Classification of Form in Architecture Essay

1.1.Problem Statement

Categorization of architectural signifier is one of the agencies through which apprehension of Architecture becomes clearer and much easier. Architecture underwent analytical surveies through the ages by theorists, authors or those who are concerned with it. There are many theoretical categorizations of signifier. We can happen many Hagiographas that describe the architectural signifier ; its footing, significances and the influences that led to its concluding visual aspect.

Furthermore, today digital engineering is rapidly developing, and altering our ways of believing about architecture. Technological development in computational design and production allows visualising signifiers that could non be considered before, and allows the design and analysis of the most complex signifiers. However, these rapid alterations have an consequence on modern-day signifier, which will be studied in this research.

On the other manus, signifier is a topic to single differences in perceptual experience. In the look of signifier, designers are free to pass on their ain thoughts and constructs. Not every designer has the gift to exert this privilege. John Kevin Waters in his book:Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design,considers that merely a few architectsgenerate new thoughts and signifiers while others follow, construing these thoughts and signifiers in original and personal ways.Waters suggests that the bulk of designers accept thoughts and signifiers as given and go on them without go forthing a grade or even oppugning the significance behind signifier or its relevancy. Waters calls this procedure “reliance” ( Waters 2003 ) . The inquiry is: can Waters’ impression of “reliance” be applied on signifier apprehension and categorization? In another words, how do designers see architectural signifier compared to the readings of theorists?

This research investigates the Egyptian designers understanding of architectural signifier and extracts their categorizations. It uses Charles Jencks’ theory of modern-day architecture that helabelled: New Complexity Paradigm as a tool. New Complexity Paradigmis the result of Jencks’ ideas and readings of architecture within the past 20 old ages. Theresearch is based on researching and look intoing the forms of thinking/knowing among designers of architectural signifier. The researchis constructed on a study through two screening trials and questionnaire.

While this research focuses on the formal facets of architecture, it is non intended to decrease the importance of the societal, political, or economic facets of architecture. This position is supported by Roger Clark and Michael Pause whose assert that:

While architecture embodies many kingdoms, we concentrate on reinforced signifier. Without apology, we make no effort to discourse the societal, political, economic, or proficient facets of architecture. The sphere of design thoughts lies within the formal and spacial kingdom of architecture ( Clark and Pause 2012, V ) .

A restriction of this research is that with a little population size, cautiousness must be applied, as the findings may non be applicable to the bulk of designers. Furthermore, the population is representative of local architects.Also it is deserving observing that this research uses exposure in the study to stand for the architectural forms.For appropriate choice of exposure, the research addressesprevious surveies related to snap as a tool of stand foring Architecture.In malice of that, the choice of exposure could besides be a topic to the research worker personalinterpretation. Harmonizing to John W. Creswell, he notes that when a research worker efforts to derive cognition of a thing under survey, theresearcher acknowledge that his ain background shape the readings of the thing under survey ( Creswell 2003 ) .

In add-on, the survey of signifier utilizing exposures decidedly differs from analyzing it in the existent environment.Charles J. Holahan reviewed a figure of researchesdemonstrated how perceptual experience of objects in the existent universe is affected by several aspects.Nevertheless, surveies of environmental perceptual experience in real-world scenes can non accomplish the experimental control that is possible in a research lab scene ( Holahan 1982 ) .

This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the research background. It so goes on to theoretical model of the thesis.

1.2.Significance of the Research

The significance of the survey can be discussed under four headers: Why “form” ? Why “classification” of signifier? Why “Jencks” ? And what cognition is gained by this research?

Investigating signifier is a go oning concern within architectural discourse. It matters to those who are concerned with conceptual architecture, those who object to the cogency of formalized architecture, and those who adopt signifier as a critical facet of architectural production. Commenting on the importance of signifier, Clark and Pause argue that signifier is “the sphere of design ideas” ( Clark and Pause 2012, V ) .Building signifier is non merely a material instantiation but besides encoded as a system of regulations, ideas and rules working together. It is about the significance behind it, the manner it is produced and how it is generated. Edmund Bacon highlights the importance of architectural signifier. He lists it as a major factor that determines a quality or spirit that articulates infinite. He argues that the accomplishment of the designer in utilizing and associating form’s elements ( textures, stuffs, transition of visible radiation and shadiness, coloring material, … ) determines the quality of the architecture ( Bacon 1976 ) .In the same vena, Frank Ching notes:

Interior designers necessarily and instinctively prefigure solutions to the job they are confronted with, but the deepness and scope of their design vocabulary influence both their perceptual experience of a inquiry and the defining of its reply. If one ‘s apprehension of a design linguistic communication is limited, so the scope of possible solutions to a job will besides be limited ( Ching 1996, IX ) .

Therefore the inquiry is: how is “form” perceived, understood and classified?

Sing the survey of signifier categorization, it is necessary here to clear up what is meant by classification.In general, the definition of categorization merely means the grouping together of similar things harmonizing to common qualities or features ( Hunter 2002 ) .Classification delivers of import significances in our life. Without categorization we would non be able to place or form anything. In scientific disciplines, scientists are invariably looking for similar features, attributesor discernible characteristics which allow them to group different sorts together and analyze how they are related to each other ( Mayr and Bock 2002 ) . For designers, categorization has an indispensable function to play for easier apprehension, analyzing of signifier andbetter architectural pattern. This research will assist investigatingthe relation between theoreticians’classification of formand ordinary architects’ categorization.

