ARTIFACTS, CONTRAPTIONS AND RUSES IN ARCHITECTURE: A Mapping of Relationships Throughout the Twentieth Century

ARTIFACTS, CONTRAPTIONS AND RUSES IN ARCHITECTURE: A Mapping of Relationships Throughout the Twentieth Century

This thesis originates from an interdisciplinary interest between architecture, art, technology and philosophy. Architecture has been traditionally taught as a self-referenced discipline when it is paradoxically one that is extremely based on its interrelationships with others. Using the doctoral research, I was curious to explore how similar ideas were reverberating from philosophy to technology, art and architecture throughout the Twentieth Century. In that sense, the exploration is cross-disciplinary to find patterns of thoughts.

The thesis traces the particular ways in which the concepts of artifact (artefacto), contraption (artilugio), and ruse (artimaña) have occurred throughout the Twentieth Century. This is important because these concepts are closely linked to the level of confidence in the competence of the built object / environment. This is a crucial issue for the work of an architect.

The 20th century was chosen because these three concepts have occurred in a particular way within the said timeframe. Historically, in ancient Greece through the 19th century, it was common to find the confluence of these three concepts in the same work. Reflecting the modernist paradigm, the 20th century established a strong division between them; organizing them in a sequence where the artifact moved directly to the ruse, passing over the contraption.

This change in process runs throughout the entire century. The outright denial that the avant-gardes made of tradition, refusing any style from the past, implied a simultaneous refusal of the possibility of a consummate confidence in the competence of the professional, and this may have been responsible for the peculiar sequence with which concepts evolved in the 20th century, showing a clear break from all previous centuries. Having to build legitimization from scratch, without the  support of historicity, modern men toured the three concepts in search of validation. It is also interesting to note that this process has been shared by different facets of the human endeavor as disparate as science and art. The facets have also occurred with a very similar structure of ideas and events. In addition, connections between the disciplines and the nuances that differentiate the journey through these three concepts has also been a set of subjects addressed in this thesis.

The study resulted in a series of five books, combined to form the thesis, where events are explored and connected in families that share a common concept or attitude. As a result, I made a series of maps that display this families by disciplines in a timeframe, and also draw the interconnection between disciplines.

This is the map for the philosophy,

This is the one for Technology,

This is for Art,

and this is the one for Architecture.

The following map put all disciplines together using the gravitational centers of every family of events:

A series of final maps established connections between different disciplines’ events in a  transversally mode, based on the importance of the different agents, or the intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

This is the mapping of the Agents (Context/Object, User/Spectator and Author/Artist/Architect)

This is about the Intrinsic factors (such as Control/Lie, Unconsciousness/Irracionality, and Denials/Voids)

This map is drawing the Extrinsic factors (such as Contradictions/Conflicts, Magic/Mysticism and Relativism/Hermeneutics)

These final synthetic maps put everything together getting a general scope of how all this interrelationship played itself out throughout the Twentieth Century,

Artefactos, Artilugios y Artimañas en Arquitectura. Una cartografía de relaciones a lo largo del siglo XX.
Ph.D. Thesis. Dissertation: February 4, 2016
Madrid Polytechnic School of Architecture
Author: Paco Mejias Villatoro
Tutors: Dr. Rafael Pina Lupiañez and Dr. Nicolas Maruri Gonzalez de Mendoza



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