Durand, Précis of the Lectures on Architecture
Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand (1760–1834) regarded the Précis of the Lectures on Architecture (1802–5) and its companion volume, the Graphic Portion (1821), as both a basic course for future civil engineers and a treatise. Focusing the practice of architecture on utilitarian and economic values, he assailed the rationale behind classical architectural training: beauty, proportionality, and symbolism. His formal systematization of plans, elevations, and sections transformed architectural design into a selective modular typology in which symmetry and simple geometrical forms prevailed. His emphasis on pragmatic values, to the exclusion of metaphysical concerns, represented architecture as a closed system that subjected its own formal language to logical processes. Now published in English for the first time, the Précis and the Graphic Portion are classics of architectural education.
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