This piece addresses the question “how has architectural theory changed over time?” In particular, it explores the longue durée of two millennia of architectural writings in the west. In doing so the piece addresses the historicality of architectural theory in the western tradition. It asks what the big paradigm changes are that architectural theory has gone through, how it was different in earlier centuries to now, and whether there are different genres, formats, media, or dominant questions and problems that have defined it in different epochs.

  • “…But the one thing that Alberti was trying to do that we are still trying to do is it define the discipline.”

  • “Violet le Duc seemed to [Ruskin] to be completely irresponsible in the way that he was talking about ideal structures and ideal forms.”

  • “I feel as though I could rehearse various transitions.”

  • “I am interested in the fact that the more you dig into a particular moment, the more you see connections and traces of the moments before it, and projections of what will come in the future.”

  • “It seems to me that today there is a genealogy to be composed around this question of audience.”

  • “One thing that seems important about architectural theory and its recent history is that it relied on theories from other disciples in part because architectural theorists were housed in universities and needed to legitimate their own work to tenure committees and things like that.”

  • “That incredibly productive period [after ‘68], it was really framed around two poles, and you can call them by different terms, you can call it context and syntax, or we can call it urbanism and autonomy.”



Arianna Corradi

Issue Editor

Joseph Bedford

Senior Editor

Joseph Bedford


Trudy Watt


Joseph Bedford,


Joseph Godlewski, Jake Matatyaou, John May, Ginger Nolan, Bryan E. Norwood, Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, Meredith TenHoor, and Marrikka Trotter.