Source of architectural form is examined in this article under the basic questions such as; “What is the source of an architect’s design ideas or How is this idea generated, What influences its shape, what is it derived from?” Theorists and theories within the context of the history of western philosophy beginning from the ancient world to the present are mentioned in the article.
In western philosophy five theories are generated to give an aswer for where is the architectural form coming from.
1.“An architectural form is shaped by its intended function”: According to this theory, a good building is shaped by the physical, social,psychological and symbolic functions it is expected to perform. A designer is accepted as a scientist that he/she should explore the client’s needs, climatological conditions, community values and designer avoids preconceptions, gathers together the objective facts about design and draws out the final form.At the end of this theory it is seen that function alone can not explain other influences on building form.
2. “ Architectural form is generated within the creative imagination”: A form of a building depends on inner resources, intutitions of designer. Source of form is appeared according to individual personality. However, if all forms depens on only personality and inner resources, how can we classify buildings as Renaissance, Gothic or how can generic forms as basilica, courtyard, atrium be composed.
3. “ Architectural form is shaped by the prevailing spirit of the age”: This theory accepts that every age has its own spirit and gives shape to buildings. It is thought as a stamp. The problem of this view is; it is insufficient to explain some ages may appear to possess several spirits simultaneously.
4. “Architectural form is determined by the prevailing social and economic conditions”: This theory assets that all individual artistic efforts fall under the coercieveinflunce of larger shared forces. It attributes physical conditions like methods of economic production and distribution prevalent in the architect’s society. Designer can effected from society’s underlying ideological assumptions. But there is no strict connection between socio-economic system and the building form. It can ot explain the different form of buildings in the same society.
5. “ Architectural form derives from timeless principles of form that tanscend particular designers, cultures and climates”: It suggests that certain universal forms underlie all good architecture, no matter what the particular circumstances of the design problem, designer or culture.
This western theories of design cause a paradox in it. Because none of them completely explains how is an architectural form composed. Every theory consists of some insufficient points while answering the question completely. The basement of this paradox in design depends on fundamental assumptions about the individual and his relation to the world.This is known as subject-object problem. It originated in a philosophical system first invented by the ancient Greek. In terms of design theory, the duality created by the subject-object problem between knowing(science) and creating(art) between mind and world.According to this relation, theorists throughout history have articulated variations on six archetypal interpretations of the individual’s relationship to the outside world. Three of these are ostensibly concerned with creation and three are concerned with knowledge.When one view advanced to the forefront in any given period the others were still to be found as minority views in the background or even as anomalies in the other’s concepts. Theories of creation are Classical tradition, Romanticism, Positivism and theories of knowledge are Empricism, Continental Rationalism and German Idealism