Architecture is distinguished from other art forms by its sense of function, its localized quality, its technique, its public and nonpersonal character, and its continuity with the decorative arts. In this important book, Roger Scruton calls for a return to first principles in contemporary architectural theory, contending that the aesthetic of architecture is, in its very essence, an aesthetic of everyday life. Aesthetic understanding is inseparable from a sense of detail and style, from which the appropriate, the expressive, the beautiful, and the proportionate take their meaning. Scruton provides incisive critiques of the romantic, functionalist, and rationalist theories of design, and of the Freudian, Marxist, and semiological approaches to aesthetic value.
In a new introduction, Scruton discusses how his ideas have developed since the book’s original publication, and he assesses the continuing relevance of his argument for the twenty-first century.
Roger Scruton (1944–2020) was a writer and philosopher. His many books included On Human Nature and The Soul of the World (both Princeton), as well as A Short History of Modern Philosophy.
"Compelling and readable. . . . [O]ne not just to read but to return to and to query with persistence and concentration, a book in fact not to borrow and peruse, but to possess and make one's own."—Anthony Savile, Times Literary Supplement
"This is an important book which deserves to be read, not just by students and academics, but by all who take an intelligent interest in architecture."—Peter F. Smith, RIBA Journal
"Impressive in its intellectual depth and range, and imbued throughout with wisdom and humanity, this brilliant book is the most important contribution to its subject since the writings of Ruskin. There is simply no modern equal to Professor Scruton's unique and comprehensive architectural treatise."—David Watkin, professor emeritus of the history of architecture, University of Cambridge
"The Aesthetics of Architecture has long been recognized as an important book. This new edition demonstrates that it is indispensable for anyone concerned about rectifying the 'uglification of the world.'"—Roger Kimball, editor and publisher of the New Criterion
"The Aesthetics of Architecture is clear and rigorous in argument, but also brilliantly imaginative and illuminating. This is simply the most important treatment of its subject and it will be read for so long as that subject is discussed."—John Haldane, University of St Andrews
"Scruton presents a brilliant critique of the principles of architecture held as dogma by many architects. Seeing architecture through his eyes is at once a revelation and a compelling narrative for architectural detail and the classical tradition!"—Duncan G. Stroik, University of Notre Dame