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Tectonic and detail

The terms tectonic is known from the science of geology, where it describes the large-scale motion of earth’s lithosphere. [1] Tectonic in architecture refers to theories of structural design, it means an architect should base his designs on an in-depth knowledge of materials and assemblies. Tectonic architecture encompasses theories of construction and design, focusing on the relationship of architectural elements to buildings as a whole.[2] Architectural Tectonic is concerned with the processes which control the structure and properties of the site. it describes the processes of building joints and structure, and the behavior of the different elements. Tectonics also provides a framework to understand static of the building.

      The notion of tectonics as employed by Frampton, focused on architecture as a constructional craft constitutes a direct challenge to current mainstream thinking on the artistic limits of postmodernism, and suggests a convincing alternative. In addition, Frampton argued “modern architecture is invariably as much about structure and construction as it is about space and abstract form.”[3] Architectural Tectonic is concerned with the processes which control the structure and properties of the site. it describes the processes of building joints and structure, and the behavior of the different elements. Tectonics also provides a framework to understand static of the building.

      Dictionaries define ‘’detail” as a small part in relation to a large whole. August Perret’s says, “Details is certainly not just a matter of details.” [4] The detail plays such an important role in Architecture. Mies van der Rohe says:” God is in detail.” It means a good architect needs to take consideration to all details from smallest to biggest and it is the reason why architects call masterpiece to some projects. We know that the dissociation between decoration and detail was practiced for many centuries, sometimes with great success.[4] In an instance, maybe the best thing about Villa Savoye is how Le Corbusier carried his architectural idea (materials, rhythms, geometries) through to the smallest details.

      First of all we need to search for an understanding of the concept of details in different levels of architectural production. [4] Villa Savoye is my case study for search about in details, we need to mention that Le Corbusier started with a cubic volume and eroded elements to create the final form. The Villa Savoye uses rectangles, cylinders, and cubes to fill in the voids created by his erosion of the overall cubic volume (which is actually stretched along one axis making it a rectangular volume). [5]

      The second part is analysis of the architecture tectonic of Le Corbusier (1887-1965). He believed in five points in tectonic and architecture and he explained about them in his book (Vers une architecture). He had been developing these ideas throughout the 1920s and he exhibited them in Villa Savoye First, Le Corbusier lifted the bulk of the structure off the ground, supporting it by pilotis, reinforced concrete stilts. His second point was free facade, meaning non-supporting walls that could be designed as the architect wished and the third one was open floor plan, meaning that the floor space was free to be configured into rooms without concern for supporting walls.[6] The forth one was large surrounding yard, as we can easily find this point in most of his works and the last one was roof garden which most of the time blended with a ramp, maybe rising from ground level to roof terrace allows for an architectural promenade through the structure.

      To conclude this abstract about the importance and the role of detail and tectonic in architecture we can declare that international style buildings and projects have some specific codes and signs, architects should try to find appropriate ways for both the artistic themes and also its structure. Tectonic and detail can provide different solutions for an architect to solve the project problem from smallest part to the biggest one, as what Le Corbusier did in Villa Savoye..

References:

1-    Schwartz, M. Encyclopedia of Coastal Science, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4020-1903-6, 2005, pp. 941

2-    Porter, W, L. Tectonics in architecture: from the physical to the meta-physical, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 1986 , pp. 2

3-    Frampton, K. Studies in tectonic cultures, The MIT press, ISBN: 978-0-262-56149·5, 1995, pp. 1-8

4-    Frascary, M. THE TELL-THE-TALE DETAIL, 1981, pp. 1-11

5-    Samuel, Flora. Le Corbusier in Detail. Architectural Press, 2007. pp. 107

6-    William, C. Le Corbusier: Ideas and Forms. Phaidon Press, 1999. pp. 43