Discuss about the Culture of the Poetics of Luxury for Architecture and the Urban Context.
Human being is a rational animal endowed with immense creativity thus live in a constructed world with a lot luxurious towns and cities. However, people get familiar with such towns and cities to a point of not noticing the beauty and creativity involved in constructing and designing the luxurious buildings in those towns and cities. Ruskin, John argues that fundamentally human nature has an innate desire for a dwelling place. Thus man has been compelled by this desire to build his residence hence fulfilling one of his basic needs. To ensure a comfortable dwelling man applies the available knowledge in constructing his dwelling place and therefore, architecture has a significant role to play in creating men's comfort. Architecture is thus unique due to its application of the sensory perception. Ambasz, Emilio confirms that sensory perception takes on board various elements which include transparency, light, and shadow that make a building comfortable, enjoyable, and convenient for man to dwell in. Emilio in his book The Museum of Modern Art affirms that architecture has a fundamental role in expressing the poetics of its constructions. That is, it has to express its way of thinking to allow human being to appreciate its value in creating luxury for man. Therefore, this literature review aims at distilling the question of the culture of the poetics of luxury within architecture in the urban context. In addition, it will address what is sustainable within such context with the main focus being on how and why.
Moneo, José , argues that poetics of luxury within architecture forms expression in which people express their identity, emotions, thoughts, and feelings through an application of the poetic expressions or a poetry method. Various architectural researchers affirm that definition of poetry in architecture is faced with ambiguity due to different approaches. Ambasz, Emilio view poetry in architecture as an attempt to logically understand the architecture where it is thought purely from a linguistic perspective and expressed through different aspects such as shadow, light, and transparency as well as in texture, color, material and all the other elements involved in completing the architectural experience. On the other hand, Twombly, Robert C., and Narciso G. Menocal thought poetry as the vision of the architecture. In their view poetry express the unique work of the architecture which involves the amalgamation of aspects such as material, volume, color, and light to give a man the most desired comfort. In addition, Kenneth, Frampton view poetry in architecture a simple way of expressing the intense architectural thinking while using elements such as repetition, material, structure, mass, landscape, lighting, containment, ritual, essence, order, and volume. Further, he sums poetry as the meditation of the lavish thinking of an architect and thus evident that man can in an explicit manner understand the beauty of the architecture through poetic expression.
José Rafael points out that poetry is important in the architecture in the sense that it creates symbolism that makes building communicate. Architecture being a distinct discipline has it language distinct from that of poetry. Architecture language is entirely a visual language with each detail in given building communicating to different people in a unique way. Different from the poetry where symbols are illustrated by use of words, architectural symbols are illustrated by use of visual images. In architecture, symbols derive meaning from either experience or how the symbols are encountered y the people around them. On the other hand, poetry enjoys a wide interpretation of its symbols due to the various images words can imply. It is vital to note that the visual language of the architecture is inflexible and powerful and thus can communicate effectively compared poetry language hence crafting of the phrase a "picture is worth a thousand words". Architecture just like in poetry applies a specific structure which is divided into various components to support the entire system. However, for a structure to work efficiently, it must be tuned in a specific rhythm. Equally, architecture has it unique structures and systems such as beams, posts, masonry, and truss that are applied to give rhythm to a building.
Annette Condello reaffirms that rhythm in the architecture is to be understood as the regular patterns which result from created lines, colors as well as forms of a given art work. In architecture, rhythm is achieved through application of ratios in designing of the building as well as proper application of the geometry. Poetry is thus linked intrinsically to architecture. Architecture, however, has the inherent feature of luxury that renders it unique in comparison to other forms of human art. However, this characteristic loses meaning when clouded with the wrong perception of what is luxurious. Since antiquity, various schools have emerged to analyze the luxury concept. One school of thought led by Annette Condello search for the meaning of the luxury concept from the ancient times to the modern day. In his search, Annette identifies six historical types of poetics of luxury in the architecture which include; Sybaritic, Lucullan, Architectural excess, Rustic, Neo-European, and the Modern; the arrangement is in a chronological order. In his book, The Architecture of Luxury Condello demonstrates how the concept of luxury has metamorphosed from the ancient understanding of luxury as enjoying things which are beyond the necessary to the modern understanding of impressive, expensive skyscrapers found in urban areas today.
