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Napoleon Ono Imaah
SYNERGY AND DIALOGUE: INFLUENCE OF SOCIETY ON ARCHITECTURE
ABSTRACT This paper acknowledges the fact human beings are social animals, as they tend to live in well-organized societies. However, human population expansion explodes into internal implosions that continue to wreck havoc globally on the social, economic, political, architectural, and aesthetic environments. To harness the universal territorial imperatives, of contending components harmoniously, the world requires synergy and dialogue. Key words: dialogue; globalization; society; synergy; universalism.
Observing the transformation of the hitherto expansive word contract into a global village exposes the globalization of many intimate problems. These are problems of population explosion, the accommodation of this teeming population, territorial instigated confiicts and consequent environmental degradation, industrialization and toxic waste management, the dissolution of established orders. The global question ofthe moment is what are the solutions to the questions raised by globalization? Is globalization good or bad? We feel that architecture as a creative force, forms a springboard for globalization because all human actions and assertions start from architecture that encompasses housing, territorial integrity; industrialization; order and chaos; War and peace.
ORDER IN ARCHITECTURAL COMPOSITION
Order appears in two basic forms in Architecture. Generally, order, by definition (Microsoft Encarta Dictionary) , is a condition of logical or comprehenAnonymous, (1999): "Column", Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia.
ionic. ' Anonymous. and by extension. (1999): "Architecture". society must wither and vanish in the competitions of group selection. This seems to be the situation in the world today and particularly so in converging world of globalization spurred through the instantaneity of information transmission technology. by the Greeks. exists between contrasting form. Democracy against Aristocracy. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia.58 Napoleon Ono Imaah sible arrangement among the separate elements of a group as a sequence or arrangement of successive things. marked by the imposition of a type of column employed: Doric. However. Individual Freedom against Social Order. material and compositional concepts (Ardrey. space and events. However. Rousseau assert that "Disorder is an integral part of Order. Corinthians. Robert (1974): the Social contract. Architecture. Consistency is another attribute of Order and harmony. insisting further that "Without that degree of disorder tolerating and promoting to the fullest development the diversity of its members. 95. an unfluted modification of the Doric. but it is Order in the Society. What contemporary evolutionary thought can bring to social philosophy is the demonstrable need for structured disorder within the larger structures of Order" (Ardrey. (1999): "Taj Mahal". For example. of Solitude against Society. 1999) . '' Ardrey. otherwise known as. which the Romans added to the classical order (Anonymous. functional relationships or motif. the world occasionally pitches Order against Disorder. into Harmony. Dell publishing co. the Romantic Movement "was the rebellion of Feeling against Reason. ' Ibid. Youth against Authority. Contrast or aggressiveness is not equal to violence in architectural composition. 1974 b) . in a structured aesthetic Order. Order sustains freedom from disorder through an established authority or a system of social organisation. Architectural composition exploits this principle to pleasant advantage. bringing Contrast and Conflict. . in any building type or formal composition. no population could survive where chaotic and conflicting competitions normally get to deadly dimensions" (Ardrey. For instance. Order in Architecture refers to any of several classical styles. and the Composite. p. Deservedly. ^ Anonymous. a recognizable logical link. of Sentiment against Object. the Tuscan. that leads to survival of the social class. otherwise known as Disorder.. and Man against State". 1974 a)^ Disorder in a Society is equivalent to diversity inequity or inequality. Furthermore the Romantic Movement pitched Emotional Expression against Conventional Restraint. of Instinct against Intellect. Architecture recognizes contrast or aggression as a positive assertiveness and a driving force of growth as no population will survive without sufficient members sufficiently aggressive. of Myth and Legend against History. Although we can see in the Romantic Movement that Order is intimately intertwines with disorder. Specifically. New York. 1974 c) . it depicts the development of the Individual rather than the group. as it usually is in the society.