Why Jencks? Jencks is an American architectural theoretician and critic, landscape designer and interior decorator. His books on the history and unfavorable judgment of Modernism and Postmodernism are widely read in architectural circles in the West ( Sweeney 2009 ) . He isbest known forThe Language of Post-Modern Architecture, in which he captures the paradigmshift from Modernism to Postmodernism in architecture. It is a widely held position that Jencks’ approaches to architecture are based on signifiers, frequently criticized as“a perceptive phrase shaper and manner tracker” ( Salingaros 2008, 6 ) .

Jencks gained a repute in the Egyptian architectural community.In February 2005, the Architecture Departmentat Cairo University, organizeda conference that includedJencks among othersas keynote talkers. After three old ages, on the 31st of January 2008, Jencks gave a talk entitled “ Why Critical Modernism? ” inthe Architecture Department, at Misr International University ( MIU ) . Besidethe repute he gained in the Egyptian architectural community because of his talks, his books illustrated with calendered exposures are the easy followed by whom interested in architecture.

Jencks categorization is used as a tool to assist in replying the research inquiry. This research helps to bridge the spread between theories, which defines and sort signifiers, and the existent apprehension of these signifiers. It providesan chance to look into how Egyptian designers see and understand signifier, what they pay attending to in the formation of modern-day architecture, and if theories have a function in determining cognition.


The chief aim of this research is to look into how designers think about and understand signifier. It seeks to obtain Egyptian architects’ categorization and labelling utilizing the New Complexity Paradigm as a tool, which helps to turn to their apprehension and categorization of modern-day forms.Theresearch hence sets out to measure if designers portion theorists ( Jencks’ ) apprehension ( categorization and labelling ) of signifier. It will find the extent to which they agree with the categorization and labelling of formsby theorists, or they have their ain categorization that is most suited to their consciousness, cognition and cultural background.Italso intends to testif there is understanding among designers on signifier.

1.4.Research Questions

To look into architects’ thought and apprehension of signifier, thisresearch seeks to turn to three chief research inquiries:

  • How do designers sort signifier?
  • Is there an understanding between architects’ positions of signifier and theoreticians’ readings? ( Do they understand form the same manner as theoreticians’ ? )
  • Is there understanding among designers on signifier?
  • How do they label their classs?
    • Do they portion the labeling of theorists, or do they hold their ain labelling?


In order to analyze the disparity between New Complexity Paradigmforms between theory and local cognition, this thesis comprises two parts.First, the research demonstratesan overview of Jencks’ theory of New Complexity Paradigmand analysisof its categories.The intent of the literature reappraisal is to familiarise readers with the architecture of the last 20 old ages from Jencks’ position. A clear apprehension of Jencks’ theory is important because this research evaluates Egyptian designers understanding through his categorization.

Second, the research conducts anempirical survey to mensurate the Egyptian architects’ perceptual experience and understanding ofNew Complexity Paradigm formsusing screening techniques. The screening procedure as a research method can supply utile information on classs ( bunchs and their labels ) , vocabularies ( how designers label the signifiers ) and relationships ( if they agree with Jencks’ categorization ) .


The overall construction of the research takes the signifier of fivechapters, including this introductory chapter.

Chapter 1introduces the job statement and the significance of the survey. It provides a model for set uping the importance of the research. It explains the research motive and purposesof the survey, foregrounding the research inquiries and the scheme used in it.

The purpose of chapters 2 and 3 are to supply a conceptual, theoretical model in order to set up a context for the research. This literature reappraisal studies Jenks ‘ Hagiographas about “New Complexity Paradigm” and its formalized categorization. This is followed by discoursing related architectural picture taking. It is puting out the theoretical dimensions of the research.

Chapter 2 is an in-depth geographic expedition of Jencks’ Hagiographas about the “New Complexity Paradigm” and categorization of its architecture. It besides explores the pertinent subjects of “Cosmogenic Architecture” , “Complex Adaptive Systems” and “Complexity I” , in add-on to following some conventional apprehension about the primary established theory “Complexity II” . Finally, the chapter addresses the formalized categorization of the “New Complexity Paradigm” , indicating out the illustrations used by Jencks in the application of his theory.

To sketch the potencies and restrictions of utilizing exposure in the research, chapter3reviewsarchitectural exposure and perceptual experiences related to it. It analyses photographs as the architectural representation used in the empirical survey. It looks at their prejudice and restrictions, feeding straight into the photographic message. It besides presents perceptual experience of the exposure and how to measure it.

Chapter 4 is concerned with the empirical survey and the methodused toit. It examines the photographssorting method carefully. Detailss of the surveyprocedure are addressed. This followed by depicting the study design including: information needed, trying method, exposure cryptography, scene, and tactics of informations aggregation. The chapter includes the analysis of consequences and the observations spotted during the study.

The concluding chapter, Chapter 5, includes the reading of consequences from the empirical survey. It reveals the empirical findings of the screening survey.It draws upon the full thesis, binding up the assorted theoretical and empirical strands.Finally, the decision subdivision responds to the concluding research question.It gives a brief drumhead and review of the findings.

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