1st Edition

Architecture, Aesthetics, and the Predicaments of Theory

By Amir H Ameri Copyright 2022
    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    Architecture, Aesthetics, and the Predicaments of Theory offers a critical analysis of the methodological constants and shared critical strategies in the history of theoretical discourse on Western architecture. Central to these constants is the persistent role of aesthetics as a critical tool for the delimitation of architecture. This book analyzes the unceasing critical role aesthetics is given to play in the discourse of architecture.

    The book offers a close and critical reading of three seminal texts from three different periods in the history of theoretical discourse on Western architecture—the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and 19th-century Romanticism. The first text is Leone Battista Alberti's Ten Books on Architecture of 1452, the next Marc-Antoine Laugier’s An Essay on Architecture of 1753, and last, John Ruskin’s The Seven Lamps of Architecture of 1849. Additional influential texts from, among others, the 20th and 21st centuries are engaged with along the way to locate and contextualize the arguments within the broader discursive tradition of Western architecture.

    The book will interest scholars and students of architecture, architectural history and theory, as well as scholars and students of cultural studies, aesthetic philosophy, art history, literary criticism, and related disciplines.

    Table of Contents

    I. In Retrospect

    II. Leone Battista Alberti or The Ten Books on Architecture: From the Beautiful to the Ornamental

    On Design and Matter

    In the Cause of Perfection: On Drawings and Models

    The Ethics of Convenience: On Tyrants and Kings

    Opinions and Judgements: On the Beautiful and the UglyWith Pleasure and Disgust

    On the Ornamental and the Theoretical

    III. Marc-Antoine Laugier or An Essay on Architecture: From the True to the Supplemental


    On Cause and Effect

    The Lesson and the Gift

    On the True and the Beautiful

    On Origination and Substitution

    On the Essential and the Inconsequential

    The Aftermath

    IV. John Ruskin or The Seven Lamps of Architecture: From Incorporation to Dissolution

    On Laws and Lights

    On the Gift With/Out Return

    On Truth and Deception

    On Life and Death, by Analogy

    On Power and Awe

    On Pleasure and Disgust

    On the Borderline

    The Assimilation

    V. The In/Terminable Return

    The Theory’s Predicament


    Amir H. Ameri is Professor of Architecture at the University of Colorado, Denver. He has taught architectural history, theory, and design at various academic institutions throughout the United States. His research and teaching explore the multifaceted dialogue between architecture and culture. His previous book, The Architecture of the Illusive Distance, was published by Ashgate/Routledge.