Reprinted from:
Memar magazine
Fall 2003







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Research
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Integral Architecture

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Architecture
 
By: Negar Hakim, Iran
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It might seen odd at first to use the word "integral" for an architectural movement. The word was first introduced by "John Gebser", through his philosophical discussions in the second half of the 20th century.

Inspired by this discussion, many of the works executed in the 70s and later on were believed to reach their perfection through the application of a blend of different modern styles and a combination of different and converse elements and components. The followers of this controversial movement considered conversion and incompleteness the outstanding characteristics of their works and didn't make any attempt to even create an apparent kind of order. In their works, there is no place for unity and thus, the integrity lies in the alliance of sensed images: A kind of completeness that could be improved. But how could we possibly improve the completeness of a work that is filled with contradictions?

All the works related to this movement, some of which discussed here as examples, are designed with the help of a combination of different modern architectural styles and consist of converse parts. These works represent their integral image to the observer reluctantly, gradually and in most cases, incompletely. The viewer is expected to connect the parts and understand the combination of the image elements by using his/her on intelligence. This combination finds its living and unity in the observer's mind.

One of the interesting examples of the works inspired by this movement, which has attracted the critics' attention in the recent years, is the Konstanz Residential Complex, designed by Schaudt Architects (1992-1993). Residential buildings built in Neufeldweg in Graz between 1984-1988, by the Austrian-born architect, Gunther Domenig, are other examples of such complexes. The Museum of Handicraft Arts in Frankfurt (1979-1985), by Richard Meier, is also an interesting example of this tendency. We can see the idea of integral once again in the Library of Munster City. Wilson Architects won the first prize in the design competition for the building. The project, which is located at the heart of the city and near to the main cathedral, was finished in 1993.

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Research: Architecture

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