Summer Assignment

Summer Assignment: Idea Mapping

  1. Dell Upton, “Architectural History or Landscape History?” Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), Vol. 44, No. 4 (Aug., 1991), pp. 195-199.
  2. Upton argues that the old strategies used by architectural historians no longer suffice, and should move towards a new strategy. One that is fundamentally different from the previous strategies, which would focus on the human experience of its own landscape.
  3. Dell Upton is a Professor of Architectural History, and a Chair for the Department of Art History at the University of California. His education includes: B.A. History and English at Colgate University, M.A. American Civilization at Brown University, and Ph.D. American Civilization at Brown University. Upton is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. Some of his publications include: Holy Things and Profane: Anglican Parish Churches in Colonial Virginia, Madaline: Love and Survival in Antebellum New Orleans, America’s Architectural Roots: Ethnic Groups That Built America, and Common Places: Readings in American Vernacular Architecture.
  4. Upton supports his argument by first dispelling the model of architectural history which categorizes architecture into either low or high architecture, and which considered: “What was legitimate in architectural history fell within the architect’s realm; what was not encompassed by professional architecture was illegitimate.” This strategy assumes aesthetic universals, the individual work as the unit of analysis, and the distinction between creator and audience. While the second strategy tries to set architecture into a context, by wrestling with issues from one of the branches of architectural with the other. This cannot yield a new understanding of architectural history because studies of the high style and the vernacular rely so heavily upon one another that useful gains cannot be found. The third strategy, which Upton prefers, is one of the cultural landscape which takes into consideration the fact that there can be no normative perception (in other words there can be no aesthetic universals), therefore the human environment is the product of many different imaginations and is not necessarily perceived the same from person to person, or culture to culture. It makes no attempt at universalizing that, which cannot be simplified to architectural decorum, or the knowing of what to do in which settings.
  5. Architecture as a profession, The high style, Cultural landscape
  6. See attached diagram
  7. Architecture as a profession

Philip Thiel, “Unique Profession, Unique Preparation”, Journal of Architectural Education (1947-1974), Vol. 17, No. 1 (Oct., 1962), pp. 8-13.

Key terms: uniqueness of profession, the human space (one part physical, one part perceptual),

Lynda Schneekloth, Robert Shibley, “Implacing Architecture into the Practice of Placemaking”, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Feb., 2000), pp. 130-140

Key terms: the common implacement of architecture, placemaking, synthetic mix of knowledges

The high style

Gülsüm Baydar Nalbantoğlu, “Beyond Lack and Excess: Other Architectures/OtherLandscapes”, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Sept., 2000), pp. 20-27.

Key terms: nonarchitecture, the discipline’s self-constructed boundaries, obsessions of the architectural discipline

Cultural landscape

Richard Schein, “Cultural Landscape Studies: Reception and the Social Mediation of Meaning”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 65, No. 1. (Mar., 2006), pp. 17-18.

Key terms: focus on reception, the place of landscape, vernacular

  1. Upton’s article refers to the importance of architecture as a profession to the first strategy of   architectural history. Only through specialized education could one truly have the proper knowledge to understand what to do in which setting, and design high architecture as a apposed to low. In the article. “Implacing Architecture into the Practice of Placemaking”, Shibley states: “the common implacement of architecture within the paradigm of expert culture is a modern practice even though architecture itself is very old and has contributed to the making of the world for centuries.” However most of the built world has always been the work of nonarchitects. In history architects claims to expertise have tried to differentiate it from the work of these nonarchitects. Much of architectural history draws from the work of nonarchitects, and now modern work, which has it basis from precedents in history, claim to be superior to the vernacular with their high style. The high style would have no basis if it were not for the work of nonarchitects and the vernacular.The term high style or high architecture was driven from the idea that architects as professionals had a higher understanding and level of sophistication than nonarchitects. Therefore work by a nonarchitect was not considered to be true architecture. The article “Beyond Lack and Excess: Other Architectures/OtherLandscapes” discusses the term nonarchitecture coined by believers in the high style, and how the synthesis of this nonarchitecture sets up self-constructed boundaries in the discipline. If much of what was coined nonarchitecture explores are the same ideas and parallel issues that fascinate architects, and are obsessions of the architectural discipline, it leaves one to wonder why nonarchitecture would be excluded.Like Upton Schein desires a new type of architectural history. In his article: “Cultural Landscape Studies: Reception and the Social Mediation of Meaning” he states that his goal is not to “excavate in order to recover the foundational or essential intention behind or meaning of a building’s design or construction.” (Schein, pp. 17) The first strategy for architectural history assumes aesthetic universals and a distinction between creator and audience; however, universals demand norms of perception. Therefore the first strategy cannot remain afloat if one is to consider the infinite possibilities in terms of the users perceptions. Schein desires to start with the buildings reception, in other words the meanings discovered by the users that are unintended and uncontrolled by the architect. This means the distinction between high style and vernacular has no place in the users perception as the core idea associated with a project is no longer relevant in the eyes of the user, who is unlikely to ever boil a project down to its bare idea.
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