The Architecture of Luxury: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Architecture of Luxury

1st Edition

By Annette Condello


182 pages

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Over the past century, luxury has been increasingly celebrated in the sense that it is no longer a privilege (or attitude) of the European elite or America’s leisure class. It has become more ubiquitous and now, practically everyone can experience luxury, even luxury in architecture. Focusing on various contexts within Western Europe, Latin America and the United States, this book traces the myths and application of luxury within architecture, interiors and designed landscapes. Spanning from antiquity to the modern era, it sets out six historical categories of luxury - Sybaritic, Lucullan, architectural excess, rustic, neoEuropean and modern - and relates these to the built and unbuilt environment, taking different cultural contexts and historical periods into consideration. It studies some of the ethical questions raised by the nature of luxury in architecture and discusses whether architectural luxury is an unqualified benefit or something which should only be present within strict limits. The author argues how the ideas of permissible and impermissible luxury have informed architecture and how these notions of ethical approval have changed from one context to another. Providing voluptuous settings for the nobles and the leisure class, luxury took the form of not only grand palaces, but also follies, country and suburban houses, private or public entertainment venues and ornate skyscrapers with fast lifts. The Architecture of Luxury proposes that in Western societies the growth of the leisure classes and their desire for various settings for pleasure resulted in a constantly increasing level of ’luxury’ sought within everyday architecture.


'By relying on a wide range of resources such as classical texts, poems, novels, paintings and photos, Condello convincingly argues for a continuum of luxury and shows that luxury continues to be creative in architecture …the book is above all a very inspiring read which should stimulate further and more critical debates.' LSE Review of Books

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Sybaris as a marker of luxury; Lucullan luxury; Architectural excess; Luxurious spaces and the rustic; NeoEuropean luxury; The dispersal of modern luxury; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Annette Condello is a Lecturer in Architecture at Curtin University, Australia.

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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