Design Without Qualities: Architecture and the Rise of Abstraction (2013)

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  • 0/100 Students
  • Architectural History,Architectural Theory
  • 6 Lessons /0 Quizes

A Brief History of Abstraction in Architecture: Design and the Administration of Life

‘Let us hope that from time to time the individual will give a little humanity to the masses, who one day will repay him with compound interest.’

Walter Benjamin, ‘Experience and Poverty’, 1933

Abstraction addresses the process of removal in order to reach the essential datum of things. In a design world increasingly dominated by organic and redundant forms, abstraction is likely to be one of the most unpopular concepts in the field of architectural theory. While it is a mistake to think abstraction opposes the complexities and contradictions of our world, we deny that it is the very outcome of larger historical and cultural forces.

Pier Vittorio Aureli will investigate the issue of abstraction and its relation to architectural form to propose a different interpretation of this historical phenomenon. Paraphrasing Marx, abstraction – in the form of categories such as geometry, measure, modularity and scale – was born out of ‘fire and blood’, and the historical evolution of abstract forms in architecture, such as the rise of modular design, the importance of the plan in architectural design, and the simplification of architectural form, has taken place amid political conflicts and economic turmoil. The seminar will attempt to read issues such as form and design in relation to the history of political economy, revisiting the work of numerous architects along the way, in order to uncover abstraction not as stylistic movement, but as the very essence of the modern project of architecture.

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  • 10 points
  • 16/10/2013 9:30 am
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