Type and Typology in Architectural Discourse

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Τype and typology in architectural discourse Yasemin İ GÜNEY
  BAÜ FBE Dergisi Cilt:9, Sayı:1, 3-18 Temmuz 2007 3 Type and typology in architectural discourse Yasemin İ . GÜNEY *    Balıkesir University Faculty of Architecture and Engineering,  Department of Architecture Ça  ğ  ı  ş  BALIKES   İ   R Abstract Typology is the comparative study of physical or other characteristics of the built environment into distinct types. In this paper, the historical transformation of type and typology concepts since the Enlightenment has been examined in three developing stages based on methodological and historical interpretation: The first conceptualization developed out of the rationalist philosophy of the Enlightenment, the second relates to the modernist ideology and the last to Neo-Rationalism after the 1960s. The study aims to highlight the significance of the concepts of type and typology that are so rich in tradition and so important for intellectual history, and that could aid in enhancing our understanding of architecture within its historical and socio-cultural contexts. A discussion of type and typology can promote a way of looking at the built environment, that can not only help us recognize and discover basic types but also enhance our ability to see the differences as well as similarities among architectural artifacts by recognizing the invisible connections between them.  Keywords: Type, typology, architecture, architectural theory, architectural history. Mimarlık kuramlarında tip ve tipoloji kavramları Özet Tipoloji, nesneleri fiziksel ya da di  ğ  er özelliklerine dayanarak tiplere ayırmak için  yapılan çalı  ş malara verilen addır. Tarihte ilk kez Aydınlanma Ça  ğ  ı’nda önem kazanan tipolojik yakla  ş ım, günümüzde mantıksal-matematiksel bilimlerle sosyo-kültürel bilimler arasında, ortak amaçları çerçevesinde ileti  ş imi sa  ğ  layabilen önemli bir bakı  ş  açısı konumundadır. Bu yazıda, mimarlık söyleminde yer alan tip ve tipoloji kuramları, ortaya çıktıkları üç ayrı tarihsel düzlemde incelenmi  ş tir. Mimarlık alanında ilk tip kuramı yine Aydınlanma Ça  ğ  ı’nda ortaya atılırken, ikinci kuram Modernist ideolojiye, üçüncü kuram ise Neo-Rasyonel yakla  ş ıma dayanarak olu  ş turulmu  ş tur. Bu çalı  ş manın amacı, entellektüel tarihte çok önemli bir yer tutan tip ve tipoloji kavramlarının, mimarlı  ğ  ı ve mimarlı  ğ  ın içinde bulundu  ğ  u tarihsel ve sosyo-kültürel etkenleri anlamamız için önemini vurgulamaktır. Yazıda ayrıca, mimarlık disiplininde tip ve tipoloji kavramlarının tartı  ş ılmaya devam edilmesinin gereklili  ğ  i de vurgulanmaktadır.  Bu tartı  ş malar, sadece mimari nesneleri basit tiplere ayırmaktan öte, bunlar arasındaki görünmeyen ba  ğ  ların farkedilerek, aralarındaki ili  ş kilerin daha iyi kavramasına  yardımcı olabilecek bir bakı  ş  açısı olu  ş umu için gerekli ve önemlidir.   Anahtar Kelimeler:  Tip, tipoloji, mimarlık, mimarlık kuramları, mimarlık tarihi. *  Yasemin I. GÜNEY, yince@umich.edu, yasemin@balikesir.edu.tr This study is based on the author’s doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI, USA, which was completed in 2005. The author would like to thank Prof. Anatole Senkewitch of University of Michigan for his invaluable help in writing this paper. Makalenin basım kararı 03.05.2007 tarihinde alınmı ş tır.  Y. İ . Güney 4   1. Introduction Typological thought refers to the whole, to the manifold relationships among things, to the extreme and at the same time the harmonious. İ t is a way of thinking that does not refer to the age but to the place. A place at which borders and opposites melt together into an intellectual universal [1]. When one thinks of how we make sense of our daily life, one can easily recognize the significance of the notion of type in understanding and clarifying the commonalities and differences between various phenomena within the immense world of existence. As Franck and Schneekloth say “types and ways of typing are used to produce and reproduce the material world and to give meaning to our place in it” [2]. The notion of type underlies all logical inferences that help one to classify the phenomena, to put them in groups based on their similarities, as well as to make distinctions between them. This act of classification enables multiplicity to turn into unity, which at the same time generates reasoning and knowledge. The first period when the notion of type gains its significance was the eighteenth century also known as the Age of Enlightenment. During this period, the Enlightenment thinkers, inspired by Newton’s revolution in physics, argued that