Concretism, by Kati Blom

This paper will suggest a paradigm shift in architecture, which is given the title Concretism. To support this argument the paper applies the phenomenological realism of Roman Ingarden. His ontology of art presented in his 1989 text entitled Ontology of the Work of Art, offers a solid system to identify the points of changing ideals in architecture. When applied to architecture, Ingarden’s phenomenological realism assumes a real, physical object as a partly independent object (an architectural work of art), and a cultural, intentional object (an aesthetic object). In his account concretization means an individual aspect or attitude in relation to the concrete, material object.

Paradoxically, Ingarden’s system of architecture uses the concept ‘concrete’ only in the connection with the individual perceptions of the physical object, rather than using the word ‘concrete’ referring to the concrete, physical object (as a concrete realisation of an architectural idea). His view of the system of architecture, as a system of intentionality, is more complex, and instead of using only the concept ‘concretization’, he uses idealisation, actualisation, realisation and concretization(s).

One must note that not all buildings in Ingarden’s system reach a point of highly ordered intentionality of an aesthetic object (concretization). This level requires persuasion, clarification, semiotic interpretations and conscious rhetoric. This paper will discuss the differences of socio—ethical concretists and immaterial concretists in the light of Ingarden’s system of architecture as a work of art. The difference with the previous paradigm is implied in the presence of a new hyper-value based on global interconnectedness.

Harvard Citation Guide: Blom, K. (2010) Concretism, International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture, [blog] 25 May 2010, Available at: [Accessed: 01 June 2012].

Concretism and Critique, by Kati Blom

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Back in Finland, I participated in the 11th International Alvar Aalto Symposium. The symposium had an extremely interesting theme which sought to reach out to the edges of profession by introducing modest but professionally respectful approaches to local problems of five continents. As it happened, the theme was concretisedby architects who believe in and seek to implement participation and local craftsmanship. These architects also believed in using international money and generally minimizing the amount of local money. There was one exception. It was an Argentinean pair – Mauricio Pezo and Sophia von Ellrichshausen – who work in Chile exclusively designing single-family houses using a local concrete technique.  The presentation was astonishing. Continue reading