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New: Katarxis N3 is on the Web !!!


New Science, New Architecture, New Urbanism 


Contemporary View of Luxembourg
(Postcard View)

KATARXIS has launched its  third issue Katarxis N3, dedicated to New Science, as relevant to a refreshed and updated understanding of Architecture and Urbanism..., and engaging the definition of a "New Architecture" and a "New Urbanism"...
Scientific inquiry, scholarship, research and coherent discourse as well as precise and rigorous process thinking, have since long been replaced by sterile deterministic engineering, or playful metaphors referring to approximate scientific imagery and concepts, or alltogether evacuated from theory and practice of contemporary architecture and urbanism.  


New National Art Museum in Luxembourg City  , Luxembourg
(Photo by Lucien Steil)
Built inmidst the "Unesco World Heritage" Historic Center of Luxembourg,
this building is alien to its architectural and urban context, as much as it lacks the scientific criterias of life, wholeness and quality, despite its elegant illusion of geometrical rationality!  


"Any effort to quantify the degree of pattern in a structure or design leads one to consider its information content. There are two separate variables here: 1) the actual information and its presentation, and 2) how this information is organized. Blank walls convey no information other than their outline."
"Architecture, Patterns and Mathematics"
Nikos A. Salingaros

Rather than to engage into "the most contemporarily updated and relevant knowledge about Man and the Universe", as requested by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy from the"contemporary" architect, most of the time, architects have preferred to indulge into,  -- esoteric art-philosophical speculations, or, -- labyrinthic parodies of deconstructivism, or else, -- pragmatic strategies of revivalism!
They have often been less attracted by the search of objective truth and empirical and scientific evidence, than by the highly polemicized, and fashionable opinions and uncomprehensible intellectual speculations of dubious star philosophers! 


South Facade of Wexner Center
by Peter Eisenman
(Photo by Mary Ann Sullivan)

Digital Imaging Project

"Charles Jencks and the New Paradigm in Architecture"
by Nikos A. Salingaros


Vontz Center for Molecular Studies (1997-1999)
by Frank Gehry
(Photo by Mary Ann Sullivan)

Digital Imaging Project

Nikos A. Salingaros, associate editor of KATARXIS N3, a renowned mathematician at the University of San Antonio of Texas, architectural and urbanistic theorician, and an articulate exponent of New Science, discusses thouroughly the abusive and manipulative reference to new scientific knowledge,as brilliantly exposed in the recent writings of Post-Modernism guru Charles Jencks: 

New Paradigm in Architecture?

Nikos A. Salingaros disproves Charles Jencks's assertion that the works of Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind, etc. stand for a "New Paradigm in Architecture", imbedded in principles and concepts from New Science, such as, complexity, fractals, emergence, self-organization and self-similarity.
Salingaros shows that they are rather drawn from misunderstandings of new scientific knowledge, and that New Science encompasses more likely the innovative, humane architecture of Cristopher Alexander, and the traditional, humane architecture of Lon Krier, and much, much more, but 
not the productions of deconstructivism and modernism! 


Demir Holiday Village, Bodrum, Turkey 
by Turgut Canserver
(Photo by Cemal Emden)
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture

KATARXIS N3 is proposing that, according to Christopher Alexander's advice, "Going the other way, in search of a viable, scientific way of life, which can become a basis for our architectural practice, is more moral than what we do now, more just, more beautiful. It goes more to the service of life. And all those who practice such a revised form of architecture, will probably feel more wholesome in themselves."


Harper's Courtyard, Pasadena, California
by Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists
(Photo by Jean-Maurice Demoulne)

"We assert that the recent work in mathematics and science shows that the principles underlying good, or great architecture and urbanism, are discoverable, discussable, and newly applicable to the architecture and urbanism of our own day."


Courtyard View, San Julian Street Homeless Shelter, California
by Christopher Alexander and Associates
(Patternlanguage.com / Center for Environmental Structure)

KATARXIS N3, to be released by the beginning of 2003, will present a variety of arguments, of evidence, and of richly illustrated debate, providing from the most actualized knowledge of New Science, supportive both of Antique intuitions of Harmony and Order, of contemporary practice of New Traditional Architecture and Urbanism, as well as requalifying the complexity of Architecture and Urbanism within the empiric realm of Nature and of Life and refreshing its theoretical and operational framework.
KATARXIS N3 is edited by Lucien Steil, Brian Hanson, Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros.
Besides significant contributions by the editors, it will present a comprehensive review of Christopher Alexander's design and built and theoretical work over the last thirty years, and include contributions by leading New Scientists: Philip Ball, Ian Stewart, Brian Goodwin, etc., relevant to issues of architecture and urbanism. 


Housing Ensemble in California
by Christopher Alexander and Associates
(Patternlanguage.com / Center for Environmental Structure)
in Conjucture with Users and Families

"In the shadow of current science it is possible to see the components of a science of qualities which would restore qualitative evaluation to the place it occupies in our everyday lives, where judgements depend on quality as well as quantity.
This restoration, together with the recognition that feelings belong not to us but also to the rest of nature, in whatever form, presents us with a dramatically transformed set of possibilities for scientific knowledge, technology, and corporate and political action."
"In the Shadow of Culture"
Brian Goodwin
Published in "The Next Fifty Years"
(Edited by John Brockman, Vintage Books, New York)


Towards a Biological Understanding of Architecture and Urbanism

Biology, Architecture and Urbanism

A review of Steven Pinker's recent book:
"The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature"
by Nikos Salingaros