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Changes in the meaning of type in architecture since Eighteenth century

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2006
Aydoğdu, Özlem
The need to define notions in one and a concrete way is actually a tendency to remove the contradictions that could blur their meanings. However, in the architectural discourse the different definitions and interpretations of a notion lead sometimes to an interesting and productive paradox through which a dual situation can emerge. The notion of “type” as one of these instances gained such a duality in time throughout the accumulated thoughts that were studied in different times and conditions since the eighteenth century by scholars like Marc-Antoine Laugier, Quatremére de Quincy, Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand, Le Courbusier, Giulio Carlo Argan, Aldo Rossi, and Peter Eisenman. These conditions which occurred between the relations “type-nature”, “type-machine” and “type-city” have a common point in that “type” was seen as a principle, to explain the architectural attitude in a particular period. And in these periodical conditions it can be said that “type” has, actually, a visual (in Leandro Madrazo’s terms) and non-visual (in Leandro Madrazo’s terms) aspect which leads to a discrepant problem in that it is sometimes defined as “sensible” in the sense of a “physical construction” and sometimes defined as “conceptual” in the sense of a conceptual construct”. Therefore, in using the outline of Anthony Vidler’s essay “the third typology” as a loose framework in the context of a historical point of view from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century, the main problem of this thesis will be to expose this dual situation between the visual (sensible) and non-visual (conceptual) aspects of “type”. In addition, it is actually said that the visual aspect of “type” appeared in the sense how its non-visual aspect is re-constructed. Moreover, within its “double-nature” (in Leandro Madrazo’s terms) “type” seems to have a potential and power for its transformation towards a key for reading the architectural process in a re-constructed continuity. And because of this re-construction it is possible to follow the continuity of architectural knowledge, which designates the changing boundaries of the architectural discipline and gives the means for a tendency to define it as autonomous.