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Hardcover | Out of Print | 318 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 1986 | ISBN: 9780262200592
Paperback | $31.00 X | £22.95 | 318 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 1986 | ISBN: 9780262700313
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Classical Architecture

The Poetics of Order


This fascinating introduction to classical art and architecture is the first book to investigate the way classical buildings are put together as formal structures. It researches the generative rules, the poetics of composition that classical architecture shares with classical music, poetry, and drama, and is enriched by a variety of examples and an extensive analysis of compositional rules. The 205 line drawings make up a discourse of their own, a pictorial text that serves as an introductory theory of composition or basic design aid.

Drawing from Vitruvius, the poetics of Aristotle, the theories of classical architecture, music, and poetry since the Renaissance, and the poetics of the Russian formalists, the authors present classical architecture as a coherent system of architectural thinking that is capable of producing a tragic humanistic discourse, a public art with critical, moral, and philosophical meaning.

About the Author

Liane Lefaivre is Professor and Chair of History and Theory of Architecture, University of Applied Art, Vienna, and Research Associate at the Technical University of Delft.


“Classical Architecture is surely the first work in English to attempt to assemble, classify, and demystify the ill-understood legacy of classical lore which is, in many respects, the very basis of architecture in the West.”
Kenneth Frampton
“An essential work for anyone wrestling with the provocative questions of the validity of the classical tradition in Western architecture. This is a penetrating, superior, and original contribution to the recent literature.”
Helen Searing, Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art, Smith College