systematic thinking could be applied to all forms of human activity. İ t is in this period that the first encyclopedias in various disciplines were written with the aim of classifying rational information. Some of the most important and influential writings of the Enlightenment were published during this time. These include the following three main texts:  Encyclopedie  (1751) edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert and compiled by the group called the  Encyclop ẻ distes;  Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu's  Esprit des lois  (The Outline of a Modern Political Science-1748); and Jean Jacques Rousseau's the Discours sur des sciences et les arts (Discourse on the Origin and Foundation of İ nequality Among Mankind-1755). Within architectural discourse, the first typological approach developed out of the rationalist philosophy of the Enlightenment as can be found with the French archeologist and art writer Quatrem ẻ re de Quincy in his work  Encyclop ẻ die (1789). The result of this corpus of work has since been influential and it has become the subject of debate in architectural discourse of the twentieth century. But within the modernist architectural discourse, the concept of type suffered a loss of significance. For example, in modernism the notion of type was reduced to the notion of stereotype. However, we see a reemergence of the significance of type and typology during the 1950s as reflected in the writings of Aldo Rossi, mainly The Architecture of the City (1982). This paper will review the understanding of type and typology as concepts within the architectural discourse from the time of the Enlightenment. The examination of type history is not a mere description of that history, but is intended to demonstrate that the theory of typology could aid our understanding of architecture within its historical and socio-cultural context. The paper also aims to highlight the significance of the concepts of type and typology, which is so rich in tradition and so important in intellectual history, for architectural discourse.  Type and typology ın archıtectural dıscourse 5 2. Type and typology in general Before going into the discussion of type and typology in architecture it would be helpful to examine the etymological srcin and meaning of the word ‘type.’ The root of the word can be traced back to a Greek verb typto , meaning “to beat, to hit, to mark” [3]. İ n addition, when the word typos  became established in Greek, during the seventh and sixth centuries BC, new meanings emerge such as relief, engraving, and seal. Pertaining to numismatics, typos  also denote the distinguishing figures or marks engraved on the faces of a coin. After the development of printing in Europe in fourteenth century, the meaning of the word expands to include the characters of the alphabet engraved on a small rectangular metal or wood block used in printing. This enlargement of the meaning might be considered as being due to the beating movement of the printing machine that resembles the coin-minting process. One might consider these metal or wood blocks, types, as prisons containing the letters of the alphabet. Even more drastically, one might consider the feeling of imprisonment, containment, in a sense that there is nothing to expect more, by the fact that each type can only produce the predetermined end, the engraved letter of the alphabet. When we look at the writings of philosophy and on psychology of perception, we see that typos  acquires a meaning close to that of “model,” describing a set of characteristics necessarily present on a group of concrete individuals answering, that is, to the type. One might infer that, here, the understanding of type suggests a pattern or a model after which something is made. From this basic meaning, says İ talian architectural historian Tullio De Mauro, srcinate the extremely particular Pauline and Christian meanings of exemplary figure-figuration [4]. İ n the Pauline and Christian reading of the Old Testament, Adam is seen as the typos, exemplary figuration, of Jesus. Since the fifteenth century, the word has been used in theology to signify the symbolical representations of a person, an object, or an event of divine importance. The Oxford dictionary definition of type reflects this understanding: “by which something is symbolized or figured, anything having a symbolical signification, a symbol, or emblem.” [3]. The term “typology”   emerges around the mid-nineteenth century. According to De Mauro, the emergence of the term “typology” is influenced by the renewal of interest in abstract models during this time [4]. The term was used to refer to the study of types; the