In liquid times like these, it is problematic to call architecture ‘science.’ Problematic and, as Ramón Araujo says, polemic, because he opines that architecture is more reason than invention, and because for him, the process behind projects is scientific in its search, among all possibilities, for optimal solutions.
Of course many would consider this take on architecture anachronistic, at least ‘conservative’; adjectives not upsetting to an author who acknowledges his indebtedness to classicism, shares Durand’s typological and deductive ambition, and believes, like Vitruvius, that the art of architecture, generalist and integrative, has a rational core.
The question would be to what extent a ‘treatise’ of architecture is possible in the 21st century, in the stronger sense proposed by Araujo. For the answer one can go to the book itself, a brief but ambitious volume which, behind the look of an academic manual, contains reflections of note and gives the discipline an intelligent image.
In his rationalist endeavor, Araujo organizes his ‘more geometrical’ treatise in two parts. The first is titled ‘project principles,’ in the Durand way, tackling themes like space, construction, structure, environmental conditioning, and city. The second, no less Durandian and also enriched with numerous fine illustrations, focuses on architectural ‘types’ (dwellings, schools, offices, hospitals, airports...), and here the author demonstrates a huge capacity for synthesis sure to be appreciated by anyone looking for rigor and precision in architecture.