Architecture is a philosophical puzzle. Although we spend most of our time in buildings, we rarely reflect on what they mean or how we experience them. With some notable exceptions, they have generally struggled to be taken seriously as works of art compared to painting or music and have been rather overlooked by philosophers. In On Architecture, Fred Rush argues this is a consequence of neglecting the role of the body in architecture. Our encounter with a building is first and foremost a bodily one; buildings are lived-in, communal spaces and their construction reveals a lot about our relation to the environment as a whole.
Drawing on examples from architects classic and contemporary such as Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, and exploring the significance of buildings in relation to film and music and philosophers such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, Fred Rush argues that philosophical reflection on building can tell us something important about the human condition.
Table of Contents
1. Building or Architecture?
2. Building in History and Philosophy
3. Modern Building and After
4. Building and Other Arts
5. Buildings and Bodies
6. Buildings and More Buildings
7. Building and the Dead
As Fred Rush argues, various attempts over the last century to lend conceptual gravity to architecture have eclipsed our experience of it. On Architecture, his sustained and exacting reflection on the inevitably embodied nature of experience, returns to architecture the multi-sensory immersion foundational to its very perception. In adding material encounters to conceptual categories, Rush proposes not only that architecture is a distinct form of knowing, but that it has also the potential to enrich such elemental human faculties as memory and a sense of place.
-Sandy Isenstadt, Yale University
Fred Rush has written a lucid, engaging essay on architectural theory and practice. . . . [He] writes with a formidable knowledge of classical aesthetics, does not shy away from taking a critical stand on a number of modern and contemporary buildings, and argues persuasively for the value of a phenomenologically inspired architecture.
-James Dodd, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews