Temple, Nicholas, Bandyopadhyay, Soumyen, Tobe, Renée and Lomholt, Jane (2010) The Humanities in Architectural Design: A Contemporary and Historical Perspective. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 978-0-415-55113-7

Based on selected papers from an international conference I organised at Lincoln University in 2007, this edited book provides a unique window into current thinking about the contributions of the humanities to architectural ideas from both a contemporary and historical perspective. The editors of the volume provide a detailed introduction to the theoretical, philosophical and historical backgrounds of architectural humanities, variously supporting or challenging the idea of architecture as a humanistic discipline. In addition, secondary introductions have been added to the book, at the beginning of each section, to outline the key issues presented in each chapter and their thematic relationships. The idea behind the conference, and subsequent publication, stems from a growing concern among many academics of 1) a crisis of the humanities, in particular its decline as a key area of knowledge in higher education, and 2) the questionable foundations of architecture as a ‘humanistic discipline’. Both these issues, moreover, are not distinct but form part of a more general shift away from the liberal arts in contemporary life. This volume serves as a platform for examining the impact of this change on architecture. At the same time, the book provided the inspiration for a Leverhulme Research grant application which was submitted earlier this year (result to be announced in mid-July). A collaboration between four academics, with myself as the principal investigator, the project takes a historical view of the development of architecture as a humanistic discipline from the 15th to 18th centuries, highlighting the exchange of ideas with other emerging ‘proto-disciplines’, from linguistics to anatomy.

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