Prepared by Mohammad al-Asad and Dalia al-Husseini, 2003
Ozkan moved on to mentioning that he had attempted to organize architectural developments from the beginning of the century to recent years in the form of movements, and to illustrate how these movements started and evolved.
In the iconic scale, Reductionism took shape in the designs of Mies van der Rohe, which then became Regionalism informing itself from local tradition and environment. In the 1950s, Bureaucratic and High-Tech building traditions arose. Expressionism started before World War II, while Mannerism and Postmodernism came after it. Postmodernism informed itself from more sublime and sophisticated forms, and became Classicism. Deconstruction was preceded by a short period of Fascist architecture that overpowered the Modern movement in the earlier decades of the 20th century. Vernacularism made an entry as a savior of the environment. (6)
On the pragmatic level, Alternative Technology movements arose, developing structures that could be easily constructed. This was followed by the Developmental approach, and then Democratization, which gave people the right to build their own environment as they would form it. Ad hoc-ism then came into being, which solves problems with the means and ways that are readily available to owners, users, and designers of buildings. Other approaches include Eclecticism and Do-it-yourself approaches, the latter of which turned into Self-help, and in more sophisticated forms became Participationism.
The canonic form had a flow of Neo-Classicism, which was very pragmatic, and therefore also can be located at the upper end of the canonic level. It basically tells one "how it should be done." Geometric minimalism also took shape, followed by Neo-Vernacularism, which again informs itself from existing traditions, and also can be considered a pragmatic movement. Modularism finds itself on the abstract side of canonic thinking, with order and typology being the main discourse in the 1970s and 1980s, when building typologies were compared and used to generate new forms.
At the analogic level, Theosophy, explained earlier with musical scores, is followed by the Organic movement of Frank Lloyd Wright. Symbolism makes use of symbolic analogies, while Abstract Regionalism looked back to old repetitive forms, but with an abstraction of ideas. And those were followed by Metabolic and Biomorphic traditions.
Utopic form manifested itself earlier this century in Futurism. The proponents of this movement, which became quite popular in the 1960s, are still alive but have since stopped building the mega-structures of that day. Consequently, its proponents, such as Fumihiko Maki (b. 1928), brought a new direction to their work. Technophilia was generated by Norman Foster (b. 1935) and others who had a very high regard for technology.
In descriptive terms, Aestheticism was the academic interpretation of the beauty of the building. While Functionalism was more of an ideological stand: form follows function. Vernacular Research was important in circumventing the mistakes of the past. Relativism provided the comparative basis for that research. Semiotics, as developed by Charles Jencks and others, saw meanings become forms of architecture. Then Critical Regionalism made its appearance through Kenneth Frampton (b. 1930) to add a critical element to the repetition of the regional, elevating the level of thinking to a higher level, with a tremendous effect. Architectural Psychology, or the Psycho-Environmental aspects of architecture, also arose with many schools of architecture specializing in this field. Psychology and architecture became closely associated with each other since many people thought that satisfaction and perception are based on psychological input. Ozkan noted that much meaningless research was carried out on such issues. A caricature of such research would be to put one chair in a room and find it spacious. Two chairs would be fine. Twenty chairs would make the room crowded, and fifty chairs would make it unbearable. The movement basically went to the level of experimental psychology, putting statistics together, and asking people about their likes and dislikes. It was basically a perception of ideas.
In the isomorphic stage Design Methods, Geometry, and Computer-Aided Design movements came into being, making this stage the most sophisticated aspect of architectural discourse.
Ozkan ended by noting that quite a few valuable books have emerged about the subject of architectural theory. One of them is a compendium of writings by Hanno-Walter Kruft entitled History of Architectural Theory: From Vitruvius to the Present (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994), which was published after Kruft's death. It basically is a history of architectural thinking, not theory of architecture, which is a distinction that Ozkan finds imperative. Ozkan added that he has become very cautious in his use of the words ‘theory' and ‘architecture', which nonetheless are used together in a very casual manner, thus referring to any writing about architecture theoretical, and any speculation about it a theory. It seems that everyone has a theory of their own, a matter which in Ozkan's opinion is the problem with architectural teaching and research today.