comparative analysis and classification of structural or other characteristics into types. İ t was first encountered in the field of theology, referring to the study of symbolic representation of scripture types. İ n paleoethnology, typology referred to the study of sets that are recognizable through the coherence determined by the repetition of a single cultural type. İ n psychology and medicine, psychological and constitutional types are examined, while in sociology the ideal types are being studied and became the ordering principle of enquiries on multiform, concrete socio-cultural organizations. Towards the mid-twentieth century, typological study becomes a basic way of thinking, which enables a reciprocal communication between logical-mathematical sciences and social and cultural sciences. 3. Type and typology in architecture The historical transformation of type and typology concepts since the Enlightenment has been examined in three developing stages based on methodological and historical  Y. İ . Güney 6   interpretation: The first conceptualization developed out of the rationalist philosophy of the Enlightenment, the second relates to the modernist ideology and the last to Neo-Rationalism after the 1960s. What follows is the examination of the theory of type and typology in these three developing stages.  3.1. Type theory in enlightenment philosophy The first typology developed out of the rationalist philosophy of the Enlightenment. According to architectural historian Anthony Vidler, “like Newton in science, like Locke in philosophy, like Rousseau in anthropology,” the architect of the Enlightenment looked at the beginnings of shelter as the first type of habitation. İ nitially formulated by abbé-Marc-Antoine Laugier (1713-96) in his  Essai sur l’architecture , this understanding of typology proposed a natural basis for architecture to be found in the model of the primitive hut. The primitive hut in Laugier’s depiction has rationalized elements and standards. He depicts the four trees as types of the first columns, standing in a perfect square, the branches laid across in the form of beams, perfectly horizontal, and the boughs bent over to form the roof as a triangle, as a pediment (Figure 1). İ n other words, the primitive hut has been posited as the srcin of all possible forms of architecture, and thus the principle and measure of all architecture. Taking the Rationalist stance from Laugier's work, Quatremére de Quincy (1755-1849) conceived his critical theories of type in architecture during the last decades of the eighteenth century. The notion of type shaped many of Quatremére de Quincy’s views on fundamentals of architecture. Quatremére de Quincy symbolized architecture as an imitation of nature. His theory of type is metaphorical and is well- known by his entry “Type” in  Encyclopedie Methodique of 1825. İ n his entry, Quatremére de Quincy said type was a word with many nuances: it could be used to mean model, matrix, imprint, mould, and figure in relief. Quatremére suggested that one of the roles of science and philosophy is to examine the reasons for having so many different versions in each genre. Quatremére de Quincy tried to define the concept of type by comparing ‘model’ and ‘type.’ He defined ‘model’ as a mechanical reproduction of an object and ‘type’ as a metaphorical entity. The model   is a form to be copied or imitated: “all is precise and given in the model”. Type, on the contrary, is something that can act as a basis for the conception of works, which bear no resemblance to one another: “all is more or less vague in the type” [5]. The architectural ‘type’ was at once ‘pre-existent germ,’ srcin and primitive cause [6]. Quatremére de Quincy’s metaphorical theory of type is the first theory introduced into modern architectural discourse. Quatremére de Quincy’s conceptualization of type was based on three concepts: origin, transformation and invention. Origin here refers to the nature or essence of things. Unlike Laugier’s primitive hut, which he posited as the srcin of all architecture, Quatremére de Quincy’s srcin is related to the understanding of type as “the general form, structure, or character distinguishing a particular type, group, or class of beings or objects” [3]. His aim was to make type more practical by putting it into the context of use, need, and custom, among other factors, which directly refers to the Enlightenment idea of charactere . The notion that certain types of buildings become symbols of their functions by virtue of their charactere had been first introduced into architectural theory by Germain Boffrand (1667-1754).
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