The Architectonic Machine

Roberto Uribe Castro

For some people Architecture is seen as the way that human kind has developed to manage and/or manipulate the space around us in order to make our lives more comfortable. Weather it is from a practical or an aesthetical point of view, what is important in the development of this work is how Architecture becomes machinery, understanding it as a media to express and manifest a political and social logic.

Locating the beginning of Modern Architecture seems like an impossible task. Nevertheless is pretty much agree by different Architectural critics like Kenneth Frampton, its beginning has much more to do with architects bringing into question some of the classical canons like the ones described by Vitruvius, as much with the Industrial Revolution and technical advances. The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century brought new technology that made possible new ways of construction.

But all this must be seen not only from the angle of the aesthetics or techniques. Modern Architecture was more a later response to ideas that were already brought from other fields. It is important for this work the relationship between ideas and its spatial and/or physical manifestation. The physical and long permanence qualities of Architecture, makes possible the reading of social ideas. Like Karl Schlögel explains with various examples, History performs not only throughout time, but also it performs in space. In his own words: die Geschichte hat in Raum ihre Schauplätze gefunden. The space in shape of buildings or cities becomes a physical manifestation of a culture in a sort of a text where History can be read.

The fast changes Europe faced after the Industrial Revolution that took over during the late 18th and the 19th century, some new ideas for the reorganisation of society were needed to be developed. This new situation demanded reforms on different fronts. Some of them with institutional character, some other changes involved more physical aspects. A good example for both cases is the Panopticon developed by Benjamin Bentham.

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