The power of the visual effects exerted by architecture, in our own time and in the past, has been largely neglected in recent discussion, with its focus on practical utility and other economic and social factors. Such an account of the human needs met by architecture remains sadly incomplete unless the expressive visual qualities of buildings are recognized as among their foremost effects. A fresh approach is overdue - an attempt to analyze these psychological qualities with the principles of visual perception. Such an attempt is made in this new volume by Rudolf Arnheim, who has been known, since the publication of his "Art and Visual Perception", as an authority on the psychological interpretation of the visual arts. As he now turns his experienced eye to the visual aspects of buildings, he amplifies his theories with new features specific to the medium of the architect.Arnheim explores the unexpected perceptual consequences of architecture with his customary clarity and precision. Of particular interest is his thorough analysis of order and disorder in design, the nature of visual symbolism, and the relations between practical function and perceptual expression.
Arheim's ability to deal with theoretical principles in a concrete and easily accessible way assures him the attention of the general reader whose concern with the arts leads to the aesthetic and psychological aspects of the broader environment. At the same time, Arnheim's strikingly original approach will stimulate professionals and students concerned with the theory and practice of modern and historical architecture.
Table of Contents
Introduction I. Elements of Space II. Vertical and Horizontal III. Solids and Hollows IV. As It Looks and As It Is V. Mobility VI. Order and Disorder VII. Symbols through Dynamics VIII. Expression and Function Notes Bibliography Acknowledgments Index
Rudolf Arnheim is Professor Emeritus of the Psychology of Art at Harvard University. For many years he was a member of the Psychology Faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, and he spent his last ten academic years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he now lives.