During the 18th – 19th century, A “function” describes the result of the action of one quantity upon another; relative to architecture, the question is what is acting upon what? From the first use of “function” in the 18th century until the end of the 19th century, the quantity acted upon was almost always taken as the building’s tectonic elements, its structure.

Interesting and true. When we talk about “function” we are now talking about usage of the space – the program, not so much the structure or material.

Venetian friar: Carlo Lodoli used function relative to architecture in the 1740s. He used it in reference to material – how he was against the use of imitation of stone of forms developed originally for timber construction.

Francesco Milizia used function in terms of a purpose in 1781.

Lanmarck and Cuvier used function in a biological sense where they wanted to re-categorize species in terms of their functions in body parts. Actions performed by the body parts, not appearance of it alone. Interpreted to be closely similar to “structure.”

A Biological metaphor, descriptive of the purposes of the parts of the construction relative to each other and to the whole.

Then came Voillet-le-Duc in the 1850s. “It is in this sense, of the role played by each part within the structure, that function was principally understood in the English-speaking world from the mid-19th century.”

As a biological metaphor within the “organic” theory of form.

Using the properties of the materials as a dscription of function. Greenough’s “character as the record of function.” By character, I assume he means properties, attributes?

“Supressed functions” by John Edelmann. Sullivan’s “function” was based entirely in metaphysics… lovely! Just what I need.. more metaphysics stuff. “When Sullivan talk sabout function, one could satisfactorily paraphrase his meaning as destiny.” Example – the form, oak tree, resembles and expresses the function or purpose, oak…”

Leopold Eidlitz, disciple of Viollet le Duc with a German background, described function to be the story of its [the building] being. Functions are always mechanical because they are shaped by environment. The fundamental principle of the modelling of architectural forms is therefore mechanical. “the story of its being.”

FINALLY, Function = USE, alluded by Greenough and le Duc

3 different nuances from the German language of the world “Function”

Sachlichkeit, literlaly meaning “thingness”. Relates to “realism” In German-speaking countries, “realism” meant constructional rationalism, the expression of the mechanics of structure most clearly seen in modern engineering works. They disregarded historical style, lacked properties necessary to art.


~ by atsilac on September 16, 2008.

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