In search of alternative traditions in architecture
This thesis was undertaken to unravel hitherto unattended histories of the built environment with particular reference to traditional East Asian architecture and the German organic tradition in the Modern Movement in 1920s Europe. The thesis paid attention to an unclassifiable discipline of feng shui with respect to architecture and urbanism within the intellectual tradition of East Asia. The thesis has elucidated that feng shui can properly be considered neither an art nor a science from the Western epistemological viewpoint, but a melange of arts and sciences which governs diverse human interests inclusive of architecture and urbanism, and is also the vehicle to embody an ancient cosmology. As opposed to the East Asian paradigm in architecture, the thesis intended to reveal a historical meaning of modern traditions in architecture in its emerging period, examining exactly how the dynamic forces of modern architecture could thread into Western modernism in general. The Puginian Gothic Revival and the Instrumentalism of J. N. L. Durand are considered as emerging currents of the Modern Movement in architecture: an attitude still subscribing to a transcendental mode of existence, as against an opposing current which takes scientific rationality as its ultimate virtue. Two opposing yet complementary tendencies within the Modern Movement are thus recognised; Geometric versus Organic. The significant intellectual enterprise of organic architects, such as Theodor Fischer, Hugo Häring and Hans Scharoun, often mistakenly viewed as Expressionism, is studied in particular. The German organic tradition is further compared with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright whose concept of organic architecture included a keen interest in Japanese art and architecture, especially in art printing. In response to the call for alternative traditions in architecture, this thesis suggests that a paradigm beyond modern science and Orientalism is needed for the synthesis of East and West and of old and new.