Thursday, July 11, 2019

Q: What is organic architecture?

I named Organon Architecture after two of my heroes.

"Organon" itself comes from Aristotle's Organon -- his collection of books on logic and induction that, when rediscovered, led to the led to a rebirth of knowledge and science."Organon" being defined as a tool or instrument, in this case an instrument of knowledge ...

And "organon" also refers to the principles of Organic Architecture -- sometimes called The Other Modernism -- that I try to practice and that Frank Loyd Wright was the first (and the best) to espouse.

Over the decades, Wright and others gave many explanations of what this Organic Architecture consists:
  • architecture perfectly integrated with its site; a free architecture ... architecture that belongs where you see it standing, and is a grace to the landscape instead of a disgrace
  • recognising that nature and materials, machinery, and technologies are allies, not antagonists
  • understanding the higher truth that form should not simply follow function -- that outward appearances should reflect inner purposes -- but that form and function are one
  • an interpretation of nature’s principles manifested in buildings that are in harmony with the world around them
  • architecture used to make human life more natural, and nature more humane
  • an architecture from within outwards ... where the whole is to the part and the part is to the whole.
  • a building that functions like a cohesive organism, where each part of the design relates to the whole.
  • an architecture in which a building is allowed to develop in relation to the forces and context that generated it in a manner analogous to the way a tree (for example) develops according to its generating forces and site context -- a reinterpretation of nature's principles as they had been filtered through the intelligent minds of designers
  • an architecture recognising the human need for order, pattern, nature, prospect and refuge
  • an architecture in which space and time become place and occasion, and reason and self-esteem are embodied in the expression of motion and purpose
  • a building that complements its environment so as to create a single, unified space that appears to “grow naturally” out of the ground
  • choosing one dominant form for a building and integrating that form throughout (often in a fractal manner)
  • using natural colours: “Go into the woods and field for colour schemes”
  • don't simply imitate nature, but understand and emulate nature's abstractions of geometry, form, colour, pattern, texture, proportion, and rhythm
  • respect and reveal the nature of materials
  • open up spaces, using nested, overlapping and interlinked spaces
  • integrate natural foliage in the inner spaces and wider views of the outer spaces -- "capturing those views alive"
Integration is the key word: of site and landscape and colour and material with the life within.

Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer worked with Frank Lloyd Wright for many years. This conversation brings the ideas home ....

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