Travels in the History of Architecture

Overview

Mies van der Rohe, master of modern architecture, declared that “Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together.” In Travels in the History of Architecture, renowned architectural writer Robert Harbison takes a closer look at these bricks, providing an engaging and concise companion to the great themes and aesthetic movements in architecture from antiquity to the present day.

Travels in the History of Architecture beings its journey with the great temples of the ...

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Travels in the History of Architecture

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Overview

Mies van der Rohe, master of modern architecture, declared that “Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together.” In Travels in the History of Architecture, renowned architectural writer Robert Harbison takes a closer look at these bricks, providing an engaging and concise companion to the great themes and aesthetic movements in architecture from antiquity to the present day.

Travels in the History of Architecture beings its journey with the great temples of the Egyptians and the shrines of Classical Greece and Rome and then provides a complete survey of architecture through the present day. Each chapter of this dynamic and approachable volume focuses on a movement in architectural history, including Byzantine, Baroque, Mannerism, Historicism, Functionalism, and Deconstruction. Unique to this work is Harbison’s wide-ranging approach, which draws on references and examples outside of architecture—from literature, art, sculpture, and history—to further illustrate and contextualize the themes and ideas of each period. For example, the travel writing of Pausanias illustrates the monuments of ancient Greece,  a poem in praise of marble decoration reveals how the builders of the cathedral of Hagia Sophia viewed their creation, and a French rococo painting speaks to the meaning behind the design of the English landscape garden.

Original, yet authoritative, Travels in the History of Architecture will be in an indispensable guide for everyone curious to know more about the world’s most famous structures, as well as for students of art and architectural history seeking a definitive introduction.

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Editorial Reviews

History Today
"On its broadly chronological journey from the Egyptians to Modernists, via Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Romanesque and Historicist architecture, this book is filled with acute perceptions and fine descriptions . . . its insights make you want to travel and see."
Times Literary Supplement
Robert Harbison [is] a proflic author of quirky, smallish books on the itnerplay of architectural history and wider cultural theory.

— Keith Miller

Paul Shepheard
"Robert Harbison is not one of those historians who tries to blast you out of the water with his authority—his is a gentle voice, full of knowledge and wit, thoughtful and contemplative. As you read this book you feel not that you are being lectured at, but, as the title suggests, that you are travelling in time; and Harbison makes a fine traveling companion. Whatever you are doing with old buildings, whether visiting them, reading about them, looking at pictures of them or even just remembering them, you will want to have this book near at hand."
Times Literary Supplement - Keith Miller
"Robert Harbison [is] a proflic author of quirky, smallish books on the itnerplay of architectural history and wider cultural theory."
History Today

"On its broadly chronological journey from the Egyptians to Modernists, via Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Romanesque and Historicist architecture, this book is filled with acute perceptions and fine descriptions . . . its insights make you want to travel and see."—History Today

Library Journal

In this extraordinary interpretation of Western architecture, Harbison (architecture, London Metropolitan Univ.; Reflections on Baroque), a well-traveled and exceptionally knowledgeable English architectural historian, begins with Egyptian architecture; continues with Greek, Roman, Byzantine, medieval, Renaissance, and baroque; and ends with three chapters on 19th-century, modern, and postmodern architecture. Harbison relays his opinions, which are captivating, direct, and personal, on individual buildings. He approaches this history with the philosophy of New Criticism in mind, considering each building with an "innocent eye" and "the fresh vision of the child in [him]self." VERDICT This book could serve as a secondary survey of Western architecture for architecture students, professionals, and devotees, although more maps, plans, and pictures of individual regions and monuments would have been useful. Harbison's expression of his personal and professional views is unbelievably shattering and breathtaking; he has the capacity to alter the entire history of Western architecture for 100 years to come.—Peter S. Kaufman, Boston Architectural Ctr.


—Peter S. Kaufman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861894359
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/15/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Harbison is a professor of architecture at London Metropolitan University. He is a regular contributor to Architects’ Journal, Architectural Review, Building Design, and the Times Literary Supplement. He is also the author of many books, including Eccentric Spaces; The Built, the Unbuilt and the Unbuildable; and Reflections on the Baroque.

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Table of Contents

1. Egyptian

2. Greek

3. Roman

4. Byzantine

5. Romanesque

6. Gothic

7. Renaissance

8. Mannerism

9. Baroque

10. Historicism

11. Modernism I: Functionalism

12. Modernism II: Expressionism, Constructivism and Deconstruction

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