C: JUXTAPOSE

These posts are becoming shorter and the text almost mechanical as it becomes more apparent that the core realities and types of idea are equivalent parts of the one single structure. The next pair of characteristics C: JUXTAPOSE and D: CONFLATE are the thirteenth and fourteenth effects and the third and final pair containing two types of idea. One type of idea is an Idea of Unite or – if you prefer – a conceptual association, and the other is an Idea of Separate. JUXTAPOSE is the effect generated when these two ideas are evoked by a characteristic that looks different from its surroundings and CONFLATE is the effect generated when those two ideas are evoked by a characteristic looking similar to its surroundings. They fit into the framework like this.

As it was the previous two pairs, it’s just as easy to identify a particular affect by what type of idea is absent as it is by those present. 8: ALIENATE and 9: ASSIMILATE evoked no Idea of Unite and so it was impossible for them to seem as if they belonged. A: DIFFERENTIATE and B: INTEGRATE evoked no Idea of Separate and so it was impossible for them to seem novel or innovative. C: JUXTAPOSE and D: CONFLATE evoke no Idea of Negate and so it is impossible for them to ever challenge us to reconsider what a building is or can be. This post is about C: JUXTAPOSE.

These are two three-dimensional representations of that one structure showing JUXTAPOSE on the left where the core (red) element is SEPARATE and CONFLATE on the right where the core element is UNITE.


C: JUXTAPOSE

Colour to C: JUXTAPOSE

Here’s a lighthouse not being the green of the grass or the blue of the sky. Our understanding of lighthouses is that they are meant to be easy to identify night or day and a lighthouse with a colour that merged with its surroundings would not do its job very well. These colors are thus different from those of the landscape as well as conceptually separate from it (due to our knowledge of what it is a lighthouse does). At the same time, the RGB+Y together create a unifying colour scheme of “playground colours”.

Pattern to C: JUXTAPOSE

Here’s another lighthouse, in this case having the only stripes we see. This pattern is conceptually different from the landscape for the same reason the colour was above. The pattern is clear and geometric and not that of the land or sky.

Shape to C: JUXTAPOSE

Two buildings, one in front of the other and each with a different shape. That of the one at the rear appears to have been downplayed [Idea of Separate] as if to serve as a backdrop to showcase the one in front, thus forming a conceptual pair [Idea of Unite].

Position to C: JUXTAPOSE

Here, what’s important about this building is not so much its positioning with respect to any particular landscape feature, but that it is higher than we are. It is also “above us” [Idea of Separate] so we associate it more closely with “God’s realm” [Idea of Unite].

Alignment to C: JUXTAPOSE

This windmill is not aligned with anything else we can see. If we know what it is a windmill does then we’ll know it is probably facing into the wind [Idea of Unite] no matter which direction that wind is blowing [Idea of Separate].

Size to C: JUXTAPOSE

These two buildings are of different sizes yet the large window opening on the end facade has a different scale [Idea of Separate] yet is a multiple of the front window openings (and surface pattern) that are of similar scale [Idea of Unite].


SUMMARY

  • JUXTAPOSE is when a characteristic looks different from its surroundings but makes us think it has something in common with them as well as something different.
  • With JUXTAPOSE, a single idea encapsulates an Idea of Separate and an Idea of Unite. These conflicting ideas compete for our attention as we weigh an idea that contradicts what we see against another that reinforces it. The Idea of Separate suppresses the Idea of Unite and vice-versa.
  • JUXTAPOSE has no Idea of Negate and though this means it has none of the surreal strangeness that can bring, it also means that it can never challenge our ideas of what a building can be.
  • JUXTAPOSE dramatizes differences.
  • JUXTAPOSE is conceptually weakened and conceptually strengthened visual difference.

CCC CC C: The Beauty of JUXTAPOSE

The Beauty of JUXTAPOSE occurs when the following six tangible conditions for SEPARATE are satisfied, and each attribute also evokes an idea that is both an Idea of Unite and an Idea of Separate. The visual difference evokes both a conceptual difference and a conceptual unity.

SURFACE ATTRIBUTES
Colour

A building’s colour is not seen (to be) in that building’s context.
A building’s colour can be ‘seen’ not to be in that building’s ‘context’.
A building’s colour can be ‘seen’ to be in that building’s ‘context’.
Pattern
A building’s pattern is not seen (to be) in that building’s context.
A building’s pattern can be ‘seen’ not to be in that building’s ‘context’.
A building’s pattern can be ‘seen’ to be in that building’s ‘context’.

Shape
A building’s shape is not seen (to be) in that building’s context.

A building’s pattern can be ‘seen’ not to be in that building’s ‘context’.
A building’s pattern can be ‘seen’ to be in that building’s ‘context’.


PLACEMENT ATTRIBUTES
Position

A building’s position is not seen (to be) with respect to that building’s context.
A building’s position can be ‘seen’ not to be with respect to that building’s context’.

A building’s position can be ‘seen’ to be with respect to that building’s context’.
Alignment
A building’s alignment is not seen (to be) with respect to that building’s context.
A building’s alignment can be ‘seen’ not to be with respect to that building’s context’.
A building’s alignment
can be ‘seen’ to be with respect to that building’s context’.

SIZE ATTRIBUTE
Size

A building’s size is not seen (to be) with respect to that building’s context.

A building’s size can be ‘seen’ not to be with respect to that building’s context’.
A building’s size can be ‘seen’ to be with respect to that building’s context’.

The Church of the Holy Cross [Anshen & Allen, 1956] in Sedona, Arizona, US is my example of The Beauty of JUXTAPOSE. It is both the general impression and the effect of everything about it.

  • The colour of this building is the colour of concrete which we know to be an artificial object but nevertheless the colour of something we know to be hard and solid.
  • The pattern of this building is the pattern of concrete which we know to be an artificial object but nevertheless the pattern of something we know to be hard and solid.
  • The shape of this building looks different from what is around it and the angular geometry marks it as an “artificial” object even though it is also a “strong” or “rugged” shape.
  • The building is positioned higher than any observers in order to be perceived as “above them” and associated more closely with “God’s realm”.
  • The building is directional while the landscape isn’t. It “faces” outwards as if “watching over us”.
  • The building is larger than the rocky outcrops on which it rests. The building “divides” the outcrops and “unites” them in a picturesque composition.

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The 2007 Draft: Introduction
The 2007 Draft: Derivation
The Architecture of Architectures (2007 ~ )
0: SEPARATE
1: UNITE
2: DETACH
3: ATTACH

4: EXTRACT
5: COMBINE
6: DISGUISE
7: MERGE
8: ALIENATE
9: ASSIMILATE
A: DIFFERENTIATE
B: INTEGRATE
C: JUXTAPOSE
D: CONFLATE
E: DESIGNATE
F: ASSOCIATE
Consistency
Importance
Strength
Emphasis
Beauty
Afterword

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3 thoughts on “C: JUXTAPOSE

    1. Graham McKay Post author

      Thanks Jeemol, I don’t blame you. You’ve come in towards the end of a series of posts that’s been continuing one per month for over a year now, getting slightly more complex each time. They’re all listed in the category “>`theory with the first as The Architecture of Architectures in March 2019. It’s basically my best shot at showing how notions of visual architectural beauty are all related, and that they all fit into a single comprehensible structure. I add the qualifier “visual” because visual beauty is not the only – or even an absolute – measure of a building’s worth. We can also think of performance beauty, or an ethical/moral beauty. I’m glad you thought it interesting though. Graham.

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