Introducing Architectural Theory
Debating a Discipline
Edited by Korydon Smith
Routledge – 2012 – 428 pages
Routledge – 2012 – 428 pages
This is the most accessible architectural theory book that exists. Korydon Smith presents each common architectural subject – such as tectonics, use, and site – as though it were a conversation across history between theorists by providing you with the original text, a reflective text, and a philosophical text. He also introduces each chapter by highlighting key ideas and asking you a set of reflective questions so that you can hone your own theory, which is essential to both your success in the studio and your adaptability in the profession. These primary source texts, which are central to your understanding of the discipline, were written by such architects as Le Corbusier, Robert Venturi, and Adrian Forty. The appendices also have guides to aid your reading comprehension; to help you write descriptively, analytically, and disputationally; and to show you citation styles and how to do library-based research. More than any other architectural theory book about the great thinkers, Introducing Architectural Theory teaches you to think as well.
"This is a very good and timely architectural theory text, especially for undergraduate architecture history, theory, and introductory courses. [The book’s structure] makes it possible for students to develop the ability to understand the transformation of architectural ideas over the course of history and, more importantly, to develop critical thinking skills and understand, at a fairly young age, the most important debates around which the discipline of architecture is constructed. In addition, the questions he poses at the beginning and end of each chapter are clearly stated and challenging. I would recommend it to anyone interested in architecture."
—Jean La Marche, architecture professor and author
Preface: To Educators: The Impetus for this Book Part 1: Debate in Architecture Introduction: To Students: Why Architectural Theory is Vital. Debating a Discipline: Architecture, Argument, and the Concept of the Dialectic Part 2: Dialectical Readings in Architecture 2.1 Tectonics. 1. Simplicity and Complexity: Original Text: Where Do We Stand? Marcel Breuer Reflective Text: Excerpts from Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture Robert Venturi Philosophical Text: On Simplicity Vittorio Gregotti. 2. Ornament and Austerity Original Text: Ornament and Crime Adolf Loos Reflective Text: Ornament and Crime: The Decisive Contribution of Adolf Loos Reyner Banham Philosophical Text: Ornament Is No Crime Joseph Rykwert 3. Honesty and Deception Original Text: The Lamp of Truth John Ruskin Reflective Text: Excerpts from ‘Discourses on Architecture’ Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc Philosophical Text: Truth to the Medium: Using Materials Fil Hearn 4. Material and Immaterial Original Text: Excerpts from The Art of Building in Ten Books (Book III) Leon Battista Alberti Reflective Text: Excerpts from The Eyes of the Skin Juhani Pallasmaa Philosophical Text: Excerpts from Immaterial Architecture Jonathan Hill 2.2 Use 5. Function and Form Original Text: The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered Louis Sullivan Reflective Text: Excerpts from ‘Architecture and Disjunction’ Bernard Tschumi Philosophical Text: Function Adrian Forty 6. Function and Form (part 2) Original Text: Excerpts from ‘An American Architecture’ Frank L. Wright Reflective Text: Post-Functionalism Peter Eisenman Philosophical Text: Purpose, Function, Use Richard Hill 7. Body and Building Original Text: Excerpts from The Ten Books on Architecture (Book III) Marcus Vitruvius Reflective Text: Le Modulor Le Corbusier Philosophical Text: Hidden Lines: Gender, Race, and the Body Lance Hosey 8. Proportion and Organization Original Text: Excerpts from The Four Books on Architecture Andrea Palladio Reflective Text: The Plan of the Modern House Le Corbusier Philosophical Text: The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa Colin Row 2.3 Site 9. Context and Building Original Text: Excerpts from The Radiant City Le Corbusier Reflective Text: Excerpts from The Death and Life of Great American Cities Jane Jacobs Philosophical Text: Contextualism: Urban Ideals and Deformations Tom Schumacher 10. Context and Building (part 2) Original Text: Experts from The Ten Books on Architecture (Book I) Marcus Vitruvius Reflective Text: Excerpts from Learning from Las Vegas Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour Philosophical Text: Context Adrian Forty 11. Natural and Constructed Original Text: Excerpts from ‘An Essay on Architecture’ Marc-Antoine Laugier Reflective Text: Territory and Architecture Vittorio Gregotti Philosophical Text: On Site: Architectural Preoccupations Carol Burns 12. Natural and Constructed (part 2) Original Text: Excerpts from 'Genius Loci' Christian Norburg-Shulz Reflective Text: Excerpts from ‘Place and Placelessness’ Edward Relph Philosophical Text: Genius Loci: Hidden Truth or Hidden Agenda? Kathryn Moore Appendices (for students) Guide to Reading Comprehension and Analysis. Guide to Descriptive, Analytical, and Disputational Writing. Guide to Citation Styles. Guide to Library-based Research
Korydon Smith is Associate Professor in the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. He teaches courses in architectural theory, methods, and design, and has coordinated design studios at all year levels.