What is Architectural History?
July 2010, Polity
Read alongside introductory surveys of western and global architectural history, this book will open up questions of perspective, frame, and intent for students of architecture, art history, and history. Graduate students and established architectural historians will find much in this book to fuel discussions over the current state of the field in which they work.
List of illustrations vii
How to use this book xii
1 Foundations of a modern discipline 9
Architectural history as the architect’s patrimony 13
The architect as artist 19
Architecture and empirical knowledge 25
Architecture and culture 31
A modern discipline? 36
2 Organizing the past 41
Style and period 44
Geography and culture 57
Theme and analogy 71
3 Evidence 76
4 How useful? 97
5 History and theory 115
Further reading 156
Index of names 164
- Introductory overview of the discipline of architectural history, in the What is History? series.
- Provides students with an entry point to the major theories, concepts, and debates around the study of the history of architecture.
- Highlights the influence of related disciplines such as art history and critical theory on the study of architecture.
- Emphasises the importance of architectural history and theory to the practice of architecture.
Architectural Research Quarterly
"Though the book is aimed primarily at students in schools of
architecture and departments of art history, the clarity of Leach's
prose and his penetrating syntheses make the book useful even for a
more senior audience."
Journal of Architectural Education
"A timely arrival in the wake of claims for architecture's
'critical' and 'post-critical' status, this concise little book
will prove a valuable compass to the on-going debates over the
nature and future of architectural history. In a series of catholic
cross-sections, Leach offers an erudite and even-handed account of
the main lines of the discipline's (often divergent) developments
even as he asks difficult questions regarding architectural
historians' most basic assumptions."
John Harwood, Oberlin College
"In this remarkable book, Andrew Leach makes the complex topic
of historical knowledge in architecture accessible to a wide
audience. He examines the discipline from multiple perspectives,
considering the shifts in theoretical and methodological positions
and situating them in their historic contexts. He reveals the
richness of the field by highlighting its strategies, ambiguities,
engagements with other disciplines, negotiations between polarities
(high culture/low culture and the general /the particular), and
relationship to architectural practice. Through a careful analysis
of key texts, Leach leads the reader to the ultimate question of
the meaning of architectural history today."
Zeynip Celik, New Jersey Institute of Technology
"This is a very welcome addition to the sparsely populated field
of studies on the historiography of architectural history. It is
written in a clear, engaging and jargon-free language, but offers
advanced undergraduate and graduate students an intellectually very
sophisticated grounding in the origins and development of
architectural history. By defining architectural history not as a
purely academic pursuit, but as a cultural practice taking as its
subject the multiple cultural agencies architecture exercises, it
solidly places writing architectural history at the centre of
today's reflection on culture."
Caroline van Eck, Leiden University