Social Scientist. v 9, no. 98-99 (Sept-Oct 1980) p. 86.


Graphics file for this page
Marxist Position in Aesthetics of Architecture

THERE is no absolute life of man and similarly there is no "absolute architecture5' of man. Man exists in reality, divided into nationalities, classes and castes. Sometimes these distinctions overlap and are often complex and continuously evolving. Architecture thus becomes a setting, created by man to deal with nature. This setting evolves itself with the vicissitudes of life of human beings' Thus architecture becomes inseparable from human societies.

One of the great Renaissance architects, Alberti, who was known as a "Complete Man"—musician, painter, mathematician' scientist, athlete and an architect—said, that between mathematics and architecture there was an aesthetic relation. In contemplating on the relations between various numbers and the relations between architectural parts we derive a similar satisfaction and a similar sense of intrinsic order of things. Architecture reflects the desires and responses characteristic of human beings. It evokes feelings which may be described as brutal, polite, dehumanizing, wondrous, welcoming or forbidding. It has a scale— human, superhuman or subhuman. It has elements of surprise, joy, gaiety, frolic, discipline, military expediency and so on. Architecture thus dictates to us a quality of experience. Architects anticipate this quality of experience. Therefore, Alberti recommended architecture as the study of what is "just and appropriate". But what is "just and appropriate"? Man's search for aesthetics was a long process spread over centuries of human culture. By definition aesthetics is a science that deals with the laws of beauty. For centuries, starting from the early Egyptian civilization to the present, a search for aesthetics in human environment has occupied the minds of the environmental artists and scientists. Many theories have developed on this subject.

In the early days, men such as Vitruvious attempted to define the laws of proportion in environmental artifacts, namely,



Back to Social Scientist | Back to the DSAL Page