Reading 4 – Kwinter

The dimension of time in architecture is an essential one. Kwinter’s support of this dimension comes through an analysis of projects where by time is seen as a generator of form. He begins forming his argument by criticizing classical theories of form. Kwinter writes, “They are unable to account for the emergence, or genesis, of forms without recourse to metaphysical models.” While this is true of much of the architecture that shaped the modern movement near the beginning of the 20th century, it neglects an architectural quality of permanence, where time is the greatest of effectors. While much of 20th century architecture has not been existing long enough to fully embrace this quality, one can not look past antiquity and believe that time has not played a role in the uplifting quality of that architecture.

Kwinter views the dimension of time through a wormhole, an indivisible entity corresponding to an event. Kwinter writes of these singularities with specific relation to time and flow: rainbows, ice crystals, magnetism, etc. Kwinter appreciates their complexity and their autonomy, the potential for unpredictable results, yet none of the events hold any type of permanence. They occur as singular moments, fleeting and quickly passed by. While Kwinter’s discussion of these dynamic systems, morphology through time, and the appropriate diagrams are interesting and entertain thoughts of an unpredictable and highly complex event, I question the general ability to relate to our human ecology set in this varied landscape. The dimension of time must be a valued one, not for its singularities but for its ability to create great spans and aggregate formations.

“We operate exclusively with things that do not exist, with lines, surfaces, bodies, atoms, divisible time spans, divisible spaces—how could explanations be possible at all when we initially turn everything into images, into our images!”

Friedrich Nietzsche


About jasonsedar

My final year of architecture school at the University of Calgary!
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