Prepared by Mohammad al-Asad and Dalia al-Husseini, 2003
Ozkan was asked concerning the category in which he would place his presentation. He answered that it would be descriptive. He then was asked why he did not develop the presentation beyond the descriptive category. Ozkan noted that the work he has presented has not been published, and he still is involved in a process of exploration. He added that this presentation is based on a manuscript he prepared in 1990, and that he has not been able to update it since then because of his other work commitments. He also mentioned that he had developed the categories from examining the literature on operations research, which looks at an organization's operations and uses analytical approaches, including mathematical or computer models, to identify better ways of carrying out those operations. Ozkan specifically examined the work of Russell Ackoff and Ludwig von Bertalanffy. He used their writings as a basis for model making, and explained that a model is built to explain an entity. It would necessarily emphasize certain things, and ignore others, which would be the fault of the researcher. But if the emphasis were placed on the relevant issues, then one would be, more or less, communicating correctly.
Ozkan added that before he decides whether to incorporate a certain reading in his writing, he asks whether the reading informs architectural theory or not. For instance, when he reads Peter Eisenman's (b. 1932) work, he does not know where to place it, as it is very speculative. He sees it as being very interesting and informative, but it is not clear as to what it achieves, and that is why he decided to place it in the iconic category as part of the Deconstruction movement, which also includes the work of Zaha Hadid (b. 1950) and Frank Gehry (b. 1929). However, he added that he could not keep on doing this, as he would then be talking about buildings, not expressions regarding them.
Ozkan admitted that his heart always has been in academia, and if he goes back to teaching, he would like this work to be the basis of a textbook. He would then start from the beginning, and arrange and rearrange the categories with his students in the manner of a jigsaw puzzle, placing books, articles, and ideas within it, and even adding more categories.
Ozkan was asked how he would answer students who often inquire why they should care at all about architectural theory. Here, Ozkan mentioned that this is a very valid question. As a teacher, one equips one's students to perform and function in society. That performance is defined to a great extent by building rules and codes, in addition to a certain expertise in problem solving. However, if the students were to bring depth to such skills, and wanted to go beyond them, they would need to be taught architectural theory. Otherwise, they would be "doing their own thing." He admitted that "everyone has a right to commit his own [architectural] crime," but there are many mistakes that can be avoided if students are exposed to the whole spectrum of architectural thinking, and if they are made aware of what, how, and when a given architectural development took place.
Ozkan was asked why he mentions the utopic as a separate category, as it talks about content rather than the way people inform each other, and that it can be informed through iconic, analogic, or other categories. Ozkan answered that for years he had thought about this matter, and the reason why he developed the utopic category as an independent category placed between the canonic and the descriptive is that most utopias have a descriptive content of projects of the future. Many utopic projects are neither explicable nor acceptable today, so one has to make a jump in time, and wait for a change in technology or other variables to make it realizable. Ozkan added that there are numerous works that belong to more than one category. He gave the example of Le Corbusier, who produced writings of utopic, canonic, analogic nature. He was prolific in that sense, and every one of his contributions is important.
Another question inquired whether it is correct to assume that architecture precedes writing, and whether there are any visionary writings that preceded the design process. Ozkan answered that there are many such writings by authors ranging from Filarete to Peter Cook, who started the idea of Archigram. He noted that Cook never built anything substantial, but managed to change the discourse on architecture, and it was from that discourse that Renzo Piano (b. 1937) and Richard Rogers (b. 1933) designed a building such as the Pompidou Center in Paris (1972 - 1976), which is considered a pioneering example of High-tech architecture.