Prepared by Mohammad al-Asad and Dalia al-Husseini, 2003
Ozkan moved on to the 18th century, the age of enlightenment. It was a time when most of the ideas that inform today's architectural theory, such as the Functionalism of Carlo Lodoli (1690 - 1761), were first pronounced. His statement that things should perform a function that is more than just utility is a basic tenet of the modern movement, which finds its roots in this period. According to Ozkan, the sketches of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 - 78) redefined existing perceptions along a utopic line (figure 7). Many canons and abstraction were produced, especially in the Italian intellectual discourse on architecture, and writings coming out of Italy and England informed the descriptive nature of it. It was a period characterized by inquisitiveness, and by investigating the whys and wherefores behind processes. Also, for the first time, there was an attempt at bridging architecture, via aesthetics, with the other fields of philosophy. Ozkan noted that before that the isomorphic aspect of architecture was almost completely absent, and no attempt had been made to define it as part of architectural theory.
A most important contribution to architecture thinking was made by Marc Antoine Laugier (1719 - 69) through his writings that included Essai sur l'Architecture (Essays on Architecture). Laugier was a priest who also was highly interested in architecture. Ozkan feels that Laugier must have been an architect in some form since he is so well informed about building and construction techniques. Laugier detested the opulence of architectural decoration and rejected all that does not belong to architecture itself. Instead he called for a return to what he referred to as "the primitive hut" (figure 8). Ozkan pointed out that when referring to Filarete earlier in the presentation, he noted that Filarete also viewed the basis of architecture as four columns and a pitched roof on top of it, which to him exemplified beauty in its essence. Ozkan explained that Laugier started from this point, but his goal was to particularly attack existing architectural conceptions, which were bourgeois, opulent, and unnecessarily decorative in nature. Laugier's work was widely read and was translated into a number of languages.
Ozkan explained that the 19th century expresses the advent of the architectural thinking that is with us today. He gave as examples the descriptive works of John Ruskin (1819 - 1900), Georg Wilhelm Hegel (1770 - 1831), and Gottfried Semper (1803 - 79), all of which tackle the different aspects of aesthetics. Also important in this regard is the work of Emmanuel Kant (1724 - 1804), who discussed the notions of ‘wild beauty' and developed a theory of beauty and its perception, and raised the question of whether beauty is in the essence of the object or in the object itself. Ozkan explained that it is through these thinkers that the theory of aesthetics informed architecture, directly and indirectly. In this context Ozkan pointed out that in the writings of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc (1814 - 79) and Theodor Lipps (1851 - 1914), the interest was directly in architecture, while others were more interested in exploring the realm of aesthetics in architecture.
According to Ozkan, numerous abstractions were made to define issues on the same terms as the Renaissance, and considerable efforts were made to refer to the essence of beauty and how to define, decipher, and present it. For example, drawings and analyses of proportion were carried out to inform architects, explain the past, and also build for the future with an underlying abstract notion. This approach carried special importance in Soviet Russia, where most of the academic work carried out was of this nature. It was called "scientific" because measurements and proportions were taken and then explained. However, Ozkan points out that nobody really can very well explain why a certain line was chosen over another, but theorists nonetheless were more interested in explaining what is harmonious and beautiful. Saint Peter's Cathedral, the Suleymaniye, and other monuments all were deciphered and researched in the nineteenth century in the hope of explaining or formulating geometric relationships of the hidden reality of aesthetic truth. This approach came to govern architectural theory in the 19th century.
Ozkan then touched upon the issues of catalog design and computer-aided design. He gave as an example the Neo-classical catalogs of Jean Nicolas Louis Durand (1760 - 1834), which took the form of plans, elevations, and roof forms (figure 9). Durand's approach represented a main school of thought in France during the 19th century, and the idea was directly imported into the United States of America. For years in the United States, and until the advent of the Modern movement, every school had to have a Beaux-Arts teacher who would teach Durand's catalog of forms. The idea was to enable architects to derive their designs and carry them out in Neo-classical forms.