A Background to Architecture

A Background to Architecture

A Background to Architecture

A Background to Architecture

Excerpt

This analysis is not, properly speaking, a history of architecture. In its comparatively short compass, it is much less than that; in its aim, it is, if not more than the usual technical history, certainly different. The facts have been set forth many times at great and little length and their philosophy discussed in many fascinating works, but before we are ready to understand these in detail, we should gain some broader vision of what architecture is, realize the part it has played in the general development of civilization and discover, if we can, some fundamental laws to guide us in our judgment of the work which surrounds us today, as well as of that which remains from the ages of the past.

To make these things clear in a simple way is the present aim. Some years of teaching the beginnings of architectural knowledge have shown the need of such a preface to the existing histories, which, from the very largeness of the subject, often confuse one who has not the key to the mystery, by their mass of facts and specialized terms. There is no intention here to duplicate what they have already given so adequately, to take arbitrary positions on debated questions, or to dictate to anyone in matters of taste; there is merely an endeavor to show forth the principles on which the recognized architectural achievements have depended for their success, to explain how intimately these achievements have been connected with the other manifestations of the period or race which produced . . .

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