Reading 11 – Argan

The notion of consistent types in architecture seems somewhat dangerous. Argan lays out the requirements and processes by which typologies may be identified, and touches on the benefits of identification and criticism in typology, but I think there are unmentioned consequences or a possible event horizon when implementation of typology in architecture is taken to extreme limits. Argan points out “there is an obvious analogy between architecture typology and iconography.” Iconography carries with it connotations of thousands of years of undeveloped thought when considering the foundations of rhetoric and persuasion in religion. Granted, architecture is a practice open to adaptation, but the reliance on practices relevant to their time and place do not necessarily translate to contemporary society. This may be stretching Argan’s argument, he makes salient points regarding change and variation in type, “It has to be understood as the interior structure of a form or as a principle which contains the possibility of infinite formal variation and further structural modification of the ‘type’ itself.” This argument, however, puts greater demands on the architect to not only adhere to a type, but assume responsibility for developing it. Argan acknowledges that “typological repetition [is] artistically valueless,” and further claims that in “freeing the artist of all typological precedents,” the creation can still maintain its stated type. However, at this point I struggle to clarify Argan’s true intent. I believe autonomy is minimized in categorical typologies, there is a lack of creative allowance. Autonomy can exist in the variation, but it all functions within a predetermined realm. The ongoing reliance will maintain a static relationship between architecture and ecology in times when we should maybe be considering morphologies instead of typologies.


About jasonsedar

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