Ambiguous Certainty: Descriptions of Non-complete Architecture in Kafka's Writings

By Amos Bar-Eli.

Published by The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 17, 2014 $US5.00

“Non-Complete Architecture” refers to architecture that contradicts the ideal aspiration towards the complete and the finished, towards stability and unity. The “Non-Complete” condition preserves its independence without offering a beginning or an end; it offers only constant instability, without an ambition to attain conclusion and completion. The paper identifies descriptions of architecture within the literary writings of Czech writer Franz Kafka. Kafka's writing explores hesitation, ambiguity, wavering, and uncertainty, all issues that are relevant to the concept of the “Non-Complete.” Kafka uses unresolved, uninviting, confusing, and sometimes impossible architectural conditions. The research scrutinizes his writings, identifying examples of architectural descriptions. It explains and defines them according to their relevance to “Non-Complete Architecture.” It explores the ways these examples enhance and elaborate the concept of “Non-Complete” in architecture. The objective of “Non-Complete Architecture” varies and alludes, yet it has a reconciliation force that attempts to balance between the incompleteness of reality and the conflicting objectives of architecture. As such, the research attempts to explore the possible contributions of architectural descriptions within literature to architecture and to design education. Finally, it explores the possible benefit of this cross-disciplinary method of research to architecture and architectural theory.

Keywords: Architecture, Literature, Design Education, Non-Complete Architecture

The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review, Volume 8, December 2014, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 17, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 397.185KB)).

Amos Bar-Eli

Lecturer, Faculty of Design, Department of Interior Design, Holon Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv, Israel

Amos is a practicing architect and interior designer. Through his Tel Aviv based architectural office he is involved with a range of private and public design projects. Alongside his practice, Amos has taught design studio for nearly two decades. He also teaches a range of other design courses and leads a design laboratory in HIT's master's program in “integrated design.” Amos also develops interdisciplinary field-based research seminars focusing on design culture in the city. Amos writes and researches with a focus on current and historical issues relating to architectural visual representation, visionary architecture, and the educational practice of architecture and interior design. In 2011, Amos published a book titled On the Non-Complete in Visionary Architecture.