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On the Ruins of BabelArchitectural Metaphor in German Thought$
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Daniel Purdy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801476761

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.001.0001

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Science or Art? Architecture’s Place within the Disciplines

Science or Art? Architecture’s Place within the Disciplines

(p.29) 2 Science or Art? Architecture’s Place within the Disciplines
On the Ruins of Babel

Daniel L. Purdy

Cornell University Press

This chapter details the historical background to two particular tensions of the architectural discipline: between the proposition that an architect creates as an independent thinker and the idea that they create as a technical engineer responding to a client's needs. For much of the Enlightenment, the advocacy of engineering principles in architecture constituted a broad critique of the social hierarchy implicit in the classical orders, claiming that architecture, when divorced from the few ostentatious structures required by the elite, should not concern itself with beauty or any other aesthetic category but instead should respond to utilitarian requirements. A second reaction to the perceived irrelevance of the orders was an entirely new architectural aesthetic, which understood the building as expressing a character that elicited an emotional response within the spectator.

Keywords:   classical orders, building, social hierarchy, utilitarian architecture, architectural aesthetics

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