A Documentary History from 1000 to 1810
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Author: Liane Lefaivre,Alexander Tzonis
Publisher: Psychology Press
How did Modern Architecture come about as a way of thinking? What were the forces that led to its emergence and evolution? From where did the new desires, values and beliefs, the design methods and building types that make up its cognitive system originate? In this book Liane Lefaivre and Alexander Tzonis bring together 140 documents spanning a period from the year 1000 to the end of the eighteenth century. They argue that Modern Architectural thinking was created during this period, a wholly new forma mentis for conceiving buildings, landscapes, and cities. The material includes, in addition to the more predictable texts, key extracts from architectural treatises, handbooks, and textbooks, material from letters, articles from the press of the times, scientific memoirs, maxims, poems, plays, and novels. Their authors are equally varied architects, patrons, politicians, artists, poets, scientists, priests, philosophers, and journalists. Some describe and systematize, some argue and criticize, and a large number are eager to present new findings and new ways to construe and construct the world. Through these diverse records, figures, and voices Lefaivre and Tzonis reconstruct a process of complex and perplexing events, conflicts, experiments, and interactions. They uncover that modernism is by its very nature multiple and identify what they call the cognitive 'co-revolution', a web of parallel revolutionary changes occurring in courts, monasteries, palaces, villas, academies, and workshops. This is the story of the replacement over a period of eight centuries of an 'archaic' design mentality, based on myth and ritual, with today's modern forms of reasoning. Marked with contradictions, Modern Architecture emerges making use of rigorous science but also freewheeling fantasy, driven by the desire for efficiency as well as for luxury and aesthetic delight, for adventure of experiences and for critical reflection, for global universality and for regionalist identity, for totalitarian power and for emancipation of the deprived and the oppressed.