APPLYING ANTHROPOLOGY TO ARCHITECTURE



Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 16:57:57 -0400
Subject: Applying anthropology to Architecture
 

Dear Mr. Nold Egenter,

My name is Nicola David Sakhleh and I am an anthropologist working for an
architectural firm. I am currently trying to work on a project dealing
with applying various cultural attributes to architectural and interior
design to come up with a completely revised and different approach to
looking at architecture. My aim here is to give architecture a completely
different functionality other than just a structurally functional one. I
got your name and email address from a gentleman that I emailed asking for
the same thing - he pointed me into your direction.

Any information that you can give me that would be of any use would be
greatly helpful and appreciative. by training, I am an anthropologist and
wish to apply that training to architecture and my understand - through Mr.
J. Duncan Berry - is that you are extensively knowledgeable on that
subject.

I thank you for your time in this matter.
 

Sincerely,

Nicola David Sakhleh
 

______________________________________________________
From ???@??? Sun Oct 25 01:39:01 1998
To: "Nicola Sakhleh" <nsakhleh@dcsdesign.com>
From: negenter@worldcom.ch (Nold Egenter)
Subject: Re: Applying anthropology to Architecture
 
 

Dear Nicola David Sakhleh,

thank you for your friendly letter which I liked for its spontaneous character. First, the fact, that you can work as an anthropologist for an architectural firm is, I think, a great pioneer situation. Congratulations.

You wrote:
>I am currently trying to work on a project dealing
>with applying various cultural attributes to architectural and interior
>design to come up with a completely revised and different approach to
>looking at architecture.

If the anthropological factor is involved, this corresponds to some extent to what I call 'Anthrop-Arch'.

There is, however, an important difference. Anthrop Arch deals with essential categories not with attributes. This assumption is supported by the anthropological outlook. Values are not historicaly supported but anthropologically. Man was formed physically and culturally by architecture. It is a basic change in thinking space within the limits of the human tradition.

I also have doubts that this can be made very quickly. I have been working on this topic mainly theoretically, more than 25 years. It has gradually grown to a fairly large pluridisciplinary 'pond' with some reliable 'stepping stones'. That is to say: I am doing research in very different disciplines the results of which should act as 'stepping stones' in an 'infrasdisciplinary' (architecture and spatial organisation) , thus pluridisciplinary anthropological 'pond'.

Of course, there is the dominantly formal aspect in architecture. But it is difficult - and takes time - to marry form with conviction about its content. Certainly, form can lead the process, but risks running out of content.

I think it is important that anthropologists get into the discussion. They should become aware that modern/postmodern architecture with its tremenous productive output and its decisive impacts on society, should be part of 'theoretical anthropology' as well as part of 'applied anthropology' on a large scale. To make it clear, the problem is not of the dimension of changing a Mexican foodplace into an Italian Pizza restaurant (as most architects think, e.g. Venturi: cultural codes; Alexander: patterns!)! It is a problem to find out the basic rules (or, maybe, 'laws') of the relation 'man and his buildings'. Note that architecture of the 21st century will very likely be a global problem.

Probably the best for the moment might be that you look through our website. I am giving some indicators here without providing the addresses (our Internet communication is down at the moment).
-> Anthrop Arch
-> Bollnow's anthropology of space (fundamental)
-> The Historism of quantified proportion (On Wittkower's rationalisation of proportion; the text contrasts architectural rationalism with medieval 'coincidentia oppositorum')
-> lectures
-> There are also books on the topic: AA1, SSA are basic.

You wrote:
>My aim here is to give architecture a completely
>different functionality other than just a structurally functional one.

Could you describe this a bit further into details?

Sincerely,

Nold Egenter

__________________________

You wrote:
 

>Dear Mr. Nold Egenter,
>
>My name is Nicola David Sakhleh and I am an anthropologist working for an
>architectural firm. I am currently trying to work on a project dealing
>with applying various cultural attributes to architectural and interior
>design to come up with a completely revised and different approach to
>looking at architecture. My aim here is to give architecture a completely
>different functionality other than just a structurally functional one. I
>got your name and email address from a gentleman that I emailed asking for
>the same thing - he pointed me into your direction.
>
>Any information that you can give me that would be of any use would be
>greatly helpful and appreciative. by training, I am an anthropologist and
>wish to apply that training to architecture and my understand - through Mr.
>J. Duncan Berry - is that you are extensively knowledgeable on that
>subject.
>
>I thank you for your time in this matter.
>
>
>Sincerely,
>
>Nicola David Sakhleh
 




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