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Chora 5

Chora 5: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture

Alberto Pérez-Gómez
Stephen Parcell
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Chora 5
    Book Description:

    The fifth volume in this acclaimed series on the history and philosophy of architecture crosses a wide geographical and temporal range, moving from Greco-Roman antiquity to tenth-century India to contemporary Thailand and New York. The inter-disciplinary essays share a common theme in their reflections on the meaning of 'place' and 'place-making' as a richer alternative to the conceptual abstraction of universal ‘space.’

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6038-3
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Ricardo L. Castro

    “CHORA” (χώρα) WAS THE ANCIENT GREEK word for “space.” During the past two hundred years, space has become associated with the unbounded, homogeneous space of three mathematically quantifiable dimensions, but this modern notion did not exist in ancient Greece. Although we tend to oppose “space” and “place,” this distinction also was not evident to the Greeks. “Place” (τόποѕ) was described as a bounded, limited domain by Archytas of Tarentum (428– 347 B.C.) in a now-fragmentary treatise on place and later by Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) inPhysics.Xώρα is related to χορόѕ, a world with several meanings: a band of dancers...

  4. Fugitives in Sight: Section and Horizon in Andreas Vesalius’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica
    (pp. 1-20)
    Manuela Antoniu

    ON THE AUTHORITY OF CELSUS, the medical arts began with the Greeks, so closely in the shadow of philosophy that “treating the sick [morborum curatio] and the study of nature [rerum naturae contemplatio] partook of the same origin.”¹ The groundbreaker of ancient medicine, Hippocrates, had loosened the Homeric bonds of the humans’ relations to the gods with a question, “Why?” (dia ti),² thus anticipating Aristotle. In his turn, positing that neither sickness nor health can exist in beings devoid of life,³ Aristotle asked “Why movement?” and thus opened up the living body to philosophical scrutiny by wielding a literal scalpel....

  5. Roads and a Mountain, a Lake, and a Runway: Interpreting Infrastructure at Mae Hong Son, Thailand
    (pp. 21-50)
    Barry Bell

    INFRASTRUCTURE OFTEN PREDATES ARCHITECTURE. Thus it provides architecture’s support and creates its context. Conversely, infrastructural design may further or stand in contrast to the ideals of a setting that is already defined architecturally. Independent of any other ambitions, both architecture and infrastructure will also relate to a topography. Indeed, the three concerns of architecture, topography, and infrastructure interact in a complex relationship that controls the perception and experience of a building, town, or landscape.

    Despite these links, architecture and infrastructure are normally treated differently and by different protagonists. Infrastructure presents the serious side of urban development, where administrative authority and...

  6. Erudite Laughter: Persiflage of Viel de Saint-Maux
    (pp. 51-80)
    Ramla Benaissa

    VOLTAIRE WAS REPUTED TO BE the greatestpersifleurof the Enlightenment. It is even believed that the word was coined to describe his works. Persiflage was a characteristic trait of the French Enlightenment style, so much so that the word was judged untranslatable and was adopted by other European languages, as though the Germans, Spanish, and English didn’t know such a thing. Some even characterized the France of Voltaire as the nation of persiflage.² The 1980 Robert dictionary defines the verb “persifler” as “to ridicule someone by using mockery or an ironic tone,” but in the eighteenth century the meaning...

  7. 4 The Hybrid: Labrouste’s Paestum
    (pp. 81-126)
    Martin Bressani

    NINETEENTH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE has always suffered from bad press within the discipline. Troubled by its recycling of historical forms and stylistic eclecticism, architects, critics, and historians have generally viewed it as a period of transition, a rather curious and shameful moment of inertia in Western architecture. In particular, early modernists vehemently stigmatized the period, viewing it as an era of revivalism and pastiche. In 1905 Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage called it a “religious interregnumbetween two cultural eras,” going further to say that all “neo-historical styles” are (of necessity) “temporary episodes.”² At the same time, Werkbund-master Hermann Muthesius bluntly labelled...

  8. Landscapes of Memory: Philosophical Experiential Parcours at the Musée des monumens français
    (pp. 127-150)
    Jennifer Carter

    THE THEME OF THE ELYSIUM, or Elysian Field, was a literary and architectural preoccupation in late-eighteenth-century France. Inspired by the Greco-Roman land of the afterlife, writers, philosophers, and architects from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Alexandre Brongniart conceived of garden utopias that would provide respite from contemporary situations of urban overcrowding and political instability, while offering a space for solitary reflection. Unlike its paradisiacal origins in ancient mythology, in which the Elysium was imagined as the abode of the blessed after death, its modern incarnation in late-eighteenth-century France gave greater latitude to the concept. Influenced by innovations in landscape design, ideals of...

