Design -- General
Recipe for a "good" design philosophy?
I feel the definition of philosophy is a bit blurry.

Is it necessary to start with a philosophy while approaching a design program. In that case, what is philosophy?

For example, do you need to start with deconstructivist thoughts if you think that is your philosophy?

What are the constituents of a sound philosophy? According to my understanding of the context, the program and developing a solution that reflects the aspirations of the society/context at that particular time as well as addressing the social and energy aspects would be apt.

Now having said this, I don't know how a great philosopher would influence my work, or a new philosophy in painting make a difference to my work.

Has philosophy got to be complex? Maybe respecting the context would be a philosophy in itself.
Kiran Aryan
Recipe for a "good" design philosophy?

Hmm? Recipe or formula? Recipe implies a pragmatic philosophy whereas formula implies a more logical type.

As you say, the definition of a philosophy is blurry because the usual view of philosophy is that it is made of general observations, and so has no specific details or practical use.

In fact, the view is that the more abstract and the farther from the practical, the better the philosophy becomes, because it must therefore encompass more metaphysical realms.

In fact, I am describing the Western Christian view of philosophy, and there appear to be two systems of philosophical thought. The other system of thought is the pan-Asian view of reducing thought into simple principles by which to live, such as Asian Buddism, Chinese Taoism (aka Daoism) and Confusius, Japanese Shintoism, and last but not least, Islamic Sufism and Islam itself.

Personally speaking, I am comfortable with and in tune with the pan-Asian view of philosophy by principle, and not the Western view of philosophy, which is philosophy through mystery.

And I agree with your "respecting the context would be a philosophy in itself," because I feel that any architectural design that respects the (temporal and spatial) contexts of culture, environment and climate will create harmony and not discord.
Frank John Snelling
Recipe for a "good" design philosophy?
Dear Kiran.

I want to write some of my questions and opinion about accepting a philosophy and entering it in architecture.

How do you accept in a "philosophy" or "theory"? How do you deduce that a philosophy is more true?

Philosphy is a way to conceive the world. But how do we perceive it? Phenomenology believes that before generating a theory or assumption based on the actual world, we have to know how we percieve this actual world, or in another term we should "cognize" our cognition.

Once I was angry about "Philosophy", I said to a friend : "We speak about the truth only when we don't understand the events ... in engineering they seldom argue about philosophy because they believe that they know or they can know every answers..."

Now, How does architecture differ from engineering? For human's sake? Is humankind a very different thing? Does architecture have to be guided by an external factor? ...

John Lang tells us about a rather independent system-theory. He mentions that if we did an architecture for some goal and through some theory, we should analyse its results and then improve our theory, and we redo our architecture and so on. Then this cycle-theory is dynamic and often improved.

I believe that a good philosophy doesn't show or determine a way for architecture but prevents it to go wrong. As modern critic, Zevi, believed, we shouldn't have some "rules" but we need some "antirules"...
Peiman Amini
Recipe for a "good" design philosophy?

Thinking about thinking about thinking about thinking ad infinitum is a sure way to completely confuse yourself and lose track of what you originally intended. Like the old joke "When you are up to your waist in alligators, you forget that your original intention was to drain the swamp."

Basically everyone has an original system of thought through the culture they are born into, namely a language with integral system of logic. The fact that most people take knowing their native language for granted they then forget there is an integral logic.

Therefore given you have a native (born into) system of logic, then this is the base by which you are able to perceive and recognise reality.

The difference between engineering and architecture is the difference between technology and ideology. Technology observes, deduces and uses principles from reality; but ideology uses ideal absolutes which contradict reality.

This modern critic Zevi you mention seems to be using Marxist "dialectic" ideology with his 'antirules'. a better way to view the issue is to follow the evolutionary systems approach which means you "prune only the dead and diseased parts from a system of thought" rather than follow the revolutionary systems approach of completely destroying the whole of a system of thought and replacing anew.

Given that I was intuitively unhappy with being "taught" an ideology of architecture at university; then post degree, for three years I researched and wrote a definitive trilogy "The infinite systems of logic, culture and aesthetics," as my contribution to architecture and is based upon deduced principles rather than mysteries.

My purpose was to extract and define the systems and principles used in the architectural design process and a by-product is that my work is applicable to any aesthetic or creative activity.
Frank John Snelling


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