Searching for order synchronic and diachronic aspects (of a personal case)

Irena Sakellaridou


This paper deals with formal order in architecture. It stems from a personal view that sees architecture both as innovative, intuitive activity and as analytic and theoretical study; as such, it attempts to bring together formal analysis and theory building on one hand and active involvement in design on the other. It asks how architecture is conceived in the abstract realm and focuses on the conceptual structure of architecture. What are, however, the distinctive features of this structure? The notion of relations is discussed as being central to its analysis, while ordering principles, seen as formal rules, are defined as having a logical nature (Hillier, 1985). The paper consists of two parts. In the first, conceptual order present in the personal idiom of an architect is analysed both in synchronic and diachronic terms. Based on this analysis, a proposition for the way formal structures are ordered is made, for the logic, that is, of composition. Two such modes, the intensional and the extensional one, are identified. In the second part, the paper opens up the discussion in order to explore what relevance issues as such have in exploring variation in architects’ idioms. Finally, reflecting on actual design practice, it attempts to identify instances of innovation within structured set of rules.


Composition, Formal order, Conceptual structure, Personal idiom, Creativity

Full Text: JOSS_2011_P154-179.PDF