An example of the luxurious modern building is such as Conrad continental which was designed by the Phillip Johnson who is a Pritzker Architect. The Conrad continental demonstrates perfect refinement and luxuriousness; the continental integrate the international flavor, local art, business, and fashion perfectly to produce a prototype poetic of luxury. The Ballroom of the Continental is designed to manifest Italian chandeliers with elevated ceilings. To maintain the rhythm of the design Johnson utilized modern materials such as steel and glass with an aim of affirming the structure of the building as well as its function. To communicate effectively to the local community the Continental has over 3,400 local art scenes. Additionally, the building contains various icons and symbols that manifest Eastern cultures. In addition, another building designed by Pritzker-winning architect includes the UC Innovation Centre in Chile the building is designed by Alejandro Aravena. In designing the building, Aravena demonstrates adequate understanding of poetry of luxury through designing buildings that respond to the climate. In his designs, Alejandro considers the economic welfare of the less fortunate, the effects of natural calamities, energy conservation, and comfort. The urban development area is marked by complexity due to the challenge of achieving sustainable urban areas. To address the question of sustainability especially in the context of poetics of luxury it calls for a reflection beyond sustainable buildings in the urban areas. Though within the context of the poetic of luxury sustainable buildings remains a sustainable phenomenon. To ensure sustainable buildings, however, demand strategies such as ensuring that the urban areas remain compact as well as ensuring a clear distinction is maintained between the urban and the rural. Similarly, every urban center must ensure proper public transport as well as walkable surroundings. In addition, adequate housing and sustainable housing strategies must be adopted in within the urban centers. It is vital to ensure that different housing options are availed such as co-housing, accessory dwelling units as well as housing over shops.
The stable transportation system is an essential part of ensuring sustainable building. It entails comfortable, reliable, and fast public transportation system which combines means such as rail, bus or tram. To be considered by the urban planners also include the pedestrians, as well as the bicycle users within the urban centers. Another important factor to consider is the natural ecosystem. The sustainable building must co-exist with sustainable ecosystem hence the urban residents and the planners have a responsibility to protect and sustain the natural habitats. Similarly, every urban center must innovate a way recycling the waste to ensure it is transformed into a resource. In addition, urban areas must ensure sufficient energy conservation and use of renewable energy. To facilitate energy conservation, therefore, means adoption of sustainable construction strategies which preserves the urban ecological system. It is clear that the implementation of such strategies by city planners and the residents demand investment by the government as well as policies that will enhance sustainability. Ensuring sustainable building and proper implementation of the strategies is essential because failure to ensure implementation of such ideas positions the urban residents to dubious and a difficult future.
In conclusion, architecture is a form of art that respond to the historical, cultural and social phenomenon within a given context. Furthermore, it is also express deep personal sentiments just as poetry does. Similar to poetry architecture evoke emotions as well as deep cultural thoughts on specific aspects which are communicated by a given architectural work. Architecture, therefore, can create wonders while revealing great innovation. Adequate understanding of construction, materials and the essence of poetry, as well as the power of architecture to communicate at various levels, make it a unique discipline.
Ambasz, Emilio. Architecture. The Museum of Modern Art. London: Oxford Publishing company,1989.
Beatley, Timothy. Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities. London: Island Press, 2012.
Burgess, Rod, and Mike Jenks, eds. Compact cities: sustainable urban forms for developing countries. NewYork: Routledge, 2002.
Condello, Annette. The Architecture of Luxury. NewYork: Routledge, 2016.
Katz, Peter, Vincent Joseph Scully, and Todd W. Bressi. The new Urbanism: Toward an architecture of community. Vol. 10. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994.
Kenneth, Frampton. Modern Architecture. A Critical History. London: Oxford press,1992.
Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia, and Tridib Banerjee. Urban design Downtown: Poetics and politicsof form. California: University of California Press, 1998.
Moneo, José Rafael. The freedom of the architect. Michigan: University of Michigan press,2002.
Ruskin, John. The poetry of architecture.Duham: Ruskin press, 2015.
Song, Li Jingwei Liu. "Pritzker Architecture Prize Winning Architects." Urbanism and Architecture, Sunghai: Smith Publishing Company, 2009.
Tontiplaphol, Betsy Winakur. Poetics of luxury in the nineteenth century: NewYork: Keats,Tennyson, and Hopkins. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2011.
Twombly, Robert C., and Narciso G. Menocal. Louis Sullivan: The Poetry of Architecture. Washington: Norton & Company, 2000.