HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURAL STYLE
How best to understand, how best to organize and design a history of our American domestic architecture? Progressively from chaos? How to design a history of architectural style. Classively from order.
Perhaps architecture orders chaos, perhaps not. Perhaps we organize creation to suit our nature in the realm of God. Two very different concepts, “organizing from chaos” and “organized nature“. Each concept accepts a premise, suggests a conclusion, alike a prefix and a suffix of a neutral word. Our neutral word, “house”, might be a science house or a God house, houses differing in most particulars, as the image in your mind’s-eye just now showed.
How are we to conceptualize “style”, house styles? How are we to organize thought? By science? Hum. Likely, you know that modern science began with Pope Clement IV’s* request for a proof of God, empirically, that Thomas Aquinas** and Roger Bacon*** (the Fathers of Modern Science) answered the request with books from which all that is modern science was born. Science: the investigation of nature by tests that provide evidence of truth in the natural, physical world.
Ancient science has threeish Fathers: the Socrates of Plato, Democritus of the Pre-Socratics, and Aristotle. Plato’s Socrates admits an inner spirit, alike a soul, and Plato supposes a heavenly ideal perfect and unchanging. Democritus assumes nothing but atoms and the void, atoms that by rearrangement suggest change. Aristotle, well … Aristotle proposes that science is either “practical”, “poetical”, or “theoretical”; his natural philosophy examines objects of the natural world, organizing, categorizing, investigating the qualities of each thing in the groups of things.
Extending Aristotle, we might see climate change as a species of “poetical science“, alike a poem or metaphor; we might see gender justice as a species of “theoretical science“, alike metaphysics, beliefs vague and foggy, a perfect political tool; we might see nuclear weapons as a species of “practical science“, alike experiments whose moral and ethical consequences are unconsidered, computer technology, for instance, a consequence whose only consideration is profit.
How to organize house styles? By atoms and the void, change whose end is political results, power unharnessed. By God’s universe, stasis whose end is beauty, health in soul. How shall we consider science in our definition of domestic architecture, how best to organize style practically, poetically, theoretically?
To be friendly, to be considerate, to look upon our fellows with neighborly warmth, probably best to suppose an organized nature composed to our good, God-like. The progressive project of blowing up atoms into the void is, I expect you will agree, unhealthy, unfriendly to humankind.
So then, we shall design style-zines that employ Aristotle’s scientific method**** in definition of a “house”, a Mid-Century Modern house, or a Jeffersonian house, we shall organize categorically, analytically telling of house qualities and the causes that brought a house, let us say, “Jefferson’s Monticello”, into existence.
The first cause is the “material cause”, the substance(s) from which a thing, as here, from which a house is made (wood, for instance). The “formal cause” is the form given to the material substance (posts & lintel, for instance). The “efficient cause” is the idea that puts the parts together to function for a purpose (to form a door through a wall, for instance). The “final cause” is the reason for a thing’s being in the first instance, its function, a shelter, a comfort, a house, for instance, here, a home for creatures of our type, naturally God-begotten, beautiful, good, and true. And this, how The Beautiful Home sees you.
Then too, the style-zines will progressively include fashions, the chaos of imperfection, humor, how-tos and improvements, care and consideration, most everything of period and style that we might, by detailed consideration, come to know the creatures that we are … in this instance, Americans, a people of the world united in Liberty, Classively forming toward the Good.
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The Beautiful Home Style-zines (to date of post)
Soon, each zine will have its own introduction, contents table, products, et cetera.
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* Pope Clement IV (1190 – 1268, Anno Domini)
** Thomas Aquinas, Five Ways to demonstrate the existence of God.
*** Roger Bacon, facts before deduction.
**** Almost every serious intellectual advance continues the work of Aristotle, and all modern science is footnote to Aristotle’s doctrine.
Featured image: Architectural Styles. credit: Paseven
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