Buildings Used: Human Interactions with Architecture, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Buildings Used

Human Interactions with Architecture, 1st Edition

By Nora Lefa, Pavlos Lefas


180 pages

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pub: 2019-10-02
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Buildings Used takes the reader on an exploration into the impact of use on buildings and users. While most histories and theories of architecture focus on a building’s conception, design, and realization, this book argues that its identity is formed after its completion through use; and that the cultural and psychological effects of its use on those inhabiting it are profound. Across eight investigative chapters, authors Nora Lefa and Pavlos Lefas propose that use should not be understood merely as function. Instead, this book argues that we also use buildings by creating, destroying or appropriating them, and discusses a series of philosophical, cultural and design issues related to use. Buildings Used would appeal to students and scholars in architectural theory, history and cultural studies.

Table of Contents


Part I: Use as function

1 A historical perspective Form and use I. Form and use in the passage of time. Perceived use. The name of use. The persistence of form. Form versus use. The persistence of use. 2 Aspects of use Traces of use. The body of users. Form and perception. Use and narrative. Perception and identity. The question of ontology: the anthropological approach. The question of ontology: signification. Architecture: signification and identity. Identity and creators. Evaluation issues. 3 Some philosophical considerations Echoes of the theory of signification in architecture – the theory of intention. Echoes of the theory of signification in architecture – the theory of reflection. Echoes of the theory of signification in architecture – the theory of construction I. Echoes of the theory of signification in architecture – the theory of construction II. The ontological character of the use. 4 Use and architectural design The instrumentalisation of buildings: from Vitruvius to modernism. The two levels of function. Function and form in history: the origins. Function and form in history: the modern era. The disengagement of function from form. Forms for every use: digital morphogenesis.

Part II: Use as attitude

5 Users and use Form and use II. Use and acting subject. Use as cultural phenomenon. The roots of our interest in the use of buildings. Us and the others. The beautiful and the mediocre. Personification of edifices. The life circle. 6 Destruction Buildings in themselves, and buildings as symbols. The varying motives for destruction. Destruction: ideological and political motives. Destruction: psychological motives. Destruction: practical motives. A different kind of destruction. 7 Creation The motives for creation. The act and the product I. The act and the product II. Use as creation. Reuse. Creativity and aggression. Beyond creation: the quest for the new. 8 Disregard and appropriation Disregard. Appropriation I. Appropriation and immortality. Appropriation and nation-building. Buildings and artworks as trophies. Appropriation II. Restoration as appropriation. Restoration and authenticity. Some psychological and ideological aspects of restoration. The unholy exchange.


Referenced bibliography. Index.

About the Authors

Nora Lefa, MSc, MA, PhD, is an architect and visual artist. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at the School of Architecture, University of Sarajevo.

Pavlos Lefas is a Professor in History and Theory of Architecture at the Department of Architecture, University of Patras, Greece.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Architecture

The Routledge Research in Architecture series provides the reader with the latest scholarship in the field of architecture. The series publishes research from across the globe and covers areas as diverse as architectural history and theory, technology, digital architecture, structures, materials, details, design, monographs of architects, interior design and much more. By making these studies available to the worldwide academic community, the series aims to promote quality architectural research.

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