Textiles Influence on Architecture Term Paper

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Textiles Influence on Architecture

The objective of this work is to discuss the important influences and effects that textiles have had in architecture and how architecture continues to be influenced or 'woven' by such design.

Gottfried Semper was among the most outstanding architects during his day. The work of Egenter (nd) states that Semper "...globally documented one basic paradigm: the fact that fibrous and perishable materials are widely found in art and architecture related to durable materials, mostly as texture ('incrustation' principle) or structurally. When one investigates the similarities that exist between the art of weaving and the pursuit of architecture, one is able to see the concepts as they overlap. Anni Albers, a weaver states that: "Surface quality of material, that is matiere, being mainly a quality of appearance, is an aesthetic quality and therefore a medium of the artists; while quality of inner structure is, above all, a matter of function and therefore the concern of the scientist and engineer. Sometimes material surface together with material structure are the best components of a work; in textile works for instance, specifically in weavings or, on another scale, in the works of architecture." (Anni Alberts, on Weaving (Middletown Connecticuit: Wesleyan University Press, 1965)

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The work entitled: "Weaving as an Analogy for Architectural Design" states that the "history of textile use in architecture is broad." (nd) Most visibly used today is a woven material known as tensile membrane structures. This work states that "for a textile to exist as a cohesive work, all the individual yarns and varying patterns must be bound together in a synergistic and integrated whole." (nd) Traditionally textiles were derived from fabric, clay, wood, stone and metal and were used to fashion carpets, rugs, flags, curtains, mosaics, tiles, brickwork, decorative wood panels, marble, roofing tiles, curtain wall, and articulated metal structures. Kinnane (2005) states that: "Any review of modern day tectonic theory is surely incomplete without an in-depth review of the work and ideas of Gottfried Semper. Semper viewed "the history of architecture as a process of symbolic and formal development." (Kinnane, 2005)


Kinnane states that: "The two parts of Semper's theory are "first the notion that architecture derives its essential forms from four primordial or original motives found in the technical arts of ceramics, roofing (carpentry) moulding (terracing and masonry), and weaving (walling)" (Kinnane, 2005) the second is his dressing theory; that the textile motive for the wall underwent an intricate process of formal development, as the conceptual rudiments of weaving evolved into textile wall hangings and later into solid wall dressings that emulated in style their original textile design." (Kinnane, 2005) Frampton is said to have introduced the notion of 'tectonic', which is 'derived from the Greek tekton, meaning carpenter or builder.

Gottfried Semper proposed his theory known as "The Four Elements of Architecture" in 1851. This theory states that the formative motives: the hearth, the wall, the mound, and the roof were the four motives and that their corresponding material-functional categories were as follows:

1) the Hearth - ceramics;

2) the Wall - textiles;

3) the Mound stereotomy; and 4) the Roof - tectonics and carpentry.

Semper is stated to be famous for his belief that "weaving and wickerwork were crucial skills for the primary architectural gesture of enclosure, namely the wall." (Prvacki, 2003) Semper held that "the first enclosures were hanging carpets, in all their decorative splendour, that constituted the spatial boundaries of a dwelling. " (Prvacki, 2003) Fundamental to Semper's writings is his belief that ornamentation, as specifically created through the act of making textiles, was the genesis for architectural form." (Rimmer, 1997) This is stated to be the belief that led to Semper' statement for which he is famous that: "the instinct underlying tectonic creation is 'man's primordial urge to strike a beat, string a necklace, to decorate lawfully." (9:33; Rimmer, 1997)


The work of Linda Hales (2005) entitled: "When Textiles Go to Extremes" states that: "Gossamer filaments can heave a satellite into orbit. Metal mesh bangles are the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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