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A housing Typology

Atelier04/studio04 Hand-out term 2

Extract from:

Courtyard houses Gnter Pfeifer and Per Brauneck editor Birkhuser Publisher

[Typology is an] approach that isolates the attributes of the architectural coherence, identifies them as characteristics, in order to then compare them with similarly abstracted attributes from other contexts and to define similarities or differences. Since Quatremre de Quincy at the latest, the history of architecture has described this kind of approach by the term typology, and understands it as the abstraction of formal attributes into a principle, called type, that describes the commonalities of a series of different, but historically concrete models. From the beginning, this systematic and abstracted view includes the possibilities of a guideline for action beyond literal imitation (imitation par principe ) as well as a tool for comparative architectural criticism.1 Sorting perceptions according to certain recurring characteristics and principles is an important element of cognitive process. To derive standards from it and to systematise certain patterns are two principles that not only form the basis of every science but also of the human capability to perceive and communicate. To reduce perceptions to certain recurring patterns, regular geometries or harmonies is a universal principle; therefore, the term typology has a long history in architecture and architectural theory. In this light, typologies in architecture document the changing requirement profiles of certain buildings or spatial systems. There are different typological categories. Typologies on an urban planning level deal with blocks, row or detached houses; building typologies examine residential dwellings, farmhouses, theatres or industrial plants, and floor plan typologies are significantly characterised by the access system. While the room as a functional space with a specific assignment is a relatively constant unit irrespective of its size, the typology of circulation areas correlates individual rooms and, through different floor plans, creates different types such as patio houses, apartment houses providing access to various numbers of flats, houses with exterior corridors, etc. However, a typologically oriented approach or work method begins long before the categorisation of certain types of appearance. ...The type, a knowledgeable typologist once said, is not invented, not designed, not developed. The type emerges, grows, culminates, decays, flattens . Types are organically concrete. These terms might seem diffuse, might lead in the wrong direction; but they accurately highlight the difference between type and an objective prototype.2, When consulting an encyclopedia3, we learn that the term type derives from the Greek 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 referred to both the real figure as well as that of archetypes or ideas existing in the spiritual world. In typological science, the term typology can be understood as a term purely 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 distinction is made between the most frequent average type of one group of items or persons and the ideal type. Since the ancient world, philosophy has understood the idea of type in the sense of a generally characteristic archetypal figure underlying an individual element: Plato understood it as an idea, Aristotle as a shape, the Middle Ages as a being . Typology as the science of type therefore is a scientific description and a classification of a field of items into groups of unitary complexes of 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 foundation of architecture. The concept of the archetype defines the current architectural object in relation to its origin . Insofar, the typology theory is a theory of the essential, the beginnings of architecture.

On the one hand, the architectural object forms a self-contained unit, unique and not further reducible; on the other hand, it can be seen as one among many, building on a few repeating, in principle equal elements. Also, the process that produces architecture is originally based on repeatability, just like any other technical process. Furthermore, our entire way of thinking and seeing is controlled by typological perception patterns that are based on repetitions. Our language as well is structured in such a way that it sorts comparable objects into groups and thereby systematises them. Ultimately, the entire human structure of perception is based a priori on typologies. A type belongs to a group of objects of the same formal structure. To differentiate between types means to sort individual elements of the same structure into a certain group. This sorting process, which at the same time is a thought process, runs on different levels with different degrees of accuracy. Uniqueness originates from the countless possibilities to create relationships between individual typological elements. By using this linking process, architecture is created in the same way it is perceived. The result is a direct inner connection between man and object. At the beginning of the typological examination stands the desire to simplify, reducing shapes to their basic geometries. However, typology relates to much more than to the reduction of formal geometries. The spectrum of typological examination options ranges from construction details to socio-political interrelations. Typological order, therefore, is no singular phenomenon, but rather it characterises the manifold forms of appearance of the built environment. The complex interrelations between individual elements is re-materialised depending on the respective context. The type is not a device to justify mechanical repetition. Typological examinations rather form the framework for a dialectic discourse within the history of construction, which generates the new by transforming the old. The process of the transformation of a type is the result of changing user requirements, leaps in scale, overlap of different types, a modified context, or other mechanisms. Antoine Quatremre de Quincy5 was the first to formulate the idea of a typological architecture at the end of the 18th century. At that time, social and technical innovations called into question the traditional role of architecture. Typologies were perceived by considering the logics of form, the intellect, changing user requirements and their historical development. During the 19th century, Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand6 interpreted typology in the sense of an exemplary prototype. He comprehends the type as a mechanism standing between form and building program. His theory concentrates on composition and arrangement. Durand tries to derive the composition from functional interrelations, and thus wants to overcome the restraints of the traditional form canon. By the end of the century, the Beaux-Arts school further developed this interpretation of the type as a stylistic device. The emergence of architecture schools created an increasing demand for a standardised curriculum. Durand tried to satisfy this requirement with catalogued typologies. Modernity broke the continuity of using typologies. Form, content and meaning in architecture became detached. The exterior appearance of architecture developed into an independent category and the architectural object into a fragment that is unhinged from its context and the historical development process. Modernity rejected anything that , in whatever way, invoked history. Therefore, it dismissed the idea of a type as well. Design was to start from scratch, and the architectural object was to become an industrial product. Recurring elements or manufacturing methods were not conceived typologically, but rather in terms of industrial mass production. However, with Le Corbusier at the latest the contradiction between the architectural artefact on the one hand and the industrial prototype on the other became apparent. Due to the comparison of architecture with industrial production, the typology concept had to be re-interpreted.

