Palladio's Children: Essays on Everyday Environment and the Architect
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Based on many years of personal observation, Palladio's Children critically examines the role of the architect as a professional descendent of Palladio, and as an heir to his architectural legacy. Seven innovative and carefully crafted essays explore the widening ideological schism between today’s architects whose core values, identity and education remain rooted in the Renaissance legacy of creating artful ‘masterpieces’, and the practical demands on a profession which acts within an evolving, ubiquitous and autonomous built environment or ‘field’.
Clearly written yet expressing complex, evolving ideas, this extended argument opens a new forum of debate across design theory, professional practice and academic issues. Moving the subject on from a historical perspective, Habraken shows how architects are increasingly involved in the design of everyday buildings. This must lead to a reassessment of architects’ identities, values and education, and the contribution of the architect in the shaping of the built environment.
Alberti’s On the Art of Building in Ten Books may be understood as the compilation of all that can be learned about Architecture without actually building: it is compatible with a definition of architecture as a body of abstract knowledge. Alberti’s broad audience of patrons was comprised of humanists. In a time full of energy and new expectations, they applauded this new assertion of professional power. Ancient custom credited patrons with “building” works of renown: the emperor Hadrian “built”
the two, and an expression of the culture of the age. The churches on the island of Mykonos are scattered over the hillsides, freestanding white and vaulted volumes. One wall rises above the tiled roof and holds a bell. Although sited apart from the clustered villages and farm compounds, their thematic unity with the broader fabric exemplifies the special as a thematic transformation remaining close to the source. Another example of thematic closeness of the special building is found in Ming
Americas. Canal house architecture was built upon extant social memory, the town hall expressed the values of an international elite. In a similar way, North American town halls and court houses obey the compositional canons of a far-flung neo-classical network and display impeccable proportions, while the skillful realization of wooden columns and pediment is solidly embedded in the local vernacular of clapboard houses and barns. Such co-existence made it possible for the Palladian tradition to
theorizing on architecture needs to focus. At the very least, we may thereby escape the isolation from the common which is Alberti’s legacy, while celebrating the clarity of our Palladian heritage of well-crafted design. Our return to the field thus sets into play a new game, at once more subtle and more complex. To be successful we need not shed our recent heritage as much as we need to temper it with a new level of sophistication that demands new skills and knowledge. ~ 127 ~ PC CH 6-3
abstraction. It is yet another result of ignorance among the profession of what has always made fields work and stems from a lack of interest in human territorial needs. Throughout environmental history, those fundamental needs had provided one of the most prolific sources of architectural expression. A convincing embodiment of that ignorance is found in the celebrated Amsterdam School façades. The designers’ architectural articulation in that demonstration of architectural exuberance was