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The Question of Style


Marlborough Place, St. John's Wood, London
by Robert Adam Architects

"A terrace of four luxurious houses in one of the most desirable residential areas of London. The classical designs are a literate but original reflection of the historic houses of the street. They are built of stone, stucco and brick on five stories."


Tasis American School in Lugano, Switzerland
Gymnasium and Campus Ensemble in Context
by David Mayernik

"Individual architectural projects should be seamlessly linked to their surroundings. This issue transcends style."
The Charter of New Urbanism


Tasis, American School in Lugano, Switzerland
Casa Bianca
by David Mayernik

Style and Architecture 

"Yet Coherence in architecture, distinct though it is from beauty, has a function of its own. Humanised mass, space, and line are the basis of beauty, but coherence is the basis of style."
Geoffrey Scott
"The Architecture of Humanism" 


Ashley Country House, Hampshire, England
by Robert Adam Architects

"This major new country house will e built on virgin farmland in Hampshire. The accommodations include 10 bedrooms, a series of state rooms, a family wing, a farm office, garaging staff accommodation and a pool house. The buildings have a highly individual classical design. The house and outbuildings have been designed with a 50 acres landscaped park. Robert Adam worked closely with Barton Wilmore Environmental to create a unified concept for the park and house."


Tasis, American School in Lugano, Switzerland
Dormitories and Classes
by David Mayernik

"Mass, space, and line afford the material of individual aesthetic pleasures, of beauty isolated and detached. But architecture aims at more than isolated pleasures. It is above all else an art of synthesis.
 It controls and disciplines the beauty of painting, sculpture, and the minor arts; it austerely orders even the beauty which is its own.
It seeks, through style, to give it clarity and scope, and that coherence which the beauty of Nature lacks."
Geoffrey Scott
"The Architecture of Humanism" 


New House in Yorkshire, England
by Robert Adam Architects


Buildings in Poundbury
by Léon Krier and Local Architects
(Photo by Léon Krier)

"Nature, it is true, is for science an intelligible system. But the 'groups' which the eye, at one glance, discovers in Nature are not intelligible. 
 They are understood only by successive acts of attention and elimination; and, even then, we have to supplement what our vision gives us by the memory or imagination of things not actually seen.
Thus, Order in Nature bears no relation to our act of vision. It is not humanised. It exists, but it continously eludes us.
This Order, which in Nature is hidden and implicit, architecture makes patent to the eye. It supplies the perfect correspondance between the act of vision and the act of comprehension.
Hence results the law of coherence in architecture; what is simultaneously seen must be simultaneously understood."
Geoffrey Scott
"The Architecture of Humanism"


Quinta das Torres, Azeitão,  Portugal (2000)
 New Swimming Pool Court Yard and Pavilions in the Garden of a 16th Century Manor House
by José Cornélio da Silva and José Franqueira da Baganha

"Style, through coherence, subordinates beauty to the pattern of the mind, and so selects what it presents that all, at one sole act of thought, is found intelligible, and every part re-echoes, explains, and reinforces the beauty of the whole."
Geoffrey Scott
"The Architecture of Humanism"


Quinta do Pilar, Azambujo, Portugal (1990)
by José Cornélio da Silva and José Franqueira Baganha

The quotes of Geoffrey Scott are taken from his outstanding book:
 "The Architecture of Humanism.
 A Study in the History of Taste"
(Published at W.W. Norton&Company, New York - London)


House in Rosemary Beach
by Elizabeth Guyton
(Photo by Elizabeth Guyton)

"I refer to it as a Sample House, illustrating the forgotten language of the pan-Caribbean hybrid, its principles of tectonics and resulting character.
 The masonry first floor capped with a wooden second floor is a reflection of historical compression as found in St. Augustine, whereby the English added their vernacular second floor additions to original Spanish masonry structures.
 The proportions and detailing, especially at the second floor porch, are Jamaican and can be found throughout the island. Other elements are transformed and blended.
In addition, the house happened to meet the requirements of two codified building types: the Small House Type, and the Sideyard House Type. These two types could be read from different angles along the street, and the sales people led prospective clients to the house as they explained Rosemary Beach's architectural code."
Elizabeth Guyton

The Great Style Debate 


Civic Complex
by Thomas Gordon Smith

"Style is no more than a recognisable similarity of form or detail. We would have a great deal of difficulty recognising and describing any art or architecture if we did not acknowledge such similarities. Such similarities are called 'styles' by most normal people. Why should this be such a problem?"
Robert Adam


Townhall of Rosemary Beach, Florida
by Scott Merrill and Georg Pastor
(Photo by S. Merrill & G. Pastor)

"The architectural languages of man are found in four realms: the Universal, the National, the Regional and the Local.
The universal part of the vocabulary include things such as elements that reflect the desire for objects that reflect our human form in some way.
The national part of the vocabulary includes items that have proven themselves over the years in a particular culture and have become part of the heritage of that culture.
The regional part of the vocabulary contains items that reflect the climate, topography or resources of a particular region within a nation.
The local part of the vocabulary contains items that have been developed in response to a particular place such as a stretch of sea coast.
Architecture deeply encompassing all four realms of architectural language is likely to be counted among the best-loved places. So while the issue of style alone is eminently un-provable, the effectiveness of a building's communication is immediately obvious to even the untrained eye."
Steve Mouzon
"The Great Style Debate"
(Extracts from a letter posted on Trad-Arch List, University of Miami) 


Porto di Ripetto, Rome
( Historic View from an Ancient Engraving)