Style-Architecture and Building-Art is Hermann Muthesius’s classic criticism of nineteenth century architecture. Now published for the first time in English, this pivotal text represents the first serious effort by Muthesius to define the elements of early modernist architecture according to notions of realism and simplicity. Although Muthesius is known best in Anglo-American architectural literature for his studies of the English house, his scholarship constituted a wide-ranging modernist polemic emanating from the German realist movement of the late 1890s. Notions that were introduced in Style-Architecture and Building-Art became common in later modernist historiography: disdain for the nineteenth century’s artistic eclecticism and lack of originality; appreciation of the material and industrial aspects of building technology, and, above all, a simpler approach to design. Muthesius' critique of stylistic architecture is not only linked to the development of the Deutsche Werkbund movement, but also can be viewed more broadly as a cornerstone of the modern movement. In his introduction, Standford Anderson situates Muthesius and his work in turn-of-the-century architectural discourse and analyzes his vision of a new form of architecture. Anderson also discusses the rationale underlying the call for cultural renewal, the role of English architectural models in Muthesius’s thought, critical differences between the first and second editions of Style-Architecture and Building-Art, the influence of the Jugendstil and Art Nouveau movements on Muthesius and, in turn, the influence of Muthesius on the Deutsche Werkbund movement.
As the first comprehensive encyclopedic survey of Western architectural theory from Vitruvius to the present, this book is an essential resource for architects, students, teachers, historians, and theorists. Using only original sources, Kruft has undertaken the monumental task of researching, organizing, and analyzing the significant statements put forth by architectural theorists over the last two thousand years. The result is a text that is authoritative and complete, easy to read without being reductive.
Building Theories speaks to the value of words in architecture. It addresses the author’s fascination with the voices of architects, engineers, builders, and craftspeople whose ideas about building have been captured in text. It discusses the content of treatises, essays, articles, and letters by those who have been, throughout history, committed to the art of building. In this, Building Theories argues for the return of a practice of architectural theory that is set amongst building, buildings, and builders. This journey of close reading reinterprets the words of Vitruvius, Alberti, de L’Orme, Le Camus de Mézières, Boullée, Laugier, Rondelet, Semper, Viollet-le-Duc, Hübsch, Bötticher, Berlage, Muthesius, Wagner, Behrendt, Gropius, and Arup. With chapters dedicated to texts from antiquity, the Renaissance, and the nineteenth century, and with a critical eye on architectural theory popularized in the Anglo-Saxon world post-1968, readers are introduced to a wider, more inclusive definition of architectural ideas. Building Theories considers how contemporary scholarship has steered away from the topic of building in its reluctance to admit that both design and construction are central to its concerns. In response, it argues for a realignment of architecture with the concept of techné, with a dual commitment to fabrica e ratio, with a productive return to l’art de bien bastir, with the accurate translation of the term Baukunst, and with an appeal to the architect’s ‘composite mind.’ Students, practitioners, and educators will identify in Building Theories ways of thinking that strive for the integration of design with construction; reject the supposed primacy of the former over the latter; recognize how aesthetics are an insufficient scaffold for subtending the subject of architectural ethics; and accept, without reservation, that material transformations have always been at the origins of built form.
APPENDIX: Essays by Oskar Strnad, Heinrich Kulka, and Josef Frank -- NOTES -- BIBLIOGRAPHY -- INDEX -- A -- B -- C -- D -- E -- F -- G -- H -- I -- J -- K -- L -- M -- N -- O -- P -- R -- S -- T -- U -- V -- W -- Z
Bringing to light the debt twentieth-century modernist architects owe to the vernacular building traditions of the Mediterranean region, this book considers architectural practice and discourse from the 1920s to the 1980s. The essays here situate Mediterranean modernism in relation to concepts such as regionalism, nationalism, internationalism, critical regionalism, and postmodernism - an alternative history of the modern architecture and urbanism of a critical period in the twentieth century.
In Making Dystopia, distinguished architectural historian James Stevens Curl tells the story of the advent of architectural Modernism in the aftermath of the First World War, its protagonists, and its astonishing, almost global acceptance after 1945. He argues forcefully that the triumph of architectural Modernism in the second half of the twentieth century led to massive destruction, the creation of alien urban landscapes, and a huge waste of resources. Moreover, the coming of Modernism was not an inevitable, seamless evolution, as many have insisted, but a massive, unparalled disruption that demanded a clean slate and the elimination of all ornament, decoration, and choice. Tracing the effects of the Modernist revolution in architecture to the present, Stevens Curl argues that, with each passing year, so-called 'iconic' architecture by supposed 'star' architects has become more and more bizarre, unsettling, and expensive, ignoring established contexts and proving to be stratospherically remote from the aspirations and needs of humanity. In the elite world of contemporary architecture, form increasingly follows finance, and in a society in which the 'haves' have more and more, and the 'have-nots' are ever more marginalized, he warns that contemporary architecture continues to stack up huge potential problems for the future, as housing costs spiral out of control, resources are squandered on architectural bling, and society fractures. This courageous, passionate, deeply researched, and profoundly argued book should be read by everyone concerned with what is around us. Its combative critique of the entire Modernist architectural project and its apologists will be highly controversial to many. But it contains salutary warnings that we ignore at our peril. And it asks awkward questions to which answers are long overdue.
Julius Ralph Davidson is widely known as the architect of Thomas Mann’s house. Born 1889 in Berlin, Davidson left Germany in 1923 and emigrated to the USA. In Los Angeles, he designed some 150 projects, among them three houses for the experimental Case Study House Program. This long overdue publication is a comprehensive documentation of Davidson’s life and work, highlighting J.R.’s contribution to modernism in California in the 1930s and 1940s.
These in-depth, historical, and critical essays study the meaning of ornament, the role it played in the formation of modernism, and its theoretical importance between the mid-nineteenth century and the late twentieth century in England and Germany. Ranging from Owen Jones to Ernst Gombrich through Gottfried Semper, Alois Riegl, August Schmarsow, Wilhelm Worringer, Adolf Loos, Henry van de Velde, and Hermann Muthesius, the contributors show how artistic theories are deeply related to the art practice of their own times, and how ornament is imbued with historical and social meaning.