The coherent collective methods of architectural and social composition. • The second problem the clumsy chronic inconveniences encountered in creating new forms of Social Orders and Architectural Styles in the process of opposing traditional canons in an eclectic rather than in a precise manner. Contrast represents implicit and explicit tensile strength. ' Ibid. Hence.. in architecture and society. for dominance characterizes the successful man". we might deduce that a dormant architecture or society cannot be pleasant. we take care of space as a specific human territory. there must be laws to its composition. From the above. thereby are compounding the problem of arriving at a common criterion for judgment in either aesthetics or ethics. 1985) These problems seem insurmountable in a world were change accelerates constantly to a point of confusion. just as violence does in human society. . but order. The student of universal order. hostile to and intolerant of strangers. Vernon Reynolds. metaphors and symbols (Zabelchanski et al. now often give way to decadent and divergent individual initiatives. Aggression or contrast driven too far in architectural composition may lead to chaos. and indeed society. idioms. a vital as well as necessary measure of controlled self-assertiveness. hierarchical order and harmonious coexistence. 273. in architecture. can learn again to apply these architec'ibid. asserts that "modern man is territorial and aggressive. is not chaotic psychosis. as well as society. and in the process of defining new frontiers in architectural or social engineerine concepts. through Synergy and Dialogue. (1974 d) . society and architecture Two basic problems facing Modern Architecture. common in earlier historic periods. which is equivalent to tension among all the component elements of both architectural and social composition.Synergy and Dialogue: tnfluence of Society on Architecture 59 In his paper Open Groups in Hominid Evolution. Disorder. where human beings can comfortably isolate themselves and exercise unfettered freedom through controlled aggression. their functional relationship and commensurate compositional content and context. as we conveniently referred to it. are traceable to incoherent adherence and absence of viable principles of architectural composition or social engineering: • The first problem is that of creating new building or government types. no matter the seeming conflictual manner of their conceptualization. This allows each component ofthe composition. in architectural composition. sanity and harmony. There must be aggression or contrast. and lives within an authoritarian social structure in which self-assertiveness and competition. p. Since architecture. the British primatologist Ardrey.
typical of free expressions by freemen. The consequent spiritual architecture. London p. according to Chernychevski (1948) . Thames and Hudson. '° Chernychevski. The Greeks sensitivity to appropriate feeling for a humane. the ancient Greek materialist philosopher whom Karl Marx referred to as the first encyclopaedic mind among the Greeks (Marx. was honorific. . 12-78. in recreating world unity despite diversity. Nazi Germany and Modern Architecture. which they regard as "a good gift from the gods". Their compositional concepts. Greek. 75-76. and Engels. and mystical.60 Napoleon Ono Imaah tural designs methods. human scale. hereunder. Evidently. The physical world was as transient as the metaphysical was permanent. also affirms the quintessential Greek architecture: "that great satisfaction exudes only from beholding an excellent work of Art that symbolizes beauty. mystique and myth of the Egyptian pyramids live on amongst the seven wonders ofthe ancient world. ' Blake. practically. monumental. led their architectural and sculptural forms into adequate conformity to human and structural forms. "excess or insufficiency. invoking awesome symbols of stupendous scales and ponderous proportions. column one. The Middle Ages. (Ed) Encyclopaedia of Modem Architecture. Gerd Hatje. quoting Democritus. Moscow. applicable to society. in good aesthetic and ethical measure underling all things!" Arnold Whittick in Encyclopaedia. Peter (1965): "Breuer Marcel". serve as ample examples: Egyptian Architecture and Society Egypt depicts a despotic architecture influenced by deified Pharaohs who were obsessed. 60. gave the world the divine proportions. the magnificence. Kazarinova (1980) . (1948): Aesthetic Relationship of The Arts to Reality (Esteticheskoye Othnochenye iskustvo k Diestvitelnost) Gospolizdat. in spite ofthe fact the disciplined canonization ofthe perfect 3-4-5 divine triangle. Roman. is distasteful". which should be. pp. pp. celebrating death. VIOLATION OF SOCIAL UNITY THROUGH ARCHITECTURE The influence of aggressive government policies on architecture and creativity are numerous. ideologically. with the pursuit of inspired mystical ideas of an ideal meta-physical great beyond. Greek Architecture and Society The rebated Greek architecture represents noble simplicity. A synopsis of some samples of Egyptian. contained no "extras" or excesses that could be strange to the usual use of any form. 1955) . G. According to Democritus. N.
and the Thermae built with slave labor. and despotic in contrast to the humane. grandiose. from all indications. equated to the Greek's on the other hand. the logical applications of irrational proportions. . along with optical displacements and intersection that occur due to the movement of the spectators (Wolfgang. interpenetration of space. Basilica. Coliseum. ivory. Penguin Books. 1965 a) . The Romans' engineering feats—Forum. England. fiowing plans and forms. showing the slaves suffering under the punitive senate of Imperial Rome. Germany. The essence of Roman architecture was "decorativeness". original Greek architecture. 1000-1453 AD). with their irrational moribund belief systems. stupendous. renunciation of domineering axis. The Romantic Period in Germany and The Nazi Experience "The Romantic period in German Architecture after Friedrich Gilly. monumental. Although the Romans studied and synthesized elements from the Greeks architecture. below the egalitarian elegance of the Greeks. contemporaneously. silver. static." The Romantic Period shows characteristic coherence in: repetition of particular forms like analogues. over loading of form with costly materials—gold. simple but splendid. and masterfully modified the forms. tedious. bronze. deliberately omitted to develop an exclusive style in a manner in which the whole was subjected to a common rule like its parts. subduing. we can only describe their consequent architecture as colossal. unrefined forms of Architecture. 118. were in logical relevance. was ponderous. their adoption and distorted interpretation of the features of antique and Gothic styles turned into a monstrous monumentality in conformity with the exigencies of existing politics of power. powerful. in a Dictionary of Architecture. p. Factually. like Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate. was indeed one of the leading countries to overcoming historicism and establishing the new functional style of the 20th '' Fleming John. rough. contemporaneously. eclecticism. Thus. etc. the praxis of architecture in the Nazi society witnessed waxing autocratic tendencies. "closed. Pevsner Nicholas (1977): "German Architecture". Honour Hugh. clearly marked them out. Furniture of this period seemingly reflects the hard or severe ideology of the then Church". architectural composition used heavy. then in vogue. overpowering and out of scale. Middle Ages and Society During the Middle Ages (c. In practice. Middlesex. however.Synergy and Dialogue: Influence of Society on Architecture 61 ROMAN ARCHITECTURE AND SOCIETY The arcuated Roman architecture.
even to Fascism. individual wings at angles apart. Wagner. the stylistic movements. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia. Frank Lloyd Wright. while the 19th century optimism looked forward to the perfectibility of man. Breuer. the National Socialism tolerated no modern architecture within the Nazi State. 17. paradoxically. the advent of National Socialism put a sudden halt to the "new Architecture". The history of modern architecture also covers the architects who designed those buildings. the imaginative designs for an imaginary city of the future by Italian visionary futurism exponent Antonio Sant'Elia. by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Modern architecture encompasses the buildings and building practices of the late 19th and the 20th centuries. I. V. 1965 b) . we can see that perfect peace is the universal panacea for aesthetic pursuits and global unity. and houses with fiowing interior spaces and projecting roofs by the American pioneer of modernism. Mendelssohn. The official style turned into a mugging monumental. Diane (1999): "Modern Architecture". Unfortunately. continues to wax as well as wane throughout the rest of the world at varying cadence of dominance or decadence. modern architecture. Mies. emigrated (Wolfgang. 1977) . bold new factories in Germany by Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius. In contrast. May and Hannes. the technology and materials that made the new architecture possible. Moscow. (1980): Beauty.62 Napoleon Ono Imaah century (Fleming et al. '^ Kazarinova. With the emergence ofa new vocabulary of shapes: the dissolution of the mass into slender members of changing dimensions: asymmetry of plan. The truth. portraying a momentous militaristic monumentality. Ever since then. to greener pastures. sterile. p. Scotland. Hiiberseimer. which originated contemporaneously in Europe and the United States.. neoclassicism. Nazism dissolved the Bauhaus and prominent Architects such as Gropius. Among notable early modern architectural projects are the exuberant and richly decorated buildings in Glasgow. the persecution of architects led to inadvertent spread of the Modern architecture. of course. is that the intimidating steely structures of industrial buildings. together with their great talents. No part of the building demands prior attention. taste Economy. . which continued to blossom elsewhere wherever they found peace to pursue perfection. creation of vistas by means of ground floor columns or space spanning bridges. Nazism permitted only industrial buildings to continue to carry out functionally justified and aesthetically satisfying designs. finely fitted the fury of their political power play. '^ Ghirardo. and the steel and glass skyscrapers designed by German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Important modern buildings that came later include the sleek villas of Swiss-French Architect Ie Corbusier. Characteristics of Modern Architecture The rationalism of the 18th century dispensed with the supernatural as a governing force. Although. "Ekonomika".
