From the constructive thing like theory | Miquel Lacasta Codorniu

Ville Savoye in construction, Poissy 1929

From the constructive thing like theory

The reality is always an organization, or complex configuration, which is constituted constant. This way raised, this affirmation stops to guess a beginning of very simple bottom: the fact that something is constructed constant it does not make it less royal, independently of which they are the pieces that integrate this construction. The fact that from the architecture it could affirm that some of these pieces should be necessarily discursive and even significant (they prefer others symbolic), it does not make them less royal.

The architecture must never deny, not in the as conceptual as possible area, which there should be a material reality, must hold, in opposition to some current ideas, that the constructive thing forms a part of the properly architectural thing in the most essential thing, in his original speech and that the constructive technology of such-and-such element is not any more than a high form than expression capable of enclosing the firmest components of a specific given story, and hide the subtlest interpretations of the reason.

Traditionally they have tried to limit each other the pretensions of the constructive thing, preaching a species of qualitative differentiation: the constructive thing like the royal thing and ligature to the technology and the trade, and the constructive thing as speech, with scarcely followers and commonly despised these for the suspicion that after the speech one hides an eminently technical will.

Not with certain displeasure, there is assumed that these two domains of the constructive thing (similar in certain form to the dualism of Discarded cards between the matter and the substance) are ontológicamente different and, with exception of specific and limited circumstances, they exist in different planes that they must be communicated. But it seems to me that the contemporary idea of the constructive thing should reject this radical dichotomy on having affirmed that, on the contrary, the world is constituted by complex organizations of different types of constructive and constructed events, some of which are always expressive, in the broad sense of the term, and that the speech is only one more form of his expression.

That is to say, the reality, any reality, is always a joint of many types of different, physical, emotional and intellectual events. The speech cannot be understood adequately if it is read as simple external reflections on the reality that, in certain circumstances, they concern the architecture. Maybe the constructive thing should turn as an integral element of the reality, which helps to join the royal thing and the imagined and to give him to the architecture a sense of joint belonging.

Every architectural practice not only is articulated culturally, but the cultural associate practices are constant involved in the constant production of the reality. To put it in simpler terms, the culture in which we live, the cultural forms that we propose and insert in the reality and that habitually we are called an architecture, they have consequences in the way like it organizes and the reality is lived. The cultural practices defined by the constructive thing contribute to the production of the context as an organization of the power, and construct the context as an experience of the power. It is for this that the culture imports in the architecture, because it is a key dimension of the transformation or permanent construction of the reality. What it does not want to say, as it would affirm a lot of of the contemporary theory, that the culture for yes same constructs the reality. The culture is constructed in the constructive thing.

Certain aspects of the theory of the architecture try to understand something on how the organization of the constructed is constructed by means of the breaking up and the rejoint of relations, taking the cultural purpose as a point of item, and as procedure of study, the revenue in the complex balance sheet of constitutive forces of the relations of the properly architectural thing with the political thing, the technological thing, the social thing, the economic thing and finally in a species of tautology, the cultural thing. This point of view is undoubtedly one of the ways of understanding the constructive thing from the formalization of a body with own significance. A process in the strictly conceptual plane.

Another way of understanding the constructive thing in what we might call the logic of the joint, is when the constructive process creates sense to the initially fragmentary thing. As Andrea Deplazes indicates, the architecture knows no doubt a specific vocabulary of materials, a constructive grammar and a structural syntax. These constitute his principal budgets, something like mechanics of the architecture. To them also there belong the technical foundations that, totally independent from a project or work it makes concrete, establish a method based on constructive beginning and one to be able to do that can be learned. Though these instruments are in yes same conclusive, until they do not link themselves conceptual to a project, they remain fragmentary, unconnected and, therefore, lacking in sense. Only in relation to a concept there develops a process of vital importance, where the fragments originally isolated of the technology and of the construction prepare and order in an architectural volume.The parts and everything they are completed, are determined and are influenced alternative. It is the step of the work constructed the architecture, of the construction to the tectonic one.1

Here undoubtedly Deplazes refers to the techné, in the sense aristotélico of the term, that is to say the techné appears with all the features of one to know ligature to the forms of knowledge rational and become related to the science, to those technical procedures that do of a good execution of the work a good example of constructividad. Nothing to object.

Nevertheless as it indicates at the end of the appointment, is the significant capacity, the relation to a concept, which provides with sense to a constellation of dispersed and fragmentary capacities, where the parts and everything they are completed, is determined and is influenced alternative, that is to say is articulated. I dress like that the most basic meaning of the constructive thing, the most material version of the term is subordinated to an indispensable significance from the sphere of the intellect. And this construction of meanings emparenta rapidly with the idea of context, of the contextual thing as initial and / or final reason, it is not clear, of the significant structure of the architectural fact.

In short, it is an impossible des-alienar the constructive thing of the contextual thing in his common determination for constructing a statement, a narrative own space of the architectural thing. Said differently, the practices of intermediation with the context cannot separate of the practices of constructive joint. And this leads to one of the most visible commitments of the practice proyectual: the architecture is necessarily to interdiscipline. Not so much for a species of commitment a priori, but for a logical conclusion of a contextualidad and an own constructividad of the architectural statement.

The corny body of the essentially architectural thing must be interdisciplinary because the formation of culture to discipline cannot be analyzed in purely autoindexed terms; to understand the cultural specific formations, the orographies of the architectural story it needs to look at the relations of the own thing, with everything what it is not. But, what degree is of interdisciplinariedad needed?

