Courtesy of Wikimedia user Quibik PD. ImageAn elevation of the entire Acropolis as seen from the west; while the Parthenon dominates the scene, it is nonetheless only part of a greater composition. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Quibik (Public Domain)观点：建筑历史的建议
Opinion: A Plea for Architectural History由专筑网李韧，邢子编译
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as “Opinion: We Can’t Go on Teaching the Same History of Architecture as Before.”
Architectural students of my generation—the last of the baby boomers, starting college in Europe or in the Americas in the late 1970s—had many good reasons to cherish architectural history. Everyone seemed to agree at the time that the Modernist project was conspicuously failing. Late Modernist monsters were then wreaking havoc on cities and lands around the world, and the most immediate, knee-jerk reaction against what many then saw as an ongoing catastrophe was to try and bring back all that 20th-century high Modernism had kicked out of design culture: history, for a start. I drew my first Doric capital, circa 1979, in a design studio, not in a history class (and my tutor immediately ordered me to scrape it, which I did).
Furthermore, that was—as some readers may remember—a time of social upheaval in most European countries. Many leftist students (and we all were, to various degrees) saw design as an act of complicity with the capitalist order of things. To prepare the proletarian revolution the good Marxist architect of the late 1970s was expected to design unbuildable buildings, or, better still, not to design at all: “drop your pencil, study Brunelleschi, and load your Molotovs,” I remember one of our student leaders shouting from a barricade. The reason why he chose Brunelleschi (and not Melnikov, for example, or Hannes Meyer) as the inspirational pastime of choice for the architect of the Western Soviets to come was not immediately clear and it was probably due to sheer toponymy, as that event happened in central Florence, in a square called Piazza Brunelleschi.
Image © James Taylor-Foster. ImageSanta Maria del Fiore, Florence.
Be that as it may, many of us ended up studying Brunelleschi, and other like masters, for much longer than needed for the purposes of any sound architectural training.
But when, barely 10 years later, I started teaching architectural history in a school of architecture north of the Alps, I found out, with some surprise, that architectural historians and their constituencies in that country were of a quite different ilk. The general expectation there was that, given my interest in the history of architecture in general, and of the classical tradition in particular, I must have been a Roman Catholic, with a sister in the Orders, and a brother in the army; an aristocrat, and the owner of at least a small castle in Périgord, better if attributed to the school of Le Primatice.
As none of the above was the case, I investigated the reasons for those assumptions, and I realized that, in many parts of Europe, the history of architecture was still often seen as the outward and visible sign of the territorial roots of some abstract, collective identity: the identity of a people, race, religion, or tribe—of any group willing to assert its hereditary rights on some portion of land, and claim: We are here; we have always been; look at the way we build, ye foreigners, and despair.
Such Romantic notions have been around for a long time; they are sometimes harmless, but sometimes not. From the Germanic ideology of a mystical union of blood and soil to the wars of religion in the Balkans in the ’90s, countless people have died because of these ideas. In the wrong hands, such views of architectural history can kill. They have already killed aplenty.
© Steve McCurry. ImageAl Shaheed Monument
政治科学家也有着类似的意识形态问题，他们将此称为“Plato to NATO”，直到不久之前，“Plato to NATO”才成为了西方政治思想历史的标题。但是从雅典到华盛顿线性发展的概念也表明，民主、自由、科学的经典意识是西方繁荣的基础，至少是在NATO概念消失之前都是如此，而NATO自身则是一种近期更为意外的发展趋势。这个全球化、以西方为中心的建筑等价概念被冠以了“从维特鲁威到埃森曼”的主题，因为这是西方的经典，而这些经典对于每位建筑师来说都应该熟知。
That was also the time when postmodern historicism started going global, and with it, as often happens, rose some notion of the universality of the architectural tradition thus conveyed—which was, mostly, the European tradition: Greek and Roman, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism, and the Baroque—in short, the syllabus of the history survey then taught in most architectural schools in Europe and in the Americas. But timelessness and universality are slippery ideological slopes. Universality? How did that come to be? If indeed this architectural tradition has conquered the world, should we not assume that it is better, somehow, than all the others traditions that didn’t?
