Query about the Epistemological Foundations of Contemporary Architecture

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Environmental Design, Iran University of Science & Technology, Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Environmental Design, Iran University of Science & Technology, Tehran, Iran

3 Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, School of Architecture and Environmental Design, Iran University of Science & Technology, Tehran, Iran


One of the issues in theoretical architecture having been considered in recent decades is epistemology and its branches. The changeability of perception is one of the most important issues considered in this field. It is related to subjects such as the role of creativity in architectural work, audience of the architectural work and the process of the perception for understanding the work’s meaning. These subjects are derived from a branch in epistemology which is called “epistemology of texture”. According to the latest theories in this branch, all the perceptions of audiences are affected by their prejudices and their prejudices are influenced by external subjects such as history. Meanwhile, these external subjects are changing constantly. Due to this point of view, all the objects should be presented compatibly with this changeable process. Therefore, in designing architectural works, geometries which are compatible with changeability and relativity of perception should be used. The basic idea in theoretical field which will be specified in this article is considering an architectural work as a texture so that its meaning could be reviewed based on its components such as its signs in a decoding process. Thus, the major issue in this article is derived from the relationship between architecture and epistemology, especially the contemporary epistemology of texture. Considering this, there are some important questions in the theoretical field of architecture such as can a final meaning for an architectural work be assumed or can a certain framework for discussing architectural work, its architect and its audience be presented or not? Different steps for specifying and responding to these questions consists of the following stages: In the first stage, epistemology and its mission in encountering the other fields of knowledge will be defined. In the second stage, contemporary epistemology of texture and one of its most important principles which is called “Perception relativity” will be defined. In this part, major consequences of perception relativity in the field of interpretation and perception of the architectural works are explained. To this end, the claims of some of the most important theorists in this field such as Gadamer, Derrida and Palmer are referred to. In the third stage, the relationship between the contemporary architecture and epistemology of texture will be explained. In this part, the effects of this theoretical field on the designing process of architectural works will be shown. For reaching this target, some of the works of famous architects such as Eisenman and Tschumi will be referred to. In the next stage, the theoretical foundations of epistemology of texture will be evaluated. Finally, based on this evaluation, the findings of this research will be presented to prove that it is necessary to reconstruct the theoretical foundations of the contemporary epistemology to achieve a certain framework for reviewing the meanings of the architectural works more logically. This is due to the fact that the result of performing the recommendations presented by the contemporary epistemology of texture concludes that any framework and fixed principle for evaluating architectural works can’t be accessed. Therefore, according to these recommendations, all of the perceptions are acceptable.It is obvious that such a theory will conclude rejecting any preference among different perceptions. Consequently, it will decrease the value of perception highly. On the other hand, according to the findings of this research, the effects of the contemporary epistemology of texture on contemporary architecture will cause a kind of epistemological anarchism in the process of perceiving the meanings of the architectural works. Consequently, it will lead to rejecting any specific framework for discussing the architect, his work and audience. Therefore, it’s not a reliable theory for applying to the design process of the architectural works. In this article, interpretive-historical research has been utilized to access the cited targets in the first data gathering step. Moreover, logical-argumentative research is used in analysis of the data and drawing conclusion. At the end, it is necessary to consider some different theories in the field of the contemporary epistemology of texture such as philosophic hermeneutic, deconstruction and etc., but in this article those notes which are common among them are emphasized and verification of the issues which separate them from each other is avoided. 


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