[Typology is an] approach that isolates the attributes of the architectural coher-ence, identifies them as characteristics, in order to then compare them withsimilarly abstracted attributes from other contexts and to define similarities or differences. Since Quatremère de Quincy at the latest, the history of architecturehas described this kind of approach by the term typology, and understands it asthe abstraction of formal attributes into a principle, called type, that describesthe commonalities of a series of different, but historically concrete models. Fromthe beginning, this systematic and abstracted view includes the possibilities of aguideline for action beyond literal imitation (“imitation par principe “) as well as atool for comparative architectural criticism.
Sorting perceptions according to certain recurring characteristics and principles isan important element of cognitive process. To derive standards from it and to sys-tematise certain patterns are two principles that not only form the basis of everyscience but also of the human capability to perceive and communicate.To reduce perceptions to certain recurring patterns, regular geometries or har-monies is a universal principle; therefore, the term typology has a long history inarchitecture and architectural theory. In this light, typologies in architecture docu-ment the changing requirement profiles of certain buildings or spatial systems.There are different typological categories. Typologies on an urban planning leveldeal with blocks, row or detached houses; building typologies examine residentialdwellings, farmhouses, theatres or industrial plants, and floor plan typologies aresignificantly characterised by the access system. While the room as a functionalspace with a specific assignment is a relatively constant unit irrespective of itssize, the typology of circulation areas correlates individual rooms and, throughdifferent floor plans, creates different types such as patio houses, apartmenthouses providing access to various numbers of flats, houses with exterior cor-ridors, etc.However, a typologically oriented approach or work method begins long beforethe categorisation of certain types of appearance. “ ...The type, a knowledge-able typologist once said, is not invented, not designed, not developed. The typeemerges, grows, culminates, decays, flattens . Types are ‘organically’ concrete.These terms might seem diffuse, might lead in the wrong direction; but they ac-curately highlight the difference between type and an objective prototype.”
,When consulting an encyclopedia
, we learn that the term “ type” derives from theGreek word “ typos” meaning imprint and originally meant the imprint on a coin .Later, the term stood for archetype, antetype, pattern or figure; in fact it referredto both the real figure as well as that of archetypes or ideas existing in the spiri-tual world. In typological science, the term typology can be understood as a termpurely used to classify individuals within a group - as for example in zoology or botany - or on the contrary as a term for an ideal. Hereby, most often a distinctionis made between the most frequent average type of one group of items or per-sons and the ideal type. Since the ancient world, philosophy has understood theidea of type in the sense of a generally characteristic archetypal figure underlyingan individual element: Plato understood it as an idea, Aristotle as a shape, theMiddle Ages as a being . Typology as the science of type therefore is a scientificdescription and a classification of a field of items into groups of unitary complexesof characteristics.In his essay “On Typology’” Rafael Moneo gives an overview of the research of typology in architecture. For Moneo, the question of typology shakes the founda-tion of architecture. The concept of the archetype defines the current architecturalobject in relation to its origin . Insofar, the typology theory is a theory of the es-sential, the beginnings of architecture.