Functionalism with its simple structure of cause and effect sufficed to substantiate architectural operations without having to refer to the historic continuity in form of typologies. Architectural elements were exclusively defined by their use and based on the ideal of machining. However, when trying to explain the formal and structural continuity of the central European city, modernity failed . Because, in this context, designing buildings has to be viewed as a process bound in time . In contrast, the concept of typology can provide an explanation for the continuity on different levels of time and scale by interpreting the city as an organism. This organism is composed of patterns that derive from the amplification of individual cells. This approach, which prevailed during the 1960s, is founded on the complex interrelations between the whole and its components. Various studies of the time proposed a morphological method of analysis. Giulio Argan7, for example, very pragmatically returned to Quatremres definition. He differentiates between the typological moment and the moment of formal definition. According to him, types are generated by the overlap of formal regularities. Fundamental formal commonalities are the source for the relatedness of different buildings. In this sense, type means the inner formal structure of a building. Ernesto Rogers8 contrasts this formal meaning of typology with a methodological approach. He argues that architectural knowledge is directly based on the basic assumption of typology. The typological concept categorises individual steps of action and thereby creates the framework for attaining architectural cognition . According to Rogers theory, the design process begins with the identification of the type, which already comprises the superordinate problem . The subsequent process targets at isolating the problem and at recognising its multifaceted effects . Hereby, the identification of a type is very subjective and varies according to personal perception and ideological background. During the 1970s, Aldo Rossi9 created a systematic and complex typological strategy by interrelating morphological typology with a traditional understanding of the term type. The starting point of his considerations was that a type comprises and maintains a certain architectural knowledge. The internal logics of a form represent common architectural knowledge . With this approach he completely separates the concept of type from the concept of function . Thus, a hallway can be viewed as a basic type that is not merely defined by its relationship with other elements of the building programme, but also by its discrete quality as a linking element. For Alan Harold Colquhoun10, typology is the basis of all communication. Understanding and speaking are always founded on existing patterns. Addressing these patterns generates moments of identification between man and location, and man and object, respectively. If typologies are understood as such patterns, they imply certain meanings that are intuitively understood by the observer. The architect, on the other hand, works with these meanings. He creates shapes - shapes that trigger collective memories - to form a complex statement. By doing this, he bases his architecture on a certain ideological background. According to this approach, the creation of architecture itself implies typological ideas. To create architecture is to communicate meanings through typological ideas. Therefore, architecture as a discipline of conventions always relates to its own history, to existing patterns. In the 1980s, typology was understood more as an instrument. The brothers Leon and Rob Krier11 , for example, included typological aspects in their different urban visions. They related to the strong continuity of the architectural element. In this context , the typological concept in question was understood as an instrument of composition that serves to produce images. A somewhat romantic reference to historical types of architecture and urban design formally satisfies the longing for continuity in times where real continuity seems no longer possible.

The emphasis in the approach of Robert Venturi12 lies in the aspect of communication . In his architecture, Venturi uses the external, typologically defined form of appearance as a means of communication - the language of architecture - and contrasts it with an independent internal structure. With this strategy, the inner logic of the typological thought is irrelevant. Every element becomes a self-contained object. The unity of form, content and meaning is lost. In contrast, Rossis approach mentioned above seems to maintain the inner logic of the type even though his way of combining individual types with each other is provocative. Just by contrasting oppositional types, he evokes the knowledge of their evolutionary history. Thus, Rossi s approach stands for continuity without having to cite the formal structures of individual types. From Rafael Moneos summary as well as from the overview provided herein, we can conclude that the concept of typology does not only stand in a functional context. It is comparable to a common archaic language that forms the basis of architecture and reaches far beyond hierarchic categorisation. The individual type is more than a sheer materialisation of a certain requirement profile. In architecture, the type is a kind of container for knowledge that, through its internal logic, harmonises form, content and meaning and represents it on different levels of order. Today more than ever, residential architecture is bound in a chain of complex processes. None of these processes is isolated from the others. On the contrary, there are numerous value systems within a broad network of interdependencies. But it seems that all instruments to conceptually solve these complex dependencies have been lost. Directly tying in with historical types is as futile as trying to develop new types out of nothing. One sensible and promising approach could be to use the examination of typologies as a platform on which the dependencies between occupants, culture, social environment and topography could be and would need to be reestablished. A comprehensive systems theory in a cybernetic sense (see the introduction in vol. 2, Row houses ) could be the key for a modern definition of living, balancing form , content and meaning in a dynamic equilibrium and relating them to a constantly and ever-faster changing context.

