In What Style Should We Build? The German Debate on Architectural Style (Texts & Documents)  Heinrich Hubsch

In What Style Should We Build? The German Debate on Architectural Style (Texts & Documents) Heinrich Hubsch

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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.