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Transcendence and interiority in architecture : a study of Hagia Sofia, 532-537

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conference contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mirjana LozanovskaMirjana Lozanovska
The late historian Robin Evans, takes up the debate symbolised between Wblfflin, proposing that meaning is directly accessible through the form of a building, and Wittkower, arguing that meaning lies behind the form of architecture, in other texts and ideas. The focus of their argument is the centralised church of the Renaissance, which holds a special place in the history of architecture for all three historians. Evans' argument makes detours into the histories of theology, geometry and mathematics attempting to find how architecture participates with these fields. He concludes that architecture, in its singular artistic physicality "suspends our disbelief in the ideal", offering a world that does not reflect culture, in all its fullness, but rather supplements culture's incompleteness. Architecture, like art is able to resolve that which in society and in other fields remains a contradiction, giving a picture (albeit fictional) of a harmonious and unified order. Does architecture aspire towards transcendence, if so, what is transcendental value in architecture? In this essay I want to turn to Hagia Sofia (Istanbul, 532-537), a church that marks the beginning of a Christian empire relocated to the East of Rome, in Constantinople, built one thousand years before the Renaissance churches; and a building that symbolises the shift towards a domed centralised form, away from a basilica form. Hagia Sofia is an architecture, observed and described in an almost devotional manner, as though addressing the architecture of the church is equivalent to a pious person addressing the church itself, and more significantly, addressing the Divine figure of God, through the architecture of the church. What role does Hagia Sofia play in the kind of artistic mastery that Evans is proposing?

History

Event

Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Conference (22nd : 2005 : Napier, New Zealand)

Pagination

217 - 221

Publisher

Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand

Location

Napier, N.Z.

Place of publication

Napier, N.Z.

Start date

2005-09-24

End date

2005-09-27

ISBN-10

0473103494

Language

eng

Notes

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Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2005, Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand

Editor/Contributor(s)

L Andrew, G Matthewson

Title of proceedings

Celebration : proceedings of the 22nd annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Napier, New Zealand, 24-27 September 2005

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