ARCHITECTURE Introduction to Humanities

Introduction to
The Humanities Through The Arts
F. David Martin & Lee A. Jacobus
Buildings are works of art – that is
 Buildings possess artistic quality -- they
make our living space more livable.
 They draw us to them rather than push us
away or make us ignore them.
 They make our living space more livable.
Centered space is the positioned
interrelationships of things organized around
some paramount thing as the place to which the
other things seem to converge.
 Space is the material of the architect
 Centered space has a pulling power that, even in
our most harassed moments, we can hardly help
Centered Space
Architecture as opposed to mere
engineering -- is the creative conservation
of space.
 Architects perceive the centers of space in
nature, and build to preserve these
centers and make them more vital.
 Architects are the shepherds of space.
Space and Architecture
Chartres, like most Gothic churches, is shaped roughly like
a recumbent Latin cross: p149 or 156 Fig 6-2 & 6-3
The apse ( a projecting semicircular and vaulted part of a
building) or eastern end of the building contains the high
The nave (the central part of a church running lengthwise)
is the central and largest aisle leading from the central
portal to the high alter.
But before the altar is reached, the transept crosses the
nave. Both the northern and southern facades of the
transept of chartres contain glorious rose windows.
Living space is the feeling of the
positioning of things in the environment,
the liberty of movement, and the appeal
of paths as directives.
 Space infiltrates through all our senses,
as our sensations of everything influence
our perception of space.
Living Space
Each of our senses helps record the
positioning of things, expressed in such
terms as “up-down,” “left-right,” and
 These recordings require a reference
system with a center.
 With living space, since all the senses are
involved, the whole body is a center.
Living Space cont’d
when we relate to a place of special value, such
as the home,
 , a “configurational center” is formed in a place
that is a gathering point around which a field of
interest is structured.
 To oversimplify we can say that for Romans, it
was the city of Rome to which they most
naturally belong, constituting their
configurational center.
The architect’s professional life is perhaps more
difficult than that of any other artist.
 Architecture is a peculiarly public art because
buildings generally have a social function, and
many buildings require public funds.
 More than other artists, the architects must
consider the public.
Four Necessities of Architecture
Thus architects must be psychologists,
sociologists, economists, businesspeople,
politicians, and courtiers.
 They must also be engineers, for they must be
able to construct structurally stable buildings.
 Architects have to take into account four basic
and closely interrelated necessities: technical
requirements, use, spatial relationships, and
Four Necessities of Architecture
Of the four necessities, the technical
requirements of a building are the most obvious.
Buildings must stand (and withstand). Architects
must know the material and their potentialities,
how to put the materials together,
and how the materials will work on a particular
site. So architects are engineers.
But they are something more as well - artists.
Four Necessities of Architecture
Functional Requirements of Architecture
 Architects must not only make their buildings
stand but also usually stand them in such a way
that they reveal their function or use.
 Some believe that (form must follow function).
 If form follows function in the sense that the
form stands “for” the function; of its building,
then conventional forms or structures are often
sufficient. No one is likely to mistake Chartres
Cathedral for an office building.
Four Necessities of Architecture
cont’d p.153 / p.162
Spatial Requirements of Architecture
 A building that is technically awry with
poor lighting or awkward passageways or
cramped rooms will distract from any
artistic meaning,
 and so usually will a form that fails to
reveal the function of its building, or a
form that fails to fit into its spatial
Four Necessities of Architecture
cont’d p.158 / p.165
Revelatory Requirements of Architecture
 The function or use of a building is an
essential part of the subject matter of
that building,
 what the architect interprets or gives
insight into by means of his form.
Four Necessities of Architecture
cont’d p. 158-163 / p. 165-169
Essential values of contemporary society are a
part of all artists’ subject matter; part of what
they must interpret in their work, and this-because of the public character of architecture-is especially so with architects.
 The way architects (and artists generally) are
influenced by the values of their society has been
given many explanations.
Four Necessities of Architecture
To participate with a work of public
architecture fully, we must have as
complete an understanding as possible of
its subject matter - - the function of the
building and the relevant values of the
society which subsidized the building.
p.162 / p168
Works of architecture separate an inside
space from an outside space.
 They make that inside space available for
human functions.
 And in interpreting their subject matter
(functions and their society’s values),
architects make space “space.”
They bring out the power and embrace of
the positioned interrelationships of things.
 Architecture in this respect can be
divided into four main types:
 1) the earth-rooted, 2) the skyoriented,3) the earth-resting, and 4.
earth-dominating architecture.
The earth is the securing agency that grounds
the place of our existence, our center.
No other thing exposes its surface more
pervasively and yet hides its depth dimension
more completely.
Architecture that is earth-rooted discloses the
earth by drawing our attention to the site of the
building or to its submission to gravity, or to its
raw materials, or to its centrality in outer and
inner space.
Earth-Rooted Architecture
Such architecture discloses a world by
drawing our attention to the sky bounded
by a horizon.
 It accomplishes this by means of making
a building appear high and centered
within the sky, defying gravity, and tightly
integrating the light of outer with inner
Sky-Oriented Architecture
Most architecture accents neither earth nor sky
but rests on the earth,
using the earth like a platform with the sky as
With earth-resting architecture - unlike earthrooted architecture--the earth does not appear
as an organic part of the building. Rather, the
earth appears as a stage.
Earth-Resting Architecture
An earth-dominating building does not sit on
(like earth-resting) but “rules over” the earth.
Earth-dominating buildings generally are easily
Usually earth-dominating buildings are large and
massive, but those features do not necessarily
express earth-dominance.
Earth-Dominating Architecture
No use of space has become more critical
in our time than in the city.
 Therefore, the issues about space and
architecture take on a special relevance
with respect to city planning.
Urban Planning
Most cities are planned either sporadically
in segments or not at all.
 Some cities have height restrictions and in
some cases top stories have been
removed from buildings in construction.
 Some tall buildings create dark streets in
the middle of the day. Is it possible to
make the city a place to dwell?
Urban Planning