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Minoan Architecture and UrbanismNew Perspectives on an Ancient Built Environment$
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Quentin Letesson and Carl Knappett

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793625.001.0001

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Minoan Group Design

Minoan Group Design

The ‘View from the Bridge’

Chapter:
(p.181) 8 Minoan Group Design
Source:
Minoan Architecture and Urbanism
Author(s):

Clairy Palyvou

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198793625.003.0015

The aim of this chapter is to address the so-called Minoan Palace as a design object. To detect and unfold, in other words, the design logic that produced this hybrid configuration standing somewhere between a large building and an urban compound. As a starting point, it is pertinent to emphasize that the production of built space is a dynamic process involving poly-parametric problem solving. It requires formulating the tasks, checking requirements versus constraints, evaluating tolerance and capacity, and finally making choices and decisions based on optimization. Planning and designing architectural space, in other words, is a nebulous task, notoriously difficult to capture, describe, or teach for that matter. In Rowe’s (1982: 18) lucid account, it has ‘“wicked problems”: they have no definitive formulation, no explicit “stopping rule”, they have more than one plausible explanation, and their solutions cannot be strictly correct or false’. Moreover, this procedure does not take place once and for all. It is re-enacted every time one interferes with a work of architecture, even if only to whitewash a wall or block a door. Since buildings, as a rule, survive their original creators and users by several generations, such interventions are frequent and vary in scale, in compliance with the life cycles that the building will serve till it exists nomore or has become the object of archaeological investigation. With such variety of intertwined and obscured parameters at play, one wonders: what sort of answers do archaeologists expect to find from the surviving remnants of the architectural palimpsest they are dealing with? Is it because of the innate difficulties in capturing and analysing the dynamic process of architectural production that we have lingered for too long over the static data of the end product (see chapter 1)? The situation however is not that hopeless, for ‘architecture is not the field of creative freedom some have imagined it to be, but a system of rules for giving society what it expects in the way of architecture’ (Eco 1997: 194).

Keywords:   Knossos, Malia, Thera, ashlar, cities, hierarchy, macro–scale, palace, settlements

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