ARC131H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Spiro Kostof, Cultural Artifact, Institute For Operations Research And The Management Sciences
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Spiro Kostof – Chapter 1: The Study of What We Built
-Architecture is a social act – social both in method and purpose.
-Outcome of teamwork: made use of by groups of people, as small as family or as large as an
-Engages specialized talent, appropriate technology, handsome funds.
-History of architect partakes of the study of the social, economic, and technological systems of
-Every building represents a social artifact or specific impulse, energy, and commitment.
-History is manufactured by historians, and any building or person or event in this process can
acquire as much weight as is consonant with each historian’s purpose.
Four premises that underlie the scope and treatment of the survey:
1. The Oneness of Architecture
-The structure that holds it up, the aesthetic refinement of its appearance, its decoration and
furnishings are all of one piece.
-Not only are Byzantine mosaics physically inseparable from the architectural frame of their
buildings, their placement takes advantage of this frame to set up a ceremonial hierarchy of parts
basic to the theater of liturgy house therein, and their subject informs this theater with precise
-Cannot divorce the structure of a building from the aesthetic conventions that shape its
appearance, what we call its style.
-Structure and form are basically one and the same.
2. The Setting of Architecture
-Buildings belong in a larger setting, within a bit of nature or a neighbourhood of other buildings,
or both, and derives much of its character from this natural or manufactured environment that
-History of architecture may be said to be, in part, the study of the interaction of buildings with
nature and with one another.
-Tools of design such as models and drawings yield a rigid sense of architecture, a sense
furthered by the requisite stability of buildings.
-How buildings are depicted indicates how they are perceived.
3. The Community of Architecture
-All past buildings, regardless of size, status, or consequence, deserve to be studied.
-Built of costly, durable materials, they last longer than their immediate environment because
they are meant to.
-Architecture is high art conscious creation of aesthetic form that transcends the practical
requirements of function and structure.
- This preeminent quality if what Vitruvius, the Roman architect who wrote around the time of
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