Other architects. it is a reduction of the pluralify of individual unities into a harmonious whole for the sole purpose of solving set aesthetic problems. without universal synergy and dialogue. 74. however. The aesthetics of modern architects differs radically. The fleeting flight of fugitive architects in disarray seems to fuel the confusion of factional tendencies facing the praxis of architecture. a country no matter how super-strong cannot be stronger than the whole world. Essentially. Unify in Architecture The concept of unity in architectural composition is neither equivalent to a mathematical oneness nor a summation of a multitude of individual quantities. sought to devise an architecture that conveyed the sleekness and energy of a machine. unify is an ordering of all elements in a work of art. This unifying purpose did not mean that their buildings were similar in appearance. otherwise call harmony. unity is a condition of being in accord or harmony within the specificities of an archetype. Therefore. the strength of the part or individual is in its synergetic unify within the whole. p. but there was unity in their diversify. 1965 c) . materials. The conception of a harmonious whole from fractal fragments has become obviously impossible in the absence of a stable sfyle in architecture. found machine-like elegance inappropriate to architecture. They found this architecture either oppressively bound to past styles or frivolously picturesque or eclectic. from household furnishings to massive ocean liners and the new flying machines. (Wolfgang. not the rationalify of the machine. modern architects believed it was necessary to invent an architecture that expressed the spirit of a new age in order to surpass the styles. and technologies of earlier architecture. inharmonious opposing parts cannot compose a harmonious whole. Thus. which they felt borrowed too heavily from the past. so that each element contributes to a consistent effect in the con'" Ibid. which emergences when the parts merge. According to Gestalt psychologists the whole. has unique qualities that are different from the individual qualities of its component parts. or that architects agreed on all other issues. enraptured by the powerful machines developed in the late 19th century. . The ominous signs suggest that. Some architects. sociefy and architecture wilt crumble because. the individual cannot be greater than the sociefy.Synergy and Dialogue: Influence of Society on Architecture 63 Modern architects reacted against the architectural philosophies of the 19th century. Similarly. the component part in an architectural composition cannot be greater than the whole. These conflictual circumstances also coincide with laissez-faire breaking the whole world apart into opposing factions. Specifically. As the 20th century began. Their aesthetics celebrated functionalism in all forms of design. aesthetically. but the mystique and philosophical powers of human emotions. They preferred an architecture that expressed.
This reiterates the ideology propagated by philosophers as a means to achieve the unify of the physical with the metaphysical concepts en-route to the ultimate unify: the One without pluralify. The Taj Mahal." in Encyclopaedia of Modem Architecture. India. Pehnt (1965): "Germany. philosophies and indeed the historical record of the best achievements of the world and its peoples. "These achievements. Hence. Moscow. 126. 2002. but the gamut of the entire antecedents and consequences. The creative use of space. a mausoleum in Agra. (Tweedier and Stone. one of which we regard as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. architecture sfyles sums up the best values in a period. we adore: • • The mysterious. cultures. which culminate in a crystallization of civilizations. when hijackers crazily crash a commercial plane. an "Architectural masterpiece does not only survive as secluded solo effort in a vacuum but as a soloist in the plenum of a harmonious orchestra". constructions. 1999) . majestic. For instance. space and color. it still communicates characteristic ideals of order and harmony. 1999). • • • " Marx. particularly. p. 1999) . time and color. K. New York "Coliseums". Thus. and Engels. 2nd Edition. " Scala/Art Resource. p. (Scala /Art Resource. monumental Pyramids of Egypt. with passengers and crew into it. could fuse into a unify that satisfies the human spirit.64 Napoleon Ono Imaah text of the whole. concerning the complex climax. The 1923 Manifesto of constructivism declares that all the diverse elements. (1955): Essays. For instance." Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia. 1999) . Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia 99. remembered as a symbol of worldwide woe of terrorism. The American World Trade Centre. a people and a place. which are never wholly the work of individuals makes architecture a social art" (Anonymous. typical of Greek architecture. in New York. F. Penny and Tony. 1999) . London. . on September the 11. (1999): "Parthenon. (Anonymous. The Greek Parthenon that endures and despite the enormous damages it has sustained over the centuries. the seven wonders of the ancient world do not tell only the story of architecture. " Tweedier. 122. Volume 3 Gospolitizdat. gave architects a new dimension through which they could eliminate the dualify of interior and exterior of a building (Whittick. which make a composition in the arts. in time and space. regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The Roman Coliseum regarded as one of the most famous pieces of architecture in the world. Thames and Hudson. Irrespective of their origins. '* Wolfgang. architecture and social sfyles document the evidence from the history of cultures as a testimony to the mettle of the sociefy and their achievements in creative governance and architecture. Stone.
In the language of universalism. in spite of dissimilarities. A coastline. Modem architecture. if measured down to its least irregularify. in a rare feat.Synergy and Dialogue: Influence of Society on Architecture 65 New Trends and New World Order Modern architects naturally differed in their understanding of historical and philosophical traditions by introducing new philosophical concepts in architectural composition. The term fractal. Theoretically. that is. in mathematics. . and always interesting. Furthermore. analysis and synthesis of all forms of thought into the formation of the new world unify. and not only in homogeneify but in heterogeneify as unify in diversify. galaxy clusters. like Le Corbusier's Ron Champs (1950-1954) and John Utzon's Sydney Opera house (1956) obviously captures. however. it confirms the new concept of philosophy exemplified in what could be called Complexify orNonlinearify Architecture. philosophies and ideologies merge in harmony. which view the relationship of the part to the whole differently. and other natural phenomena are similarly fractal in nature. One example of a fractal is the "snowflake" curve. aggregates. along with Daniel Libenskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin and Peter Eisenman's School of Architecture in Cincinnati. These buildings arouse interest not only because they have curved and unusual shapes. and fractal geometry's application in the sciences has become a rapidly expanding field. 1999) . which changes the face of Architecture. the imagination of architects and the public alike. We can see the idea of self-similarify in the termitarium and the proportional as well as formal similarify of the many leaves of a tree (Ghirardo. refers to a geometric shape that is complex and detailed in structure at any level of its magnification. Fractal shapes immediately recall the basic fact of nature: it is always changing. would tend toward infinite length just as does the "snowflake" curve. Significantly. 122-127. the Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. these different views "ibid. clouds. but particularly because they command their landscapes with astonishing heroic presence. constructed by taking an equilateral triangle and repeatedly erecting smaller equilateral triangles on the middle third of the progressively smaller sides. just as there are myriad differences in the new world order. change require constant adjustment. Mandelbrot has suggested that mountains. pp. TYPES OF COMPOSITION: UNITY IN DIVERSITY There are several principles of architectural composition. consisting of an infinite number of vertices. is a building. wherein the minor and major views in aesthetics. we can see that nature is always slightly changing the size and shape of every leaf on a branch or wave of the sea. Fractal geometry is not simply an abstract development. the result would be a figure of finite area but with a perimeter of infinite length. Thus.
