The question raised in this module is how to establish a contemporary critique of architecture that takes material and structural issues as starting points, and which appraises structures both as mechanical systems and as expressions of architecturo-spatial intentionality - both as techne and telos.
Today, the challenges for architecture and architectural engineering come from the new and increasing complexity of architectural concepts of space. New design technologies (3D computer graphics) and manufacturing technologies(CNC etc.) contribute to traditional design ideals losing ground. The current problem is no longer how to implement the paradigm of structural efficiency and honesty but, rather, how to recognise structural qualities in changing architectural contexts.†
The main strategy to bring about a discourse on architecture and structures is to establish a dialogue between theoretical disciplines (structural mechanics, aesthetics) and the practical knowledge held by the professions involved, namely architecture and engineering.
The five lectures are:
- Structures in architecture, an ontological approach (Introduction: what are structures, as a class of objects? What fundamental aspects characterise their form? How are structures explained and understood?)
- Structural pragmatics (1). Structures and materials (Three basic mechanical concepts; material characteristics, mechanical efficiency, structural scale. Structural materials and architecture; a brief historical overview. Structural materials and form; three hypotheses).
- Structural pragmatics (2). The concepts of efficiency and scale (Structural vs. technological efficiency. Structurally efficient materials. Structural efficiency and structural form. The scale problem. The scale, the span and the space).
- An aesthetics of structures (1). The theoretical background (An aesthetic qualification: the freedom to choose. Writers on aesthetics and structures. The aesthetic experience).
- An aesthetics of structures (2). Aesthetics of the mechanical and spatial functions (Strategies for a critique of the mechanical. Materials, efficiency and scale in an aesthetic context. Utility, contextuality and iconography vs. the mechanical).