عنوان مقاله [English]
As Spiegelberg argues, not only refering to “phenomenology” as a system or school Is difficult but also it is difficult to give an exact answer to the question of “ what is phenomenology?” He came to the conclusion that “There are as many phenomenologists as there are phenomenologies” (Spiegelberg, 1982, p. xxvii). Putting this argument in the context of architecture and the built environment may raise some essential question: Is this formulation valid in the case of architecture? Are architectural phenomenologists as various as philosophical phenomenologists? Can we call the phenomenological approach in architecture a “movement”, like modern architecture which is referred to as “modern movement”? Are there some common “themes” and “concerns” in architectural Phenomenology? This article tries to briefly review these central questions. Although there is no consensus on the meaning of phenomenology in philosophy, it has been adapted by architectural phenomenologists in both theory and practice. On the one hand, it is believed that phenomenological understanding of architecture is able to catch the essence of the built environment, and hence some scholars have tried to develop a kind of phenomenological theory of architecture and have set up a set of criteria by which the quality of the built environment can be evaluated (like the case of Norberg-Schulz). Other scholars, like Juhani Pallasmaa, Karsten Haries, Eduard Führ, Perez-Gomez, and David Seamon, have made an essential contribution to the theory of architectural phenomenology. From another perspective, some architects see phenomenology as a secure and productive departure point for their architectural praxis. They believe that phenomenology brings them close to the “things” and let them discover the essences. For example Steven Holl (1996, p. 11) states that: “Phenomenology concerns the study of essences; architecture has the potential to put essences back into existence. By weaving form, space, and light, architecture can elevate the experience of daily life through the various phenomena that emerges from specific sites, programs, and architectures.” Back to the central question of this article: What is the state of phenomenology in architecture? Is it a “school”, a “circle”, a “movement”, an “approach”, or something else? It is hard to argue that phenomenology in architecture can be called a “school”, since there is no systematic body of knowledge, developed by a group of scholars and professionals, to which we can refer to as a “school”. It is not also reasonable to call phenomenology in architecture a “circle”, since we cant find a group of specialists in this discipline who work on common concerns. In general, those who work on phenomenology in architecture are independent bodies may share, in some cases, similar concerns, but they are not working systematically on shared concerns. Some production, like the book Questions of Perception, Phenomenology of Architecture (1994), are in fact the result of independent investigations and efforts. Calling the status of architectural phenomenology as a “movement” seems to be controversial as well. Movements are normally referred to a dominant discourse which is considered as mainstream, like the “modern movement” in architecture which was for a period dominant and decisive. Architectural phenomenology, by contrast, has not been, and still is not, a mainstream in the field. In this context, it seems better to call the status of phenomenology in architecture a “discourse”; an ongoing discourse supported and developed by a series of scholars and professionals who share some common concerns, but present different understandings, interpretations, and approaches. In this sense, phenomenological discourse in architecture appears as a process, not a product; it is an ongoing, growing discourse which might be developed to the level of “movement”, “circle”, or “school”. In general, it can be argued that phenomenological discourse in architecture has been influenced by two major philosophers: Martin Heidegger and Maurice Marleau-Pony. Norberg-Schultz is obviously Heideggerean who confirms that “ the philosophy of Heidegger has been the catalyst” (Norberg-Schulz, 2000, p. 5). Juhani Pallasmaa has been intensively influenced by Merleau-Potean regarding to the concepts such as body, perception, senses, and movement. Frampton has been inluenced by Heidegger’s ideas about place and space. For Steven Holl, Merleau-Ponty is the departure point. Karsten Harries is deeply indebted to Heidegger. As a geographer, David Seamon refers more to Merleau-Ponty where he talks about body-subject and movement.