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HERMENEUTICS OF ARCHITECTURAL INTERPRETATION: THE WORK IN THE BARCELONA PAVILION

by KASSAB, MAROUN GHASSAN

Abstract (Summary)
Architectural interpretation has always been infiltrated by the metaphysics of Presence. This is due to the interpreter's own background that uses the vocabulary of metaphysics, and due to the predetermined set of presuppositions the interpreter inherited from the metaphysical tradition itself. As a consequence what is to be interpreted has constantly been taken as an "object" present-at-hand. Through this objectification, the architectural work has always been missed in the process of interpretation, and has never been allowed to "work" in the sense opened up by Martin Heidegger. This thesis questions the traditional methodologies of architectural interpretation, first through revealing the discourse's general dependence on the presuppositions at the heart of the metaphysical tradition, and second by adopting a hermeneutic approach towards interpretation. Hermeneutics is the only approach that questions the structure of its own operation, does not utilize the vocabulary of metaphysics, and is aware of its inherited presuppositions. Taking the Barcelona Pavilion as a case study, this thesis reviews the principal interpretive writings on the building, in order to uncover the presuppositions upon which they depend. Terminology and procedures adopted from Heidegger's "Origin of the Work of Art" with complementary essays from Jacques Derrida, are employed to analyze and critique these texts, and to suggest a reading of the Pavilion beyond "form" and "matter", "function" or "Presence". These allow the "working" of the "work" to come forth, as in the fields of phenomenological hermeneutics. Through this re-situating of the Pavilion, as a "work" of architecture, the metaphysics of Presence is challenged. The Barcelona Pavilion offers a particularly strong opportunity for such an investigation because of two main characteristics: The first is that the Pavilion was built, dismantled, and after 35 years rebuilt. The second characteristic is that it didn't have a proper function. These two features challenge the physicality of the architectural object and its functionality, both essential for the metaphysics of Presence.
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Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2002

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