ARCHITECTURE CLASSIFIED AS ART


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AN IMPORTANT PROBLEM: ARCHITECTURE AS ART

Architecture is much wider than art. The classification of architecture as art is a tremendous reductionism. It reduces a fundamental and complex existential medium of modern society to the terms of aesthetics, style and form!

The classification of architecture as art generates tremendous theoretical and practical problems.

In addition architecture is only a small part of the art historian's domain. His professional field is much wider. It includes the large domains of aesthetically selected object cultures, not only of our own cultures and periods, potentially also of many other 'high' cultures.

In addition, the art historian deals with the architectural past and constructs the history of architecture. In the present, the art historian or art critic is the one who essentially selects, documents, describes and evaluates what will form the architectural history of the future.

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THE PROBLEM: THE INIMAGINABLE FLEXIBILITY OF THE ART HISTORIANS TOOLS

Basically the art historian uses differentiating terms, e.g. 'style' as a classifier to describe the architectural past.

As soon as a globally densified modernism produced negative effects (-> Pruitt-Igoe) the art historians were immediately there and declared the "death of modernism", classified it as a 'style' (modernism had rejected the term) and simply proclamated a new 'style'.

Note that, scientifically, the term style is merely the product of the art historian's analytical method. It constructs differences based on characteristic traits. It has nothing to do with the essence of a building.

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THE PROBLEM: ARCHITECTURAL CONTINUITY AND THE ART HISTORIAN'S RATIONALISM

If pre-modern concepts of space and architectural form were of a complementary nature, the analytically educated "scientist" of art, the art historian, distorts premodern space and form.

At the same time the art historian "rationalises" the architectural past, makes it useful for the present.

The objective architectural tradition itself shows something entirely different (Egenter 1996).

Insight: The path to modernism was paved by the art historian's rationalistic description of premodern architecture in terms of style.

Conclusion: architects should start themselves to do their own research into their own professional domain!

The art historian is a notorious falsifier of the ideas about architecture, because he is neither an artist nor a historian: his object - architecture as art - is incompatible to his type of science.

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THE PROBLEM: PREMODERN ARCHITECTURE WAS "COMPLEMENTARY"

Let us look, how the art historian fabricates the architectural past.

The essential truth is:

The art historian wiped out this truth. For him the arc of a gate was just a decorative element, a secondary attribute, which, however by its differences, was taken as a characteristic for style.

Modernism and postmodernism are to a great extent the outcome of the art historian's differentiating method, to 'rationalise' the 'irrational' architectural past.

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THE PROBLEM: THE ART HISTORIAN CULTIVATES THE ARCHITECT'S "ORCHID"-COMPLEX

As a student of botany we would certainly not be satisfied with a professor who announces his lectures with the title 'The system of the world of plants' and then, for the rest of the year tells us exclusively about his studies of beautiful orchids and other beautiful flowers.

To make "theories" on plants or animals we must know all plants or all animals of the world.

Beauty is very difficult to define (As Platon already recognized). Thus, from this viewpoint too, "architectural theories" based on beauty must be like sponges. They can be filled at will!

Architecture has not developed a scientific research of its own which would provide reliable data to support its design-theories:

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ANOTHER PROBLEM: THE ART HISTORIAN AND SCIENCE

Modern scientifically oriented society relies on the art historian as a translator of "irrational" art into a scientific language. Let us have a short look at his job:

Within the domain of art, architecture is only:

In fact, the art historian's statements are merely evaluations according to

Does anyone really believe

The art historian's view defines the term "architecture" based on aesthetics (high architecture) which - from an objective scientific point of view - makes the image of the architect. The aesthetic designer becomes shizophrenic in regard to the other image he has about himself: the pragmatic builder. That is to say, a human being engaged in a worldwide and age-old human activity.

In other words: the art historian's definition of "architecture" as "high architecture" cuts the architect off from the view of what objectively forms the object of his professional activity and thus prevents him to become a scientific researcher.

The art historian forms the architect's super-ego, but, at the same time keeps him dependent, destabilises him to a fragile dancing figure by cutting his pedestal to foottop size (aesthetics) thus preventing him from having insights into his factual fundaments: the anthropology of building.


20 PROBLEMS (continued)
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