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Sources of Architectural Form provides a critical history of Western architecture theory from the ancient world to the present day. It focuses on design theory’s central question: how does the architect generate architectural form? Theorists necessarily tackle this fundamental question in order to explain a number of puzzling issues including the origins of style, the persistence of tradition and the role of genius.
This book describes the major design theories in eight chronological periods, conveying their flavour with contemporary quotations. Each theory is analysed for its strengths and weaknesses. Gelernter identifies an important relationship between theories of design and theories of knowledge, and so explains and analyses each period’s dominant epistemological concepts. Contemporary theorists of education are also examined, as many theorists from Vitruvius to Gropius included precepts for teaching as integral components of their ideas.
1. Introduction: The central problem of design theory. Theories of form. A paradox in western theories of design. The subject-object problem
2. The Ancient World: The origins of design theory and education. The Greek revolution in philosophy. Greek Art and Architecture theory. Vitruvius
3. The Middle Ages: Shift from the secular to the divine. Medieval art and architecture theory. Scholasticism. Education in the guilds and universities
4. The Renaissance: The revival of ancient concepts. Art theory in the High Renaissance. The Mannerist extremes. The new art academies. The rise of Positivist science
5. The Baroque: The Baroque dualities. Rationalism and the priority of reason. Empiricism and the priority of sense. Art and architecture theory and the academics
6. The Enlightenment: Revolutionary foundations of the modern world. Positivism and the new deterministic sciences of man.The Romantic rebellion. Neo- Classicism and the academics. Immanual Kant and the synthesis of subject and object.
7. The Nineteenth century: Philosophical relativism and artistic eclecticism Classicism and The Ecole Des Beaux-Arts. German idealism, romanticism, and the Gothic revival. Positivism and artistic determinism. The shift to abstraction in art
8. The Twentieth Century (I): The reaction to the relativism in philosophy. The opposed sources of architectural form. the opposed sources of artistic form. The Bauhaus conflation. The Modern Movement
9. Twentieth Century (II): Late Modernism. Positivism and environmental design. Structuralism. Post-modernism and Post-structuralism
List of illustrations