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Title14 Housing Typology Courtyard 02
TagsIdea Perception Concept Personality Type
File Size4.7 MB
Total Pages36
Document Text Contents
Page 1

A housing Typology
Atelier04/studio04
Hand-out term 2

Extract from: Courtyard houses

Günter Pfeifer and Per Brauneck editor
Birkhäuser Publisher

Page 2

Typology

[Typology is an] approach that isolates the attributes of the architectural coher-
ence, identifies them as characteristics, in order to then compare them with
similarly abstracted attributes from other contexts and to define similarities or
differences. Since Quatremère de Quincy at the latest, the history of architecture
has described this kind of approach by the term typology, and understands it as
the abstraction of formal attributes into a principle, called type, that describes
the commonalities of a series of different, but historically concrete models. From
the beginning, this systematic and abstracted view includes the possibilities of a
guideline for action beyond literal imitation (“imitation par principe “) as well as a
tool for comparative architectural criticism.1

Sorting perceptions according to certain recurring characteristics and principles is
an important element of cognitive process. To derive standards from it and to sys-
tematise certain patterns are two principles that not only form the basis of every
science but also of the human capability to perceive and communicate.
To reduce perceptions to certain recurring patterns, regular geometries or har-
monies is a universal principle; therefore, the term typology has a long history in
architecture and architectural theory. In this light, typologies in architecture docu-
ment the changing requirement profiles of certain buildings or spatial systems.
There are different typological categories. Typologies on an urban planning level
deal with blocks, row or detached houses; building typologies examine residential
dwellings, farmhouses, theatres or industrial plants, and floor plan typologies are
significantly characterised by the access system. While the room as a functional
space with a specific assignment is a relatively constant unit irrespective of its
size, the typology of circulation areas correlates individual rooms and, through
different floor plans, creates different types such as patio houses, apartment
houses providing access to various numbers of flats, houses with exterior cor-
ridors, etc.

However, a typologically oriented approach or work method begins long before
the categorisation of certain types of appearance. “ ...The type, a knowledge-
able typologist once said, is not invented, not designed, not developed. The type
emerges, grows, culminates, decays, flattens . Types are ‘organically’ concrete.
These terms might seem diffuse, might lead in the wrong direction; but they ac-
curately highlight the difference between type and an objective prototype.”2,

When consulting an encyclopedia3, we learn that the term “ type” derives from the
Greek word “ typos” meaning imprint and originally meant the imprint on a coin .
Later, the term stood for archetype, antetype, pattern or figure; in fact it referred
to both the real figure as well as that of archetypes or ideas existing in the spiri-
tual world. In typological science, the term typology can be understood as a term
purely used to classify individuals within a group - as for example in zoology or
botany - or on the contrary as a term for an ideal. Hereby, most often a distinction
is made between the most frequent average type of one group of items or per-
sons and the ideal type. Since the ancient world, philosophy has understood the
idea of type in the sense of a generally characteristic archetypal figure underlying
an individual element: Plato understood it as an idea, Aristotle as a shape, the
Middle Ages as a being . Typology as the science of type therefore is a scientific
description and a classification of a field of items into groups of unitary complexes
of characteristics.

In his essay “On Typology’” Rafael Moneo gives an overview of the research of
typology in architecture. For Moneo, the question of typology shakes the founda-
tion of architecture. The concept of the archetype defines the current architectural
object in relation to its origin . Insofar, the typology theory is a theory of the es-
sential, the beginnings of architecture.

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