Humanities - INTER

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Daniel Libeskind Imperial Museum of War /1997-2002/

Approach: Architecture as Fine Art Structuralism and Semiotics Deconstructivism

Humanities Coursework

Ivona Ivanova K100 Yr 3 4143246

BUILDING/ General Impressions from Visit/

My chosen building of interest is the located in Manchester Imperial Museum of War by Daniel Libeskind. It is built in the last decade. When the building is entered it has a direct impact on the visitor from the first impression. That is achieved through the use of tilted floor, tilted walls and ceilings. Even a secondary space as the toilets is thought carefully about- it leaves the impression of uncertainty and the atmosphere of the war. There exist contrast spaces- vast ones opposite to very narrow ones. The ceilings are about 10 m but the height varies. A walk through the museum provides various views and changes of atmospheres- biright and dark spaces. There are also differences in the materials used. The structure has been made from steel on concrete and has aluminium cladding. The concept of the façade is to remain of the metal airplanes that have been used in the wars. The size of the building is 69,965 sq.ft

. The visitor, while entering the space is surprised by unexpected views that occur to the different spaces. Dramatism occurs. Symbolic meanings are implemented. The body of the museum is comprised of three parts which are to represent the ground, water and air. Those are the three fronts of the war. The main idea for the form finding comes from a globe thorn into parts. The concept of the museum forms a follows the development of time consequently and different zones are formed: "1900-1914: A New Century" "1914-1918: First World War" "1919-1939: Between the Wars" "1939-1945: Second World War" "1946-1990: Cold War" "1990-Present: Into a New Century" silos In contrast with the vast central zones of the exhibition there are surprising small spaces in the silos. There are six enclosed spaces for exhibition, each one representing a specific theme connected with the history of war. These are: "Experience of War" "Women at War" "Impressions of War" "Empire, Commonwealth & War" "Science, Technology & War" "Legacy of War" In my review of the building I have chosen to look at the theories of architecture as fine art and the understanding for structuralism and semiotics. The building is however characteristic for the deconstructist theory. ARCHITECTURE AS A WORK OF ART Le Corbusier’s quotation ‘The emotion lying outside question of construction and beyond them. The purpose of construction is to mark things hold together of architecture to move us’ talks about . There is debate juxtaposing Science and Art. Platonism is connected with idealism where content and concept are most important-not the physical but the ideals. Perfect forms are conceptual ones. The forms are different versions of ideas, while in materialism- ideas are different kinds of a form. The Aristotel’s ideas of materialism put form and material as initial.

The way to understand ideas comes from looking at experience. The motto of the school of Athens and Raphael is: ‘Seek knowledge of cause’. These ideas have been perceived as a rehearsal for life, while the Platonic ones are like an imitation, a copy of life. Aesthetics is a philosophy of art that is connected with the sensory experience of it. The understanding of beauty according to Edmund Burke is connected with the Edmund Burke- Phylosophical Enquiry into the origin of our notions of the sublime and beautiful. He is not just describing the object about its beauty but the experience of the viewer. There are two understandings for aesthetics. The sublime according to Heidegger can be connected with fear and danger, something external that is uncontrollable. Decart has the idea that beauty is transcendent and precise. He connects it with the fragility of form. Beauty is understood as something that pleases universally and is experienced subjectively at the same time. The object that has that quality is a purposive one. Taste is disinterested , common sense agrees on it and as an art is made of a genious. Another approach is by Ernst Cassier – it does not divide art from science. An understanding of Kant is about experiencing time through space and causality. At the beginning of the twentieth century there has been a connection of science and art. The examples for that are the creation of atomic model of matter, the technology developed and provided new view for the world. 500w-> BUILDING

Structuralism and semiotics

‘Man acts as if he were the master of language, when in fact language is the master of man.’ In the lecture series, semiotics has been discussed as the study of signs. According to Heidegger : in their linguistic expression people are limited by the quantity of the words they have. According to Hegel the civilisation is improving in a more technological direction. Sculpture, art and architecture are more primitive. Art, poetry and architecture are connected with the creative not only with the useful. Their meaning spreads beyond the functional communication. Semiotics can be noticed at places with repetitive elements like their brands. ‘The philosophy of structuralism is emergence ‘(lectures) The two important elements in order a communication to exist are the Signifier(it transfers the idea) and the Sign( a word that has been signified). Principles of semiotics are 1.

