Master's Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master Of Architecture
College of Architecture and Urban Studies
February 3, 1997
This thesis is an attempt to reconcile the form of an idea with the form of a thing in this world to be experienced. An exploration of the meaning behind the words idea, form, making and experience begins to unite the intellect of an architect with the design of an architect. The terms are defined in the thesis and explained through the project. The thesis through the project sets out to take these terms beyond mere words and give them an opportunity to inform eachother. It is this dialectic between idea, form, making and experience that I believe to be the heart of architecture.
Idea and form are inextricably tied to one another. ³Which is the origin of the other?² is not as pertinent a question as ³how do the two inform each other?². Ideas change from project to project as do the forms inherent in those ideas. Preceeding both idea and material form is another type of form that is immaterial and often remains unseen. It is the character which is essential to a thing. Whether it be a place or an object, it is the quality in the thing itself. This character is the instigator of idea and form. It is the architect¹s goal to make this inherent form perceivable.
An architect makes idea and form manifest through a concept of making. In Notes for a Theory of Making in a Time of Necessity, Giuseppe Zambonini emphasizes that ³We must look not only at the quality of the material used and at the craft employed, but also at the quality of the thought process selecting and shaping the material. . .quality cannot be an intrinsic condition that belongs to the object . . . but rather it must express the intent by which it is created and therein the clarity and strength of the meaning being produced by its form² (Zambonini, 21). This quality of design can best be achieved the earlier making and materiality are involved in the design process. The questions of ³what is the form of this idea?² and ³how is this form to be made?² begin the relationship between idea, form and making. The immediate responses may be intuitive, but the final one is the resultof numerous makings. This is why architecture is practiced.
When the question arises:³how can this form not only embody an idea but be the idea?², the dialogue takes on a greater import. The way in which a thing will be experienced starts to inform its making. ³It is the process that will engage both user and observer in an active, participating relationship with the work and thereby give the work its meaning² (Zambonini, 21). It is at this point that the dialectic is fully engaged.
These four aspects simultaneously inform each other and nurture the project throughout its life, from drawing board, to construction to the various experiences that it will impart. It is not just one aspect, but these four in communion that are the architecture.
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