Temple, Nicholas (2012) Cultivating Architecture. In: Cultural Role of Architecture. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 978-0-415-78340-8

Based on a keynote paper I presented at an international conference hosted by Lincoln University in 2010, my paper serves as the Introduction to this edited volume. The book also serves as a companion volume to an earlier publication I co-edited (see below), The Humanities in Architectural Design: A Contemporary and Historical Perspective (Routledge, 2010) that examines the role of the humanities in architecture. The current crisis of the humanities in both academia and in architectural practice, generated in large measure by the growing dominance of the image as an agent of visual as well as formalistic production, has brought into sharp focus the nature and meaning of culture in the contemporary world. This is given by the fact that the humanities were historically one of the bearers of cultural traditions. In the Introduction to this volume I examine the idea of architecture as an ‘agent’ of cultural renewal, by which I mean its capacity to both re-invigorate earlier cultural traditions and at the same time to reveal new cultural horizons. Taking both a historical and theoretical perspective, the study argues that our current understanding of the relationship between architecture and culture is based on profound misconceptions, driven largely by misguided expectations about the a-historical and instrumental/productive nature of cultural work. By referring to classical literary sources and etymological meanings of cultura and aedificatio I make the case that the cultivation of architecture – through its creative reinterpretation - becomes a ‘measure’ of the value and meaning of culture in general. As the Introduction to this volume, the study attempts to set the context of the historical relationship between architecture and culture and how this can provide a critical point of reference for contemporary debates.

Nicholas Temple, Cultivating Architecture, 2012
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