‘’Arbitrariness of the sign – change of word 2.

2 two tier system of language and speech La Langue- deep structure’ models of difference System of grammatical hidden structures underneath ‘’ People have the ability to perceive easily and faster on their native language. During using it people do not learn new skills for that, they just practice it, the grammar becomes innate. It has been proved in the works of Chomski that people are born with a universal grammatical ability- the understanding of its structure.

Immanuel Kant has an idea that an ‘Artist is a genious (a creator)’. As he is the person to create new meanings. ‘Individuals have very limited scope to be genious’: It is hard for them to create as their choice of expressing themselves is limited by language. PHENOMENOLOGY AND EXISTENCIALISM: According to Sartre: ‘Individuals have to take responsibility fir our life. We have choice. You can make your life from scratch; just have to have the life power to do it.’(1950) ‘diachronic- across time analysis .v. Synchronic= snapshot of a few times analysis’ The different languages have different structures. ‘Diachronic: we can take a snapshot from a language system and understand its principle’: Terry Eagleton , Literary Theory The word semiotics comes from ‘semeion’ ehich means sign. A language includes a system of different principles. In a similar way can be made parallels to how a culture can be analysed- through its structural kinships ‘/Structural anthropology 1958- the structural study of myth/’ In the middle of the twentieth century the psychoanalysis developed through the observations of Freud. A division of the human mind have been accomplished- the psyche is divided in consciuous, unconscious and preconscious. The deep cause effects have been found. Parallels can be made in Geology and Marxism. In the new movement in architecture, the structure become not a constraiing factor-on the contrary, it defined architecture. According to Marxism, people’s lives are guided by a bigger social structure. Political an deconomical relationships are involved in that process. Another typical thing for the age has been the development of oppositional pairs in the development of the Binary logic. Philosophically, this can be looked as the contrasts Light/Dark-Male/Female-Good /Evil.

The Logic of myth

As the semiology is defined by signs, there is a parallel with the mythology. In the same way it is comprised of different myths. Their archetypal characters can be recognised by everyone, as their meaning is encoded universally in human mind- their meaning is usually easy to define. As the dna is the building part of an organism, in such a way sounds are the building elements that form speech. There has been defined a difference between the significance of the structure and the actual outside appearance. That can be recognised in objects and in the linguistic expressions, too. A specific archetypal character is that of the Hero- he saves the bad, the conflict good /evil is represented in this way. A kind of structural analysis of the whole human culture can be made through such characters. The mythological personages and the archetypes can be seen as building elements of a system of communication, it is semiology of the mythological. Such language that is universally recognised can be created by design. It can be seen in everyday examples as the visual communication that has been created in a menu in a restaurant.

Semantics in Postmodernism are involved in rediscovery of history and they help understand the meaning of things. While Syntaxes is the way in which things mean something. The zeitgeist of the time corresponds to its current philosophy. The post war period is characterised by structuralism. Another postmodern movement is deconstructivism. The structuralism period has specific outlook with the use of platonic geometric forms. Ventury was against this way of expression. According to him, there should be a separation between the signifier and the signified. He thought modernism is too literal; ‘Functional operation compromised by functional expression’, the building as an ornament is an example for this kind of thinking. Another criticism of modernism was that its motto was firmness and commodity are the most important things for design and delight is a result of them. However, Vitruvius claims that the three of these have equal importance and should be incorporated in the design from the beginning. Also, modernism detached from archetypes. For example, in a house those can be the fireplace, the entrance and should be expressed as such. An example for merged signifier and signified is a building made into a sign. This compromises the function in order to express the meaning of the sign. Las Vegas buildings perform in a similar manner and their main purpose is to make people spend money there. On the contrary, Vitruvius is concentrating on universal archetypes in his expression. When occupying a space, people are in the realm of a particular design. Therefore, the language used in it communicates meanings. The task of the designer is to communicate it and the users become guided by it unconsciously. As with languages, people learn the simple rules implied and then use it. The materiality in the building is also important as its quality is directly affecting user’s perception. ->1000W. BUILDING THE EYES OF THE SKIN: P22 The narcisstic eye views architecture solely as a means of self-expression and as an intellectual-artistic game detached from essential mental and societal connections, whereas the nihilistic eye deliberately advances sensory and mental detachment and alienation. Instead of reinforcing one’s body –cantered and integrated experience of the world, nihilistic architecture disengages and isolates the body.’ P29 In particular, the contemporary city is increasingly the city of the eye, detached from the body by rapid motorised movement or through the overall aerial grasp from an airplane. The process of planning has favoured the idealistic and disembodied Cartesian eye of control and detachment; city plans are highly idealised and schematised. P39 The perception of sight is outmost important sense is well grounded in psychological, perceptual and psychological facts. The problems arise from the isolation of the eye outside its natural interaction with other sense modalities, and from the elimination and suppression of other senses, which increasingly reduce and restrict the experience of the world into the spare of vision.

