Diptych I 

Architecture and Diptych

Nur Çağlar

Adnan Aksu

Published Jul 16, 2020

As in the field of thought, in the fields of architecture, art, science, and culture, the tension between newly emerging objects and existing ones leads to the emergence of transformations based on complex relationships. For instance, today's architecture has to cope with rapidly increasing knowledge while coping with nature. The fact that the visuality gets importance to strengthen the image. This situation makes the understanding and expression tools of architecture evolve from linear to pictorial and textual to visual. Thus, in the architectural medium, which has lost its stability and has become more dynamic, the relations continuously change.

The transformation that is going on leads us to talk about both ongoing and occurring architecture. These two architectures differ in their thought/discourse, action/acting, image/object, landscape/texture, context/atmosphere, and materiality/materialization. These architectures, which are not similar but spatially and temporally located on the same plane, both carry on their activities, and each co-exists in the same medium synchronously by maintaining their identity and without interfering with each other. The quality differences between the materialized objects become apparent, and therefore the present universe of architecture becomes an odd, segmental, and intricate/chaotic appearance based on multiple representations.

Today's architecture exists in a defective, imperfect, and incomplete, saturated medium with differences in itself and continuous development. Personal experience, knowledge, and practice are more important than ever in this variable, dynamic, non-hierarchical, egalitarian medium. Unlike ongoing architecture, new, creative, and different architectures emerge as a continuation of an open-ended, multicolored, polyphonic, multicultural new world order. The environment of calm, stationary, and homogeneous architecture is evolving towards a highly dynamic heterogeneous structure in which it has interaction and struggle. This multi-layered new architectural medium creates an environment for a new culture of materialization and consciousness to flourish. Therefore, it is impossible to discover or examine a medium that contains so many different architectures within itself, with familiar tools. In this context, the diptych is a means of researching/discovering new architecture that correlates materiality and materialization components that seem incompatible, combines them in a saturated disciplinary medium, and strengthens as a unique artistic and craft.

Throughout history, the diptych has been an object of pictures located inside two covers attached by a hinge. It is formally similar to the book and backgammon box. Today, the diptych states the artistic expression acquired by placing two identical or distinctive images adjacent to each other. So, it has no strict rules. Especially in the art, the attitude of placing the images on the hinged covers disappears. A line or space can also separate the images. A diptych is an object set by the relationship between the two images that come side by side, often not clear, but in-depth and thought-provoking. Therefore, the diptych is a dynamic and productive object, not a stationary and spectacular. The diptych is prone to strikingly visualizing thought in architecture as well as in the fields of thought, belief, literature, art, and design, and sustain the production of meaning and knowledge.

With the emergence of some situations in architecture in time and the disappearance of old ones, a wide variety of turns occur. These often are reflections of twists in the history of thought on other disciplines of the humanities and on social culture. The turn we are experiencing today is pictorial.[i] The visual one is getting more robust, and the creation of images becomes widespread. Remembering that images are more direct and, therefore, more robust and more abundant proofs of the architectural universe than texts contradict the anxiety of the abundance of images and the strengthening of the visual. Already since the existence of man, he recognizes the world by seeing and perceiving. The history of writing is only 4000 years.

Every image/visual is a newly created or remanufactured view. Furthermore, every image/visual contains a form of vision. The proliferation of the image also increases the way of seeing and thus increases the potential of production. As the images multiply and converge, communication and interaction between them increase, and the possibilities to complement each other, thereby eliminating their shortcomings and defects, appear. Therefore, the diptych makes the image/visual abundance efficient and productive, and it offers the potential to transform it into information.

In this context, the diptych is not a tool to seek status and meaning in architecture for an art object, but as a means of researching/examining/ expanding architectural knowledge and deepening its experience and practice.


[i] Richard Rorty has characterized the history of philosophy as a series of 'turns' in which 'a new set of problems emerges, and the old ones begin to fade away'. W. J. T. Mitchell mentions in his book that another change has occurred and sees this change as a "pictorial turn." He says, 'Today picture is somewhere between what Thomas Kuhn calls a "paradigm" and an "anomaly," and takes place in the humanities as a centralized discussion topic, just like language. It is an object that creates its science, perhaps as Panofsky calls "iconology" as a model or figure for other things, or as an unsolved problem. Mitchell argues that we are in an age of "spectacle" (Guy Debord), "surveillance" (Foucault), and all-pervasive image-making.'

Mitchell, W. J. T. Picture theory: essays on verbal and visual representation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1994. pp. 11-13


Funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union. However, European Commission and Turkish National Agency cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Project Coordinator

TOBB University of Economics and Technology

Department of Architecture

Sögütözü Cad. No: 43 Sögütözü/Ankara


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