Complexity And Contradiction In Architecture

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Venturi (1966) remarked on the inevitable multi-functionality of spaces and thus, the necessity of multi-meaning structure for their corresponding architectural forms in his famous book titled “complexity and contradiction in architecture”. He believes that the plurality of the meaning and functions may enhance the intensity of spatial positive ambiguity and results in architectural spaces liveliness. Accordingly, he criticized the attitude of the modern architects who follow the modernism common maxim (form following function and so believe in having just one meaning) in their works (e.g. The Seagram building designed by Mies van der Rohe). Venturi stated that Mies’ Seagram has only one function and then has one meaning, while Mies had claimed…show more content…
Mies believed that the functions have a shorter lifetime rather than the buildings constructed by man. Therefore, it makes the sense of exact flexibility and multi-functionality for the design (Mies van der Rohe in Broadbent, 1978). He also declared that we should not let the functions dictate the plan. Instead, it should provide us with suitable situations to make each function applied (Mies van der Rohe in Heyer, 1993). Regarding Mies’ statements, which is contrary to Venturi’s interpretation, an architectural design should be done for multi-functionality, compatibility, and adaptability regardless of the usage subject or scale in order to satisfy different changes of human needs over the time. Based on this idea, the viewpoint of flexible design and the existence of multi-purpose spaces in a neutral and fix form in Mies’ architectural works could be obviously proved (Padovan, 2002). Hence, it could be claimed that his outstanding maxim “less is more” is presented in order to achieve such…show more content…
Accordingly, formal flexibility associated with the architectural function in a form of concrete circular ramps could be seen in his famous work, the Guggenheim museum in New York (Wright, 1941). As a conclusion, we can say that Wright considered the form as being equivalent to the function. In this regard, Kahn‘s statements are also interesting in which he mentions the inherent demands of spaces and even their constituent materials/elements according to their capabilities. For example, “The kitchen wants to be the living room. The bedroom wants to be a little house by itself. The car is the room on wheels. ... A predetermined total form might inhibit what the various spaces want to be” (Kahn, 1955, In Latour, 1991: 60). Elsewhere, he states “Talk to a brick and it will tell you it likes an arch” (Kahn, 1972, In Latour, 1991: 293). In fact, these Kahn's interpretations point to his understanding and employing the concept of potential affordances of objects and their forms that were not taken into consideration at his time. However, it is impressively investigated and discussed with the prevalence of psychology and behavioral science methods in design and architecture now. It should be noted that before his statements, concepts such as the request and invitation of the

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