  9. Looking around the Edge of the World: Contending with the Continuist Principle and the Plenarist Passion
    (pp. 151-178)
    Edward S. Casey

    IN THIS CHAPTER I REFLECT on something that we don’t usually pause to consider: edges. Despite their delimited and focal character, edges are found everywhere; little, if anything, in our experience comes unedged, and the range of edges is enormous: from the edge of the earth (and its many regions) to the edge of the most mundane object (these pages). The world as we know it is rarely if ever edgeless. Every thing, every place has its edges. Of very few concepts can such scope be claimed.

    Why this extensivity of the edge? What does it signify about our insertion...

  10. Horizons at the Drafting Table: Filarete and Steinberg
    (pp. 179-200)
    Marco Frascari

    WHEN WORKING ON PAPER, ARCHITECTS trace horizons within the horizons of their drafting tables. The tracings carried out on drafting surfaces are not merely supports for architectural ideas; they become the eidetic surfaces and vital instrumental plans to sustain architects’ individual and communal cosmologies. These inscriptions of individual and societal representations give evidence to their conscious and unconscious orientation toward the world, together with the intersecting regions of architectural intentionality. As cosmographers, they render in graphic form the merging of cultural and individual cosmologies. These cosmological tracings are the real drawings of architecture. They are not prescriptive but descriptive instructions...

  11. Opening the Eye: “Seeing” as “Knowing” in Vastusastra (Indian Architectural Theory) According to the Treatise Manasara
    (pp. 201-226)
    Jose Jacob

    THE FOLLOWING ESSAY IS BASED on an exegesis of theManasara, a treatise belonging to the Indian architectural tradition ofvastusastra. TheManasarais a Sanskrit text with seventy chapters in which architectural and iconographic topics are discussed comprehensively. These topics encompass principles of composition of buildings and images of deities, systems of measurement, technical instructions on building procedure, prescriptions for rituals associated with construction, classification of buildings, the nature and quality of building materials, such as wood and stone, and characteristic features of deities. TheManasarahas no individual author, nor a specific historical date. Rather, it is a...

  12. Projecting Utopia: The Refortification of Nicosia, 1567—70
    (pp. 227-258)
    Panos Leventis

    IN THE EARLY HOURS of 9 September 1570, following seven weeks of siege and fifteen major assaults, Ottoman mercenaries succeeded in scaling the Podocataro bastion of the recently refortified city of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus and centre of the Serenissima’s militarily most significant colony. The entire city was taken, most of its buildings were set on fire, and most of its citizens were put to death. For the following three centuries, Nicosia would lie dormant as an insignificant post in a corner of the vast Ottoman Empire, a place of exile for those unfavoured by the Sultan in Constantinople....

  13. Vitruvius and the French Landscape of Ruins: On Jean Gardet and Dominique Bertin’s 1559 Annotations of De Architectura
    (pp. 259-284)
    Daniel M. Millette

    JAN MARTIN² AND JEAN GOUJON’S³ translation ofDe architecturafrom Latin into French became one of the most influential renditions of Vitruvius’s treatise in Renaissance France.⁴ Martin had translated other works before this one⁵ – texts related to his employment as secretary to the humanist and promoter of arts Cardinal Robert de Lenoncourt (1498–1561)⁶ – yet with this particular focus on architecture, his aim was more than translation per se: he wanted to provide practical knowledge for French builders so that they could be better equipped to compete with the Italian craftspeople settling in France. His partner in the project, Goujon,...

  14. Ruskin and Viollet-le-Duc: Figures of Ruin and Restoration
    (pp. 285-308)
    David Spurr

    THE TWO MOST PROMINENT ARCHITECTURAL theorists of the nineteenth century – Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and John Ruskin, both champions of the Gothic – held diametrically opposed ideas on the question of architectural restoration. Viollet-le-Duc devoted a successful career to restoring many of France’s great architectural monuments of the Middle Ages and wrote extensively in defence of his practices. Ruskin, on the other hand, abhorred restoration of any kind and defended the aesthetic value of ruins. The reason for this difference in architectural doctrine has been put down to one of temperament between the rationalarchitecte de terrainand the eccentric Oxford aesthete. However,...

  15. The Enigma of Pyramids: Measuring Salvation in Renaissance Rome
    (pp. 309-338)
    Nick Temple

    THE BIRTH OF CONSCIOUS URBAN planning in Rome during the Renaissance coincided with the emergence of a particular historiographical view of topography that saw ancient monuments and venerated Christian sites as metaphorical signifiers of a larger narrative of mythohistoric events. Underlying this understanding of topography was a fervent belief in a preordained providential plan that was sustained by a dynamic relationship between antiquity and present circumstances. Accordingly, the initiatives ofrenovatio(urban and cultural renewal) were deemed part of a larger redemptive project that centred on the hope, or expectation, of a Golden Age. Manifested in the actions of the...

  16. About the Authors
    (pp. 339-344)