extreme architecture


architecture of extremities
Up till now I have not been able to adequately place the architecture of ancient Egypt within the Body, Imagination, and Architecture, but last night its meaning/interpretation came to me. Because it chronosomatically coincides with the legs, Egyptian architecture is within the region of corporeal extremity, and thus Egyptian architecture is an architecture of extremes.
The extremes of Egyptian architecture are somewhat obvious, and the great Pyramid is the best extreme example. The Great Pyramid is of extreme size, extreme abstraction of geometry, extreme polish, and extreme program--architecture of death. It could even be said that ancient Egyptian architecture goes in the extreme opposite direction from the rest of world architecture, primarily in terms of life vs. death, and light vs. darkness.
The temples of ancient Egypt also exemplify an extreme in that the inner-most sanctuary is of total darkness. Moreover, the architecture throughout is an extreme use of stone. (This last comment reminds me of Stonehenge in its extreme use of stone also, and its alignment with the summer solstice, an extreme solar condition, the longest day.)
An interesting reverse extreme in ancient Egyptian history is the temple architecture of Akhenaten where there was no roof at all, only extreme sunlight. Akhenaten is also extreme himself within Egyptian history as being the "heretic" Pharaoh because he transformed Egyptian religion from extreme polytheism to and absolute monotheism.

BIA outline
  1.fertilized architecture
      Hindu temples
      Gothic cathedrals
  2. architecture in the extreme
      ancient Egypt
      contemporary plurality
  3. Renaissance architecture
      primarily assimilation
  4. Michelangelo
      proto metabolic
  5. Baroque & Enlightenment
      assimilation, metabolism and purge
  6. Purism
      purge, assimilation in the extreme
  7. inside/outside architecture
  8. Schinkel
      metabolization of history
  9. Le Corbusier
      purge to metabolic
      Savoye to Strasbourg
10. Stirling
      master metabolist
11. Louis I. Kahn (Kimbell, Hurva, Pantheon)
      architecture of light
      electro-magnetic radiation
12. Venturi (electronic iconography)
      architecture of light
13. inside/outside vs architecture of light
      houses under a common roof
      Tower of Shadows
14. Mitchel/Giurgola
      assimilating metabolist
15. fertile architecture
      Greek & Roman
16. Frank Gehry - extreme architecture

1999.03.10 08:48
epic architectural past
I think the "human story," like the movement of the present, is essentially linear. The first humans were extreme, and the best examples of extreme architecture are the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. Circa 550BC, humanity began to operate with a highly fertile imagination, and this "age of highest fertility" lasted till circa 770AD, at which time humanity's imagination became [additionally] pregnant. At the first trimester of pregnancy, circa 1500, humanity began to assimilate itself and its place in the universe. By 1700, the metabolic imagination began to work in conjunction with the assimilating imagination.
We are today still primarily a humanity operating in both an assimilating and metabolic fashion, and thus our architecture too is primarily both assimilating ("international") and metabolic (creative/destructive).
Of course, the "human story" continues, and to discern how it will continue, you just have to analyze the sequential slices of the human body starting at the lowest tips of the rib cage and moving upwards.

1999.04.19 03:27
test (poem?) by whomevers
what is first, [DUALITY in EXTREME]
(dichotomy?) -- duality in extreme and dichotomy are not necessarily the same thing, therefore it is prudent not to too quickly confuse the issue but rather concentrate specifically on what duality in extreme means, e.g., concentrate on the notion that two polar (extreme) opposites (must) coexist and thereby generate a synthesis -- this is how architecture "firsted" itself.
what are first principles of architecture..? [the outside has to be different than the inside]
(is there still an outside-inside?) -- certainly there is still an inside and and outside! our perception of the dictinction between the two may be changing (as it probably has been doing since the beginning), but being at a different vantage point doesn't necessarily change the basic reality.
does architecture have any first (universal) principles.. [refrain]
(economy-efficiency-delight to...)
what kind of architecture does.. [the great pyramid is an, if not the, prime example...there's not all that much architecture that is older except perhaps the ever evaporating igloo]
(extreme architecture - international space-station..?) -- you "raise" here the international space-station and at the same time question whether there is still an outside-inside??? come on, let's not waste time disputing the obvious and move on to a clearer, deeper understanding of outside vs. inside in order to create a better architecture.

1999.04.19 09:12
test (poem?) by whomevers
My point deals specifically with architecture's first principles, i.e., duality in extreme and its unrelenting distinction between inside and outside. I cite the Great Pyramid as a prime example of architecture as duality in extreme, and you (correctly) cite the International Space Station as also an example of extreme architecture. Just be sure that you likewise acknowledge that the International Space Station is also an example of architecture's unrelenting distinction between inside and outside (and in that sense, even a space suit is exteme architecture).

2000.02.16 16:27
Re: Theory dynamics; what theories?
Saul writes:
Stephen Lauf proposed a different sort of dynamic as governing architectural theories, based on metabolism (!) I don't see how that view could be anything other than metaphorical, but it is intriguing if only because it raises one sort of alternative view (and thus introduces the notion that there could well be various competing accounts of architectural theory dynamics--hence one important task is to first grasp what those candidates are).
Steve replies:
I am not proposing "a different sort of dynamic as governing architectural theories, based on metabolism." Rather I am working out a theory (chronosomatics) whereby human imagination reenacts corporal physiology and/or morphology. The metabolic imagination is just one of the human imaginations; the others include the extreme imagination, the fertile imagination, the pregnant imagination, the assimilating imagination, the osmotic imagination, the high-frequencies imagination. I then further theorize that these various operative modes of imagination in turn are reenacted in architecture.
For example, I see the Pantheon and Kahn's Kimball Art Museum as both prime example of an architecture that reenacts the osmotic imagination, which is an imagination that reenacts the physiological process of osmosis, which is the equalizing diffusion of concentrations either side of a semipermeable membrane. Both the Pantheon and Kimball are semipermeable (each in its own way) and both buildings work towards 'equalizing' the outside and the inside (again each in its own way). Furthermore, osmotic architecture seems to often capture a 'sacred' quality.
There are many other examples that I have thus far made note of…

Otherwise Eyes - continued work
...add “extreme” to the list of directories. The first topic there will be megaliths and an investigation of the imaginations that megalith builders may have had, ie, an extreme imagination. Modern man, as Heidegger notes, has “forgotten” how the extreme imagination operates. There is likewise the notions of extreme in today’s popular culture: Gehry; extreme sports; the space station.

2003.06.26 19:29
fact check and some proof
I'd say the real shell architectures were those caves some humans used to live in, and beyond that architecture became an applied shell, and going to an(other) extreme, a space station is all shell, but hardly natural.

2012.08.31 17:34
The Objectification of the Deterritorialized Whole[nesses]
"The Objectification of the Deterritorialized Whole[nesses]"

Great Pyramid
extreme wholeness



Quondam © 2016.10.23