March 2018


«Architecton: proceedings of higher education» № 42 June 2013

Theory of architecture

Melodinsky Dmitry L.

DSc. (Art Studies), Professor,
Chair of Foundations of Architectural Design,
Moscow Architectural Institute,
Moscow, Russia, e-mail: melodinsky@yandex.ru


Magnitude of scale is an important aspect of composition in classical architecture. However, Post-Modernism has suffered radical changes that have gone against all the main principles of form generation. Whereas in classical architecture magnitude of scale was accurately expressed by divisions following from the natural architectonics, clearly articulated base, body, and top, and the metric schemes of horizontal openings creating an an internal ‘graduated’ scale, Post-Modernism has generally abandoned it all.

The world-consciousness of contemporary man mirrors the philosophical views of the western intellectual elite. The most influential of them seem to be G.Deleuze and F.Guattari. Their theoretical views (not indisputable) are very important for understanding the issue of magnitude and attitude towards this artistic component of creativity in architecture during the era of postmodernist mentality. It reflects the view that in the modern context it is impossible to proceed from a single point of view in order to explain all events and phenomena in the world. The elimination of the subject entails departure from the concepts of corporality, weight, linearity of co-ordinates, top and bottom, structurality, and hierarchical ordering of elements. The lack of a systems approach and any controllable order come to the forefront. Chaos sets in as a condition of development and eventfullness based on synergetic nonlinearity. “Play” comes to replace purpose as reason’s activity. The result is loss of relationship to real person. Architecture becomes faceless and scale-free.

It is thus but natural to ask: what approach should be pursued in teaching magnitude of scale at a higher school of architecture within the framework of the Spatial Composition module. It is obvious that it would not be sensible to give up the traditional understanding of magnitude on the basis of natural architectonics and apprehension of architectural space as a humanized space created to meet the essential human needs. However, whilst staying within the boundaries of the traditional view of magnitude, it seems reasonable to present, without any vulgarized misrepresentations, the position of the Postmodernist approach with critical comments, possibly in the context of an elective module.


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Key words: architectural Postmodernism, architectural composition, scale,magnitude of scale, rhizome

Russian text of this article

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