Circular Tectonics? – Towards an ecology of continuity, -means, relations, strategies and -innovation in architectural practice

Anne Beim, Marie Frier Hvejsel

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Today the complexity of contextual relations and challenges that govern architec-ture are multiplying and signified by an ever more present call for a viable, ecological, and hu-man development of the built environment. Pressing issues such as steadily increasing migration from rural towards urban areas, climate changes, scarcity of resources etc. are forming a highly complex field of practice for architecture. A field of practice in which the more subtle, but nev-ertheless, vital aesthetic and cultural dimensions of architecture are often oppressed in favor of measurable standards. Consequently, architecture is facing a simultaneous need to maintain and develop its core foundation as a spatial discipline, whilst constantly responding to and improv-ing its modes of collaboration outside this core. These modes of collaboration involves an in-creasing number of disciplines, industries, technologies, policies, and areas of knowledge, which besides planning and structural engineering counts health science, energy engineering, material technology, life cycle analysis, human nutrition, learning, philosophy etc.
This paper argues that the notion of tectonics holds a particular potential as a critical theory and method for addressing this challenge as the notion entails a commitment of architecture to its context and available resources. Throughout architectural history, the notion of 'tectonics' has been developed and applied as a critical means to position the discipline in its context; the socie-tal, technological as well as the cultural. This critical and methodological potential of tectonics in architecture can be traced from early Greek descriptions, over the 1850’s German reintroduc-tion of the term, and into more recent repositions, as a continuous focus upon the value and na-ture of the work of the architect related to a particular context; ancient, industrial, or digital. Hence, despite often being associated with construction technology or certain materials, it is the scope of this paper that the notion of tectonics in architecture holds a much broader potential. Tectonics is not to be misinterpreted as a separate discipline in architecture, but can be under-stood and developed as a critical means to arrive at viable values in an architecture that is com-mitted to a given context.
By proposing the idea of 'Circular Tectonics?', this paper seeks to map and position this broader potential of tectonics in architecture, as a theory and method to arrive at a feasible, ecological, and human development of the built environment. By associating the notion of tectonics, with that of a circularity, the paper establishes a critical framework for gathering, evaluating, and overlapping ideas about ecological continuity, -means, -relations, -strategies and -innovation in architectural practice.
Translated title of the contributionCirkulær tektonik: Mod en økologi af kontinuum, midler, relationer, strategier og innovation i arkitektonisk praksis
Original languageEnglish
Publication date20 May 2018
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2018
EventICSA 2019 - International Conference in Structures and Architecture, Lisbon - Universidad di Minho, Guimaraes, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 24 Jul 201926 Jul 2019
Conference number: 4


ConferenceICSA 2019 - International Conference in Structures and Architecture, Lisbon
LocationUniversidad di Minho, Guimaraes
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