The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory documents and builds upon some of the most innovative developments in architectural theory over the last two decades. Bringing into dialogue a range of geographically, institutionally and historically competing positions, the book examines and explores parallel debates in related fields. The book is divided into eight sections. Creating openings for future lines of inquiry and establishing the basis for new directions for education, research and practice, the book organizes itself around specific case studies to provide a critical, interpretive and speculative enquiry into the relevant debates in architectural theory. A methodical, authoritative and comprehensive addition to the literature, the Handbook is suitable for academics, researchers and practitioners in architecture, urban geography, cultural studies, sociology and geography.
Chapter 8: Formalism and Forms of Practice
Formalism and Forms of Practice
There is no single and agreed definition of form or of formalism, but rather a series of arguments and examples spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries drawn from philosophy and applied to the criticism and practice of literature, music, the visual arts, and architecture. In its first appearance, in nineteenth-century German philosophical aesthetics, formalism was concerned with the mode of perception of forms in the absence of any meaning. It referred to a property of the seeing of objects, as Kant proposes. In the simplest terms, formalism is a methodological attitude – a mode of criticism – that derives its explanations from the formal relationships between parts of a work, be they musical notes, words, colours, ...