places as lived in every city. This choice is made from the view point of the skateboarder. Using this perspective the reader sees space, form and material in another way. Even when in the first instance the aesthetic quality of the chosen city square, street, backyard....may not be obvious,
The real aesthetic value is created through the act of skating.

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Lived Space.
Embodied Experience and Sensory Thought

The lecture articulates the notion of lived space as opposed to geometric space, and the fusion of perception, imagination and dream in human consciousness and art. Artistic expression arises from the encounter of the mind and the world, and art articulates this boundary.
The task of architecture is to provide a frame and horizon of existential understanding. Senses directly structure our experience of the world, and artistic images originate in this sensory knowledge as much as in conceptual knowledge. Contemporary culture has a strong bias for the sense of vision but hapticity has a central role in the experience of the world and self as well as in artistic imagery.

4. Applied Aesthetic of Architecture
Philip Johnson: Applied Architectural Aesthetics

Philip Johnson is in reference to the publication International Style the co-founder of the theoretical establishment of modern architecture. His architectural work is a mirror of his idea of applied architectural aesthetics. His lifelong emphasis on practical issues of architecture is not a contradiction to his intellectual potential in this area. Due to his view the intellectual part is an important component of architecture but it alone cannot replace the practical constraints of architecture. Arguing this way Philip Johnson emphasis on architecture as Baukunst as his master Mies van der Rohe used to say becomes once more obvious. Art can be seen as a ‚mixture’ of spiritual/intellectual issues, intuition, inspiration and practice. The pure intellectual side is a part of art but it is not its dominant. My paper refers to some of Philip Johnson’s speeches, articles and works of architecture showing his lifelong intention and practice of applied architectural aesthetics. It is a contribution to applied architectural aesthetics and a suggestion how intellectualizing architecture can be an important part of architecture and not only an overintellectualization of this very subject.

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5. Critique of Aesthetic of Practice
The materialization of space and space representation

In four steps there are given argumentative frames and instances for a metaphysical analysis of space and architectural building within the overall concept of projection. Regarding Aristotle, space and space realisation have to be considered within the span of two and not one reason: that of being versus that of the mind. Leibniz, his concept of series, helps to understand the metaphysical involution. The design of modern architecture is regarded under three relational aspects: the traditional plan represented by an Euclidian space, the overlapping of traditional with projective plan and the irregularity of projective plan, abandoning the common dimensional space.

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Seeking the Centre:
Architectural Praxis in the Network Society.
This study is a critical assessment of architectural thinking today, and looks at the legacy for our successors in terms of action and awareness in ever-changing conditions of culture and its aspirations. Because of major changes in philosophical and cultural horizons, much of what has been agreed in architecture is under question today, and we are poised between two worlds, the one we think we know, and the Post-Humanist one, where new forces may be unleashed with major consequences for building. The failure of the Romantic quest for meaning due to the emancipation of the subject from the cosmos has led to self-referential worlds, now emerging in architectural creativity. While an openness to the future must be guaranteed, particular measures such as certain commonplaces in professional education, awareness of forms of cultural focus, and exemplars of habitational colonisation and regeneration are demanded as practical desiderata on a global scale.

Frankfurt am Main
Aesthetical practices in developement of city and space in Germany

The article is about several processes of aestheticalization in space, especiallly in the big cities. Making aesthetical appearance in architecture and city planning plays a part in social context. This argument is differentiated in several aspects, which are discussed in six thesises. Focus of interest are the dialectics between a relationship of perception and action in public space. On the one hand attention is attracted and on the other hand ignorance is made. Such strategies of perceptional politics includes an unvisible project of symbolic struggles. Scientific reflexion of such „soft“ processes therefore calls for a critical view onto steps of embellishment in space. In big capitalistic cities aestheticalization compensates of differences in real life (especially in economic and social affairs) in a symbolic way. This relationship between man and his urban environment is discribed as a medium of regulation referring to increasing postfordistic structures. Planning and building of fine fronts, squares and environments strives not only for a good feeling in the city but also for cultural acceptance of high contrasts in social and economic terms of peoples life. Therefore the role of urban atmospheres in feeling the city finally is discussed.

