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2008 | 17 | 41-48
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STYLE AND MEANING IN ARCHITECTURE (GAUDI, GEHRY, LIBESKIND) (Styl i znaczenie w architekturze (Gaudi, Gehry, Libeskind))

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The paper discusses the problem of meaning in architecture and its relation to style. First, Roman Ingarden's aesthetic theory is referred to. It is concluded that the architectonic object can be considered a valuable realisation in the sphere of art only if it combines artistic values with so-called 'metaphysical qualities', i.e. symbolic reference to the ultimate reality. This artistic and metaphysical mission of architecture is fulfilled primarily by the medieval cathedral regarded as 'imitation of the cathedral that is in heaven'. The beauty of church based on harmonic proportion symbolises God's perfection. The main part of the paper is devoted to discussion of three original architects: Antonio Gaudi, the representative of modernism, and postmodern deconstructivists: Frank O. Gehry and Daniel Libeskind. The work of the 'divine architect' Antonio Gaudi is considered as a revival of gothic tradition, embodied in eclectic and highly decorative style, with its characteristic organicist elements. For Gaudi, architecture consists in the following of natural principles, thus pointing to God as the creator of nature. Frank O. Gehry, on the other hand, dismantles and reconstructs architectural forms in a new and shocking way, introducing contrast with the environment. His works may be regarded a purely formal game, thus indicating the decline of meaningful culture. They are considered as Baudrillard's simulacra, pointing only at themselves. The other of analysed deconstructivists, Daniel Libeskind, reintroduces the idea of architecture as a domain of deeper meanings. His best known masterpiece, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, provides the visitors with an opportunity of symbolic participation in suffering of Jews, which is the purpose achieved by architectural means. His works are characterized by a lack of one univocal meaning; and are open to ever new involvement of the subject, who is to constitute the meaning within their own aesthetic experience, in the discourse between history and the present.
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  • Anna Malecka, Akademia Gorniczo-Hutnicza w Krakowie, Wydzial Nauk Spolecznych i Stosowanych, ul. Gramatyka 8a, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
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