On the Power of the ‘Non-Complete’: Through Architectural Descriptions in Literature


Power, in architecture, is established by the preference for completion, stability, and unified objects and concepts. Reality, rather paradoxically, suggests partiality and discontinuity of space, experience, and conciseness. Unity, harmony, and finality compose the values according to which architecture is, traditionally, exercising its power. Fragmentary, ambiguity, ruin-ness, and infinity – are referred to as Non-complete architecture. An architecture that sustains itself permanently in a Non-Complete state, neither a finished product, nor a complete disintegration, this condition is evaluated according to the power opportunities it can extract. In the paper we review descriptions of architecture in seminal examples of literature and evaluate them according to their Non-Complete attributes. The paper opens with a discussion of the term Non-Complete, primarily in architecture; then proceeds to pointing out some relationship between architecture and literature. Following, the paper inspects two works of literature by Franz Kafka and Salman Rushdie, for descriptions of space and architecture. The paper concludes with exploring the unique Non-Complete characteristics of descriptions of architecture in literature, and their power to both reconcile and resist. Reconcile realities paradoxical conflicts and tensions, and on the other hand the power to resist human nature to complete and accomplish. Taking on previous concepts, such as Adorno's 'Negative Dialectics', the paper evaluates the descriptions according to their power to sustain architecture in a state of constant becoming, a Non-Complete condition that neither reject nor realize, exploring this as a special power to experiment, educate, and enhance creativity.

Author Information
Amos Bar-Eli, Holon Institute of Technology, Israel

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2015
Stream: Humanities - Aesthetics

This paper is part of the ACAH2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon