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Architectural Styles by Owen Hopkins

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Introduction

The very notion of architectural ‘style’ is largely a creation of the nineteenth century, and, indeed, of the discipline of architectural history itself. The figure with whom the concept of ‘style’ is mostly closely associated during this period was the Swiss architectural historian Heinrich Wölfflin. A student of the influential German cultural historian Jacob Burkhardt, Wölfflin established an almost scientifically rigorous method for architectural history in charting what he described as the ‘problem of the development of style’. He established five pairs of opposing concepts: linear/painterly; plane/recession; closed form/open form; multiplicity/unity; and absolute clarity/relative clarity. Armed with this framework, any architectural ...

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