P40 sensory experiences become integrated through the body, or rather, in the very constitution of the body and the human mode of being. Our bodies and movements are in constant interaction with the environment; the world and the self inform and redefine each other constantly. Karen Harries: Pp353 ‘Fine Art ‘, according to Hegel is not only art in the true sense of the term until it is also thus free, and its highest function is only then satisfied when it has established itself in a sphere which it shares with religion and philosophy, becoming thereby merely one mode and form through which the Divine, the profoundest interests of mankind, and spiritual truths of widest range are brought home to consciousness and expressed.’ Environmentally, the building does not perform well-it is among one of the worst of non residential buildings in the UK, according to a 2008 survey, its emissions of carbon dioxide are rated with the lowest score-G.

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References:

Krampen, Martin, Semiotics in Architecture and Industrial/Product Design, Design Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 124-140 Published by: The MIT Press, 1989 Pallasmaa,J., The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, London: Wiley 2005 Harries, Karsten, The Ethical Function of Architecture, London: The MIT Press, 1997 Mcleod, Mary, Architecture and Politics in the Reagan Era: From Postmodernism to Deconstructivism, pp. 22-59 Published by: The MIT Press, 1989 ● C.F. Munro, Semiotics, Aesthetics and Architecture, British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol27, No 2, Spring 1987 Pawley Martin, Rethinking Technoloy, Technology Transfer, 1987 FAT, A Field Guide to Post- Modernism, Architectural Design Magazine, 2001 Whyte, William, How do Buildings Mean? Some Issues of Interpretation in the History od Architecture, Wesleyan University Press , 2006

● Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5718576373 using these. I am sorry for that. - I have visited the building but I lost the photos and did not have a back up of them, this is why I am Umberto Eko-italian semiotician- the name of the rose. Function and sign –the semiology of architecture Jonathan Hill-Actions of Arcitecture Jeremy Till-Architecture Depends Complexity and contradiction in architecture- the architecture of the city , aldo rosis, collage city , colin Rowe and Fred Koetter Meaning and architecture Jenks and Baird Mies- te minimal dweliljng Philip Johnson – glass house 1949- remerging of thesymbolic element with the form Michael graves: Portland Building 1980 – Postmodernism The Box becomes symbolic and contradicts its materiality A manifesto architecture VSBA : Football Hall of fam e1967 FOA- leichesteer John Lewis- inward looking box of retail shop sucha as Broadmarch , Birmingham selfriges. Part 2 of lec: SYNTACTIC STRUCTURES Eiseman House 1969-70 Building blocks of architecture The new york 5 1960 Geometric elements of modernist architecture Pawley Martin, Rethinking Technoloy, Technology Transfer, 1987 In the series of combinations Formal exploration Function comes second History of spatial composition as arch formation Herman Herzberger: Verdn burg music art Formal language is simple (simple building blocks) Spaces which ppl can occupy without thinking Simple building blocks- ppl go improvise and express themselves through architecture Simple elements a column gets more complicated and convoluted – make handrails, balconies…

Herzberger: Central Beheer Offices 1987 Headquarters, multiple repeated uses Louise Kahn Most successful- individual and unique personal with in limitations Human softness to the environment Montessori school Amsterdam 1980Herzberger Mix of materials warmth of material

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