Economy and Architecture addresses a timely, critical, and much-debated topic in both its historical and contemporary dimensions. From the Apple Store in New York City, to the street markets of the Pan American Highway; from commercial Dubai to the public schools of Australia, this book takes a critical look at contemporary architecture from across the globe, whilst extending its range back in history as far as the Homeric epics of ancient Greece.
The book addresses the challenges of practicing architecture within the strictures of contemporary economies, grounded on the fundamental definition of ‘economy’ as the well managed household – derived from the Greek oikonomia – oikos (house) and nemein (manage). The diverse enquiries of the study are structured around the following key questions:
- How do we define our economies?
- How are the values of architecture negotiated among the various actors involved?
- How do we manage the production of a good architecture within any particular system?
- How does political economy frame and influence architecture?
The majority of examples are taken from current or recent architectural practice; historical examples, which include John Evelyn’s villa, Blenheim Palace, John Ruskin’s Venice, and early twentieth century Paris, place the debates within an extended critical perspective.