You are on page 1of 10

Towards a Phenomenology of

Architecture: Norberg-Schulz

Phil 314
Philosophy and the City

some terminology

Dwelling: gaining an existential foothold (5)


Genius loci: the spirit of the place (5,
Place: the concrete manifestation of humans
dwelling
Concretize: to make the general visible as
a concrete, local situation
Cultural landscape: an environment where
man has found his meaningful place within
the totality. (40)

3 steps towards a
phenomenology of place
Distinguish between natural
(landscape) and human-made
phenomena (settlement) (p. 10)
2. Categories of earth/sky, outside/inside
3. Character: the basic mode in which
the world is given (p. 14)
1.

Possible relationships between natural


and human-made places: gathering
1.

2.
3.

Visualize: building demonstrates human


understanding of nature by replicating what
is seen in nature
Complement: building adds what is
perceived to be lacking in nature
Symbolize: building demonstrates human
understanding of nature and self by
translating that understanding onto built
form (Genius Loci, p. 17)

Genius Loci

Socio-economic factors are not the most important


in shaping genius loci: The existential meanings
have deeper roots. They are determined by the
structure of our being-in-the-world. (6)
if the settlements are organically related to their
environment, it implies that they serve as foci
where the environment is condensed and
explained. (10)
Protecting and conserving the genius loci means
interpreting it in ever new ways (18)

Cultural Landscapes
Through the interaction of surface relief,
vegetation and water, characteristic totalities
or places are formed which constitute the
basic elements of landscapes. (37)
3 archetypes:
Romantic
Cosmic
Classical

Romantic Landscapes
Original forces
strongly felt
Rugged with lots of
places
Dwelling an
interaction between
humans and earth
e.g., Norwegian farm

Cosmic Landscape
Earth doesnt provide
foothold
No individual places
structured
Sky is structured by the
sun rather than the
earth
Genius loci a
manifestation of
absolute
e.g., Ulurul (Australia)

Classical Landscape
Intelligible
composition of
distinct elements
Meaningful order
Human scale
Dwelling by placing
as equal partners
humans and nature
e.g.,Tuscany

Complex Landscapes

Mixture of pure
archetypes

E.g., Beirut,
Lebanon