Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ATLOSCON Architecture Talk

I'm getting very excited about my upcoming talk on architecture, to be given at the Atlanta Objectivist Society's conference, ATLOSCON.  It's nearly a week away!

This is a re-polished version of the talk I gave last fall at FROST in Denver.  The talk was very well received there, and I'm pretty optimistic that the folks down in Atlanta will enjoy it just as much.

The talk starts with a reading of the scene from The Fountainhead where Roark and the Dean are arguing about the proper principles with which to approach architectural design.  From there I discuss three of the early heroes of the modern architectural movement, and how they did actually have the right ideas from the get-go, which led to many great and fabulous buildings.

Many (most?) people have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright, and a lot of people are even aware of his mentor, Louis Sullivan.  Sullivan brought us the seminal concept 'Form Follows Function.'  Few people, however, know about Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, the early 18th Century French architect and theorist, whose ideas heavily influenced Sullivan.

Viollet-le-Duc wrote things like:
If we take separately all the members of a Greek temple and study them individually, as well as in their direct relation to the whole, we shall invariably perceive the influence of those intelligent and delicate observations which attest the presence of art, -- that exquisite sentiment which subordinates every form to reason, not indeed t the dry and pedantic reason of the geometrician, but to reason as directed by the senses and by observation of the laws of nature.
[The Greeks] neither invented any type of Architecture nor any system of construction; but they applied the principles of logic to Architectural Art, and this they never derived from the Eastern races nor even from the Egyptians.  In this the Greeks are the Fathers of the Western world; -- it was they who opened the way of progress.  Though lovers of form, they never sacrificed principle to it until their genius was stifled under Roman domination; but then they were no longer Greeks. 
I love how much emphasis he places on reason, and acting on principle.  There's even more great stuff to be discovered in his writings, which we'll look at in the talk.  We'll also review key passages from Sullivan and Wright's own writings, as well as look at some of the buildings the three of them designed during their careers.

There's still time to register, so get on board and come hear my talk at ATLOSCON!

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