Term Paper To every work of architecture there is a what and there is a why. The
To every work of architecture there is a what and there is a why. The what pertains to its tangible characteristics. The why pertains to the intangible reasons, ideas, beliefs, and ideals that condition every work of architecture and transform the work into a cultural artifact.
Every work of architecture is essentially a composition, i.e., it is comprised of distinct parts placed in a particular relationship to each other for a particular purpose. To understand a work of architecture requires, first and foremost, an analysis of the work. It entails separating and identifying its constituent parts and their specific relationship to each other and to the whole work, e.g., the specific relationship between solids and voids, horizontals and verticals, of the inside to the outside, of structure to skin, of the building to its site, ornamentation, articulation, etc. This is, however, merely a first step. The more important step in understanding a work of architecture is the why of the work.
From a certain vantage point, architecture is an impossible task. Faced with multiple possibilities, the architect has no ground for the delimitation of her/his options. The functions of an edifice suggest no one form and much less a direction. In deference to biological needs, function is nebulous and multi-directional. However, function assumes a trajectory and becomes highly prescriptive, when it is appropriated by culture and transformed into a ritual. Though by no means singular, a ritual is distinct and unidirectional. It has unique spatial requirements. It demands a specific setting. It is this and similar prescriptive cultural appropriations that make architecture possible.
Every work of architecture points to a process of delimitation intended to give expression to a particular cultural proposition, theorem, or thesis. As such, every work of architecture serves to transform a culture’s assumptions about the world into a factual experience of them. The work shapes the world, in other words, after our image of it. In this process economy, ecology, and technology play an important role. They make the realization of certain dreams possible and others not. The shape any work of architecture takes is invariably conditioned by the interaction of these three forces within the broader cultural context
Therefore, to understand the why of any work of architecture is to understand the cultural rituals it is meant to provide for, the cultural experiences it is meant to instigate and the ideas, the ideals, the beliefs it is meant to embody and express.
Throughout the term, we will address both the what and the why of every work of architecture we examine. Lectures will specifically emphasize the why. Your aim throughout the term should be to understand architecture in the sense explained above. In this vain, the point and purpose of the term paper is to give you an opportunity to acquire a more thorough understanding of the formal and theoretical issues and concerns, ideas and ideals of a generation of architects working within a specific cultural, social, political, and economic context that on the whole is of particular interest to you.
You are, therefore, to choose one of the following periods in the history of Western Architecture: Ancient Greek, Roman, Early Christian & Byzantine, Carolingian & Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance. Within this period, you should choose an exemplary building that is of particular interest to you, from the provided list of buildings.
The task is then four fold:
-Research the history of the development of the building and its design, including the various architectural issues and concerns, ideas and ideals that conditioned the design of this and other buildings of its generation.
-Research the cultural, social, political and economic context within which and in response to which this building was developed.
-Research and analyze the particular formal characteristics of the building you have chosen in light of the above research. This entails a careful analysis of the overall spatial organization, the relationship of parts to whole, of solids to voids, of volume to mass, of the inside to the outside, the particular expressions of structure and material, the particular articulation of surface, proportion, scale, etc.
-Formulate and present a concise discussion of your research, whereby you clearly demonstrate the integral relationship between the formal attributes of the building you have chosen and the theoretical concerns, and ideals of its architect and his or her generation as this relationship is established and developed in response to the particular demands of a specific social, cultural, economic, and political context.
Your paper should be approximately 4500 words, excluding bibliography and images. It should, therefore, be well organized, concisely written and economically worded. Every quotation should be identified as such and properly credited. Quotations should not exceed 10% of the paper. Footnotes should appear on the same page and the bibliography on the last page, in MLA format. The paper, on the whole, should clearly demonstrate extensive research above and beyond the assigned readings and lecture material as well as a thorough understanding of the architectural period chosen.
Your research should be based exclusively on peer-reviewed academic journals and book publications. You research should not be based on nonacademic web sources, travel guides, etc.Please also use Marvin Trachtenberg & Isabelle Hyman:Architecture – from Prehistory to Post-Modernism Second Edition, New York: Pearson, 2002 as a source.
Before submitting your paper, please have your paper proof read by Grammerly. It is a free Online service at https://www.grammarly.com.
Please submit your term paper Online at Canvas as a Microsoft word or pdf document. Please label your file using your name, e.g., JaneDoe.docx.
Graded papers will be returned to you by the week of May 3, 2021.
Your paper will be evaluated based on the following criteria. Please make certain you effectively address each criterion in your paper.
-How well does the paper evidence a clear understanding of the history of the development of the building and its design?
-How well does the paper evidence a clear understanding and explanation of the various architectural issues and concerns, ideas and ideals that conditioned the design of this and other buildings of its generation?
-How well does the paper evidence a clear understanding and explanation of the cultural, social, political and economic context within which and in response to which the building was developed?
-How well does the paper provide a careful and analytical discussion of the formal attributes of the building?
-How well does the paper demonstrate the integral relationship between the formal attributes of the building and the theoretical concerns, and ideals of its architect and his or her generation?
-How well does the paper analyze and discuss the link between the formal and theoretical attributes of the building and the specific social, cultural, economic, and political context of the buildings development?
-How well does the paper demonstrate extensive research above and beyond the assigned readings and lecture material?
-Is the paper content clearly organized, logically sequenced, and coherently presented?
-Are there any errors of fact in the paper?
-Are there grammatical and/or spelling errors?