short analysis of Morpho-ecologies intro...
Morpho-ecologies: Towards Heterogeneous Space in Architectural Design
It would be of importance to address the role of function and program, and their meaning in this Morpho-Ecological (ME) context, since the last reference that architects bear strongly in their minds pertains to the long-by project of Modernism. Early Modernism and Functionalism drove the word function into high-priority status in the design process with epigrams such as Louis Sullivan’s “form follows function” giving a sense that aesthetics and other architectural tenets stem from function organically. Conversely, now at days the word function is divorced with its classical associations and disciplinary weight. As Jesse Reiser notes: “Only architects think that there exists a tight relationship between how spaces are labeled and what happens inside them” explaining the fact that human activities do not necessarily follow architectural boundaries with exactitude. Additionally, Menges looks for the following “…a simultaneous shift away from programme as design-defining towards design as programme-evolving”, meaning program and function only strive to frame activities and if they ever do so, it would be not a priori, but a posteriori, also, the role of program in design should shift from absolute to loose: “Programme only maintains its hold through rigidly installed provisions (elevator shafts, toilet sinks, and so on) or through enforced policies.” The morpho-Ecology approach relies largely on the notions discussed in Reyner Banham’s ‘Architecture of the well-tempered environment’ to define space in terms of gradients rather than thresholds of binary oppositions (inside-outside, access or denial, freedom or containment). “The challenge is to formulate a synthesized approach based on a synergetic relation between material thresholds and environmental dynamics.” In the broadest way of speaking, walls seem to be the only device to articulate the internal disposition of a building; As Léopold Lambert would argue, a door just delineates architecture’s porosity, “a device that controls the carceral characteristics of a room” , divisions in architecture refer not to environmental divisions but as matter to divide space; having these thresholds to diagram one’s body inability to exert enough energy to move from one space to another , if the architect did not mean for someone to do it. Divisions, thresholds, and partitions are what we were left with after the Evansian analysis on 19th century architecture of the complex matrix of interconnected rooms, and its new social order that brought the corridor, and the post 20th century ‘open plan’ of democratic equality. Speaking of environmental gradients, the ME approach bespeaks of heterogeneous space rather than homogeneous “The vast majority of the architecture designed and constructed today consists of substantial structures and hard environmental divisions packaged together with standardized buildings systems and statistically established homogeneous interior environments” and “Performance-oriented designs through differentiated material systems are a powerful means of providing desired micro-climates and gradients without having to resort to a plethora of equipment. (p.53)”
A little description of the experiments, lectures and architectural discourse that is currently happening at the SAC... Visit www.staedelschule.de/architecture/