Wednesday, September 16, 2009

De Architectura (or better, ABC of architecture)

Today was this year's first architecture lesson and our teacher gave us immediately an assigment- we have to project a house. So basically using all the knowledge we got last year we should be able to project a house what's not only suitable for living but also practical and aesthetically satisfying. And there's the catch. Everybody's able to draw a house with a big kitchen connected to a cozy living-room, with their dream bathroom and a pimpy garage all connected by a corridor and ending with a terrace with a small romantical back-yard. It's the combination of smart functionality and harmonical volumes that makes a simple sketch on the paper a masterpiece. And that's... well something not so easy to do. So before going on with the project I wanted to resee the aims of architecture in the first place. One of the most precise definitions ever given on a question "what IS architecture?" was by an antic roman engineer Vitruvio (read about!). Three factors are the basis of architecture:

1. firmitas (steadiness)
2. utilitas
3. venustas

- from De Architectura (click! for more), the only contemporary source on classical architecture survived entirely.

The Vitruvian man, figure that is familiar even for a ten year old kid (I hope). And as some assume, it wasn't Leonardo Da Vinci's invention. It became famous during the Renaissance thanks to Leonardo Da Vinci who studyed carefully Vitruvio's De Architectura, and got fond with the symmetrical human figure, rappresenting the Proportions of Man.

In other words we're talking about the mix of structrual, functional and aesthetical qualities - without steadiness the structure won't resist; without utility the structure is just a sculture; and in the absence of beauty we can only talk about "a structure", not about architecture, seen as art. (this is what Pevsner, Le corbusier and Ruskin have always talked about.) And it's not hard to understand the theorical part, but it's the practical side which needs exercising. Oh yees... So I'm gonna go and try to figure out from where to start.

1 comment:

Kadri-Ann said...

looking forward to see how you manage to do this!!! holding my thumbs!