Revisiting scientific epistemology in architecture : ekistics and modernism in the Middle East
Author(s)Pyla, Panayiota I. (Panayiota Ioanni)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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Initiated by the Greek architect Doxiades in the early fifties, the term "Ekistics" designated "the science for human settlements" which promoted a scientific method for architectural design and planning. It had an immense impact on many fields of architecture and planning worldwide, especially during the sixties. With the theoretical shifts in subsequent decades, Ekistics was displaced as obsolete and its aspirations remained unexplored, while scientifIc methods in architecture are often dismissed in their entirety. This thesis explores the epistemological premises of Ekistics through a critical overview of its origins and features. It discusses the limitations of the method that Ekistics promoted (which sometimes searched for formulaic solutions and a stable field of conclusions) while exposing the complexities of its inquiry--which resist the rejection of the method's premises in their entirety. This thesis discusses in particular, the influence of Ekistics in the Middle East, and the method's contributions to architectural thinking in the region. The juxtaposition between the contributions of Ekistics on the one hand, and later architectural positions in the Middle East which entirely rejected scientific thought on the other, offers a basis to reflect on the positive contributions of scientific epistemology in general. This thesis neither reformulates yet another scientific method nor does it attempt to displace scientific epistemology with a revisionist critique. Rather, it argues that while radical criticisms of Doxiades's method (whether these criticisms are based on social critique, or whether they come from the domain of the philosophy of science, or operate within the disciplinary terrain of architecture) have hanged our perception of it (as well as of other scientific methods of the fifties and sixties) they cannot subsume scientific epistemology, and they should not warrant its abandonment. This thesis examines scientific epistemology as an active critical attitude and reevaluates its usefulness as an orientation in architectural thought.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1994.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 84-86).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology