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What can be taught in architectural design? — parti, poché, and felt qualities


This essay begins with a reflection on what has been taught in architectural design since the turn of the twentieth century. I shall trace back to the two disciplinary foundations of the French École des Beaux-Arts — parti and poché — in the education of an architect in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I shall then attempt to superimpose parti and poché on a modern disciplinary framework, say that of mathematics, which leads to musings on a series of architectural problems that include pattern versus type, stability versus mobility, orthogonal versus oblique, confinement versus transparency, and aging versus metallic sheen. These paradoxes, I suggest, demand the education of an architect to address both the instrumental pattern of a building configuration and the ambient felt qualities of a room, rather than vision alone.

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Correspondence to Xing Ruan.

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Ruan, X. What can be taught in architectural design? — parti, poché, and felt qualities. Front. Archit. Civ. Eng. China 4, 450–455 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11709-010-0098-y

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  • architectural design
  • teaching
  • parti and poché