YILDIZ TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE E-JOURNAL

E-ISSN 1309-6915
Volume: 17 Issue: 2
Year: 2022

Current Issue Published Issues Most Accessed Articles Ahead of Print
Index and Coverage
Avery Index
DOAJ
EBSCO
Erih Plus
ESCI – Clarivate
GALE Cengage
Genamics
ProQuest
TR Dizin
TUBITAK Ulakbim
Ulrichs Web
A Review of Colin Rowe’s Contextualism Through Twenty-first Century Cities [Megaron]
Megaron. 2020; 15(3): 456-466 | DOI: 10.14744/megaron.2020.83436  

A Review of Colin Rowe’s Contextualism Through Twenty-first Century Cities

Ebru Bingol
Hatay Mustafa Kemal University, Department of Architecture, Hatay

The debate on context in architectural theory emerged as a response to how to integrate modern and historical patterns in the reconstruction of European cities bombed during World War II. Colin Rowe introduced a specific concept of “contextualism” and analyzed modern and traditional urban patterns by using figure-ground maps and embraced a position of mediation between continuity and regeneration. With Rowe, context received a specific meaning with an ideological foundation that included inspiration from the Townscape vision of pluralist democracy, Karl Popper’s criticism of reductionist science and society and Lionel Trilling’s commentary on contradiction and social dialectics, the compositional form of Gestalt psychology and the cubist influence of Henry-Russell Hitchcock, the historical analysis of Rudolf Wittkower and the formal comparisonanalysis of Heinrich Wölfflin. The integrity and rich conceptual background of Rowe’s contextualism was weakened by the rise of the multilayered, fragmented, multiscale structure of the contemporary city in the 1980s and the visible effects of poststructuralism on architectural theory. The powerful formal tools of contextualism have largely been reduced to simple figure-ground analysis in today’s urban design projects. This paper explores how the erosion of the conceptual content of Rowe’s contextualism paralleled the evolution of architectural discourse that revolved around the relationship between architecture and the city. A historical perspective is used to examine possible causes for the erosion of Rowe’s contextualism in the changing relationships, scale, and texture of the contemporary city. In the 21st century, economic functions and processes became more global, the relationships of the city and/or parts of the city were diversified in multiple scales, mobility and fluidity had a larger part in the character of urban life, autonomous city segments had multiple contexts, and the distinctions between figure and ground, mass and void, land and building were diversified by hybrid typologies. The structure of the 21st century city is largely characterized by networks and relationships, and thus, a reading of the city requires a multiscale and multilayered perspective. Rowe’s comprehensive contextualism fell out of favor as the 21st century city changed structurally since the context had become a multi-layered structure. This article is a critical literature review and uses an embedded theory research model. Rowe’s contextualism is examined using the literature and historical texts. A comparative method was applied to examine 21st century cities and American cities of Rowe’s time to analyze why Rowe’s total context lost its strength. This study concludes that the expression and form of cities is linked to the context of their own period. However, past configurations provide information to understand the current city since the contemporary city includes layers of history and conditions. Rowe’s comprehensive contextualism fell out of favor as the 21st century city changed structurally, yet the potential of contextualism for the future of the city, its architecture and architectural design is accessible and the holistic understanding of context need not be rejected. The fragmented, multilayered, multiscale urban conditions of the 21st century city sometimes appear in today’s context reading in the form of fragmented and unconnected analyses. Rowe’s contextualism reminds us of the need to understand what we presently refer to as context with a strong conceptual and theoretical background. Reading the dynamics of today’s contemporary city through a rich framework (such as Rowe’s contextualism) constitutes consistency, not weakness or totalitarianism. Rowe’s contextualism provides a multidimensional and holistic approach to a coherent reading of context in the social, political, economic, historical and physical domains while recognizing the multiple contexts within the city of the 21st century and its parts and taking into account the networks of relationships of the city’s context on regional and global scales. It reveals that the necessity of a hybrid reading is useful. Each scale includes different spatial relationships, meanings, and contexts. Rowe’s analysis, among other tools, offers possibilities to read the complex, multidimensional texture, and morphology of the contemporary city and can be applied to different sets of knowledge and reading on a global, regional, and local scale.

Keywords: City and architecture, Colin Rowe; contextualism; figure-ground plans; total context.


Colin Rowe’un “Bağlamsalcılığı”na Yirmi Birinci Yüzyıl Kentleri Üzerinden Yeniden Bir Bakış

Ebru Bingol
Hatay Mustafa Kemal Üniversitesi Mimarlık Fakültesi, Mimarlık Bölümü, Hatay

Mimarlık kuramında bağlama dair tartışmalar, İkinci Dünya Savaşı sırasında bombalanmış Avrupa kentlerinin yeniden yapılanması aşamasında, modern ve tarihi dokunun nasıl entegre edileceği tartışmaları içerisinde kent ile ilişkilendirilir. Tam da bu dönemde, ideolojik altyapısını Townscape’in çoğulcu demokrasi yaklaşımından, Karl Popper’ın indirgemeci bilim ve toplum eleştirisinden ve Lionel Trilling’in çelişki ve toplumsal diyalektik yaklaşımından, analiz yöntemlerini Rudolf Wittkower’in tarihsel analizlerinden ve Heinrich Wölfflin’in biçimsel karşılaştırmalı analizlerinden aktaran, kompozisyonel oluşumunda Gestalt psikolojisi ve Henry-Russell Hitchcock’in kübist resimlerinden esinlenen Colin Rowe, “bağlamsalcılık” yaklaşımıyla mimarlık kuramı içerisinde “bağlam” kavramına spesifik bir anlam kazandırır. Rowe, kentsel bağlamı okumak için geleneksel ve modern kent dokularını figür zemin planları aracılığıyla analiz eder ve süreklilik ve yenilik arasında arabulucu bir pozisyon benimser. 1980’li yıllarla birlikte değişen çağdaş kentin çok katmanlı, parçalı, çok ölçekli yapısı ve postyapısalcılığın mimarlık kuramı üzerindeki görünür etkileriyle birlikte Rowe’un bağlamsalcılığı zengin arka planını yitirmeye başlar ve bağlamsalcılığın güçlü formel araçları, günümüz kentsel tasarım projelerinde basit kitle-boşluk analizlerine indirgenir. Bu yazının amacı, XXI. yüzyıl kentinde Rowe’un kapsamlı bağlam anlayışının, dağılmasının arkasında yatan sebepleri tarihsel bir perspektifte ele alırken bağlam kavramının içeriğinin değişiminin, mimarlık ve kent ilişkisinin evrimiyle paralellik gösterdiğini ortaya koymaktır. Bu yazı, Rowe’un bütüncül bağlamını tamamen reddetmek yerine, günümüzde kent-mimari proje arasındaki etkileşimi dikkate alındığında, gelecekte sunabileceği potansiyellere ışık tutmaktadır.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Kent ve mimarlık, Colin Rowe; bağlamsalcılık; figür zemin planları; bütünsel bağlam.


Ebru Bingol. A Review of Colin Rowe’s Contextualism Through Twenty-first Century Cities. Megaron. 2020; 15(3): 456-466

Corresponding Author: Ebru Bingol, Türkiye


TOOLS
Full Text PDF
Print
Download citation
RIS
EndNote
BibTex
Medlars
Procite
Reference Manager
Share with email
Share
Send email to author

Similar articles
PubMed
Google Scholar




© 2022 Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesİ Mimarlık Fakültesİ



LookUs & Online Makale