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.
How to Use This Book
1. Foundations of a Modern Discipline
2. Organising the Past
4. How Useful?
5. History and Theory
- 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