Design -- General
Architecture is context
Given that architecture is defined as architecture because it is within a context (culture, climate and environment), design becomes integral with the context.

Therefore, given the above statement, building design which is not within any context is not architecture.

Note: Granted it is possible to design semi-contextual architecture, because there are one or more elements within context; but to design something which has no context (no referrants); means that the agenda is not architectural.

An example of the non-contextual is any building design which uses social engineering sciences and not context.
Frank John Snelling
Architecture is context
Thanks! Frank.

You define context as an integrity of local fabric, may I re-call it "place"? In the last paragraph you exampled "science" which is non-contextual or universal and global (space?). Is that you mean architecture is something like "pouring ( or confining ) liquid-like unshaped space into the bowl-like formed place" ?

If the answer is "yes", a unique place is context and the universal space (mathematics, science...) is the non-contextual prevalence. Or in other words, the architect develops and directs universal rules and data through environmental (physical, cultural...) conditions to create an architecture.

If my interpretion is true, I think what you have stated sounds like the organicism, or naturalness, in architecture. I believe this definition is true to not only the architecture, but to all categories which are related to making, building or creating.

In nature, whatever could fullfil this integration (of global constants and local variables) more responsively, has more chance to survive.

Now, "Architecture is context" or "Architecture is developing the context"?
Peiman Amini
Architecture is context
What is context?
The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.

According to me, buildinga result from social needs and accommodate a variety of functions: economic, social, political, religious and cultural. Their size, appearance, location and form are governed not simply by physical factors like climate, material or topography, but by a society's ideas, its form of economic and social organization, its distribution of resources, authorities and beliefs, values which prevail at any one period of time.

Architecture is a manifestation of the context. Buildings and settlements are the visible expression of the relative importance attached to different aspects of life.

Architecture is the representation of the forces inherent in the context and it is impossible to separate it from these forces. Each one them have their own area of influence. As needs change over a period of time, this affects the built environment factors: spatial organization, technology, and thereby the sense of using materials; the formal expression of stylistic traditions, ideologies, and aspiration are ever changing.

Many cities throughout the world have a long and sustained past which strongly imprints a sense of identity on the culture and place. It is particularly evident in the architectural traditions and expression of the historic urban area of these places. The compact fabric has started transforming into a series of individual buildings on plots. Buildings in concrete, brick, steel and glass have now dramatically changed the skyline. The area demands harmony in the built form and at the same time modern functional requirements has to be satisfied.

As Rob Krier has stated, "Each building in a town must be subordinate to the overall plan. That is its scale, building type; architectural vocabulary must harmonize with the existing architectural fabric. The existing conception of urban space must not be destroyed, but complimented by new building."

Since urban areas grow over a period of time and during which they develop an identity as a place, it is important to have an attitude towards maintaining the character of the place and preserving its identity. Each building should be carefully integrated within areas having distinct architectural character. Otherwise, the visual character of the city ends up being fragmentary.
Imran Mansuri
Architecture is context

Thank you. Yes, to explore your analogy, sciences are anonymous in the sense that they are processes or tools to be used. There is a difference between the agendas of the hard sciences (technology) and the soft sciences (ideology); but similar in their universal and therefore non-contextual agendas.

I could have said "Architecture AS context" and would imply that architectural design can be non-contextual, but architecture is integral with the human context, so I put "Architecture IS context."

Again, yes, you can say 'any art form designed within context is natural.' One of the issues which is seldom if ever discussed in architectural design is that unless you are doing a repeat building of a proven design, then all architectural design is "prototype."

In other words, architects are usually designing prototypes which may or may not work. This is a process learning curve, because architects are always learning as they design, so that their designs and their own design process become more and more sophisticated.

Yes. A good point about "global constants and local variables". This is the key problem facing people today; because global constants such as universal scientific laws are too abstract to be applied locally without working within the (variable) context of culture, environment and climate.

Yes, your "architecture is developing the context" is another good point because context is both spatial and temporal. So "developing the context" is looking at the continuity (temporal element) of the context.

Imran, you use abstract, universal, non-specific, non-contextural words to describe context. Context is specific, non-abstract, non-universal. Words like economic/social/society, etc., are non-contextural abstracts. As one politician once said "There is no such thing as society (abstract)."

So what was left unsaid, was "...but there is such a thing as culture (context)."

Otherwise, I agree with you.
Frank John Snelling
Architecture is context

If it is not architecture it must be sculpture... (re-affirms communicative nature of buildings, no?)
Anthony Stewart
Architecture is context

Yes, all architecture is sculpture; but sculpture with function and within context. Non-contextural sculpture can be aesthetic because one or more of the elements resonate with and within the context.

To paint a word picture for you: the extreme parameters of any activity are order and chaos. Therefore, applying these to the basic logic set (a) a known problem in a known situation, (b) a known problem in an unknown situation,(c) an unknown problem in a known situation and (d) an unknown problem in an unknown situation. Then you get:- (a) order within order, (b) order within chaos, (c)chaos within order and (d) chaos within chaos.

Both "order within order" and "chaos within chaos" are non-design positions because one is total finite order and one is total infinite chaos. Therefore creative design only occurs within the infinitely variable contexts of order within chaos or chaos within order.

Each and every culture, language, climate and environment is a complex and infinitely variable context within which any creative aesthetic occur. So there is no need for "design is mystery" because there is enough complexity to satisfy the need for any aesthetic.
Frank John Snelling


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