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Architectural Principles in the Age of Historicism

Van Pelt, Robert Jan and Carroll William Westfall

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ISBN 10: 0300049994 / ISBN 13: 9780300049992
Published by Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1991
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ix, 417p., original burgundy cloth. Bookseller Inventory # 028602

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Architectural Principles in the Age of ...

Publisher: Yale University Press, New Haven and London

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Hardcover

About this title


This book draws from anthropology, ancient history, theology, philosophy and the Holocaust to redefine architectural history for both architects and historians. It also contains ideas and practical propositions that should help sutdents of architecture to build a more human world. The central question of the book is the relationship between architectural history and the current practice of architecture. Van Pelt and Westfall argue that the dominant trends of architectural historiography, which explain buildings and cities in stylistic and cultural-historical terms, deny the historian the possiblility of discovering enduring "architectural principles" that inform the practice of contemporary architecture and urban design. The authors reject the modernist assumption that architecture has a relationship only with a specific place and time and argue that, after 200 years of this "age of historicism", architecture should be understood historically and in relation to a process of development through time. Beyond this overall consensus, van Pelt and Westfall discuss architectural history in which Westfall champions the Classical tradition and van Pelt the Judeo-Christian perspective. In alternating chapters, the two authors discuss the concepts that structure each tradition and investigate their validity for current architectural practice. Westfall discusses such topics as the theory of architecture, architecture as political form, and the significance of vernacular architecture. Van Pelt's thoughts range from the Christian typological understanding of history to the urban forms of Periclean Athens to the architecture of Nazi Germany. The book's title deliberately echoes Rudolf Wittkower's 1947 study, "Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism".

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