Architecture is distinguished from other art forms by its sense of function, its localized quality, its technique, its public and nonpersonal character, and its continuity with the decorative arts. In this important book, Roger Scruton calls for a return to first principles in contemporary architectural theory, contending that the aesthetic of architecture is, in its very essence, an aesthetic of everyday life. Aesthetic understanding is inseparable from a sense of detail and style, from which the appropriate, the expressive, the beautiful, and the proportionate take their meaning. Scruton provides incisive critiques of the romantic, functionalist, and rationalist theories of design, and of the Freudian, Marxist, and semiological approaches to aesthetic value. In a new introduction, Scruton discusses how his ideas have developed since the book's original publication thirty years ago, and he assesses the continuing relevance of his argument for the twenty-first century.
Roger Scruton is a visiting professor at Oxford University, where he is also a Fellow at Blackfriars Hall. His many books include Art and Imagination, Sexual Desire, The Aesthetics of Music, and A Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism.
Introduction to the 2013 Edition ix Acknowledgments xxi Preface xxiii 1 Introduction: The problem of architecture 1 Part I 2 Architecture and design 21 3 Has architecture an essence? 34 4 Experiencing architecture 66 5 Judging architecture 96 Part II 6 Freud, Marx and meaning 127 7 The language of architecture 146 8 Expression and abstraction 165 9 The sense of detail 190 10 Conclusion: Architecture and morality 218 Part III Summary 239 Notes 243 Bibliography 275 Index of Names 277 Index of Subjects 283