The Architectural Capriccio: Memory, Fantasy and Invention, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Architectural Capriccio

Memory, Fantasy and Invention, 1st Edition

Edited by Lucien Steil


548 pages

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Paperback: 9781138246447
pub: 2016-09-09
Hardback: 9781409431916
pub: 2013-12-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315241326
pub: 2016-12-05
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Bringing together leading writers and practicing architects including Jean Dethier, David Mayernik, Massimo Scolari, Robert Adam, David Watkin and Leon Krier, this volume provides a kaleidoscopic, multilayered exploration of the Architectural Capriccio. It not only explains the phenomena within a historical context, but moreover, demonstrates its contemporary validity and appropriateness as a holistic design methodology, an inspiring pictorial strategy, an efficient rendering technique and an optimal didactic tool. The book shows and comments on a wide range of historic masterworks and highlights contemporary artists and architects excelling in a modern updated, refreshed and original tradition of the Capriccio. The capacity of the Capriccio to create an imaginary, imagined or 'analogue' reality by combining and relocating existing or invented buildings and places in uniquely suggestive drawings and paintings offers unprecedented insights in the 'Architectural Mind'. Unlike what the word Capriccio might suggest, it is not 'capricious' but indeed follows complex rules of realism and figuration, as well as coherent narratives and semantics. It is a playful reflection of the dialectics of the real and the ideal. The Capriccio does not challenge the mechanism of reality, but questions the mechanic and linear reading of the real, of life and of art and offers a large palette of threads, figures, tones and nuances to illustrate and contribute creatively to the complexity of a sustainable built and living architectural environment.


' … nearly encyclopedic … lavishly illustrated … this collaborative discourse seeks to elevate a once-trivialized art form to noble genre status by polemically redefining its purpose as that of antidote to a modern world impoverished by lifeless, functionalist architectural forms. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.' Choice 'This tome is a significant contribution to the understanding of the concept of the architectural capriccio, offering a broad discussion and examination of many facets of the phenomenon.' Follies

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword: Capriccio: the efficacy of spatial narrative, Michael Graves; Preface: The Architectual Capriccio: memory, fantasy, invention, Lucien Steil; Introduction, Alireza Sagharchi; ’Il Capriccio’, definition of the capriccio (caprice) in the French Larousse dictionary, trans. Julie Kleinman; Meaning and purpose of the Capriccio, David Mayernik; The poietic image, Samir Younés; The Capricci of Giovanni Paolo Panini, David Mayernik; Patronage in the golden age of the Capriccio, Selena Anders; The grand tour, Lucien Steil; Capriccio: the leap of the goat or the unexpected, Jose Cornelio da Silva; Metaphors for a political urban landscape: Schinkel’s Capricci of a ’new Athens-on-the-Spree’, Jean-François Lejeune; J.M. Gandy’s composite views for John Soane, William Palin; American Capriccio: imaginary architecture in 19th-century painting, Gail Leggio; The Capricci of Carl Laubin, David Watkin; Symmetria and ethics, the didactic Capriccio, David Ligare; Settings: Emily Allchurch and the old masters, Xavier Bray and Minna Moore Ede; Massimo Scolari, Leon Krier; Drawing, Leon Krier; Capriccio, Leon Krier; 'Imago Luxemburgi', Leon Krier; The Capriccio and poetical realism, Lucien Steil; Urban chiaroscuro (after Piranesi): behind the scenes, Emily Allchurch; Sublime architecture: capricci in sketchbook and paintings, Lucien Steil; Le Corbusier’s eye and the vanishing point of modernity, David Brain; The architectural project, an homage to Rob Krier, Lucien Steil; 'La citta analoga': thoughts on the urban Capriccio for the design of real cities, Pier Carlo Bontempi; Magical realism in Miami, Javier Cenicaceleya; A very British Capriccio, Alireza Sagharchi; Building the Capriccio, Robert Adam; Capricci capricciosi, Ettore Maria Mazzola; The double nature of the architectural Capriccio: from pictorial fiction to urban reality, Jean Dethier; Postface: 'techne' and technology, Lucien Steil; The aura of the computer generated image: or virtuosity and

About the Editor

Lucien Steil is an Associate Professor in Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, USA and Rome.

About the Series

Ashgate Studies in Architecture

Ashgate Studies in Architecture
The discipline of Architecture is undergoing subtle transformation as design awareness permeates our visually dominated culture. Technological change, the search for sustainability and debates around the value of place and meaning of the architectural gesture are aspects which will affect the cities we inhabit. This series seeks to address such topics, both theoretically and in practice, through the publication of high quality original research, written and visual. Topics to be covered include the following: Architectural history and theory and their relationship to the development of the discipline, building conservation, heritage and creative adaptation. The formal and aesthetic values of architectural design, the diversity of its expression of identity, and its representation in other media. The impact of technological innovation on the materialisation of architecture and the questions surrounding environmental sustainability, experimentation and visionary design The social and psychological context of architectural production, its relationship to occupants, clients and to other creative and professional disciplines, and the political situation in which it is commissioned. Proposals will be welcomed which explore or connect aspects of these themes. Subjects which deal with individual architects, with specific buildings or building types, and the critical interpretation of historical and contemporary architecture from a theoretical or philosophical perspective are particularly encouraged. Architecture's embodiment of technical, social, and aesthetic aspects will also be emphasised.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / General
ARCHITECTURE / Adaptive Reuse & Renovation