Four Historical Definitions of Architecture

Front Cover
McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Apr 11, 2012 - Architecture - 352 pages
Where does architecture belong in the larger scheme of things? Is it a liberal art? Is it related to painting, music, medicine, or horse training? Is it timeless, or does it have a beginning? To pursue such questions, Stephen Parcell investigates four historical definitions of Western architecture: as a techné in ancient Greece, a mechanical art in medieval Europe, an art of disegno in Renaissance Italy, and a fine art in eighteenth-century Europe. These definitions situated architecture within larger classifications of knowledge, establishing alliances between architecture and other disciplines. They also influenced elements of architectural practice that we now associate with three characters (designer, builder, and dweller) and three things (material, drawing, and building). Guided by current architectural questions, Parcell examines writings in these historical periods and focuses on practical implications of texts by Hugh of St Victor, Leon Battista Alberti, and Etienne-Louis Boullée. Four Historical Definitions of Architecture shows how the concept of architecture and elements of architectural practice have evolved over time. Even the word "architecture" has ambiguous roots.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
3
2 Architecture as a Techn?
21
3 Architecture as a Mechanical Art
40
4 Hugh of St Victor and the Mechanical Arts
59
5 Architecture as an Art of Disegno
105
6 Alberti and the Arts of Disegno
122
7 Vasari and the Arts of Disegno
149
8 Architecture as a Fine Art
178
9 Boullée and the Fine Arts
220
10 Conclusion
248
Notes
255
Bibliography
309
Index
331
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Stephen Parcell is co-editor of the Chora series and associate professor, Dalhousie University.

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