Spiro Kostof – Chapter 1: The Study of What We Built

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University of Toronto St. George
Architecture Studies
Tatiana Senkevitch

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 entire nation. -Engages specialized talent, appropriate technology, handsome funds. -History of architect partakes of the study of the social, economic, and technological systems of human history. -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 theological meaning. -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 embraces it. -History of architecture may be said to be, in part, the study of the interact
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