The Paradoxical Reality - Klein Bottle House

"A paradox is not a conflict within reality. It is a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality should be like.'' -- Richard Feynman

The Paradoxical Culture - The Danish Pavilion 2010 EXPO

"For a nation, survival depends on the capacity to adapt and to develop new institutions and new personality types to deal with changing times...The same is true for culture. Culture is man's major adaptive mechanism. But, culture is also the major environment in which man develops and with which he must contend. That is, man must adapt to himeslf, both as a member and product of his own culture and in a world of other cultures."
- Eward T. Hall


The paradox in the Vitrahaus design process

Paradoxical design process for Vitrahaus

The first step - Abstraction

The types of spaces of forms are abstracted from existing houses

The second step - shaping

the father combination of the forms by stacking concept

Does paradoxical pocess result in an architecture paradoxical?

"The qualities of paradoxes which are proving to be of considerable value to design are amiguity and complexity."
- "The importance of paradox to the design process", Thomas Joseph Becher

The paradox of form giving...
Human communication is a two step process
abstraction - allow meaning to be presented, recalled and manipulated, it requires that some structureor pattern be taken from an original context
(meaning is the result of consensus within the relevent community using the pattern system)
shaping - union the abstraction with a medium, in the social environment, the "combine"of an abstracted structure with a medium is to create an institution.
Abstraction is a tool for focusing meaning, shaping is a tool for express it.

"...the object is to be undertood as a concrete persistent thing only after it has been possible to develop a conception of it, that is, paradoxically, that its concreteness depends upon the development of abstraction."
- "Semiotic Approaches to Psychiatry", Harley Shands

Is this paradoxical architecture ?

" a paradox can be defined as an apparent contradiction. It is to be valued for its ability to introduce indeterminate thinking to the design process."
-- Thomas Joseph Becher

The Paradox in Process - Vitrahaus

" a paradox can be defined as an apparent contradiction. It is to be valued for its ability to introduce indeterminate thinking to the design process."
-- Thomas Joseph Becher


architects & architecture

Herzog & de Meuron

Craig Dykers

Zaha Hadid

Claude Parent

Enric Miralles

Bernard Tschumi


Is this title a paradox?... haha

"A paradox is not a conflict within reality. It is a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality should be like.'' -- Richard Feynman

A paradox is an apparently self-contradictory statement, the underlying meaning of which is revealed only by careful scrutiny. The purpose of a paradox is to arrest attention and provoke fresh thought. The statement "Less is more" is an example. Francis Bacon's saying, "The most corrected copies are commonly the least correct," is an earlier literary example. In George Orwell's anti-utopian satire Animal Farm (1945), the first commandment of the animals' commune is revised into a witty paradox: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Paradox has a function in poetry, however, that goes beyond mere wit or attention-getting. Modern critics view it as a device, integral to poetic language, encompassing the tensions of error and truth simultaneously, not necessarily by startling juxtapositions but by subtle and continuous qualifications of the ordinary meaning of words.

M. C. Escher

Step 1 - Research for president study

where paradox came from?

Postmodernism describes movements which both arise from, and react against or reject, trends in modernism.[20] Specific trends of modernism that are generally cited are formal purity, medium specificity, art for art's sake, authenticity, universality, originality and revolutionary or reactionary tendency, i.e. the avant-garde. However, paradox is probably the most important modernist idea against which postmodernism reacts. Paradox was central to the modernist enterprise, having been introduced by Manet. Manet's various violations of representational art brought to prominence the supposed mutual exclusiveness of reality and representation, design and representation, abstraction and reality, and so on. The incorporation of paradox was highly stimulating from Manet to the conceptualists.



Research Matrix


Where the idea come from...
The dream sharing technology, the movie “Inception”together with Taoist philosophy from hundreds years ago and the penrose stairs in old days paintings are evoking a wish of an architecture achievement in the future to break up the traditional thinking of the space and create a distinctive opinion for evolution. This is the architecture paradox.
What I will do...
The ancient people use paintings to record and illustrate their dreams and wishes.
I would like to use a piece of architecture to inspire as well as represent the human’s dream of architecture paradox in the future. By doing this, it could record the “dream time”of human being pursuiting the freedom of space, the freedom of architecture. It is a dream of achieving the paradox space in architecture.

