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Über dieses Buch

This book presents the first detailed mathematical analysis of the social, cognitive and experiential properties of Modernist domestic architecture.

The Modern Movement in architecture, which came to prominence during the first half of the twentieth century, may have been famous for its functional forms and machine-made aesthetic, but it also sought to challenge the way people inhabit, understand and experience space. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s buildings were not only minimalist and transparent, they were designed to subvert traditional social hierarchies. Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic Modernism not only attempted to negotiate a more responsive relationship between nature and architecture, but also shape the way people experience space. Richard Neutra’s Californian Modernism is traditionally celebrated for its sleek, geometric forms, but his intention was to use design to support a heightened understanding of context. Glenn Murcutt’s pristine pavilions, seemingly the epitome of regional Modernism, actually raise important questions about the socio-spatial structure of architecture.

Rather than focussing on form or style in Modernism, this book examines the spatial, social and experiential properties of thirty-seven designs by Wright, Mies, Neutra and Murcutt. The computational and mathematical methods used for this purpose are drawn from space syntax, isovist geometry and graph theory. The specific issues that are examined include: the sensory and emotional appeal of space and form; shifting social and spatial structures in architectural planning; wayfinding and visual understanding; and the relationship between form and program.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Possibly the most famous essay about architecture and mathematics was written by Colin Rowe in 1947. Rowe’s essay, ‘The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa,’ compares formal and spatial properties in the architecture of Palladio and Le Corbusier .
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Methods

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Space Syntax, Theory and Techniques

Abstract
This chapter provides an overview of Space Syntax theory and its associated analytical techniques, four of which are used in later chapters to examine various arguments about Modern architecture.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Chapter 3. Spaces, Lines and Intersections

Abstract
The previous chapter described the origins of contemporary syntactical analysis and introduced the established techniques for investigating the properties of spaces, paths, points and vision. In each case, the theoretical or conceptual foundation of the techniques was introduced, along with a discussion of its application and any specific findings developed through its use. In addition, the limitations of each technique were also described and the substance of any on-going debates associated with them.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Chapter 4. Isovist Analysis, Theories and Methods

Abstract
Isovist analysis offers a way of geometrically describing the spaces and forms of a building which can be seen from a particular position. As such, it combines a consideration of both fixed, building-related factors, such as space and form, and temporal, experiential ones, such as visibility and the impact of movement. Isovists are part of a larger field of study known as visibility analysis, which is concerned with quantifying the relationship between vision and behaviour.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Mies, Neutra and Murcutt

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Mies van der Rohe: Characteristics of the Free Plan

Abstract
This chapter investigates three spatial properties in the domestic architecture of Mies van der Rohe. All three are associated with Mies’s rejection of the type of cellular, hierarchically-structured planning found in traditional and pre-Modern housing. In its stead, Mies proposed a ‘free’ or ‘open’ plan, with only a minimum of physical divisions, as a sign of his abandonment of historic social structures.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Chapter 6. Richard Neutra: Spatial Theory and Practice

Abstract
While Richard Neutra is conventionally celebrated as the archetypal Modernist architect, his designs were only superficially indebted to the tenets of European Functionalism and the aesthetic values of the International Style. He was instead profoundly influenced by scientific theories that sought to measure and predict the way the human body would react to space and form. These theories led him to design buildings in such a way as to choreograph people’s emotional and physical responses through a process called ‘visual excitation’. For Neutra, visual excitation is triggered by controlling the way people see, move through and comprehend space.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Chapter 7. Glenn Murcutt: Form and Social Function

Abstract
The famous Modernist axiom, ‘form follows function’, suggests that the programmatic needs of a design, its function, should both precede and take precedence over decisions about its aesthetic expression or form.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. Wright and Spatial Preference Theory

Abstract
Part II of this book examined a series of twenty Modernist villas using a range of mathematical techniques for testing well-known claims about form, function and intelligibility. The focus of Part III is on the analysis of various elements or features in the domestic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright which have previously been linked to particular types of spatial and visual experiences.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Chapter 9. Experiencing Wright’s Living Spaces

Abstract
Chapter 8 describes a dominant theory about the spatio-visual characteristics of Frank Lloyd Wright ’s domestic architecture and the way in which these features allegedly shape emotional responses.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Chapter 10. Enticement in, and Through, Wright’s Architecture

Abstract
As the previous chapters reveal, a recurring argument offered by historians and critics is that Frank Lloyd Wright ’s domestic designs employ a distinct combination of spatial and formal features to evoke a sense of emotional wellbeing in visitors.
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Chapter 11. Conclusion

Abstract
The idea of examining the spatial characteristics of Modernism for the purposes of investigating selected social, cognitive and experiential properties of architecture is not a new one. As Chap. 1 shows, multiple attempts have been made to draw attention away from debates about form, style and aesthetics in Modernism, and towards a discussion of space and the various human relations and conditions it supports
Michael J. Ostwald, Michael J. Dawes

Backmatter

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