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Some Characteristics of a New Concept of Technology

Peter McCleary
Journal of Architectural Education (1984-)
Vol. 42, No. 1 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 4-9
DOI: 10.2307/1424994
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1424994
Page Count: 6
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Some Characteristics of a New Concept of Technology
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Abstract

A partial answer or "informing response" is sought to the question, "what are the characteristics of knowledge derived during the production of the built environment?" The dialectical relationship between builders and their environments leads to a special kind of knowledge which comes from their use of technical equipment, processes and theories. Understanding of production ranges from experience of the environment through the equipment, etc., to experience of the equipment, etc., i.e. from transparent to opaque mediation. The concepts of amplification and reduction explain the extensions and losses of experience that result from the particular functional characteristics of equipment, processes and theories. Architects as builders respond to the scientific, ethical and aesthetic agenda of societies; and their production exhibits an appropriateness--to and/or appropriation--of aspects of those agenda. Understanding the characteristics of the new concept of technology leads to new questions and identifies new dangers. Is there an inexorable shift from transparency to opacity? Can it be reversed? Should we return to a pre-technical condition? And among the dangers that mediation presents are: a fragmentation of perception and experience; the abstract seems more real than the mundane; the persistence of the codifications of architectural languages from archaic perceptions; and the separation of the professional from the layman. The new concept of technology will generate new perceptions that might lead to new concepts of architectural space and time which will demand a new language of architecture.

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