for example. Elementary composition. or coherence. but as a group these separate structures do not form a successful architectural unify". however. holds the belief that we could appreciate forms and spaces better when split into their basic elements. LOCAL VERSUS GLOBAL CULTURE Globalization has changed the old order making it to yield its place to the new. consists of several separate structures each of which is highly successful in its self. Hence. since the whole is greater than the sum of its component parts. HARMONY AND COHERENCY IN ARCHITECTURAL COMPOSITION Kazarinova (1980) affirms that when good buildings. G. (1985) Architecture and the Emotional World of Man. remains unresolved. 1-19 ^' Zabelchanski G. 71. B. G. Therefore. which they categorized reverently as spaces for personal and communal gods. B. The UNESCO Headquarters. propagate a contrary view: that we appreciate compositional form better as a whole. 1986) . architecture and nature (Zabelchanski et al. The customary cosmology was both physical and metaphysical under the strict surveillance of traditions and taboos. which Breuer Marcel undertook in the years after 1952 have consisted of buildings which were individually impressive but failed to add up to a truly significant architectural groupings. Minervih. the polemics. We hoped also that universal harmony. built together. however. seemingly. The sociefy. 28. Similarly. Stroizdat. Cezanne was of the opinion that the whole consists of cylinders. Nigerian communities exhibited great commonalify based on a common belief system. Le Corbusier talked of spheres. but not in parts. cylinders and cones as parts of the whole. as one entify. requires that we must relate the part to the whole irrespective of inevitable dissimilarities. (1965) asserts that "some of the larger projects. UNITY. could achieve global peaceful coexistence. utilizing the differences as well as the similarities. Harmony. G. The Gestalt psychologists. forms and ideas are compositionally related but bereft of preconceived unity. imitating the breaking up the atom. For instance. into which human beings fitted holistically. p. A. For instance. p. U. ^^Ibid. Elements of traditional architecture include sacred grooves. harmony. an inequitable world of iniquitous inequalities cannot guarantee desirably universal harmony. and shrines. Rappaport. . worshiped ^^ Ibid. and Somov. indispensable parts of one stupendous whole. we know that the world consists of many parts.. since they always coexist contemporaneously in the sociefy. Blake. pp. they connote chaos.66 Napoleon Ono Imaah achieve harmony. which are essentially. Moscow.
CONCLUSION Meanwhile. Nigeria. primary school teacher. protecting their common heritage. However. supervisor of architectural projects and theses in Nigeria and overseas universities and guest lecturer. in weak societies and nations. and a Knight of Saint Christopher. Port Harcourt. the universe diversifies while global unity plummets into a plurality. This reflected on architecture. in accordance with the dictum of Alexandre Dumas in his Three Musketeers: "one for all and all for one". through the concepts of Architecture and the precepts of Philosophy. the Society stayed together peacefully. fine artist. Globalization makes the incursion of good and bad foreign ideas possible. with several publications. we observe that the society breaks down as science breaks up form and philosophies into confusing components. university lecturer. He graduated from Kiev National University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Ukraine. Consequently. where he obtained an MSc degree in architecture in 1982. Since 1986—a lecturer and Head of Department (1994-2003) in the Department of Architecture.Synergy and Dialogue: Influence of Society on Architecture 67 together. in national and international conferences. in the unity of opposites or unity in diversity. music and philosophy. globalization still needs to recognize the good aspects of a people's life. and a PhD degree in Architecture in 1985. He is a member of the Nigerian Horticultural Society. Faculty of Environmental Sciences. security and religion. secondary school teacher. particularly. He has been a Sunday school teacher. ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Dr (Sir) Napoleon Ono Imaah is from Isoko-North Local Government Area in Delta State of Nigeria. could harmonize current discordant tunes through mutually beneficial global synergy and universal dialogue. fought together. . Indiscriminate globalization segregates society aggressively whenever it attacks and weakens the foundation of communal commonality. The world. Rivers State University of Science and Technology. He loves architecture. an athlete.