Samulkree This page was last edited zalingaros 29 Septemberat Deharno Kloppers marked it as to-read May 03, When looked at from the point of view of meme encapsulation and selection, many architectural phenomena that were difficult to explain become easier to understand. A Theory of Architecture — Nikos A. Salingaros, Michael W. Mehaffy — Google Books Individual chapters have been translated into several different languages. Product details File Size: Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

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New Mexico, Arch. It was Bronowski who so eloquently stated that for science to proceed we need not be right or complete: the best of our intellectual giants were wrong and incomplete. Progress depends on being absolutely genuine and courageous enough to leave the solid ground of safe but uninteresting questions for the swamp of difficult issues. A Theory of Architecture, by Nikos Salingaros, confronts difficult issues head on.

Salingaros explores ways to clarify and formalize our understanding of aesthetic forms in the built environment, using mathematics, thermodynamics, Darwinism, complexity theory and cognitive sciences. This collection of essays is a work in progress with both gaps and overstatements. The use of scientific terms and analogies is freewheeling enough to require patience from specialists, but rewards the effort.

Essentially a compilation of previously published articles, the material begs for a complete reconstruction as a single work, and would greatly benefit from more graphics. It is currently up to the reader to find the main threads and weave them together. This review focuses on those aspects of the book. There are typically many levels of scale relationships. Rules describing scale are critical in complex systems, e.

Similar scale- or proportion-based laws including power laws describe spatial distribution, e. Visual elements that combine and recombine as multi-scaled perceived patterns aptly describe much architecture. A concrete example: a well-proportioned building generally has windows and doors whose sizes are multiples of some basic material dimensions stone building blocks, perhaps.

He postulates that cross-cultural universals derived from scaling rules in nature govern human appreciation of architecture. In particular, a great many complex natural objects have components that scale by a factor of approximately 2. From this, Salingaros derives his most basic principles about architecture: Because humans comprehend natural pattern by recognizing hierarchical scaling, similar scaling hierarchies make architecture comfortable and visually pleasing.

Architecture that lacks hierarchical scale can be excitingly iconoclastic but is ultimately disquieting. Architecture, to elicit positive responses, should have a full hierarchy of elements whose scales relate by a factor of 2. In practice, perceptual elements and groupings that relate by any factor between 2 and 4 produce good results.

The Modernist fascination with huge blank surfaces and prohibition of ornament leaves only large-scale proportions. This lack of hierarchy is hard for human perception to comprehend, says Salingaros, and therefore alienating.

Salingaros expands these essential ideas in fascinating observations about buildings and perception, and attempts to produce rules by which scaling can inform both design and evaluation of architecture. Perhaps because his background is physics, Salingaros tries overly hard to codify Rules, but each is thought-provoking and goes well beyond the stale dogmas that burden so much design practice today. Each level needs to have a scale two to four times larger than the previous, and no scales should be skipped.

How contrast and similarity define elements and groupings is also discussed. Clearly, these are not rules that would be sufficient for a computer to generate a building. Many other skills and rules are involved. Proportioning rules can tweak almost any creative design — but they have nothing to say about structural mechanics, about building functions, or about dealing with zoning board and code inspector. Less explicitly, though often eloquently, Salingaros proposes and tries to justify scientifically a design process in which decisions at every level affect every other one, rather than a dominant grandiose theme.

He clarifies why eye-level perspectives are more relevant than plan-and- section drawings, and why buildings and developments that look good on paper, in scaled-down representation, often look horrible when constructed.

The first is that his use of terms is often out of keeping with standard usage in architecture. Secondly, by accident or intent, Salingaros refuses to distinguish between perceptual elements and physical parts. Salingaros does not deal with tangible or theoretical influences of structure, such as modular materials, Modernism as an adaptation to technological change in the building industry, or the differences between form-making in natural growth and in construction. Finally, the idea that beauty is reducible to comprehensibility, and aesthetics to information theory, fails to ring true.

As it stands, A Theory of Architecture teaches little about this emotional, possessive, and inspiring reaction to great architecture, or about natural beauty.

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Originality[ edit ] This book joins a recent movement to explain socio-cultural phenomena by means of scientific models. Writers who have spearheaded this general effort by writing popular science with serious implications include Richard Dawkins , Steven Pinker , and Edward Osborne Wilson. Ever since Benoit Mandelbrot mentioned that traditional architecture was more intrinsically fractal than 20th-Century buildings, people have been intrigued about the possibility of understanding architectural form in mathematical terms. The fractal nature of natural structures is evident in topography, and people have noticed that traditional architecture blends better with the landscape. Salingaros has collaborated with Alexander for many years, and was one of the editors of " The Nature of Order ". He proposes mathematical laws of scaling, argues for an essential role for fractals in architecture, and describes rules for coherence among subdivisions that can help produce a more pleasing design.


Nikos Salingaros

Education[ edit ] Salingaros began working in the arts as a painter, but soon switched to the sciences. Career[ edit ] Salingaros joined the Mathematics faculty of the University of Texas at San Antonio in , where he remains today. In the s, Salingaros began to publish his own research on architectural and urban form. In he was recipient of the first award ever by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for research on architectural topics.





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