“Some Third Thing”

The Role of Space and Time in the Critique of Architectural Functionalism





Philosophy of Architecture, Schematism, Place, Functionalism, Modernism, Criticism of Modernism, Atmosphere, Imaginary


Assuming that architecture and philosophical thought about it are essential elements for human self-understanding, this paper defends three points about the role of space and time in functionalist architecture and its critique. (1) Two significant examples in the History of Philosophy, namely the Platonic concept of place (chōra) and the Kantian concept of schema (Schema), show that space and time as basic elements of human experience are closely related to sensibility and imagination, and cannot be reduced to an exclusively objective functionalization. (2) Secondly, I argue that architectural functionalism deliberately did not take into account the aspects of space and time that link them to sensibility and imagination. (3) As a result of the preceding points, complemented by references to the position of functionalism relative to historical time and to the means-ends relationship, and considering some important authors of the 20th century (Heidegger, Bachelard, J. Pallasmaa, G. Böhme), a third point is defended, namely that the shortcomings attributed to functionalism stem from the fact that it ignored space and time in its relation to sensibility and imagination. These theses will ultimately show that architecture can be understood as a sensible scheme of human self-understanding.


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