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Theory of Architecture: between Theoria and conceptual practice

Theory of Architecture: between Theoria and conceptual practice

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Published by Augustin Ioan
A mapping of theory of architecture in between complete neutrality and conceptual agency
A mapping of theory of architecture in between complete neutrality and conceptual agency

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Augustin Ioan on Feb 20, 2011
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dr.
Augustin IoanAugustin IOANMA, MSArch, PhDaioan@ap.nec.ro
augustinioan@hotmail.comPOBox 1-507 Bucharest, Romania
tel. 401.413.8371mobile 4094.317.826Birth
: 05.03.1965
Citizenship
: Romanian
Education
MA Institute of Architecture Bucharest 1990MSArch University of Cincinnati, Ohio, 1994Thesis: “The Other Modernism – Architectural Discourse of the 1930’s”PhD Institute of Architecture Bucharest, 1998Thesis: “A Comparative Analysis of the Architectural Discourse, 1930-1960.Case Study: Romania”PhD Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest (due 2001)Thesis: “Public Places, Private Spaces and the Question of Identity”
Areas of specialization:
Theory of architecture, history of modern architectureSacred spaces (history, current developments, theory of)
Current research Interests:
Public space/places/art in Central and Eastern Europe, 1949-1999Contemporary Orthodox architecture in Romania
Teaching
:1990-93Preparator, Institute of Architecture Ion MincuBucharest1993.98Assistant professor, same institution1998-00Lecturer, same institution (Dept of Design)since 2000Associate professor, same institution (Dept of History andTheory)
Publications
Books
 Arhitectura si Puterea (Architecture and Power),
Bucharest: Agerfilm,1992(collection of essays on the politics of Modern architecture in times of dictatorships; the sametitled film written by the author was awarded the Grand Prix of FIFAL 4 Festival in 1994 and the jury prize at the Festival of video films on Habitat, Sendai, Japan, 1996)
Celalalt Modernism – Discursul arhitectural al anilor treizeci (The Other Modernism – The Architectural Discourse of the 1930’s)
Bucharest: IAIM, 1995(Romanian version of the MSArch Thesis of 1994 from the University of Cincinnati)
Visul lui Ezechiel Corp, geometrie si spatiu sacru (The Dream of Ezechiel Body,Geometry and Sacred Space),
Bucharest: Anastasia, 1996
 Khora – Teme si dificultati ale relatiei dintre filosofie si arhitectura (Khora – In Between Architecture and Philosophy),
Bucharest: Paideia, 1999
 Power, Play and National Identity Politics of Modernization in Central and Eastern European Architecture
, Bucharest: Romanial Cultural Foundation Press, 1999
 Bizant dupa Bizant dupa Bizant (The Third Byzantium),
Constanta: Ex Ponto, 1999(Introduction to a critical history of the architecture in the 20
th
century Romania)
Books (coauthor)
Symbols and Language in Sacred Christian Architecture
(with Radu Dragan), Lewiston, NY:
 
Edwin Mellen Press, 1996“A Postmodern Critic’s Kit for Interpreting Socialist Realism” in ed.Neil Leach
 , Architectureand Revolution
, London:Routledge, 1999Arhitectura care nu exista (The architecture that does not exist), Bucharest: Paideia (ImaginedSpaces series edited by Augustin Ioan), 1999
Foreign Publications in Journals
« Bukarest, das unvollendete Projekt » in
Stadt Bauwelt 
, 36/27 sept 1996(a brief history of the various attempts to restructure the capital city of Romania in the 20
th
century)
« Immer einen Sűndenbock parat » in
Stadt Bauwelt 
, 36/27 sept 1996(about the ethics and guilt of the Communist architects)« The Communist Disneyland » in
 Archin
3/1996(Is there a relationship between popular culture and the « New Civic Center » in Bucharest ? Isirony the only chance to recuperate the demolished area for the city texture ?)since 2000 – member of the editorial board of ArtMargins (www.artmargins.com), e-journal of the University of California at Santa Barbara and contributor to the respective journal.
 
ON THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOOKING ATTHE ARCHITECTURAL THEORY
Theoria
suggests a perspective upon an extensive territory, from a significantdistance (…)”Richard Rorty
1
The text hereby is an attempt to bring into matter the connection between architectureand the philosophy of space
2
,while defining the theory of architecture for the purpose of Ankara’s 19
th
AEEA Meeting.Architecture in theory and practice on the one hand, as well as philosophy of space onthe other, shall be submitted to study in order to shape the nowadays stage of the mutualrelations between those fields, thus allowing subsequent propositions of alternatives to the present state of things. Therefore I shall comment upon a few hypostases of the eye cast uponthings, in order to establish the precise type of contemplative consideration theory implies.Subsequently entering the territory of architecture, I shall try to determine its fortes as toacquiring knowledge related to architecture (the making, the optimization of the process, therecurrent feature of algorithms, the assuming of the tenets),so as to get eventually to setting itslimits in terms of experimenting and inventing. To conclude I will try to identify the(re)sources for a new transfiguration at the level of the interface between philosophy andarchitecture, this change having given grounds to expectations for almost a decade now, ever since the deconstruction has worn out its potential informing of the architectural change.
Gaze
Seeing and being seen, in terms of spatiality, are the two visibility items generating the public site, for as long as this mutual examination (or its possibility) lasts. On the other hand,the visibility excess in the treatment of arts (particularly architecture, most relevant in thiscontext), associated by certain researchers to the discovery of the perspective duringRenaissance, has been severely exposed to the criticism of theorists and philosophers of  phenomenological descendant arts these last few years. Language itself more numerous anddetailed terms associating knowledge to eyesight than to any other sense. The terms I proposehere are:
visibility
(observation),
to gaze
,
overseeing/surveillance
and
contemplation
.
Visibility
is to be treated in broader philosophical terms, as a human being’s potentialto introduce one’s own self in relation to the others.
Visibility
implies process (as it is not animmutable gift, but a temporary and fluctuant one), context (as it is a relation between inner meaning and appearance, between the individual and the species, etc.); it ultimately is a pre-conditioning to
being seen by the Other 
. Visibility is the
obviousness
of things. One can onlysee what is already visible (“always/already”, as Heidegger once said), or that which becomesvisible through a deliberate act of “clearing”, of liberating; or, on the contrary, an act of occulting that which had been visible as a preliminary, precisely to render the space to what iswishfully brought to visibility (again). In order to complete this perspective, one musthowever acknowledge that the eyesight does not operate on a neutral field in its area of influence, but on one that is already standing out, since visible, unlike the rest. In other words,the gaze operates on what is already standing out, invisible yet, although visible
3
 through thenarrow disclosure of veils. Thus what we’re dealing with here is a half-way encounter of the potential object of gaze and the actual one.Science claims, not without reason, to have extended our capacity of examining thingsthat submit themselves to our potential gaze, through the optical technologies. Nowadays wecan see in infra-red, in ultraviolet, through radar or sonar, or even through radio-telescopes.With the IT technologies we can now shape and thus bring to visibility geometrical figuresunconceivable otherwise, like the fractals for instance, or we can draw graphs of mathematical

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