A semperian approach to artificial light as a building material

Kocaoğlu, Nihan
The aim of this study is to understand the purpose, employment and place of specific materials in general, and “light” in particular, in architectural production. This thesis is a critical reconsideration of light as a building material, encompassing all the metaphorical connotations that the term suggests: light versus heavy; “art form” versus “core form”; “figuration” versus “tectonic”; ornamentation versus construction; craft production versus structural logic and abstraction versus materiality. All these binary oppositions combine to provide a conceptual framework for a contemporary interpretation of “light architecture”. Apart from its visual qualities, light plays an essential role in the production of architecture revealing the architectural form, function, mass, texture and context. When considered as an architectural material, light also has the ability to transpose the building into an “art form” as a monumental object, and to provide a dematerialized reality. When speaking of architectural materials, an analysis of the tectonic aspects of architecture is a prerequisite. It was Gottfried Semper’s seminal work that first introduced the rich terminology of the material qualities in the products of architecture. The term “textile”, as an abstract procedure of Semper’s theory, leads to a shift from primitive fabrics to contemporary modulation techniques and becomes a crucial element in the evaluation of such key words as “dress”, “mask”, “skin”, “membrane” and “pure form”. Following the theory of Semper, “textile” can be considered as a starting point for the conceptualization of these key words. Through specific examples associated with light, The Bosphorus Bridge, The Doğan Media Centre, The Kunsthaus Graz and the Image Mill, this study aims to analyze the historical and the traditional materials introduced by Semper together with the contemporary and the modern materials inserted by Bernard Cache and suggests the introduction of light as a modern and contemporary material that may be applied to the abstract procedures defined by Semper as “textile”, “ceramics”, “tectonics” and “stereotomy”. An in-depth reading of Semper and those that followed him: Kenneth Frampton, Harry Francis Malgrave, Karl Bötticher, Wolfgang Hermann, Bernard Cache and Carolina A. van Eck, will provide a conceptual framework for the evaluation of the material qualities of light design in architecture.


Exploring the potential of mat-building for the creation of universally designed environments
Eren, Yasemin; Aközer, Emel; Department of Architecture (2004)
The goal of this study is to reread the strategies of formal organization in architecture, which are called أmat-buildingؤ and أmat-urbanismؤ, exploring their potential to contribute to the creation of universally designed built environments in the 21st century. The idea of mat-building was first delineated by Alison Smithson in 1974, in her article أHow to Recognize and Read Mat-Building,ؤ by means of its traditional and modern examples. The concept of universal design was first used in 1970̕s and reinterp...
On the concept of "field" in architectural theory and practice
Kuzlu, Emre; Aközer, Emel; Department of Architecture (2004)
This study aims at explaining the significance of the أfieldؤ concept in contemporary architecture and urbanism, in reference to the technical definitions of the term in different disciplines. In this context, it investigates the concepts of أfieldؤ in physics, psychology, art theory and criticism. It highlights the reinterpretation of the أfieldؤ concept in physics by eminent Gestalt psychologists, and its consequences for architecture and urbanism. Starting from the definitions of the concept of أfieldؤ b...
Analysis of the limits of representation of architectural photographic images in periodicals
Bakht, Nazlı; Güzer, Celal Abdi; Department of Architecture (2007)
This study aims to analyze the limits of representation of architectural photographic images in periodicals within architectural media that shape today’s architectural production. This aim is accomplished in three sections; “examining the power of image in architecture”; “examining architectural media” and “examining the periodicals’ attitudes towards using architectural photography”. A case study is done to uncover the relationship between the photograph and the medium that it takes place on and determine ...
Performative architecture as a guideline for transformation of the defence line of Amsterdam
Albayrak, Canan; Baykan, Ahmet Can; Department of Architecture (2011)
The main topic that is researched in this study is: what performative architecture is and its role in the design process and product. In the scope of performative architecture the aim is to focus what a building does rather than what it is and the fact that architecture should have the capability of being adaptable to changing time, conditions and environment. A design problem is taken under consideration and designed from the scope of performative architecture. The design problem is the transformation of t...
Architecture, ideology, representation : party headquarters as a new mode in representing power since the 1980’s
Yılmaz, Fadime; Sargın, Güven Arif; Department of Architecture (2009)
The main objective of this study is to question the potential of architecture as a representational medium of ideology. In order to exemplify this overlapping relationship between ideology and architecture, this study focuses on the headquarters erected by major parties of Turkey since the 1980’s. Having a significant position within society and particularly being a part of political system, parties obviously define ideological formations in order to preserve their existence and also strengthen their positi...
Citation Formats
N. Kocaoğlu, “A semperian approach to artificial light as a building material,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2011.