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The Architecture of Analogy

Part 2 Project 2009
Cameron Mcewan
University of Dundee, UK
According to the architect Aldo Rossi, the ‘Analogous City’ is formed of elements associated with the history of architecture and the city, in essence, defining his view of analogy. As part of my Year 5 Masters Thesis, Analogy, Typology, Form and Place have been explored as themes within a design methodology. The Architecture of Analogy is a combination of typological references, formal preoccupations and historical narratives, interpreted, reinterpreted and translated into physical form that aids in the making of place. The paper draws on the work of a series of key proponents in urban design, particularly on the work of Camillo Sitte, Kevin Lynch and Rossi, whose methods of analysis have proven to be effective and so presents an individual with a starting point for further elaboration. The paper argued that Architecture of Analogy is a design methodology that aims to suggest a direction for city growth, demonstrated through a design proposition for a mixed use scheme in the urban realm of Dundee, Scotland.

The question of evaluation may be comprehended by identifying the sustainable, social and spatial typological strands in the scheme, regulated by the Architecture of Analogy framework.

The main sustainable and social issue is the interaction across all stages of life and changing working conditions including diversity and flexibility. The spatial component is interconnected but can be evaluated separately by the formal and typological arrangement of physical grain that structures a varying array of figures around a network of open places, quantified by how legible the built fabric is reinforced.

The individual perception of phenomenon is harder to assess. The generation of atmospheres in a physical proposition is highly personal, sensitive and individual as Peter Zumthor explains when concluding his book Atmospheres; ‘moods are…probably the products of sensitivities themselves, personal sensibilities, making me do things in a particular way’.

The study explored how effective typological analysis and analogical reference could be in describing the sustainable, social and spatial texture of a place within the Architecture of Analogy framework, and recording the relationship of mood, memory, association and familiarity in this process.

Cameron Mcewan


Prof Simon Unwin
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