chapter  1
16 Pages

On history

WithGevork Hartoonian

This chapter examines themes particular to the early historiographies of modern architecture, starting with the question of the discursive formation of architectural history. It demonstrates the ways that architectural history differs from the traditions of art history; even though the discourse of art history has changed during the last three decades, its traditional influence on architectural historiography has not yet diminished. In addition to architecture, written text plays a crucial role for the mental life of the architectural historian. Walter Benjamin's work on historical material alludes to a shift from the individual to the collective experience of a past that is not necessarily embedded in the high art and period style, but rather resides in anonymous works and in detail. Central to the discourse of historicism is the dichotomy between periodization and autonomy. It is to the credit of art historians of the last century who would associate formal aspects of art with the general manifestations of a given period.