In strategic terms, the interdisciplinariedad must be the sufficiently responsible thing to produce a useful, added and skilful knowledge even if it is limited by specific demands of project and strategies of context. Therefore, it can be said that the cultural cosificación of the architectural object arises as a process of analysis from how they transform, constructivly, articulating and dismantling, you structure of physical domination on a given corporate purpose.

The real dimension of the narrative own space of the architectural thing should open the theory from the interdisciplinariedad, of a strategic way, to gain the knowledge necessary to interfere in new contexts, so that there is possible the joint of new or better political, social, economic, technological and cultural strategies. To take what Marx was calling the diversion for the theory in order to offer a new and better description, moving from the empirical thing to the concrete thing, where always the last thing is conceptualized. But also this space must do a diversion across the royal thing, of the empirical context, to be able to continue theorizing.

The narrative architectural space is founded what Lawrence Grossberg is called the radical contextualidad and what we might add here, the congenital constructividad, where every element of the architectural practice comes affected by a double imposition in the significant plane, the contextual thing and the constructive thing. In consequence, the object of the initial attention of the architectural practice is never an isolated text, the only building, a work of singular art, but a set structured of practices – a cultural formation, a discursive regime that of beginning includes discursive and not discursive practices, theories and facts. But even a formation of typical these must be located in formations superposed to the daily life. Therefore we can think that the speech in the architectural practices is an integral fact, since also the object is integral constructed, that is to say the not discursive part while pure objetualidad, pure materiality of the architecture.

The combination between the idea of contextualidad radical and of constructividad congenital also it re-forms the relation of the architectural practices with the theory.

Therefore in architecture, the theory, the contextual thing and the constructive thing are constituted and determine respectively, so that the area of the theoretical thing takes as a strategic resource fix quotas. It is for it that the narrative production of the architecture cannot identify with a paradigm or a theoretical singular tradition, but rather it takes place summoning and confronting different common places of the thought as the philosophy, the sociology, the science, etc. It is not necessary to say so, that the loss of the autonomy of the narrative architectural fact makes to itself evident here, since in his day it it was also, the evident loss of the autonomy of the narrative area of the art, with worse consequences for the latter.2

To have to just understood the paper of the constructive thing as theory in the architecture, we should clarify that in the area of the post-postmodernity,3 the theoretical production is not understood as object in yes same, but rather from a strategic use, as a tool of which we must be served to advance in the construction of a narrative of the complexity of the specific thing. In consequence, the narrative own space of the architecture is not motivated by theoretical questions; they do not derive his questions of his theoretical interests, but of the fascination for the contingency. Only hereby one manages to avoid that on having defined for anticipated the questions and the answers, the theoretical bets reduce the possibility of counting a different and better history, tells the history of a of surprise and discovery. Every case admits a theory. Probably many theories.

Far from the metamodernidad or of any other label of the moment, we can turn Peter Eisenman to remember like already in his doctoral thesis The Formal Basis of Modern Architecture,4he was pleading for an interpretation opened of the theory, and therefore the possibility of constitution of a theory ad-hoc, by means of the idea of a theory debater of opened end. This one is the category of the polemic test that can be read in Geoffrey Scot’s writings principally, and in a minor way in other authors as Abbe Laugler or Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. In Geoffrey Scott it seems that we think before the foundation of a theory of opened end that it is allowed that this one should be always in process of expansion and of continuous application.

In short it seems that the narrative space of the architecture is constructed from a way of understanding the contextual thing, a way of agglutinating knowledge from the constructive thing and all this is thread so much in the theoretical pure practice of the architecture, since in the experimental practice of the same one, which since we have seen, also it is capable of creating theory.

Miquel Lacasta. Doctor architect

Barcelona, juny 2012

The photography that the post heads is of the Ville Savoye in construction, Poissy 1929. I want to do special mention to the energy and the aptitude to find mythical photographies on the part of VAUMM Arkitekturak, which have been the source of this image.


1 Deplazes, Andrea. Construir la arquitectura. Del material en bruto al edificio. Un manual. Gustau Gili, Barcelona, 2010

2 If the art loses his autonomy, and therefore there can not be done the art for art’s sake, his area of reflection, of conceptualization, eliminates under the yoke of that area the one that serves. The aesthetics are undissociable to the autonomy of the art and of the institution art, for what the disappearance of the aesthetics in the art is the highest price that he ends up by paying.

3 Since Tom Turner introduced in City as Landscape: A Post Post-modern View of Design and Planning, and later it transformed of the hand of Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in the term metamodernism in the article Notice on metamodernism, that succinctly it would come to determine the emergency of a sensibility that ranges between modern positions and postmodern strategies.

4 Eisenman, Peter. The Formal Basis of Modern Architecture, it´s published originally as doctoral thesis for the Trinity College of the University of Cambridge in August, 1963 and later re-edited in Lars Müller Publishers in the year 2006.

Es cofundador en ARCHIKUBIK y también en @kubik – espacio multidisciplinario. Obtuvo un Ph.D. con honores (cum laude) en ESARQ Universitat Internacional de Catalunya UIC y también fue galardonado con el premio especial Ph.D (UIC 2012), M.arch en ESARQ Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, y se graduó como arquitecto en ETSAB Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya . Miquel es profesor asociado en ESARQ desde 1996. Anteriormente, fue profesor en Elisava y Escola LAI, y también en programas de postgrado en ETSAB y La Salle. Fue arquitecto en la oficina de Manuel Brullet desde 1989 desde 1995.


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