Surplus of Form

Architecture and the Status of the Object


  • Joerg Gleiter Technische Universität Berlin



Architecture, Aristotle, Schopenhauer, Kant, Hylemorphism, Semper, Surplus of form


Excess of matter in form designates the principle that underlies architecture. The surplus of form contains not only a constructive principle, but also an aesthetic principle that enables sensual experience. In the coupling of construction and sensual experience, the basic prerequisites for the aesthetics of architecture are thus named, but at the same time also the difficulties with which architecture is confronted within philosophical aesthetics. For Kant, it was precisely the object character that stood in the way of an architectural aesthetics as part of a general aesthetics. For him, only the architectural drawing, because detached from matter, construction, and function, could meet the criteria of the beautiful, and that only as a façade view and not as a ground plan or sectional drawing. With reference to Aristotle, Kant and Schopenhauer and an outlook on contemporary architecture, the essay outlines the principles of an aesthetics of architecture as it is to be developed out of the specific material conditions of architecture and has its starting point in the surplus of form. 


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