X FORMS | Evolution vs Metamorphosis



2013. Milan
Prof: Valerio Paolo Mosco

The work is the result of some reflections about the develop of forms in architecture. A final lecture was hold to others student to synthesize the results of the research. Starting from some crucial concepts coming from Greek philosophy, like Democritus’ determinism, or Aristotle’s teleologism, and comparing them with modern evolutionism I pointed out what I called the cause/effect problem, that led me to consider the origin issue. In his Adam’s House in Paradise, Joseph Rykvert’s collected and commented different points of view about this topic. With this premise, I tried to decline the metamorphosis of the form through the paradigm of the evolution by adaptation, and as independent one. Summarizing, is possible to say that, adaption, means to be influenced by the context. So, some architectures can keep their forms, just changing their function over centuries. On the other side, independent architecture that survive over time, are so strong in the setting of some spatial principles, that they can support many modification without losing their character. This relation can be compared with Panofsky and Focillon’s approach about gothic architecture. According to Panofsky, influenced by Hegel’s Philosophy of the Spirit, forms are linked to a spiritual attitude, and works express some meaning  (such as Riegl’s Kunsvollen). Focillon’s approach is the opposite: forms follow inner rules. At the end of my excursus I identify one character that can be seen as a linking point between many different positions: this is Goethe, with his idea of metamorphosis of the Urtypus, as a primitive type that modifies itself over times. He combined Plato’s abstract character of the idea detached from real world, with the synthetic qualitative approach based more on intuition than mechanic determinism, tipical of Aristotle.