Publication details [#1452]

Davis, Charles L. 2010. Viollet-le-Duc and the body: the metaphorical integrations of race and style in structural rationalism. Architectural Research Quarterly 14 (4) : 341–348. 8 pp.
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The present article revisits Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc's (1814-79) critical interest in the human body as a metaphor for style in architecture. The author claims that not only did Viollet-le-Duc oppose the anthropomorphic metaphors for style touted by Neo-Classical theorists at the École des Beaux-Arts, but he was most widely known in the nineteenth century for his concern about the monumental and structural potential of modern materials such as iron. The author argues that the reception of Viollet-le-Duc's thought persisted in the twentieth century with Sir John Summerson's estimation of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier's debt to the constructive principles of his architectural organicism. Such accounts have made it possible to interpret construction and/or structure as the main ‘body’ of Viollet-le-Duc's architecture theory. As the role of the human body in Viollet-le-Duc's style theory is developed in this article, it becomes clear that the principles of human variation in biology and ethnography enabled him to account for the cultural variations of national peoples in his conception of style.