Liane Lefaivre

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.

  • Leon Battista Alberti's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

    Leon Battista Alberti's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

    Re-Cognizing the Architectural Body in the Early Italian Renaissance

    Liane Lefaivre

    A critical-theoretical reading of the strange, dreamlike work of Leon Battista Alberti.

    The enigmatic, polyglot Hypnerotomachia Poliphili—the inspiration for the bestselling novel The Rule of Four—has fascinated architects and historians since its publication in 1499. Part fictional narrative and part scholarly treatise, richly illustrated with wood engravings, the book is an extreme case of erotic furor, aimed at everything—especially architecture—that the protagonist, Poliphilo, encounters in his quest for his beloved, Polia. Among the instances of the book's manifesto-like character is Polia's tirade defending the right of women to express their own sexuality, probably the first sustained argument of this type, which lifts the book's erotic theme from the realm of ribaldry to the more daring one of sexual politics. Liane Lefaivre offers the closest critical-theoretical reading of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili to date, placing it within both the historical context of the quattrocento and the rethinking of the metaphor of the architectural body. Lefaivre is the first to attribute this strange, dreamlike book definitively to none other than the arch-rationalist Leon Battista Alberti. Intended as his final text, she argues, the book is the legacy of a humanist passionate about his life's work, a treatise on the role of dreamwork in design by one of the most creative minds of the Renaissance, and a manifesto in defense of humanism by a man who had been dismissed by an anti-humanist pope after a thirty-year career in the papal service.

    • Hardcover $70.00 £58.00
    • Paperback $8.75 £6.99
  • Classical Architecture

    Classical Architecture

    The Poetics of Order

    Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre

    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.

    • Hardcover $20.00
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00