Thursday, August 22, 2019

Architectural Analysis of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Essay

Architectural Analysis of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art - Essay Example â€Å"Steven Holl Architects’ extension to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has torn up the rule book of established codes of extension conduct and transformed the existing building into one of the most exciting exhibition spaces we’ve seen. The existing Nelson-Atkins museum is a ceremonial, classical structure – all colonnades, porticos and grand facades, sitting atop the undulating hillocks looking down on Kansas City. When in 1999, Steven Holl Architects entered the competition to build a suitable extension, it was the only firm daring enough to tamper with the existing facade and not hide its proposed structure in the shadow of the grand building. And it clearly paid off† (Yanko Design, 2007). In order to understand the choices that went into the Bloch Building, it is essential to understand architectural theory, philosophy, phenomenology and structuralism. Interpretive Strategies of Architecture as Art Though a kaleidoscopic array of the ories exist on the matter of architecture, three should suffice. By far the most important is the architects' theory: Stephen Holls', as explicated in his 2009 Urbanisms: Working with doubt. Holls' philosophy here is that urban planning in the 21st century faces qualitatively new techniques. He argues that the attempt to break down all architecture to quantitative mathematical analysis is quixotic and counter-productive; instead, architects must â€Å"work with† and manage doubt in increasingly complex cityscapes by managing Fragments, Porosity, Insertions, Precious and Fusion elements. Holls emphasizes phenomenology here. He argues, â€Å"It is odd that few urban planners speak of the important phenomenological characteristics determining the qualities of urban life – spatial energy and mystery, qualities of light, color, sound and smell. The subjectivity of urban experience must be held in equal importance to the objective and practical† (2009, pg. 16). Holl a rgues that, just as the brain has a rational left side and a creative right side, so too must urban planners synthesize art and science, and urban planning must represent both the vagaries of subjective psychology and the rationality of controlled and planned spaces created by mathematical-scientific intervention. What is phenomenology? â€Å""The philosophical movement that concentrates on the study of consciousness and its immediate objects† (Lecture 2). The distinction is complex. In essence, since the skeptical revolution of Hume, wherein it was demonstrated that it is impossible to philosophically know any empirical fact (such as that gravity follows the inverse square or that billiards bounce the way a pool shark knows they do) because of the limits of inductive logic and the fact that to generalize from the past to the future requires an untestable assumption: That the past is like the future (Hume, 1910). Kant then argued that not only was it impossible to know the na ture of things, their ontology, but in fact human beings could never get access to ontological truth. Just as a camera takes an image of the world but that photograph it produces is not the same as the world it represents (â€Å"Ceci pas un pipe†), the human eye makes a model of the real world, a model that psychology has increasingly come to realize is a highly specific one with many features jettisoned for ease of processing. That model is not the real world, so no matter how precise our instrumentation or perceptions, we are never seeing things as they are. Thus, Kant argued that the study of ontology was impossible, and sharply cut it off from the study of phenomenology, which Husserl, Heidegger and Sartre later developed (Lecture 2). What does this have to do with architecture? Holl's argument is only

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