Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation: The Question of Creativity in the Shadow of Production

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In this long-awaited work, Dalibor Vesely proposes an alternative to the narrowvision of contemporary architecture as a discipline that can be treated as an instrument orcommodity. In doing so, he offers nothing less than an account of the ontological and culturalfoundations of modern architecture and, consequently, of the nature and cultural role ofarchitecture through history. Vesely’s argument, structured as a critical dialogue, discovers thefirst plausible anticipation of modernity in the formation of Renaissance perspective. Understandingthis notion of perspective against the background of the medieval philosophy of light, he argues,leads to an understanding of architectural space as formed by typical human situations and by lightbefore it is structured geometrically. The central part of the book addresses the question ofdivided representation–the tension between the instrumental and the communicative roles ofarchitecture–in the period of the baroque, when architectural thinking was seriously challenged bythe emergence of modern science.Vesely argues that to resolve the dilemma of modernity– reconcilingthe inventions and achievements of modern technology with the human condition and the naturalworld–we can turn to architecture and its latent capacity to reconcile different levels of reality,its ability to relate abstract ideas and conceptual structures to the concrete situations ofeveryday life. Vesely sees the restoration of this communicative role of architecture as the key tothe restoration of architecture as the topological and corporeal foundation of culture; what thebook is to our literacy, he argues, architecture is to culture as a whole. He concludes by proposinga new poetics of architecture that will serve as a framework for the restoration of the humanisticrole of architecture in the age of technology.

Book Author:

Dalibor Vesely


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