Ideas That Shaped Buildings



Ideas That Shaped Buildings By Fil Hearn
Publisher: The MIT Press 2003 | 372 Pages | ISBN: 0262582279 | File type: PDF | 5 mb



The comparative compactness of this book belies its grandly ambitious attempt to synthesize 2,000 years of Western architectural theory. For Hearn, an art and architectural history professor at the University of Pittsburgh, the Roman temples of Vitruvius and the postmodern Las Vegas of Robert Venturi form part of a coherent whole, sustained by a long and complex intellectual tradition, a shifting set of articulate reactions to a set of fundamental human circumstances. He finds further that design and architectural theory, more than most disciplines, have been dominated by a fairly small set of theoretical treatises, which form the bases for the four sections and 16 chapters of Hearn's work. These texts, and the ways in which designers and builders have reacted to them over the centuries, are described with the kind of terse thoroughness that speaks of a daunting command of the subject. Moving freely between Alberti and Le Corbusier, between the columnar order and the Dymaxion house, Hearn transmits a clear sense of the endless interdependence of theory and practice. But the most surprising thing about this volume is how deftly it incorporates-despite its "return to fundamentals" approach-the intellectual and technical developments of recent decades. Hearn's holistic approach allows a warts-and-all discussion of postmodernism's weaknesses that is also able to clearly describe its achievements. And the already pivotal impact of computer modeling on design is not only recognized, but broadly contextualized. The product of many years of classroom experience, this compendium is likely to become a much assigned text in both introductory and advanced architecture and design programs. And if Hearn's clipped no-nonsense style sometimes demands close attention, the reader can be assured that Hearn is never deliberately obscure, something that can hardly be said of every book in architectural theory's expanding field.


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