Ornament and function

Emotion, movement, light, comfort, climate, balance of functions, the ability of a room to accommodate the behavior in the room, the engineering structure, the manufacturing — all these practical matters can be understood in terms of centers.

The full harmony of a functioning building, in the deepest functional sense, is itself something which can best be understood as a product of the wholeness and the field of centers. This means that practical everyday life in and around buildings is more geometric in its nature than we commonly believe, and that all of it can and must be understood as something geometric happening in space.

Function, like wholeness itself, is all based on centers. Function is simply the dynamic aspect of wholeness. A structure, viewed in a static sense, has to do with the system of centers that appear in it. As something lives, acts in the world, interacts with the world, different centers appear and disappear. Some are moving, some are temporary. The flux of these moving, transitory centers, and their appearing and disappearing, is the process we call life.

The process we call “function” is the process by which the static system is — or is not — in harmony with this moving system of centers that we call life.

The goals are not external to the form. We cannot successfully describe a building with goals, because there remains, always, an infinite regress. Instead, we take the idea of life as a primitive notion, and recognize that everything about the life of the building encompasses both form (geometric structure) and function (its behavior).

There is nothing except the living structure of the world, and this living structure is all we need to reason with. We can fully describe all function, through living structure, and the living structure exists recursively, within the idea of living centers.

<- Function vs. ornament

#book/The Nature of Order/1 The Phenomenon of Life/11 The awakening of space#

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