Abstract: The Replacement of Nature

Abstract: The Replacement of Nature

Simply put, abstract exists in thought or as an idea that does not bear a physical or concrete existence. Traditionally relates to art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but rather seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, colours, and textures.

The abstract is often opposed to the concrete. However, in the architectural world, it encourages both natures: it responds to abstract logics and concrete conditions.

Study of space by Cynthia Meadors // diagram of Villa Vpro by MVRDV, 2006


It does not resort to an ideal, but rather emerges from a generic dimension only to deform, alter and impact that is, to become enriched and inseminated with multiple layers of information provided by each of the different realities considered and addressed.

Composition IV by Wassily Kandinsky, 1911


Abstract is no longer essential, but synthetical. It is not refined (reduced or extracted) information, but condensed information (condensed in order to be multiplied). Abstract meaning economic: diagrammatic. Evolutionary (multi-layered) information, rather than minimalised (stripped) information. Operative (dynamic) code, rather than substantial (static) code. No longer “less is more”, but “more from less”. — Manuel Gausa

Kazuyo Sejima // Ideogram of movement for zig-zag typologies, Metropolitan Housing Studio, 1995-1996


Abstract is a quality defined and pursued by modernity. Although there has been a search to find relations and origins in Antiquity and Primitivism, the Modernist ‘abstract’ invention is original and specific. Rather than representing nature as the only model of reality, technical and scientific advance has made manifest another reality – removed from the concrete world and whose image already does not correspond with nature. It does, however, maintain a conceptual tie. The new reality of abstraction behaves as a model that substitutes the place of nature with a corresponding quality. — Manuel Gausa

Tapisserie de la Grande Cour au Palais de Justice a Chandigarh by Le Corbusier, 1954


Today’s abstractions have claimed their role foreign to theoretical models and are maintained as new realities and autonomous representations.