David Kolb

The Spirit of Gravity: Architecture and Externality in Hegel

Publication: in Hegel and Aesthetics, SUNY Press, 2000, 83-96.

Two studies of architecture and gravity: We might say with Hegel that architecture the premier “external” art, because architecture constructs in physical space “out there” and uses external material such as wood and stone and steel. But other arts, for instance sculpture and painting, do the same. There are kinds of externality more specific to architecture. I will discuss first architecture’s special relation to gravity, then the inorganic externality of architectural purpose, the outward architectonic act, and the externality of meaning in symbolic art. My conclusion will suggest going beyond Hegel on this topic by following his directions. The second study, for a conference not attended, examines the ways that architecture is now going beyond its role of resisting and expressing gravity.

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