What brings me to architecture? It seems to be getting more and more difficult to answer this question; as years pass, and I progress in its education first hand.
What brought me to architecture is perhaps made clear with my interest in mathematics, and art. Their general impressions make it even more difficult to delineate what I mean when I say my “interdisciplinary interests” in those seemingly disjoint fields. What I think lies at the core is a linguistic interest in art, specifically poetry, and a very transparent linguistic fascination with Mathematics.
Currently, I am enrolled into an architectural theory course, and of all the things the title gives the impression of, what it’s scope really is, was made clear only after the first day of class. The class called Parameters in Design, gave the impression that it was a class that would reconcile me to my fabricated philosophy of what brings me to architecture, through this wayward, albeit quite passionate, path of pure mathematics, lyrical poetry, and at some point art in its finest form.
True poetry, according to the poet and critic John Crowe Ransom
, “only wants to see the world, to see it better.” Poetry, he believed, is a superior form of knowledge which gives us the fullness of human experience, not just the facts and abstractions that suffice for knowledge in a scientific age.
The idea being that a “fullness of human experience” is translatable through language, mathematical or even poetic, perhaps a complex visual poetic language, which makes it possible to create. For our purposes, this creation isn’t merely the idea of fabrication of a physical space, although it is apparently entirely that, but also creating human experience. And so, much of what I recall and prioritize from my previous knowledge of architecture, is the idea of assessing a desired a human experience, to help us justify a physical form, creation of the experience is justifies the creation of a form. For the most part that justification involves what I understand as the design process.
The process of assessing a subjective experience, diagramming that subjectivity to help us quantify a qualitative characteristic mathematically. The example, is the unit of measurement called “clo,” which is an objective scale to measure a subjective experience of temperature comfortability.
Illuminated by the introduction to the class, although disagreeing to certain definitions, I stand convinced that the study of architecture is entirely what my academia was building up to. In fact, what is beautiful is the elasticity of the defining process; once defined, we subsume it as an axiom to build our knowledge pyramid-like.
The definition of dimension, although difficult to grasp coming from a pure mathematics background, is especially beautiful. By virtue of Professor Carlo Santoro, and his research on the idea of space and mathematical topology in perspective of architecture, a dimension is “a description of an object (an architectural object) through mathematical characteristics.”
The beauty lies in how perfectly it serves as a bridge for mathematics and architecture. Dimension of a space, in a purely mathematical sense, can be defined by the number of variables it takes to define (I chose the term ‘locate’) a point in space. In retrospect, I do understand the limitations of the term.
Dimension then, reconciling to my original philosophy of the design process, is a subjective variable of human experience that we attempt to quantifiably describe about an architectural element.