Intentions in Architecture

By Christian Norberg-Schulz | Go to book overview

4. Education

It is natural to conclude our discussion of the applications of the theory of architecture with a few words on the problem of architectural education.

Architectural education comprises all the single problems we have outlined, because it is obvious that the architect as a professional man has to possess a complete understanding of his field. This does not mean that he has to know all the facts furnished by historical and actual research. Today this knowledge has become so vast that it is hardly possible for an individual to master the whole field. Neither can we expect that the architect is automatically capable of solving every building task, or of judging every finished solution. But he has to possess the methodical insight which makes this theoretically possible for him. In other words, he has to have a full comprehension of the organization of his field, its types of tasks and means. In this way he can understand his own relatively specialized knowledge as a part of a more extensive context. The architect should know the general principles determining the activities of experiencing, producing, and analyzing architecture, which implies that he also has to know the integrated theory of architecture. The architect is hardly able fully to solve any task without the general insight furnished by the theory, both because architecture is a synthetical activity, and because the individual building task forms a part of a hierarchy of tasks.1 Only when seeing his field in this comprehensive way does he become a real professional. The architect cannot expect to be respected as long as he neglects his responsibility by permitting open conflicts between the different solutions.

One of the most important insights offered by architectural theory is that a building task cannot be solved through intuitive improvisation.

____________________
1
This is obviously the state of affairs Vitruvius had in mind when he requested that the architect should possess the most diverse qualifications (I, 1). He ought to be 'a craftsman, a skilful draughtsman, a man of letters, a mathematician, familiar with historical studies, a diligent student of philosophy, acquainted with music, not ignorant of medicine, learned in the responses of jurisconsults, and familiar with astronomy and astronomical calculations'.

-217-

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Intentions in Architecture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • I. Introduction 11
  • II. Background 25
  • 1. Perception 27
  • 2. Symbolization 53
  • III. Theory 83
  • 1. Towards an Integrated Theory of Architecture 85
  • 2. The Building Task 109
  • 3. Form 131
  • 4. Technics 161
  • 5. Semantics 167
  • 6. The Architectural Totality 179
  • IV. Outlook 191
  • 1. Experience 195
  • 2. Production 201
  • 3. Analysis 209
  • 4. Education 217
  • Bibliography 225
  • Index 233
  • Illustrations 243
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