The Rule And The Model: On The Theory of Architecture and Urbanism by Francoise Choay

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The Rule And The Model: On The Theory of Architecture and Urbanism by Francoise Choay
Edited by Denise Bratton

8vo. pp. xiv, 500. bibliography. index. hardcover. dw. (fine condition). Cambridge: The MIT Press, [1997].

ISBN-10: 0262032260 / ISBN-13: 9780262032261


When it was first published in France in 1980, La Règle et le Modele was awarded the prestigious Grand prix de la critique d'architecture. In this long-awaited translation of her seminal work on architecture and urbanistic theory, Françoise Choay elucidates the entwined fate of two theoretical genres. One is represented by Alberti's architectural rule book De re aedificatoria, the other by Thomas More's idealizing projection of Utopia. Choay pursues the trajectories of these two genres in order to trace the genealogy of a third, more heterogeneous discourse associated with the term "urbanism."

The Rule and the Model elaborates Choay's hypothesis about the specialized tradition of theorizing architecture and urbanism, the origins of which she locates in Western society with its belief in the constitutive role of architecture in founding and transforming human institutions over time. She demonstrates that since its emergence in the fifteenth century, this discourse has been organized by two principal formulations: the rule and the model

Choay surveys and rearranges the landscape of conventional historiography, assigning new value to the familiar landmarks, and tracing down to our own epoch texts descended from Alberti's treatise and More's utopian model. She proposes a coherent system for deciphering our master texts as well as a new means for considering the implications of our de facto mastery of the built environment.