Graham on Architecture
In Stecker and Gracyk, Aesthetics Today (2010)
This document is a summary of Graham.
The essay examines three ideas:
(1) Aesthetic/artistic value is related to appreciation of design (“form”), which is independent of function.
(2) Form follows function. Therefore artistic value must consider function.
(3) Function follows form. Therefore artistic value must consider function -- in modernism, the functions are provided by the architect, not those dictated by the user. Since the architect is creative, the architect should create the functions.
The paper argues that all three are mistaken. There are clear counterexamples to each. (2) is wrong because there's more to designing a building than function, because funciton never FULLY determines form. Function always leaves some latitude. (3) is wrong; it has generated many failed buildings. A building that is not serviceable is failed architecture.
As an ideal, form should relate to function in an integrated way. But how? IDEALLY, architectural form should express ideas.
The result of this position is that a great deal of architecture cannot be regard as art.
Last updated May 2, 2011 ~ All text © 2011 Theodore Gracyk