IT-26 Theory of Architecture

The Faculty of Urban Planning / Urban Design and Planning
1st Year, sem 1, 2023-2024 | Compulsory Course | Hours/Week: 2C | ECTS Credits: 2
Course Leader:
lect.dr.arh. Irina Băncescu
Learning outcomes:
To discover the first theoretical landmarks of the architectural approach and to introduce students to the matter of the architectural form, seen not as materialization of immediate needs or subjective creativity, but as an active principle that bears meaning and shapes the human environment.
To understand the expressive potential of the architectural form from the point of view of its structural, functional, aesthetic, and symbolical conditionings.
To get familiarized with the topic of perception – a major theme for architects, urban planners, and designers, all involved in the transformation of the built environment and all responsible for assuring an optimum relationship between man and his world.
To understand the logical mechanism of forming a coherent and unitary architectural language, through the study of notions of vocabulary and architectural syntax.
1.Introduction. Architecture as an act of building and meaning. Basic concepts: language, form, expression, perception, significance. The complexity of the discipline: the hypostases of architecture.
2-6. Potențialul expresiv al formei arhitecturale din perspectiva determinărilor sale structurale, funcționale și estetico-simbolice. The expressive potential of the architectural form in the light of its structural, functional, esthetical and symbolical determinations. The Vitruvian requirements as sources of architectural meaning: firmitas (material support) - the semiotic layer; utilitas (content) - the semantic layer; venustas (form) - the poetic layer.
7-8. Notions of architectural perception: from experience to perception and from perception to meaning. The layers of perception and meaning. Primary experiences of the relationship with the environment (sensory, spatial); perceptual predispositions (kinaesthetic, tactile, visual, figure/ground relationship).
9. The duality of architectural form: volume and space, (+) and (-). Relationships between forms as elements of architectural and urban composition; historical evolution of the relationship between built volume and urban space. Interpretation of the space/volume relationship through the figure/ground ratio.
10-11. Architectural language as a language of forms. The fundamental elements of architectural language: the basic plan, the roof and the lateral surfaces (walls). Effects and primary meanings of forms.
12. Architectural syntax. Types of syntactic relations. Architectural composition: relations and principles. Equality - repetition and rhythm; hierarchy - axiality and symmetry; complementarity - contrast.
13. Contemporary interventions in historic sites. Architectural object - urban space relations.
14. Synthesis and recapitulation of the notions on examples. Analysis of architectural object - analysis of urban space.
Teaching Method:
Courses: lectures with presentations of digital images.
Examination paper - 66%
Partial test – 33%
-Francis Ching, Architecture: Form, Space and Order, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1996
-Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, The MIT Press, 1960 (trad.rom. Imaginea orasului, Revista Urbanismul, București, 2012)
-Pierre von Meiss, De la forme au lieu, (trad. engl. From Form to Place), Lausanne, 1986 (cu varianta în română: Pierre von Meiss, De la formă la loc + Tectonica. O introducere în studiul arhitecturii, Editura Capitel Avangarde, București, 2014)
-Rudolf Arnheim, Dynamics of Architectural Form, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, University of California Press, 1977
-Thomas Thiis-Evensen, Archetypes in Architecture, Ed. Oxford and Norwegian University Press, Oslo, 1987
Optional bibliography:
-Kenneth Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., London, England, 1996
-Rob Krier, Architectural Composition, Edition Axel Menges, 2010
-Robert Venturi, Learning from Las Vegas, (cu varianta în română: Lecția Las Vegas, Editura Universitară "Ion Mincu", București, 2018)
-William Curtis, Architecture since 1900, Phaidon, London, 1996
-Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture – A Critical History, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1985 (cu varianta în română: Kenneth Frampton, Arhitectura modernă. O istorie critică, Editura Universitară "Ion Mincu", București, 2016)
-Charles Jencks, The Language of Post-modern Architecture, Rizzoli, NY, 1977
-Spiro Kostof, A History of Architecture, Oxford University Press, 1995
-Christian Norberg-Schulz, Genius Loci. Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture, New York, Rizzoli, 1979
-Christian Norberg-Schulz, Meaning In Western Architecture, New York, Rizzoli, 1980
-Leonardo Benevolo, Orașul în istoria Europei, Polirom, Iași, 2003
-John Summerson, The Classical Language of Architecture, Thames & Hudson, London, 1980 (cu varianta în română: Limbajul clasic al arhitecturii, Editura Universitară "Ion Mincu", București, 2023)
-H. R. Radian, Cartea proporțiilor, Meridiane, București, 1981