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Naturally Hypernatural I: Concepts of Nature


Edited By Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach

Nature, a topic central to art history, is concurrently a dominant concept in contemporary art, art theory and its related disciplines such as cultural theory, philosophy, aesthetic theory and environmental studies. The project Naturally Hypernatural questions lines of tradition and predetermined categories that coexist with the topic of nature. Currently, nature in art surpasses the simple depiction of art as a material or object. To clarify and analyze the interrelations between nature and art is the aim of the project Naturally Hypernatural. Concepts of Nature – the first volume of this project – argues that contemporary art is predominantly concerned with concepts of nature regarding the depth of their implications in order to reveal and analyze their internal structure.

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Inside the Green Room The Ideology of Nature in Contemporary Architecture


Inside the Green RoomThe Ideology of Nature in Contemporary Architecture


Although I am an art historian, this won’t be an art historical paper. My text will rather take its point of view from the fields of architecture criticism and architectural theory, that means: from the field of normative aesthetics, which is normally regarded having been replaced by art history. Up to now, there is no common definition of architectural theory that has been accepted by the whole scientific community; but in my opinion, architectural theory can easily be defined as the theoretical reflection of the old question: How shall we build? If this is correct, architectural theory is always oriented in the future (while art history or architectural history is geared to the past).

But let me start with an attempt of reconciliation, a comparison of two images, a method art historians are very familiar with. Both images illustrate the origins of architecture, the so-called primitive hut, a topos we already find in Vitruvius1 and which has played a mayor role in the debate of the relationship between nature and architecture.

The first image, found in the earliest remaining copy of the lost original manuscript of the Trattato di architettura by Antonio di Piero Averlino, called Filarete, from the mid-1460ies,2 is the very first illustration of the Vitruvian primitive hut (fig. 1). The second one is the most famous version of it, engraved by Charles Eisen as a frontispiece...

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