The Nature of and Natural Form Readings

7 – “The Nature of Gothic,” – J. Ruskin

The highly emotional expression filled in the whole article. The author markedly trend to the Gothic architecture as the perfect style in all of architectural styles. For example, Ruskin mentioned :“For in one point of view Gothic is not only the best, but the only rational architecture, as being that which can fit itself most easily to all services, vulgar or noble” (P168). In the history of architecture, all kinds of theories and styles evolved through long time test. Each of them was rational in that era but was not permanent. Gothic architecture is no exception either.

From the list of six characteristics of Gothic architecture, which are Savageness, Changefulness, Naturalism, Grotesqueness, Rigidity, and Redundance, Ruskin gave the reader a qualitative expression of Gothic architecture. It is not very objective. As the author explained the third character of Gothic mind, – “when both are left free; the Western, or Gothic, delighting most in the representation of facts, and the Eastern (Arabian, Persian and Chinese) in the harmony of colours and forms” (P169), there are thousands of historic sites can prove how the Eastern culture pay attention to the naturalism and the coexistence of human and nature.

The Gothic architecture has an important position in the history of architecture, but it is not the only one on which we need to focus.

Questions:

Why did the author strongly canonize one style except others?
Is it right for the emotional description of architectural history?
 
6 – “In-Between: The Natural in Architecture and Culture,” – Elizabeth Grosz

This article sucks me into a whirlpool that is a complex relationship of nature, power, architecture and culture. Just as Grosz, she described that “The space of in-between is that which is not a space, a space without boundaries of its own, which takes on and receives itself…”(p91). The “in-between” is not naturally spatial form, but a dynamic spatial construction. It is a transformation of movement and forces based on opposing variables and fragmentation.

Architecture is as a bridge between the culture and the nature, and it comes from both of the nature and the culture and is molded by more complications – history, power and etc. Tracing the alternative cultural and natural forces (or power), the architecture has been rewritten.

If I abstract those complex and dialectic relationship of those factors from other view differed with the western dominating knowledge, I would use a symbol to explain those relationships – the symbol for Taiji. From the eastern culture, the world is chaos that comes into being Yin and Yang spaces which are parallel and opposite spaces but can transform to each other. The undifferentiated absolute and infinite potentiality in this space of in-between any factors could interact on all of aspects. The force or power constantly transferred from one form to other form, from one space to other space or from the past to the future.

All of them, space, time or power, continually change through energy conversion. The architecture is the result of those variables aggregated and interacted.

Questions:

Can we use some practical methods to explore those spaces?
Can we use the law of energy conservation to explain the connection between architecture and culture?

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