Architecture and the Phenomena of Transition: The Three Space Conceptions in Architecture

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9780674043374: Architecture and the Phenomena of Transition: The Three Space Conceptions in Architecture
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In this his last work, published posthumously, the eminent architectural critic and historian Sigfried Giedion presents three conceptions of space which he views as representing the great stages in Western architecture. The first originated in the ancient high civilizations - Egypt and Mesopotamia - and continued through the design of the Greek temples and assembly places. The emphasis was on the volume in space and on interplay between volumes. Giedion's second conception - the development of interior space - was formulated and reached full glory in Rome with further manifestations in Gothic cathedrals and extensions into the architecture of the late nineteenth century. With the twentieth century emerged the third space conception, a fusion of the first two which interrelated the space-emanating powers of volumes and the sculptural form of interior and exterior space. Linking one concept with another are the phenomena of transition. One expression of the transition between the first space conception and the second is the circular form exemplified in the temples of Malta, the tholos tombs, and the tumuli. To find the sources of the third space conception, the author declares, one must examine the fundamentals of modern construction. Structural possibilities had to be developed and tested before architects could give them a spatial form, and it was the existence and use of new building materials, especially iron and steel, that made this conception possible.

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About the Author:

Sigfried Giedion was the first secretary-general of the International Congress of Modern Architecture. He taught at the University of Zurich, MIT, and Harvard, where he became chairman of the Graduate School of Design.

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Text: English, German (translation)

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Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2014
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