Traditional architecture steps out of the shadows of history to challenge today’s results of the modern building process. While critics may find a lot to disagree with in this book, Léon Krier presents a comprehensive treatise of architecture based on harmony and timeless proportions. No matter which side of the traditional versus modern debate you stand on, Krier’s "The Architecture of Community" is a must-read, with a foreword by Howard A.M. Stern and the Last Word by James Kunslter (author of "Too Much Magic").
Krier demonstrates the lost language of architecture. His book explains the fundamental elements of the language of traditional architecture that was once a part of our collective understanding of the world. The use of fossil fuel based building materials, the loss of craftsmanship skills, and the wholesale dismissal of historic precedents by the architectural intelligentsia have all contributed to a widespread loss of architectural knowledge in today's building culture. It is the author’s intent to revive the lost art of making authentic architecture and “architecturally tuning” it according to the context.
We need to dig at the roots of architecture. In "The Architecture of Community," Krier expands on his theories from his 1998 book "Architecture: Choice or Fate." He argues that our society should uncover the foundations of architecture so that today’s building culture can release new sprouts for renewal. The book is a collection of essays, sketches, illustrations, and photographs of Krier’s proposed built places and buildings from around the world.
It’s a children’s book for adults. One unique aspect of Léon Krier’s publications is his incredibly clear, almost childlike drawings. In these easy-to-understand and diagrammatical illustrations, he successfully condenses the vast and complex field of architecture and urbanism into basic building blocks. While usually difficult for architecture theorists to easily discuss the intricacies of our built environment, Krier advocates reviving an “authentic, traditional culture” to replace our prevailing building practice.
Krier writes about architecture, not of architecture. Since he breaks down architecture into basic building blocks, he is essentially giving recipes to create comfortable and cohesive places. Not a book that provides models for actual buildings, Krier focuses more on built ideas that have stood the test of time.
What do you think it would take to see a revival of authentic traditional architecture in your community? Are there examples of traditional architecture in your city? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
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Credits: Creative Commons images courtesy of FWStudio and Pixabay. Updated December 10, 2017.
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