Substance or Context. A Study of the Concept of Place
During the recent decades the concept of place has been treated with intensity and frequency in architectural discourse. Much has been said about such issues as the sense of place, place versus placelessness, the loss of place and so on.
This study surveys the concept of place as a theoretical issue of architecture in terms of two themes: place as substance and place as context. In light of these two themes, three further themes, called 'the immediate contextualism', 'towards an urban architecture' and 'spirits of place', are examined. The survey of "the immediate contextualism" starts from a shift from place as substance to place as context in the changing ideals of architecture during the second half of the 20th century. With the survey of the themes of 'towards an urban architecture' and 'the spirits of place', however, a re-shift from the place as context to place as substance becomes necessary, since what it is about with the first shift from place as substance to place as context on an architectural plane is, in the last analysis, not so much an issue of place as context as an issue of place as substance on an urban plane, namely, our cities.
In regard to the changing nature of our cities, the study ends with an argument for open-minded concepts of place to rise to the challenge of new places.