Between theory and practice : Rudolf Steiner as philosopher and architect
Gray, Fiona 2011, Between theory and practice : Rudolf Steiner as philosopher and architect, in Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia, Deakin University, School of Architecture & Building, Geelong, Vic., pp. 52-60.
Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia
Elkadi, Hisham Xu, Leilei Coulson, James
Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia Conference
Deakin University, School of Architecture & Building
Place of publication
The philosophy and architecture of Rudolf Steiner both aim to give formal expression to his esoteric worldview, however, the means of articulating this worldview fundamentally differ within each discipline. Philosophy and architecture are separated by both process and product, and while an interdisciplinary reading of Steiner’s work does make certain connections between them evident, the incorporeal nature of thinking and the physical reality of building inevitably require different skills of their author, as well as different standards by which to assess them. Although he had no formal training as an architect, Steiner believed that his system of Anthroposophy provided a conceptual framework that would inspire a new style of modern architecture imbued with a spiritual dimension. As such, architecture provided Steiner with a means of visually expressing what words could not, and was therefore a necessary and important part of his philosophical pursuit. This paper explores the tension that exists between Steiner’s philosophy and architecture in its translation from theoretical ideas into built form. Steiner’s approach to architectural design was less concerned with the methods and techniques of the craft than with achieving what he saw as architecture’s true purpose - namely to give voice to the inner spiritual content of the work. However, in order to achieve this ultimate goal, a certain level of architectural competence is required. Therefore, Steiner’s ability as an architect to articulate such lofty ideals will also be assessed. Conceived on the edge of theory and practice, Steiner’s work serves to demonstrate the richness and depth that such an approach has to offer the field of architecture.
Field of Research
129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design