For some years I have used a notebook to analyse architecture through drawing. I find this exercise useful as an architect, and it helps to focus my teaching. My simple premise is that one's capacity for 'doing' architecture can be developed by studying the work of others. In this way one can discover some
of the powers of architecture, and, by looking at how other architects have used them, see how they might be managed in one's own design.
For teaching I have organised my notebook findings into the beginnings of a thematic framework, which can be used in analysing examples. The following chapters illustrate some of the themes that have emerged so far. They make observations on architecture as a creative discipline, its elements, the conditions that affect it, and attitudes that may be adopted in doing it.
The first chapter offers a working definition of architecture, as identification of place. This is put forward as the primary concern of architecture, and as a theme underpins everything that follows. Realisation that the primitive motivation of architecture is to identify (to recognise, amplify, create the identity of) places has been the key that has allowed access into the related areas explored in this book.
A large part of the book deals with conceptual strategies used in design. There are chapters which look at different ways of organising space, and at the various roles of geometry in architecture.
The poetic and philosophical potential of architecture is, I think, evident throughout. If poetry is a condensation of experience of life, then architecture is poetic, essentially. But it can be seen that some works of architecture do more: they seem to provide a transcendent po-etry—a level of meaning and significance that overlays the immediate presentation of place, and which is to be interpreted, as a complement to sensual perception and experience, for appreciation by the intellect.
The chapters deal with specific themes. These themes are like analytical 'filters' or frames of reference. Each abstracts a particular aspect of the complexity of architecture—architecture as making frames, primitive place types, temples and cottages, stratification, geometry
In all the chapters there is an intimate connection between the text, which is explanatory, and the drawings, which have been the principle medium of analysis. Some of the drawings are diagrams of particular elements or ideas, but many are plans or sections of examples which illustrate the themes being discussed.
Some works have been selected as appropriate examples in more than one of the chapters, illustrating a different theme in each. Any work of architecture may of course be examined through any or all of the filters, though this will not necessarily produce interesting revelations in all instances.
Towards the end of the book there are some case studies which show how a fuller analysis of a particular work can be achieved by examining it under a number of themes.
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