All posts tagged: History

Architecture of Memory: On the Relevance of Memory in Architecture

The link between Architecture and Memory is quite ancient. Numerous accounts have been written on how architecture was used as a memory tool. We learn from stories of the Greek poet Simonides, who identified from his memory every visitor in a banquet associating them with architectural setting. This art of memory often called “memory palace” was transmitted from Greeks to Romans and then into European tradition of storytelling. It was common to rehearse speech associating it with the landscape, the porch, the steps, the bedroom or balcony. Hypneretomachia Poliphili, a fifteenth-century Italian text shows Poliphilo in a dark forest, describing ancient marvels “deserving of a place in the theatre of memory” who encounters ruins of classical buildings in search for his beloved Polia in his dream. After the invention of the printing press, with books readily available, memorization techniques were less in demand. Later, memories were distrusted and frowned upon as an unreliable source. Frances Yates claims in Art of Memory that we, moderns, have no memory at all. Giordano Bruno, a sixteenth-century Italian polymath, …

A History of Western Architecture

Properly covering the history of architecture in any single volume is a big challenge, but David Watkin successfully covers thousands of years with about 700 pages in his book, A History of Western Architecture. The book begins the journey with early Mesopotamian Temples from 3600BC and then travels through all the major architectural movements, including Classical, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Modernism, and the rest of the 20th Century. As the title suggests, the book focuses on the western part of the world – Europe, Scandinavia, and North America are the main focus of the text. The book provides a very good history of architecture and combines easy to understand prose with excellent images of the structures. The fifth edition of the book covers all relevant western architecture up to the mid-2000s. The work from the 2000s is fairly thin, but this is understandable given that these buildings are too new for their relevance in history to be fully understood. The pages are full of high-quality images of the buildings being discussed. Almost every page has …

A Global History of Architecture by Francis D. K. Ching, Mark M. Jarzombek, Vikramaditya Prakash

The first textbook on the history of architecture to expand beyond architecture of the western world, A Global History of Architecture transcends older models of architectural history that had been organized around national or regional units. Instead of focusing on Egypt, Greece, Rome in that order, the book asks, for example, what was happening globally around the year 1000 AD and engages in a discussion of the connections, exchanges, contrasts, and influences in the architecture and cultures of that time across the globe. Its organizing principle is a continuous timeline that runs from the pre-history to the present.  Written by a glamorous team of architectural educators, this richly illustrated reference features the unique drawings of Francis D.K. Ching as well as detailed photographs.  This book is sure to change how architectural history is studied and appreciated. More details are to be found here: Photo Courtesy: Wiley