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Scroope 28 Call for Abstracts: Concinnitas

Concinnitās is the state of being skillfully put together or joined; a beauty that comes from the harmony, proportion, and congruity of the various parts of a whole assembled according to principles.

Borrowed from the art of rhetoric, Leon Battista Alberti used concinnitas to describe the inherent beauty of nature from which architecture ought to be inspired. In Alberti’s view, the ‘art of building’ went beyond the physical form, and was equally concerned with the effect of buildings on their users, their surroundings, and on the city. This notion did not refer to an innate or insular beauty, but one that was created from a correspondence and a relationship with its context and its outside.

Concinnitas, and the concept of a ‘beautiful whole’ in architecture, have been widely interpreted since then, from Le Corbusier’s standardized ideals to Aldo Van Eyck’s definition of wholeness and Christopher Alexander’s mathematical order, among others. The question of architecture as an amalgamation of diverse systems, processes, relationships, and elements that come together for the creation of a meaningful space is still salient today.

How do we conceive buildings within contemporary environments, and what underlies the rules of architecture’s relationship to the urban realm? Can we reconsider architecture’s meaning and effect as intrinsic and inseparable from notions of form, material, scale, and context? What would be the architectural preconditions for a beautiful whole today?

Scroope 28 invites submissions that aim to redefine concinnitas, and to negotiate the interdisciplinary nature of architectural discourse with the complex processes that shape architectural praxis. The issue seeks to question the relevance and continuity of this classical ‘ideal’ and its implicit values in our contemporary understanding and practice of architecture.


Submission Guidelines

Submissions should include: an abstract (max. 500 words), an image (which best represents your contribution), and a CV.

Please send submissions to scroope@aha.cam.ac.uk by 16 March 2018 with [Scroope 28 submission] in the subject line. Successful contributors will be notified by the end of April 2018. Scroope 28 will be published in summer 2019. 
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