John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture (Hardback) book cover

John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture

By Anuradha Chatterjee

© 2018 – Routledge

144 pages

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Hardback: 9781472449436
pub: 2017-09-29
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Description

Through the theoretical lenses of dress studies, gender, science, and visual studies, this volume analyses the impact John Ruskin has had on architecture throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explores Ruskin’s different ideologies, such as the adorned wall veil, which were instrumental in bringing focus to structures that were previously unconsidered.

John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture examines the ways in which Ruskin perceives the evolution of architecture through the idea that architecture is surface. The creative act in architecture, analogous to the divine act of creation, was viewed as a form of dressing. By adding highly aesthetic features to designs, taking inspiration from the 'veil' of women’s clothing, Ruskin believed that buildings could be transformed into meaningful architecture. This volume discusses the importance of Ruskin’s surface theory and the myth of feminine architecture, and additionally presents a competing theory of textile analogy in architecture based on morality and gender to counter Gottfried Semper’s historicist perspective.

This book would be beneficial to students and academics of architectural history and theory, gender studies and visual studies who wish to delve into Ruskin’s theories and to further understand his capacity for thinking beyond the historical methods. The book will also be of interest to architectural practitioners, particularly Ruskin’s theory of surface architecture.

Reviews

"The idea of the wall-veil is foremost in Ruskin’s vison of architecture, yet remains – intentionally – mysterious. This concentrated study re–veals its latent, layered meanings, unpicking Ruskin’s dress-codes in their various aspects of soul, body, the femininity of architecture, and so forth. Close intra-textual and inter-textual readings skilfully place these notions in the context, both of Ruskin’s own multi-faceted volumes, and of other works of inspiration and commentary – notably the philosophy of clothes of Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus"

Stephen Kite, Professor, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Wales, UK

"What a terrific book! It is of such high quality, both text and stunning illustrations. It is a fascinating Ruskinian architectural journey through France and Italy. The book gives us new eyes to see old architecture that we are so familiar with, yet do not see! And I like the fact that in the last chapter, the author brings it up to date with Ruskin and modern architecture."

Cynthia Gamble, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter; Author of Proust as Interpreter of Ruskin: The Seven Lamps of Translation; and Former Chairman of the Ruskin Society.

John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture insightfully revisits the Ruskin’s writings on architecture to demonstrate his vision of walls as surface. By engaging in a novel multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of surface, gender and dress studies, Anuradha Chatterjee revises long held assumptions about Ruskin’s architectural theories and their impact on nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her richly illustrated monograph will be of enduring interest for Ruskin scholars, architectural historians and Victorianists.

Bénédicte Coste, University of Burgundy, France

Table of Contents

Introduction: John Ruskin and the space of surface

1.Ruskin's theory of the wall (veil)

2.Architecture as dressed female body

3.Ruskin's theory of dress

4.The adorned edifice(s)

5.Ruskin effects

About the Author

Anuradha Chatterjee is an architectural historian and theorist based in Sydney. She completed her MArch and PhD from the University of New South Wales. Anuradha is the author of Built, Unbuilt, and Imagined Sydney (COPAL Publishing, 2015) and Surface and Deep Histories (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), and the founding editor of online refereed journal The Eighth Lamp: Ruskin Studies Today.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARC000000
ARCHITECTURE / General