99_07_27

ACHITECTURAL ARCHETYPES
AND HUMAN BRAIN


Tue Jul 27 14:34:19 1999
From: "mckay" <mckay@tcp.co.uk>
To: <negenter@worldcom.ch>
Subject: Architectural Archetypes
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 09:26:30 +0100
Message-ID: <000001bed809$ba4a7660$790150c3@default>
MIME-Version: 1.0
 
Dear Nold Egenter

I am a lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies in the UK. I was interested to
find on your webpage [at
http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/211AA-WeekPrgr_E.html] the following
question:

"The attic nostalgy (are there architectural archetypes in our brains?)" in
ARCHITECTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN ARCHITECTURAL SCHOOLS (6. IMPLICATIONS FOR ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN)

I am currently researching the possibility of architectural archetypes held
in the innermost reaches of our mind. However, information is somewhat
scarce. Do you have an idea of where I may look for further information on
this theme, or have you written anything yourself on architectural
archetypes?

Many Thanks

Ian McKay
 


From ???@??? Thu Aug 05 03:56:31 1999
To: "mckay" <mckay@tcp.co.uk>
From: negenter@worldcom.ch (Nold Egenter)
Subject: Re: Architectural Archetypes
Cc:
Bcc:
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Message-Id: <v01530501b3ca1fbacd8a@[194.235.51.86]>

Dear Ian McKay,

thank you for your message. You posted a very interesting complex of questions.

        >The attic nostalgy (are there architectural archetypes in our brains?)

Frankly, I am personally convinced of the latter in brackets. The attic nostalgy or the skyscraper mania is an institutionally  imprinted program which very likely had its origins in Neolithic settlements or earlier (I wrote once a short "phaseology of seven spatial stages of polar concepts of heaven and earth"; see also "cosmos and cosmetics" in our website).

I have often crossed C.G. Jung's 'archetypology' (G. Durand 1992) and his 'collective subconsciousness', but I have never systematically worked with the terms for various reasons.

Jung had taken it from Neoplatonism where it was related to the religious dimension and introduced it into the thentime psychological reasoning which had, particularly in Jung's circles, a hermeneutic and historistic element, not very conscious of time depths and methodological problems involved. Thus outcomes are often of fairly speculative character. The Greek roots 'arche' or 'archaic' in 'archetype' are a key indicator for this historistic attitude. In this view I preferred to work with the inductively defined methods of anthropology (see below).

On the other hand the flexibility of the term, meaning 'beginning' can be helpful to express structural conditions which are too heterogeneous or too complex to describe or define otherwise. In this sense the expression 'attic nostalgy' was an indicator for many cultural expressions that can be understood as 'architectural archetype'.

But there is another dimension in the term 'archetype', which makes me sceptical, the question of its survival. Here too the term is psychologically prejudiced, I think.  The 'collective subconscious' is too one-sided. The whole human object tradition as a complementary transmitter, the 'outer' communication system is in my view always in dialogue with  the 'inner' one dominant in Jung's concept (see Patricia Highsmiths 'The horror of basketmaking').

Regarding literature: Besides his own books, the literature on Jung's archetype is considerable and has spread from psychology widely into various disciplines. Some might be close to 'New Age' interests, others promising, particularly those who deal with art. Maybe 5-10% can be related to architecture.  The problem is: the subjects vary considerable in view of the broad-spectrum term (E.g. M. Mann's 'Archetypes of Utopia' are focussed on industrial buildings of 1900). In the following two indications. I have not seen the books, but have heard about and think they might be useful in your framework.

'Elementare Bauten' ("Elementary buildings, regarding the theory of the archetype...", a global survey, E. Paetz et. al ed., Darmstadt 1996)

Thomas Thiis-Evensen has written two books,  one 'Archetypes in Urbanism' (1996).
 
My own position in view of the term: I prefer to speak of 'origins' if 'beginnings' are involved. But this has methodological reasons. I work anthropologically with architecture and culture and that means to a great extent inductively. In hominisation processes the 'structure' of certain objects are assumed as primary categorial models used by the human mind to 'structure' his habitat. In the file 'Research Series Online' you may find many  texts with interdisciplinary and cross-cultural topics. Best in this framework is, maybe, *Habitat anthropology and the anthropological definition of material culture* or the study on the question: *what was primary, the artificial or the natural tree?* (The sacred trees of Goshonai). Maybe also the study on *Rock Art* where problems of the 'origins' of cognition are described.

Warm regards,

Nold Egenter

_________________________

>Dear Nold Egenter
>
>I am a lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies in the UK. I was interested to
>find on your webpage [at
>http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/211AA-WeekPrgr_E.html] the following
>question:
>
>"The attic nostalgy (are there architectural archetypes in our brains?)" in
>ARCHITECTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN ARCHITECTURAL SCHOOLS (6. IMPLICATIONS FOR
>ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN)
>
>I am currently researching the possibility of architectural archetypes held
>in the innermost reaches of our mind. However, information is somewhat
>scarce. Do you have an idea of where I may look for further information on
>this theme, or have you written anything yourself on architectural
>archetypes?
>
>Many Thanks
>
>Ian McKay



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