Shelves: architecture , non-fiction I was given this book for my first design class, we were supposed to write an essay of our thoughts about the book and if it changed our way to experience architecture, or the lack thereof. We had several projects going on, and competitions as well, that my professor lost focus on the book and dismissed the paper. Which I think was a shame because I could have learned so much from it. After four semesters 2 years I decided to pick it up again since I saw it lying in the bottom of my drawer and I was given this book for my first design class, we were supposed to write an essay of our thoughts about the book and if it changed our way to experience architecture, or the lack thereof. After four semesters 2 years I decided to pick it up again since I saw it lying in the bottom of my drawer and read it.
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The fact that is has been forgotten, or fallen out of favour, says something about the way architecture is perceived today. If you find yourself cringing somewhat at what may feel like old-fashioned or overly simplistic ideas, then jump ahead to the critique at the end. The interest in this book starts with the title, Experiencing Architecture, especially given the original publication date, This is a very early instance of a popular book focusing on how we experience architecture rather than the thing or object itself what was the most common approach at the time.
Personally I find Pallaasma tiresome and rather essentialist if not absolutist in his approach to phenomenology. Rasmussen maintains an interest in form while allowing for and even giving greater importance to the experiential side of architecture. I find this in-between or negotiated position more satisfying and convincing. In the end there is no substitute for reading the book for yourself, but I think it worth quoting a few lines and providing an outline of the book something I said I would not do.
In other words, the difference between sculpture and architecture is not that the former is concerned with more organic forms, the latter with more abstract. Even the most abstract piece of sculpture, limited to purely geometric shapes, does not become architecture. It lacks a decisive factor: utility. Utility has too often been confused with functionalism, which has fallen out of favour, for some very good reasons. Nevertheless, there are many who confuse sculpture with architecture and who cannot define the difference for themselves.
Innumerable circumstances are dependent on the way he arranges this setting for us. The second sentence also acknowledges the multiplicity of forces that enter into the making of architecture not to mention the number of participants. Again, we make quite clear today that architecture is a team sport, though the myth of the head architect as designer or great author persists. In two short straightforward sentences, easily digested and passed over, Rasmussen exhibits a rather complex and nuanced understanding of architecture.
If you read the book in this way, then you are in for a treat. If you make the mistake of thinking you are above such obvious and simple ideas or notions you are going to miss the real significance of this book. He sets the stage or a long, slowmoving performance which must be adaptable enough to accommodate unforeseen improvisations. This is different from the idea of trying to provide a neutral or empty frame that users complete, fill in, or transform.
Again, there is an interesting parallel with the theatrical producer or director. Basic Observations, II. Architecture Experienced as Color Planes, V. Daylight in Architecture, IX. Color in Architecture, X. Hearing Architecture. Nevertheless, in each area he is careful to focus on how these formal characteristics are not only experienced but also on how they are historically and culturally specific.
Personally, I find it astonishing that Rasmussen could make the material accessible while not simplifying the complexity inherent in making, thinking about, or experiencing architecture. We know architecture to be so complex that any attempt at a summary or definition must be reductive and futile. We all have to start somewhere, and groundwork, basic knowledge and simple definitions are a good way of beginning to untangle something that is, in reality, ultimately extremely complex.
Some theorists refer to this approach as establishing a scaffold or a foothold. Perhaps the idea of proportion is now no longer terribly useful or meaningful, but most other areas are difficult to get away from.
It is interesting that with the emphasis on technology today we often find that structure and materials play a major role in the conceptualisation process. This is no bad thing.
What is troubling is the lack of understanding or interest around problems of scale, proportion, rhythm and texture, inherent in structural and material choices. If the suggestion is that such issue are merely aesthetic or representational and somehow pollute a structural, material or other technological concept, then what we have is a kind of technological essentialism, that is, the idea that there is some underlying truth that technology can reveal or access.
Rather, this is the idea that sound can be as central as light, colour, texture and so on, as an architectural idea, not just a technical issue. Curiously, students often wish to use sound as a form or concept generating idea, but find that there is little help from theorists or historians on that subject. It is readable, enjoyable, and direct in the way it imparts some basic knowledge about architecture; basic knowledge that too few graduates and architects possess.
Many proposals thought it was enough to propose events rather than spatial designs this had been tried too. This is where I lose faith and where rigour goes into deep sleep. Related This entry was posted in Books , Readings and tagged experience , history , theory. Bookmark the permalink. Post navigation.
Experiencing Architecture, Second Edition
He first apprenticed as a mason and then studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from to In he set up his own practice. Through his involvement in the Urban Planning Laboratory, he was an important part of the process which led to the Finger Plan which has governed the overall development of suburban Copenhagen ever since. He also co-planned the area Tingbjerg town yellow brickstone and greens with C.
Steen Eiler Rasmussen
Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen - PDF free download eBook