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Geoffrey Scott and Architectural Modernism Essay

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on May 22, 2013
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 3,320 words

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Below is an essay on "Geoffrey Scott and Architectural Modernism" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Michael Holehouse 1324329



The modernist movement that began at the start the 20th century had an influential and lasting effect on architecture. Geoffrey Scott’s book ‘The Architecture of Humanism’ was published in 1914 on the brink of this modern movement. Scott identifies three schemes of criticism which can be ‘rational’ and ‘complete’ only within their own province1. The three schemes are construction, convenience, and aesthetics2. Central to Scott position is that we must have a ‘disinterested desire for beauty’ in architecture3. Scott argues that we must ‘examine the buildings themselves and take the evidence of our own sensations’4. Scott’s main idea is that we must keep an independence of aesthetic judgment. Scott outlines four fallacies that contemporary critics use to judge the aesthetic value of architecture. They are the romantic, mechanical, biological and ethical fallacies. The romantic fallacy is to regard architecture as symbolic where ‘the precise forms are less important than the meanings to which they refer’5. In this form of architectural judgment ‘the whole process is purely literary, its charm is in the literary value of the idea itself...’6 The mechanical fallacy is to be primarily concerned with knowledge of structure when making an aesthetic judgment. Scott believes that insincere or wasteful use of structure in a building should not affect our aesthetic judgment of it. Here Scott proclaims that structures only affect on aesthetic understanding should be purely psychological. The biological fallacy is to introduce the concept of evolution when making an architectural judgment. Here architecture is judged as part of a sequence. In this method of criticism the beginning of a style will be considered aesthetically immature when compared to later more developed stages in the style. The ethical fallacy is where a ‘moral judgment claims an authority superior to the aesthetic.’7 A moral judgment can conclude that a certain form is...

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