A Theory of Architecture - Primary Topics - Meme Encapsulation

Meme Encapsulation

The book also coins the term “encapsulation” to describe an architectural meme bundled inside a social meme. The model suggests that such memetic replication models human culture, in which building and urban typologies proliferate for reasons other than their utility. The contention is that typologies that get passed on are the ones whose encapsulation is more appealing. Salingaros and Terry Mikiten propose that encapsulation helps an architectural meme to survive and reproduce. In particular, phenomena such as (possibly impractical) architectural fashions, where clients enable certain memes that do not promote mental health and feelings of wellbeing to reproduce, can be explained as encapsulations helping their enclosed memes to replicate. The converse is also true: an adaptive architectural typology, such as found in older vernacular architectures, is often avoided because it is encapsulated within a socially negative label (not “progressive” enough). When looked at from the point of view of meme encapsulation and selection, many architectural phenomena that were difficult to explain become easier to understand.

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