1 Lack, Peter, Bruno Reichlins gebaute Architekturkritik, VDG Verlag and database for humanities, Weimar 1995, 2nd authorative ed., p. 93 f . 2 Teut, Anna, Von Typen und Normen, Massreglern und Massregelungen , in: Architektur und technisches Denken , Daidalos no.18, Dec 15, 1985, p. 53. 3 Meyers Enzyklopdisches Lexikon in 25 vols., 9th ed., Mannheim 1979. 4 Moneo, Rafael, On Typology, in: Oppositions, 1978, no. 13, pp. 23-45. 5 Quincy, Ouatremre de, Encyclopedie methodique d Architecture, Paris 1825. 6 Durand, Jean-Nicolas-Louis, Precis des Leons darchitecture donnees IEcoie Royale Polytechnique, Paris 1817-1819. Partie graphique des Cours d Architecture, Paris 1821, reprint in 1 vol., Nordlingen 1985. Durand, Jean-Nicolas-Louis, Abriss der Vorlesungen uber Baukunst gehalten an der kniglichen polyrechnischen Schule zu Paris, 2 vols., Karlsruhe 1831. Durand, Jean-Nicolas-Louis, Legrand, J. G., Recueil et Parallele des Edifices en tout genre, anciens et modernes, remarquable par leur Beaut, par leur Grandeur ou par leur Singularit. Essai sur IHistoire gnerale de lArchitecture. reprint of the ed., Brussels (no year) and Liege 1842, Nordlinqen 1986. 7 Argan, Giulio Carlo, On the Typology of Architecture, in: Architectural Design, no. 12, 1963, pp. 561-562 . 8 Rogers, Ernesto, The Problem of Building within an Existing Environment, in : Zodiac, no. 3, 1990, pp. 8-1 1. 9 Rossi, Aldo, The Architecture of the City, reprint edition, Cambridge (MA)1984. Rossi, Aldo, Das Konzept des Typus, in : Arch+, no. 37, 1978, p. 39 fl . 10 Colquhoun, Alan Harold and Kenneth Frampton, Essays in Architectural Criticism . Modern Architecture and Historical Change, Cambridge (MA) 1985. Colquhoun, Alan Harold, Modernity and the Classical Tradition. Architectural Essays 1980-1987, Cambridge (MA) 1989. 11 Krier, Leon, Houses, Palaces, Cities, London 1995. Krier, Leon, Choice or Fate, London 1998. Krier, Rob, M. Graves, H. Ibelings, H. Bodenschatz, P. Meuser, Town Spaces, Basel, Berlin, Boston 2003. Krier, Rob, Architecture and Urban Design, London 1993. 12 Venturi, Robert, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, New York 2002 (2nd edition ).

Floor plan types

The different possibilities for arranging floor plans within the courtyard house type are primarily determined by the position and the proportion of the courtyard. As it is the dete rmining factor for exposure to daylight of the rooms within the house, all other parameters such as access, zoning of the floor plan and orientation play a subordinate role. Garden courtyard house This house type is organised around an enclosed garden courtyard. Due to enclosure on four sides, the open space has a very intimate character. As the house type can be attached to neighbouring units on three sides it is ideal suited for dense urban housing development structures. Shared courtyard house The shared courtyard house consists of several building volumes which, to their specific arrangement, create a courtyard. Historically, the shared courtyard house type has its orig ins in farms located in.a municipal area enclosed by city walls. These farms used to accommodate a stable, barn, servants and main house on a confined lot. L-shaped house The L-shaped floor plan offers maximum daylight exposure and economic use of space. However, the organisation of the f loor plan proves difficult when options for attaching neighbouring units are to be provided on several sides of the house. Groupe of L-shaped houses A group of L-shaped houses illustrates the potent ial of the Lshaped house type with in a housing development structure. Intelligent floor plan zoning in terms of orientation and staggering of levels can create very efficient housing development structures. Patio house The patio house type ut ilises several small courtyards cut out of the building volume to naturally light the floor space with the addit ional benef it of creating interest ing spatial relationships. Individual patios can be arranged on different levels. In combination with courtyards, this allows for highly versatile floor plans. Atrium-type house The at rium-type house is derived from the dwell ing type of the classical Greek and Roman ant iquity. Contrary to the patio house in wh ich one or more courtyards can be arranged in different locat ions within the floor plan, the courtyard of the atrium-type house is the spatial centre of the house. The inner courtyard also serves as a circulation zone, recreational space and access zone to adjacent rooms




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