EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURE


Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 11:49:56 +0000
To: negenter@worldcom.ch
From: "Geoffrey F. Miller" <uctpgfm@ucl.ac.uk>
Subject: evolution and architecture
 

Dear Dr. Egenter,
I noticed from my HBES directory that you have interests in the evolution
and anthropology of architecture. I'm writing a book about the possible
role of sexual selection in the evolution of various kinds of human
behaviors, esp. artistics, ornamental, aesthetic behaviors. I've found
very little work on evolution and architecture, or architectural
aesthetics. Have you written anything on such issues that you could send
to me? Or, any suggestions for placs to look or other people to contact
about such things? Thanks very much in advance -- Geoffrey Miller
Dr. Geoffrey F. Miller
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE)
University College London
Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, England
(0171) 387 7050 ex. 5219 (office)
(0171) 916 2774 (fax)

___________________________________________
To: "Geoffrey F. Miller" <uctpgfm@ucl.ac.uk>
From: negenter@worldcom.ch (Nold Egenter)
Subject: Re: evolution and architecture
 

Dear colleague,

thank you for your interesting message.

It is correct I work on the anthropology of architecture, which implies an evolutionary theory. Architecture has not developed its own domain of study (like e.g. the "art of healing"), but has delegated research, evaluation, history and theory to the art historian, who looks at architecture in the very narrow framework of art, artist, aesthetics and style ("post-medieval myth of the profane creator genius"). Gottfried Semper's two volume work 'the style' (1863/69) was considered a kind of architectural anthropology or evolutionary theory, but beyond that there is not much to be found in this direction.

If you are interested in the subject, please have a look at our website. There are about fifty texts which may give you an impression of the approach. It includes also bibliographical annexes.

The concept is essentially based on the Yerkes' (1929) suggestion to consider routined nestbuilding behavior of the great apes as an evolutionary starting point of 'constructivity', further on O. F. Bollnow's anthropology of human space per-/conception (1963) related to the evolution of the (pre-)human habitat and, consequently on what the ethnology/folklore/history/anthropology of religion called 'tree of life', 'tree of cognition', 'fetish', 'spirit hut' and the like. This latter source was documented cross culturally, synchronically and diachronically in our office as 'semantic and symbolic architecture'. In the framework of 'architectural anthropology' it forms an important class functionally related to territorial demarcation and formally acting as an autonomously developed model of categorial polarity. With these criteria we can not only explain the evolution of architecture, art and aesthetics in new ways, it provides also plausible hints to the development of cognition, 'philosophy' religion, social hierarchy and state formation. In short, we can construct an evolutionary theory of culture.

In regard to "the possible role of sexual selection in the evolution of various kinds of human behaviors, esp. artistics, ornamental, aesthetic behaviors" I have some fairly plausible ideas about the latter, but about their role in regard to sexual selection I would have difficulties in view of lacking sources. Or do you mean gender differentiation?

Sincerely,

Nold Egenter
 

_______________________

>Dear Dr. Egenter,
> I noticed from my HBES directory that you have interests in the evolution
>and anthropology of architecture. I'm writing a book about the possible
>role of sexual selection in the evolution of various kinds of human
>behaviors, esp. artistics, ornamental, aesthetic behaviors. I've found
>very little work on evolution and architecture, or architectural
>aesthetics. Have you written anything on such issues that you could send
>to me? Or, any suggestions for placs to look or other people to contact
>about such things? Thanks very much in advance -- Geoffrey Miller
>Dr. Geoffrey F. Miller
>Senior Research Fellow
>Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE)
>University College London
>Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, England
>(0171) 387 7050 ex. 5219 (office)
>(0171) 916 2774 (fax)




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