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Platonic And Aristotelian Perception Of Architecture Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1641 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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To begin with, I would start on giving my own opinion on what Architecture is from what I have learned for five years being an Architecture student. Architecture is a combination of art and science and of course with mathematics, degree/college program, and a profession. It is not just all about conceptualizing and designing just to build a structure but also expressing one’s feeling, having a connection between the architect and his/her client and the user/s, and understanding one’s responsibility when it comes to nature.

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To give an opinion about what Architecture is in Platonic view or perception, let me discuss first what is Plato’s perception or a Platonic view. Plato discusses and says that what we see in the material world is not the real world it is just an abstraction or imitation of what is in the real world. He does not believe in the form itself but he said that the “IDEA” is what is real. So there he comes with his Theory of Form, which he states that form is only in the mind and what we see is just an imitation of the real form. For him the ideal form of body is the Soul. He said that there are three (3) main part of the soul (a) appetite or being hunger for something, (b) reason, and (c) will power. These three should be balance and connected with each other. He has a Classic Idealistic view or which also known as the Idealism. Being an Idealists’ they possess and have a naive optimism that focuses on concept and/or idea. They said that there are lot of ideas and concept but these things has no truth, ideas/concepts are more real than the object that manifests them, believe in abstract concept, and that idea is the reality and it is the universal principle. Ideas are not present in the real world; you cannot represent it from something. Ideas are like in the other dimension. Plato disputes and distrusts the physical world and the senses because for him they are moving and changing so you cannot interpret things to its purest form. In addition, for him in order to attain the pure essence of a thing is through happiness which is attainable if you contemplate. To relate all of these Platonic ideas and perception in Architecture, I will start with concept. Concept is the main ingredient in order for an Architect to move on. It is like the seed of a building or structure, like a tree a tree comes from a seed that grows eventually. In building and designing a structure, the architect should have a concept, which makes it as it is. A building is design through conceptualization. The concept used and applied to design and construct a building is what makes the buildingness of a building. The concept gives essence to the building. The idea behind that building is what makes it eternal that you cannot dispute it. It will not be change even though it would pass different eras. It would still stand because of its concept and concept is what makes the way it is. Building/s or structure/s are being much appreciated not because of its physical aspect or form but its buildingness, the buildingness of the building is what makes it a building. To give an example, like Zaha Hadid she conceptualize and design buildings and structures to the point that it is too impossible to be build and constructed. However, her works makes it stand and be known among others because of the concept she used and applied to it is what makes it a real and pure one. Her works, even though was not build or constructed its buildingness or structureness is what makes that building or structure a building or structure because of its concept, her idea behind it. Her works are not beautiful because of its form or appearance but because of its concept. The principle makes it the way it is and you cannot dispute it.

For me the Platonic view is as if an Architect’s work was not build or constructed, however his or her works is famous, known, studied by others or are in the books because of its concept, the behind it. The idea or concept applied and used is what makes the buildingness of a building. It gives essence and purity to the building. Its abstractiveness makes the way it is. The important thing is for others to understand and comprehend your work, you do not need any representations, or physical form to make it and be it as it is. True knowledge or intelligence used and applied to ones work is the ability to grasps form in one’s mind. You have to have a good idea and concept and wide imagination to make your work last even though it will not be constructed. What is important is to make it remarkable and notable not only in the Architecture world but also in every mind of every individual.

Moving on to Aristotelian view. If for Plato Form does not exist in the physical world and ideas and concepts are the essence and what makes a “thing a thing.” For Aristotle, “FORM” exists in the world. Substance makes a thing a thing; it is the essence within the object, it is inside. However, he believes that ideas are in the physical world, no form without matter, and no matter without form. Form is what defines it essence and it is the driving force of its existence. He gives this idea of Metaphysics, wherein he examines and concludes that the concept of substance and essence does not only rely on matter itself but it is a combination of matter and form. You should have a proof for every ideas and concept you are formulating. In addition, if Plato has Theory of Form, Aristotle has Theory of Causation which states how and why of a thing, (a) Material cause, the elements out of which an object is created (What is made up of?). (b) Formal cause is the expression of what it is (How was it express?). (c) Efficient cause, it is meant by which it is created (How was it created or who bought all things together?). Last is the (d) Final cause or the end for which it is (The ultimate purpose/ identity and what allows it to be in the reality). He believes that in a Realistic view the driving force is the thought that everything has a purpose and the end goal of every man is to be happy. It is what is on our mind is what can be seen in the physical world and it is in reality. In relation to Architecture, Aristotelian view and perception implies that if you are formulating ideas and concept in mind you should have something to represent it. Like when architects are designing buildings or structures, they have these ideas and concepts in mind, which they are studying and formulating. They are undergoing process of learning and trial and errors. If they are already sure to their formulated concept, they will now apply it the building or structure that they are ask and about to design. They cannot create a design for a building without having ideas and concept but they should transform it into form to give essence and substance to what they did. The outcome or the design of the building will be the essence of their concept. The ideas became more concrete. In addition, the form of the structure is the driving force of its existence that gives essence to the concept. To give example, Calatrava for me is probably the best one to choose. He has this wide range of imagination, great concepts and ideas but he always makes sure that what he is conceptualizing and formulating is can be constructed. His works are iconic. He visualizes ideas are in the physical world or in reality.

For me in Aristotelian view is Architects apply all the ideas and concepts he/she have and translate it into form to prove that everything is possible, that it is a buildable one. The buildingness of a building he/she is designing does not only rely on its concept and ideas applied behind but also on its form, how it is interpreted and represented into a form. All things have its basis and its basis is in reality. The ideas we have is not just ideas but pure ideas that gives substance and essence to what are we making. We give purpose to everything that we are doing and making. Therefore, for every idea we have in mind we give purpose into it, to how are we going to give purpose it is now all up to us on where and how to apply, interpret and represent it for other people to see, understand and comprehend. We cannot expect people to understand easily the idea behind if we do not give representation into it. Form gives essence and substance to matter and matter gives essence and substance to form.

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Hejduk, being an architect with a keen eye for details of organization, reciprocity and the likes allows him to be an effective critic on shapes and grids, which is manifested in his Victims project. From a very simple observation of solidity and tangibility of the shapes, he has moved forward to coming up with his profound philosophies and theories. From a mere erasure of a pencil, he stated that it connotes former existences. On my own perspective and how I perceive it, I believe that he is right on this one. It heavily implies that erasures are reflection of a former entity that was once drawn or made. Erasures are also the implications of good developing process. In a very graphic field like architecture, we draw and in drawing spontaneous strokes and lines, there is a high tendency of making a mistake be it intentional or not. There are many strokes that are made and we remove the unnecessary ones but sometimes, we allow those flawed lines to stay because in a strange way it actually makes the sketch better. Those, which are erased, are honest mistakes but helped us in building up the idea even more. Although we have already erased them, there are faint traces left on the paper and this is what I believe Hejduk is trying to point out in his criticism; an error, albeit erased proves there is something that precedes what is already there.


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