The metropolis has been a central topic of discussion for many creatives throughout the ages, it has consistently garnered praise through bold themes depicted in literary, across multiple artistic disciplines. In addition, gaining an individual identity in each ambiguous, one which is developed through a collective of architecture. In which case, it can be broken down, yet not restricted to various forms of architecture, but further still as small pockets created through the architecture where representation resides. Thus, forming a hierarchy of collectives which can be understood through a variation of interpretation within the city.
The depiction of the city has encountered a gradual decline through the ages, owing to ambiguous methods of representation used across multiple disciplines. Indeed, this issue has become clearer upon revaluation of several literary, cinematic and fictional works of art which do not fully enumerate on the bold themes that reside within the city nor do they portray an architect’s role to express the meanings a culture finds significant, as well as elucidate ideas and feelings that haven’t previously reached expression (Mallgrave and Goodman, 2012). Therefore, this essay aims to analyse the perceptions of the city as well as city life, and then discuss the issues of modern visuality and architectural space as it is illustrated through various forms of literature, cinema and fictional books.
A. Section 1: Literature Scheerbart grey cloth
The identity of the city as a collective of architecture no longer suffers from the contemporary desire to break free from restrictions imposed by society. According to Scheerbart (1914) ‘our culture is in a sense a product of our architecture. If we wish to raise our culture to a higher level, we are forced for better or for worse to transform our architecture’ this statement implies a direct relationship between the architecture of a city and the type of cultural practices which could encompass it. Furthermore, Scheerbart (1914) advocated for removal of the enclosed quality from spaces inhabited with human activity, and expresses the invasion of natural light in all interior spaces as a condition which would have had huge positive consequences on the development of human environment. Also, the world, the image and the mind can be categorized as three separate entities (Evans, 1995) a delineate definition of perception of spaces within these types of architecture, cannot be made through the idealistic principles of its expressionism, these factors of Scheerbart’s work which could not yet be garnered as a part of physical reality, but rather as observations left to the imagination of the individual.
Despite this the design and construction of the glass pavilion by Bruno Taut takes into account these theories of light and unobstructed spaces transforming the utopian ideal into a tangible form of architectural reality. Allowing the observer to have a sample of the impacts expressed by Scheerbart. That is to say, the glass dome represented a complex geometric structure that was not only aesthetically astonishing, but also functional. One view expressed by Fedko-Blake (2017) is that ‘by transforming such a visually beautiful substance into a solid structure, Taut’s utopian vision had somewhat succeeded – beauty and purpose, just like nature and the urban, had finally come together.’ Similarly, Taut’s contributions on what are now known as the six Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, built upon the realisation of the glass pavilion in an attempt to curb disillusionment in an age of heavy industrialization and social strife. However, as opposed to a materialistic and utilitarian culture Scheerbart’s form of representation, would see the city transformed into a crystalline metropolis full of glass and light which would change the surface on which it stood through beauty and transparency, inevitably reconstructing perception of the natural world.
B. Section 2: Cinema The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand/
· The relationship between architecture and the mob must thoroughly be examined. Trying to explore if there is a deeper/hidden phycology
· Is the mob truly in control of its actions or does the architecture which the mob so admires or disapprove of be a stronger motivator for its behaviour?
· Universal community (oikumene)Only through a collective of ideas does an individual gain identity
The architectural spaces within a city can be a strong motivator towards behaviour of its inhabitants, it is easy for human perception of the physical realm to be misguided, this has been the case even before the realisation of optical illusions for example Hermann Grid, Jastrow Illusion, and Penrose triangle which warp physical reality and confuse the human sensory perceptions. In addition, these illusions can be used to manipulate human perception of architecture more so with ease through cinema, which is already a trove of various misconceptions. The work of Dziga Vertov, as depicted in his films illustrated how the city and city life transform through the introduction of human activity, notably in the man with the movie camera and Kino-glaz where cinematic portrayals brought a new way of visualization and emphasizes the significance of spaces of potentiality or spaces which would on a normal basis be ignored, giving an idea of the perception of the city through the eyes of the flanier. Similarly, the idea of “Kino-glaz” which means cinema-eye expresses that film could reproduce reality exactly and with the ability to edit that reality, it holds the power to manipulate the public through the images and various juxtapositions which are rich with connotations? (Vertov, 1985). In the same way, different spaces created by the architecture of a city could incite behavioural changes in its inhabitants, thereby affecting the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Scheerbart suggested the use of glass and natural light within architectural spaces as a way of positively affect the situation of its inhabitants.
Despite this, cinema has played another role on the representation of human perception which involves the mob as a critic of architecture and architectural space within a city, this role of the mob is portrayed in the work of (Rand, 1943) Ayn Rand, ‘The Fountainhead’ whereby the mob takes an antagonistic role on the architecture of Howard Roark. The mobs perception of architecture is easily manipulated
In the modern day, this power has become delineated as the development of three dimensional productions and virtual reality allow for a physical imitation of sensations further convincing perceptions of reality which could blur the line between the physical and the metaphysical. The mob constitutes, only through the naked transparency of any given individual within the mob can its nature be understood, reaching an architecture which no longer imitates the surface of society but the reality embedded within.
C. Section 3: Fiction A poem of the right angle – le Corbusier/ Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
· Which begs the question ‘can a perfect form of architecture only be achieved through the marriage of all three arts?’ painting, sculpture, architecture.
· Reaching entelechia, final point of realisation
· Representation of the space through multiple medium
· The key role of ekphrasis in understanding fictional works
· The redefinition of allegory
Fictional observations of the city take away from its true qualities further alienating the reader from the architecture.
Modern visuality is returning to an age of allegory where the virtual is more prominent than the physical even in cases where they are exactly the same
· First and most importantly breaking down the city into its constituent spaces and inhabitants respectively, chiefly the city and literature which inhabits it, architecture and the mob which inhabit it, and spaces of potentiality where the individual resides.
· The influence of architecture within a city is one that goes without saying, an architecture which is seen and understood not through the isolation of itself but through the numerous iterations of its being. E.g. how a city can be specifically identified by the architecture of its skyline
the city as a collective made up of smaller pockets, talk about cultural aspect and variation of space, the spark of a moment through witnessing (opsis), Space is not a distance, what is intimate space what is private space, Spaces of potentiality
· The architecture of a city can sometimes be more than a strong motivator for the behaviour of its inhabitants, the ability to change societal behaviour either through the isolation an architecture or through the juxtaposition of multiple facades across a cityscape
· The grid does not allow privilege
· In Aristotle’s view, principle of imitation unites poetry with other fine arts and is the common basis of all the fine arts. It thus differentiates the fine arts from the other category of arts. While Plato equated poetry with painting, Aristotle equates it with music. It is no longer a servile depiction of the appearance of things, but it becomes a representation of the passions and emotions of men which are also imitated by music. Thus, Aristotle by his theory enlarged the scope of imitation. The poet imitates not the surface of things but the reality embedded within.
· Transforming our world from a visible reality to a virtual reality
It is just possible to imagine architecture exactly as it is, but the exciting thing is to imagine architecture as it might be, and it is then that imagination becomes an impulse capable of inspiring design.
Modernity has introduced a fourth paradigm into the realm of visuality – virtual space
With active participation of the observer now shifting between reality and virtual reality.