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An ecosystemic role for Architectural style : bearing 'the plan' in 'mind'


Author:Fisher, Roger Charles
In:Unpublished PhD Thesis


In this study it is argued that 'style' is the encoding of artefacts with 'memetic' content. Style is then given an Ecosystemic role- synchronically, being interactive in the cultural milieu, it has ecosystemic agency; diachronically, being traditive, it has ecosystemic potency. The plan is interpreted as an 'image' derived from the graphic principles of perceiving line, figure-ground and shadow pattern. A hierarchy of images is shown as being 'image, sign, symbol and icon'. The 'plan', as economic artefact characteristic of the discipline of architecture, is analysed iconographically, demonstrating that the planartefact has style; and iconologically supporting the argument that the plan-image can be interpreted meaningfully. The house as type is chosen as testing case and both the traditive and interactive roles of its planstyling is illustrated. It is speculated that the teaching of history could be exploited to enhance 'cultural recapitulation' and that the architectura curriculum could be suitably structured to accommodate this understanding. The study is seen as being important in that: it furthers the metalevel of understanding derived from the Ecosystemic school of thought of the Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria, which emphasises the heuristic, phenomenological and contextual teaching of architecture, through overt articulation. The field of application of the Metabletics of van den Berg and Kuhn's 'paradigm' are broadened and ''the Paradigmatic approach to architectural history" of the candidate's preceding study is expanded. it demonstrated the possibilities in reading the plan and allows therefore for the identification of significant plan-artefacts and -images as source material for study. it serves as model both for investigating other architectural artefacts and for similar studies.

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