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  • Architecture from nothing.

    There was nothing right, and then there was something, so is everything including Architecture from nothing?

  • #2
    Depends where you interpret "nothing" from. Before man-made structures there were tree canopies, caves, etc. Just b/c we created structures out of necessity doesn't mean there has always been "nothing."

    I can understand your p.o.v. from a philosophical standpoint but how does it apply to architecture?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sted View Post
      There was nothing right, and then there was something, so is everything including Architecture from nothing?
      Laugier would argue that there was always natural inspiration from which initial forms of natural beauty appeared from. But then again, he has been dead for centuries. I am confused by this post...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sted View Post
        There was nothing right, and then there was something, so is everything including Architecture from nothing?
        Which one came first: egg or chicken?

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        • #5
          What do you mean by natural inspiration Andrew B? Say if you had a blank piece of paper and drew a building on it Is that Architecture from nothing? Which came first the Chicken or the Egg? I dont know how this question helps! Unless you substitute Chicken for Architect and Egg for Architecture!
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sted View Post
            What do you mean by natural inspiration Andrew B? Say if you had a blank piece of paper and drew a building on it Is that Architecture from nothing? Which came first the Chicken or the Egg? I dont know how this question helps! Unless you substitute Chicken for Architect and Egg for Architecture!


            When I speak of natrual inspiration, I mean the forms which have been arrived at through trial and error in the course of human history. Certain forms work structurally and certain forms don't. So in a sense, the natural environment dictated certain natural forms. You could make the arguement that the progression of architecture is one that humanity has had little control over other than wanting to break from the previous. If there were intelligent life elsewhere on a scale similar to humanity, It would not be surprising to see a similar architectural progression.

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            • #7
              Ive drawn a graph to try and help explain what I mean. Everything starts off from nothing and gets bigger and bigger. In the same way an Architect designs from nothing. I am just looking at this concept as a way of designing buildings.
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sted View Post
                Everything starts off from nothing and gets bigger and bigger. In the same way an Architect designs from nothing.
                The term "nothing" is one purely of our own construction. How does "everything" start off from "nothing"? In fact, I doubt we could list anything, that starts from nothing, outside of metaphysical conversations about our origins. No entity is truly created or destoyed, things just change form over time. When you look close enough, even life itself does not really have a begining or an end.

                The architect does not really design from nothing. First there must exist some need, that we build to accommodate. Second, building involves the use of materials and the nature of those materials influence what is built.

                Even taken to a philosophical level, the architectural ideas and conceptions held by a designer are the result of the designer's previous experiences, their experience in architecture and design, and on a more primal level, their experiences of being in the physical world around us.

                On your graph you have time = zero at the origin. Time is relative in nature and does not really have a begining or an end.

                Nothing is a very abstract term, and like the notion of infinity, is perhaps based upon, and the result of, what we do not understand.

                In the words of Louis Kahn- "What is to be has always been."
                Last edited by mperna; 03-03-2008, 18:27.

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                • #9
                  mperna has some really valid points that you should look into in order to make your idea stronger. However, I still think you need to define "nothingness." There are many predisposed elements when it comes to design and to say that when an architect begins with "nothing" neglects any external influences. By blatantly saying that there is "nothing" before you begin a project is like saying any knowledge that predates the history of man-kind is...irrelevant. Why do you negate knowledge?
                  Last edited by Jagular; 03-03-2008, 19:05.

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                  • #10
                    Hate to get existential but.
                    Existential philosophy proposes that existence precedes essence. By this, existentialism states that man exists and in that existence man defines himself and the world in his own subjectivity, and wanders between choice, freedom, and existential angst.
                    The existentialist would suggest that nothingness is just a counterpoint to possibility.
                    If your really interested in expanding your grasp on nothingness try reading some Kierkegaard, Sartre, or Camus.

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                    • #11
                      Be careful wading through the philosophy/theory. It is very easy to get lost in the meaning and even harder to pull yourself out once you establish it to create a relevant answer/design to your question/problem.

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                      • #12
                        That Louis Khan Quote "What is to be has always been" is very interesting, I have read it before. Im sure there is more to that quote but I cant find it!
                        Do you think he ment nothing is new?

                        I think there was a beginning point where there was nothing, zero, zip, zilch, diddly-squat and then something came into being. I dont belive that, what is to be has always been. Its is a defeatist attitude that means we are incapable of making something new. Every time we design we have made something new.

                        The graph shows that Architecture is being added to as time progresses. Think of it as new life, at some point each one of us was nothing we were made and now we are something.

                        You dont get something for nothing, but you get something from nothing.

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                        • #13
                          I think you may need to develop that graph a bit more. Personally, I don't see how "architecture" can be an axis on the graph that is cumulatively added to. By setting it up that way you are saying that each new movement in architecture, or perhaps every new structure created is advancing the field over time. I would argue that each new movement is a reaction to what came before and that while that may give the appearance of progress in reality I'm not so sure different/revision = progress. Has the role of the architect or architecture improved linearly from its inception (whenver/wherever that might be)?

                          To further complicate things....if you do use architecture as an axis then how do you define architecture? Is each built structure part of a collective definition of architecture? If so I think your line would vary greatly as a function of much more than just time. For example, would you consider suburban sprawl an addition to architecture because it allowed for affordable home ownership, or a subtraction for the multitude of reasons I won't list here.

                          If you were to show this graph to non-architects and ask their opinion I'm not sure that they would neccessarily follow that linear addition. So you also have to think about who is defining the addition, because architecture as a profession is notoriously introverted.

                          Just a few semantics to muddy the waters....

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sted View Post
                            There was nothing right, and then there was something, so is everything including Architecture from nothing?
                            There was always something, may you believe in a God, the Big Bang, or anything else... there was always something. It could have been a being or an atom... there was something. That being said, then there was never a nothing which makes the rest of this line of questioning irrelevant.

                            Which came first was the Chicken..but it wasn't a chicken as we know it, it was a creature that eventually began to reproduce by laying "eggs" as we know them.

                            In the end, this question should read:

                            At first there was something. Then there were beings that required something. So is everything including architecture derived from something? The answer is yes.

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                            • #15
                              I think that thousands of years of building is something. I think that we wish we could create from nothing, but there is always going a base of experience and knowledge.

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