By Cole Hartke
“Despite the critical importance of topography and light, the primary principle of architectural autonomy resides in the tectonic rather than the scenographic; that is to say, this autonomy is embodied in the revealed ligaments of the construction and in the way in which the syntactical form of the structure explicitly resists the action of gravity.”(Frampton pg.27)
This quote holds a lot of truth in it for a number of reasons. The first being that the meaning of tectonics, where the root of it being the mixture between art and construction. With the scenographic element the focus is not that of the building construction but of what the buildings shell or exterior will look like hiding the structure that keeps the building up. When the construction of a building is taking the buildings exterior and also serves as a part of the look an artistic quality of the design that is tectonic design.
“The tectonic is not to be confused with the purely technical, for it is more than the simple relation of steromtomy or the expression of skeletal framework.”(Frampton pg.27)
The use of the phrase that Frampton uses in the first quote “Explicitly resists thee action of gravity” took some time for me to come up with a reasoning I could put into my own words. After thinking I came upon the fact that when looking at the structure there is no doubt to what holds it up and to why gravity does not pull it down to the ground. The sudden realization is true in many structures today that show their inner workings out on the exterior of the very dwelling that they are trying to sustain.
The previous reading lead to a quite similar reading that references the theories and ideas of Kenneth Frampton.
“The thesis Kenneth Frampton advances is not new to us. In “Rappel a l order: The Case for the Tectonic”(1990), reminded us that the traditional mimetic relationship between architecture and nature has been severed for some time now and that this loss of center, among many others, resulted in spiritual and material ruin.”(Kenneth Frampton, edited by John Cava pg. 74)
The statement is clear to see in the world today, people around the world have been losing sight or have already lost what they had of the natural elements that are related to a structure. There is no need to plan a design around what is available to a designer because the recourses are almost unlimited to what could be used. The need to design for a sites region and environment has become obsolete in many ways. Due to mechanical equipment a type of bubble is built no matter where you go oblivious to the world around it. There hasn’t been a push to change the social thinking of this in the eyes of the world.
The biggest influence that I see today is the future designers being steered in the direction of sustainability; this design method is a big tool in helping bring the nature back into design.
A key characteristic in the research of these two articles is the fact that many aspects in design are overlooked. For that of Tectonic and scenographic, the tectonic is a part of the true nature of architecture, art and construction or as Frampton would say “Poetic Construction”. In most cases it is covered by a mask to hide its structural aspects and creates a scenographic view. With the second part and our separation from nature. The world is out there for us to use but not for us to overlook its true potential. With the newer technologies and materials it is easy for a design to overlook something that is right next to it but never put into the plan.
Foster, Hal. The Anti-aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Port Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983
Frampton, Kenneth, and John Cava. Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Peotics of Constructuion in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press 1995