In 1828 a young architect, Heinrich Hübsch, published a polemical study in which he suggested that the rapid technological progress of the early nineteenth century, combined with changed living habits, had rendered the Greek Neoclassical style unsuitable for present needs or future development. The intriguing title of his book—In What Style Should We Build?—even more than its provocative argument, touched off a dispute among architects that filled the pages of the newly founded journals of the 1830s and 1840s. The theme of this often animated discussion, hastened by the burst of historical knowledge, was the choice of a style—that is, the determination of the premises from which a future and culturally appropriate style might be engendered. By mid-century, however, the confident expectation of bringing the search to a conclusion began to wane. Now, historicism, plurality of styles, and eclecticism were becoming dominant factors in architecture. Evidently, the debate had failed in its prime objective, and yet, it had set in motion intellectual forces that from our present perspective appear to have instituted a new, nineteenth-century style.
The Texts & Documents series offers to the student of art, architecture, and aesthetics neglected, forgotten, or unavailable writings in English translation.
Edited according to modern standards of scholarship and framed by critical introductions and commentaries, these volumes gradually mine the past centuries for studies that retain their significance in our understanding of art and of the issues surrounding its production, reception, and interpretation.
Eminent scholars assist in the selection and publication of volumes in the Texts & Documents series. Each volume acquaints readers with the broader cultural conditions at the genesis of the text and equips them with the needed apparatus for its study. Over time the series will greatly expand our horizon and deepen our understanding of critical thinking on art.
Table of Contents
- In What Style Should We Build?
- Remarks on the Treatise In What Style Should We Build?
- In What Style Should We Build? A Question Addressed to the Members of the Deutsche Architektenverein
Carl Albert Rosenthal
- Remarks on the Architectural Questions Broached by Professor Stier at the Meeting of Architects at Bamberg
Johann Heinrich Wolff
- The Principles of the Hellenic and Germanic Ways of Building with Regard to Their Application to Our Present Way of Building
Carl Gottlieb Wilhelm Bötticher
- The Differing Views of Architectural Style in Relation to the Present Time
About the Authors
Press Reviews and Awards
- “This clear, step-by-step rational exposition of past styles, followed by an assessment of their virtues and flaws, and recommendations of how to adapt the best qualities of the essayists’ favorite style to the needs of the first half of nineteenth-century Germany is a treat to read, thanks to Mr. Hermann’s translation.” —Art Documentation