Architectural form from human nature
Mitchell, O. Jack
Master of Architecture
That Christopher Alexander, Serge Chermayeff, David A. Crane, Aldo van Eyck, Louis I. Kahn, Peter and Allison Smithson and Robert Venturi are evolving a theory of architecture based on human nature and that the accommodation of human nature is a prime determinate of architectural form and that the nature of the human mind is a prime determinate of one's understanding of the satisfaction of man's needs by physical form (design). Argument: First, human nature and the forms that accommodate it are presented as seen in the theories analyzed. Next, limitations of the order derived from human nature is discussed. Finally the structure of man's mind is examined to show that it influences the way one shapes nature to meet his needs. A concise summary of each theory of human nature is then organized for comparison: The theory of human nature is stated. -- The method of disjointing complex needs is stated (analysis). -- The method of synthesizing a complex solution from simple parts is stated (synthesis). Discussion: From a comparison of the theories studied, one sees they are more complementary than opposite. The only important difference between them is whether they may change without also changing the methods of synthesis and analysis. The understanding of human nature that emerges is like an understanding of human aspirations. unlike quantative understanding that may be expressed in numbers, the understanding of aspirations requires that one answer a basic question of existence such as : What patterns of life will accommodate human needs best? By finding answers to this kind of question, the architect makes his unique contribution to building design as well as a framework into which he may fit technology.