The "Architecture by Elements"


From the book "Logic and complexity of architecture" by Gianfranco Moneta, as the results of a research about "internal" processes of architecture to find its configuration mechanisms, a research to which Andrea Moneta participated since 1997. 


"Language could be considerated as a set of linguistic games: it is like a city, built at different times, made of buildings with different purposes and functions."

 L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Researches, 1953

By analogy with the principles of linguistics, we consider the architectural vocabulary as a set of objects to be associated or put in contrast in a complex language unit, made with a sense in a manner that, organized and defined, can form a primary or complex sentence.  A linguistic game: the Architecture by Elements.

1 Genesis and shape

2 Element as totality

3 Articulation of the Element

4 Dissolution of the Element

5.1 Architecture of Wall

5.2 Architecture of Septum

5.3 Architecture in depth

1 - Genesis and shape

The sense of architecture for Elements derives from the despersion of built-objects, fragments closed in themselves, equipped with a specific destination of use, separated from the others by an emptiness, a space" external" to the built-object, but internal to an associative system, rather than a casual system who connects them.
Nowadays recovering again this extraordinary form-principle means to make any effort to gain a major concreteness in the construction of an architecture project, imposing its recurring relapse in undefindeness, uncertainty and undesignedness.
It means the re-use of a strong compositive principle, who allows projecting by putting in relation terminated and therefore manageable entities (the Elements); thus it allows organizing a constituent procedure with an its own language. 


2 - Element as totality

It’s possible to consider the Element – intended as a fragment of a totality – always in all its spatial reality.

The definition of an Element as a figure in possession of a totality, leads to surpass the reductive principle which considers the plan as the only generator of the spatial system. In constituting terms it has defined the supremacy of the Plan-pattern which, with its repeatedly, originated the typology of Multi-plan, with evident indifference to internal spatial articulation


3 - Articulation of the Element

In modern architecture, the Elements take again the shape of parallelepiped cells made-up by their structural frames. These structural cells are metaphors of the trilithic archetype. (fig.A)

Application of the Elements’ overlapping principle. (fig.B)

When a series of Elements structured on the knots is accosted, it allows to organize a plan according to opposed directions, creating a potentially endless mesh. (fig.C)

Considered in elevation, the system divides the space in its three dimensions through a modular scan. (fig.D)


4 - Dissolution of the Element

Each Element – even the most elementary – can be disassembled in further signs: the Septum. The procedure that “disengages” the constructing Septums from the wall, emerges as the opposite to the one who has “loosened” the walls keeping the angles intact. In this way, the cell doesn’t reproduce the permanency of the angles; the constituent elements (the Septums) result separated from each other and the relative distance becomes variable: the configuration is open.


5.1 - Architecture of the Wall

The architecture of the Wall means unitarity of the basic wall element (the cell), its structural closure to the outside.

Relationship with exterior: the continuous surface of the Wall is interrupted by an hole, a genuine trauma of the continuity. The architecture of the Wall resolves an universality of the organism through the intervention of the hole, but only on the wall itself; the Wall contains and so hides the organism; the hole forms a filter which reveals the organism itself (totally or partially).


5.2 Architecture of Septum

The open cell, made in such a way to not to reproduce the continuity through the walls which doesn’t give life to angles, “structurally” places itself in the opposition to the previously analyzed closed cell.

Apparently less complex open cell, links itself directly to the exterior through its structural discontinuity.

The architecture of the Septum materializes itself highlighting constantly the thickness of the Septum, which can be interlinked between themselves or not. The iteration of Septum represents the fundamental sign.

The structural (constructive) procedure of the interconnection (and not the hole in this case), continues from the arch to the concrete platband, enabling it not to lose sight of Septum’s predominance (discontinuity) upon the interconnection’s values (continuity).


5.3 Architecture in depth

The architecture of the Septum overlapping the architecture of the Wall

The architecture of the Wall overlapping the architecture of the Septum

The architecture of the Wall overlapping the architecture of the Wall

The architecture of the Septum overlapping the architecture of the Septum.


Continue on webpage: Organizing Patterns