The Classical Language of Architecture

The Classical Language of Architecture - The MIT Press

Revised and enl Edition

Paperback (01 Jan 1966)

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Publisher's Synopsis

The author's purpose is to set out as simply and vividly as possible the exact grammatical workings of an architectural language.

Classical architecture is a visual "language" and like any other language has its own grammatical rules. Classical buildings as widely spaced in time as a Roman temple, an Italian Renaissance palace and a Regency house all show an awareness of these rules even if they vary them, break them or poetically contradict them. Sir Christopher Wren described them as the "Latin" of architecture and the analogy is almost exact. There is the difference, however, that whereas the learning of Latin is a slow and difficult business, the language of classical architecture is relatively simple. It is still, to a great extent, the mode of expression of our urban surroundings, since classical architecture was the common language of the western world till comparatively recent times. Anybody to whom architecture makes a strong appeal has probably already discovered something of its grammar for himself.

In this book, the author's purpose is to set out as simply and vividly as possible the exact grammatical workings of this architectural language. He is less concerned with its development in Greece and Rome than with its expansion and use in the centuries since the Renaissance. He explains the vigorous discipline of "the orders" and the scope of "rustication"; the dramatic deviations of the Baroque and, in the last chapter, the relationship between the classical tradition and the "modern" architecture of today. The book is intended for anybody who cares for architecture but more specifically for students beginning a course in the history of architecture, to whom a guide to the classical rules will be an essential companion.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262690126
Publisher: The MIT Press
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
Edition: Revised and enl Edition
DEWEY: 722.8
DEWEY edition: 21
Language: English
Weight: 180g
Height: 224mm
Width: 184mm
Spine width: 5mm