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De Clercq further proposes that, even when there have been abstract architectural objects, we don’t check with them. If I discuss with “10 Downing Street”, my expression picks out the built construction, not the plan, nor any other abstract illustration or entity to which the constructed construction at 10 Downing Street corresponds. However, a plausible alternate interpretation of the referent is as “the abstract object bodily instantiated by the structure I am perceiving ”. If the negative view is correct, then we need at least a workable set of criteria by which to discriminate architectural objects as art.

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But attempts to render this as non-trivial introduce additional puzzles (see §2.three). Designing textiles requires sensitivity for shade, tactility, development, patterns and forms, all of which are developed during any pupil’s years at architecture college. The relationship between “skin” and construction is in some ways even more literal than in a building, as the two merge together.

As an alternative to an abstractist-concretist divide, a pluralist ontology , allows “material bases” and “aesthetic ideas” as different sorts of architectural objects. Goodman’s account (1968/1976) lends itself to a pluralist, or a minimum of aspectual, reading. He suggests that, however for sure situations unmet, an architectural object might be recognized as these constructions that perfectly realize a corresponding plan or other suitable architectural notation (see §four). On his nominalist view, the objects turn into the constructed buildings however an available realist interpretation—which can better accommodate the multiples that are key to his story—takes the objects to be the class of such structures.

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To this finish, we might draw on our intuitions, norms, or socially expressed views. On one non-essentialist view, the character of an architectural object is as we expertise it, a matter upon which we may agree but which relies upon partly on subjective notion and reception of, and interaction with, the work (Scruton 1979/2013).

This leaves open the chance that structure has essential aspects however we simply don’t expertise them as such. A more determined nominalist has it that range amongst architectural objects is adequate to quash the prospect that they share any essential features. Another dimension of defining architecture as a practice is specifying the kinds of constructions that architects design. At a bare minimum, we will say that they feature some connection to human use.