Architecture creates spaces and modifies places for dwelling.

That is my definition of architecture: a discipline primarily concerned with space, place, and ‘dwelling’, which is its ultimate scope. A discipline in-between the ideal (i.e., the mental) and the physical (i.e., the corporeal), the abstract and the concrete, the potential and the actual. Spaces, which are ideal and abstract entities, can be created by the imaginative power of the architect; conversely, places, which preexist and outlast human presence and activity, can only be modified.

The concept of place — in the broadest sense that I’m arguing for at RSaP — surpasses the traditional geographical and social dimensions alone, which are usually attributed to by architects, to include physicochemical, biological (hence, ecological), and intellectual or symbolic dimensions. Within the overarching compass of place, which comprises space as a symbolic dimension, nothing is left out: reality is place. Therefore, if architecture aims at being sensitive to place, it cannot avoid direct and conscious confrontation with all the processes or forces that are constitutive of reality as place (see On the Structure of Reality). This is a new realism for architecture, at the beginning of a new epoch — the Anthropocene.

Image Credits

Featured Image by Alessandro Calvi Rollino, CC BY-NC-SA: Main Façade of the School of Architecture, Politecnico di Milano, designed by Vittoriano Viganò (1970-1983), Milano, IT.

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