Transformation for architects

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Transformation has been studied in a number of fields such as geometry, music and linguistics but has never been investigated in architecture even though it occurs there with some frequency. The basic task of this essay is to prepare the way for a study of transformation in architecture through an examination of the nature of transformation as an operation type and through a brief study of some cases of transformation in architecture.

The first part of the paper examines transformation in several fields where it has a history of use, and establishes what it is and what it can be used to do in these fields. From this investigation a series of five characteristics of transformation are developed. In the second part of the paper, a strategy for the investigation of transformation in architecture is developed. In the third and final section, the strategy is applied to a study of a number of types of transformation in existing architecture, and suggestions are made for future research. Proposals are also made for some new uses of transformation in future architectural work.