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Constructed landscapes of the ancient Greek mind : archai, ethos and the self
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 03:33 authored by Hooper, AL
This doctoral thesis explores six archai upon which the foundations of Western architectural theory were built, but, as I contend, have far more profound roots in the mythological and philosophical landscapes of the ancient Greeks of the 8th century BC onward and, more particularly, the Athenians of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Central to my thinking and to my mode of writing is the concept of tropes, hence 'built environment' becomes 'constructed landscape'. There is a subtle, yet significant difference between these two terms. The second term is a trope, a play on the words of the first. Whereas the term 'built environment' describes physical form, 'constructed landscape' describes not only physical form but can also be different in conceptual form. A dialogue or a poem, for instance, can be said to be a 'constructed landscape'. My interest lies not in the visual language of the built environment but in the language of conceptual and figurative landscapes. By troping Lynch's 'elements' and 'form', and Vitruvius' 'first principles' I explore the concept-construct of the Self and the polis in relation to them, and to the architectural, through seven Platonic-style Dialogues (set in 355 BC) that I have written. The research for the Dialogues draws upon ideas from the disciplines of landscape architecture, and architecture, and archaeology, in concert with Archaic and Classical Greek philosophy, poetry and plays, to explore the earliest Western expressions of archai. The primary aim of my research is to reveal through the constructed landscapes of the Athenians, and, more broadly, the Greeks of the late Archaic and Classical period, ancient Greek concepts of archai, not as an architectural term but as constructions of the ancient Greek mind, through the tropes of 'elements' and 'form' that have been articulated in Greek myth, poetry and philosophy. The importance of this research is twofold: first, in bringing to light the origins of archai in Western thought, and, second, by following The Way, itself a trope, and exploring the constructed landscapes revealing the ethos that existed between the Self and the architectural.
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