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6. Policy of Form
Lorenzetti's Narrative of the 'Buon Governo'
and the Difference of Place and Space

The fresco of the 'buon governo' of Ambrogio Lorenzetti is taken as a pictorial concentration to inquire the part of the aesthetics in the genesis of an urban identity and in the reflection as well as the mediation of the difference between town and country, place and space.

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Architecture as political practice.
The space of the city and its boundaries

The opening of the city in the 18th and 19th centuries as a fundamental spatial process is not very clear for architectural research. Since the ´spatial turn´ space argues that space is a product of social action there are new epistemological possibilities. On this background the article shows that new space around the city is connected with changes in the political space.

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Political Architecture as Carrier of Significance: Aesthetics and Representation

Throughout history till today buildings for political power present aspects of the political ideas of the rulers and their architects. The particular "language of architectural forms" represents by its specific signs and codes a meaning, which will be perceived and interpreted by the user or spectator sometimes in opposite to the intentions of the authors. In general one can make a distinction between two different levels of meaning, which are closely connected in architectural practice:

  • aesthetic meaning, which intensifies perceptions and experiences;s
  • ymbolic meaning, which imparts the political and social content of the message.

Both levels of meaning can be congruent to another, but as well they can come into conflict, so that the result is a significant contradiction. The new "Kanzleramt" at Berlin by Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank will be analized for design strategies of aesthetic practice and symbolic representation, and it will be asked, how their potential meaning could be interpreted.

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Political Landscapes – Urban Architecture
as a Political Field
This lecture discusses the creeping depoliticization of public areas with examples of tightened periods of time in the fields of urban planning and architecture of the 20th century. However, at the same time it proves what innovative potentials are opened by “political landscapes” just in recent times at “terrains vagues”. And do not worldwide virtual networks encourage the formation of completely different public areas with political requirements?
7. On Materiality of Form

Architecture between Pragmatist Theory and Aesthetic Practice

The concept of „Practice“ receives wide attention in the present discourse of architectural theory.
The Anglo-American protagonists of this discussion impose philosophical pragmatism onto architecture, while others try to understand architecture as an aesthetical practice as an own way to reality that achieves “form” by means of theory, but also with expression and materiality.
The concept of practice of the neo-pragmatists seems to be identical with the concept of acting, concentrating on two aspects: one of how the results of practice can be made useful for the improvement of theory, the other of how “things in the making”, (a term introduced by William James) can be made visible to science and useful to architecture as a method of designing.
Architecture as aesthetic practice describes a process of generating form through the interconnected efforts of will, act and its resulting works.

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___Oxana Makhneva
Fractal Semiology

Connection between production and perception is the first problem for an architect, because architecture as an aesthetic practice should find a way for materialization of a creative concept. Hegel believes that the natural forms and combinations of colours represent an embodiment of the concept. The principles of nature organization are the methods for transformation of the architectural concept into reality. The mathematician B. Mandelbrot defined the nature´s principles as fractal principles. Principal characteristics for fractals are self-similarity in any scale and dynamic development, which aspires for infinity; therefore a fractal is a model of any dynamic system including the system of architectural language. Production of sense is predication. At present, linguistics defines the predication as a multitude. It is the multitude of possibilities and any possibility is communication with a Base of Knowledge that is the predication is the formula with several variables. In accordance with the fractal theory we can say that the formula Z (n+1)=Z (n)^2+C is the formula of fractal generation. The parameters represent a code of fractal generation and these parameters are elements of the Base of Knowledge. We determine the parameters by means of an experimental method, which we call a semiometry. The semiometry is measuring of information by means of causality between semiotics and pragmatics. So the fractal semiology studies perception as a basis for production of the semas that are units of an architectural text.

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Wolkenkuckucksheim, Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, Vozdushnyj Zamok >/theoriederarchitektur/Wolke<
if the editorial staff is informed.