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Art & Science


The field of architecture, its relation with arts and sciences is a history old dilemma. Hegel describes architecture as follows: “The first of the particular arts, the one with which we have to begin in accordance with this fundamental characterization of them, is architecture as fine art.” (Hegel, Knox, 1998)

            According to Kant as he explains in Critique of Judgment, “… there are only three kinds of fine art: the art of speech, formative (visual) art, and the art of the play of sensations (as external sense impressions)….To plastic art, as the first kind of formative (visual) fine art, belong sculpture and architecture. “Architecture” is the art of presenting concepts of things which are possible only through art, and the determining ground of whose form is not nature but an arbitrary end-and of presenting them both with a view to this purpose and yet, at the same time, with aesthetic finality. In architecture the chief point is a certain use of the artistic object to which, as the condition, the esthetic ideas are limited. temples, splendid buildings for public concourse, or even dwelling-houses, triumphal arches, columns, mausoleums, etc., erected as monuments, belong to architecture, and in fact all household furniture (the work of cabinetmakers, and so forth-things meant to be used) may be added to the list, on the ground that adaptation of the product to a particular use is the essential element in a work of architecture.”

            During an interview with the famous Turkish architect Turgut Cansever, Turgut has shown me how to use poetry as a representation tool for architecture: he gave a poem instead of a sketch to his client Ahmet Ertegün and got the commission for the Ertegün House in Bodrum. This approves that the knowledge of poetry can be as important as the knowledge of masonry for an architect.

Unfortunately today some architects, historians, and even some institutions (schools, chambers of architecture) seem to have forgotten this fact. On the other hand some architects try to act as “plastic artists-sculptors” regardless of the logic -scientific dimension of architecture.

            Peter Collins criticizes some art historians for dealing with forms rather than the ideas behind those forms (Collins, 1965). Unfortunately nowadays this approach criticized by him is widely spread among architects as well. We are more excited by forms rather than ideas or ideals. This phenotypic shallow attitude contaminates the practice, the theory, and eventually the education. It is highly contagious; because the gens of this disease can easily be transported via any means of communication that can easily be accessed. Abuse of this information while creating virgin forms accelerates the process even further. The outcomes as such are spreading like a plague. Searching for the right solution is replaced by the search for the spectacular. If one cannot be the first to do anything, he or she tries to be the second or the third. In other words if you are not able to be the trend-setter you should be the trendy one. Cloning, copying as fast as possible is an asset. The impact of a professional atmosphere as such is destructive. Unfortunately this describes the situation amongst the so called high level professionals! It’s claimed that they are able to produce a little portion of the physical environment (2-3% in Turkey). The rest (97-98%) is produced by “building industry/economy”, by the choice of material, technology influenced by the trends created by the first group of professionals, of course regardless of any intellectual concern mentioned by Collins.