How I will do it...
1. President study.
Research in other field like painting and sculpture, as well as architecture, looking for the theory and methodology which has been used in representing the concept of paradox. Find how it could be illustrated in the language of architecture.

2. Material and Technology
Base on the president studies, research on the technology and material may required for representing the idea. And make a test if possible.

3. Prototype and adjustment
A test will be performed by designing a space or a abstract model for examing the idea. And it will be adjusted and feedback for farther development and modification. The final product will be a prototype for farther exploration.

THREE TEXT might help to build up ideas.
Gerda Breuer, Pictures of Paradox: The Photographs of Andreas Gursky.
Robin Evans, Mies Van der Rohe’s Paradoxical Symmetries.
Robert Kronenburg, Flexible: Architecture that Responds to Change.

The space may not exist or detected by human beings in today’s technology.
It is a space of paradox. It is the fourth dimension of architecture space.


Thinking of research matrix

I got myself confused to this stage. Here i try to clarify and find my mind. Hope i could get it...

I think i interested in doing a "paradox", or a building that some how root in this concept. But how this could structure my research matrix??
From the video "world builder", the Dream-Sharing Technology give people a chance that they can simply build the world for other people which is not possible in the reality in present.
Then in the movie "Inception", the concept of different levels in the dream creates a mysterious phenomenon. The confusion of people's sense that if they are in the dream or not is an ambiguous and interesting idea. The dream within the dream within the dream... if this really could achieve and share with other people, that suddenly form another dimension of communication and interaction between human being.

Taoist philosoher Chuang Tzu agreed that the levels of dream is a paradox. In the space of dream you wouldn't know if you are awake or still in the dream; "whether I was then a man dreaming i was a butterfly, or whether i am now a butterfly dreaming i am a man".

This paradox was presented in architecture in a model of penrose stairs. The stairs created a loop by connecting the starting point to the end point which achieved a infinitive space in a conceptual world. That some how connects back to the first video "world builder". The infinite space and freedom of building.

Semantic paradonons are statements that lead to an infinite contradiction.
Can i define the architecture paradoxnon that are concept lead to an infinite space or design?

So, can i see the "loop" which starts from the video to the penrose stairs as an other form of paradox ideally?

It achieved in terms of the connection from infinity, however it could not be happened in the real world rather than a conceptual world or a dream.

From all above, i would like to design a building base on this paradox concept which could represent a fourth dimension in architecture ideally. The building will not be a paradox, because it couldn't achieve in nowadays, but it will represent paradox.

Penrose Stairs - illustration of paradox in [Inception]

A stairs never ended. Keep walking...stop when you want to stop...no matter where or when you stop...it is the same...it is a freedom in the spirit...

[it] = paradox ?


A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition.

Taoist philosophy

Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu, in a section of his writings about dreams:

Those who dream of a banquet may wake to lamentation and sorrow. These who dream of lamentation and sorrow may wake to join a hunt. While they dream, they do not know that they dream. Some will even experience a dream within a dream; and only when they awake do they realize they dreamed of a dream. By and by comes the great awakening, and then we may find out that this life is really an extended dream. Fools think they are awake now, and flatter themselves they know if they are really princes or peasants. Confucius and you are both dreams; and i who say you are dreams - i am but a dream myself. This is a paradox. Tomorrow a wise man may come forward to explain it; but that tomorrow will not be until ten thousand generations have gone by.

Once upon a time, i,Chuang Tzu, dreamt i was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. i was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a man. Suddenly i awakened, and there i lay, myself again. Now i do not know whether i was then a man dreaming i was a butterfly, or whether i am now a butterfly dreaming i am a man. between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a barrier. The transition is called metempsychosis [the transmigration of the soul]. (Emphases mine. Source: Humanistic Texts.)


"An idea is more than a thought, it's a virus, a cancer of sorts, that can spread until it completely takes over a person, until it defines the person. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can tranform the world and rewrite all the rules."