Political scientists have an expression to refer to a similar ideological conundrum. They call it the “Plato to NATO” issue. Until not long ago, “From Plato to NATO” could have been the actual title of a first-year survey on the history of Western political thought. But the notion of a steady linear progression from Athens to Washington also suggests that classical ideas of democracy, liberalism, and science are the foundation of the West’s prosperity and domination of the world (at least until the forthcoming elimination of NATO itself—a more recent, quite unexpected development). The architectural equivalent of this globalist, Western-centered syllabus could be titled “From Vitruvius to Eisenman.” For that is the Western canon that every architect around the world was supposed to be conversant with. Until recently.
© Peter Eisenman
我想远离这些相关的话题，但是我们应该意识到，欧洲和美国的许多建筑院校培育出了一代建筑师，这些建筑师中不乏当今的知名建筑师，他们在毕业时甚至没有听说过诸如米开朗基罗（Michelangelo）、柯布西耶（Le Corbusier）等大师的名字，或者也从未见过哥特式教堂（Gothic cathedral）或密斯（Mies van der Rohe）的作品。那这是我们想要的结果吗？这对设计过程是否有好处呢？
The West could often be generous and enlightened—when it was winning. Times have changed. Today, what used to be a benign theory of teleological progress—supposedly self-evident—has turned into the aggressive stance of rabid ideologues and bigots advocating the superiority of Western values, and of Western identity—including architectural—against all others. None of us—or at least, no one I know, in schools of architecture or elsewhere—would want to be party to that nefarious plot. That’s why we can’t teach the history of architecture from Vitruvius to Eisenman any longer (nor to Zaha Hadid, for that matter; even though we may at least welcome the addition of a non-white, non-male name at the very end of the list).
The problem is that, once the Western architectural canon has been thrown overboard, together with its now unpalatable ideological ballast, nobody seems to know what else should replace it. Some have tried to expand the canon, which is an excellent and promising but challenging plan. More worryingly, many are simply doing away with all architectural history altogether, just to be on the safe side, and replacing it with trendy and vastly consensual topics such as the theory of scuba diving, the prehistory of computation, or penguin studies (I am not making that up).
Far from me to challenge the general relevance and import of such topics. Let us be aware, however, that in many schools of architecture in Europe and in the Americas, including some of the best, we are now—for the first time ever—training a generation of architects who may graduate without having ever even heard the names of Michelangelo or Le Corbusier, or without having ever seen a Gothic cathedral or a building by Mies van der Rohe. Are we sure that this is what we want? Is this good for design, and for the design professions?
© Marcel Gauthero. ImageConstruction of Brasilia, 1956 .
几个世纪以来，模仿与创造其实是两个不可分割的实体，它们无法单独存在。今天，没有人知道到底什么是模仿，因此即使人们刚好发现了与现状相符的先例，都只能单纯地去复制它，而非真正熟练地应用其中的精髓。Quatremère de Quincy对于摄影和PS软件一无所知，但是其模仿理论也许能够让我们获益良多。
I have a feeling it isn’t. One reason for that seems banally evident: the history of architecture is an inventory of solutions already found and problems already solved. So it grieves me very much to see so many students today waste so much time reinventing the wheel at every turn, due to their sheer ignorance of precedent. Besides, the classical tradition developed so many strategies and methods and tricks and tools over time precisely to assess those precedents, when relevant; then filter them, reinterpret them, and adapt them to the problem at hand. That used to be called imitation.
For centuries, imitation and creation were seen as inseparable: neither could exist without the other. Today, nobody knows what imitation means; so even when we happen to stumble upon some precedent worthy of our attention, most of the time we do not know what do with it, other than a photocopy (or a Photoshopped collage). Quatremère de Quincy knew nothing of photography, nor of Photoshop; yet his theory of imitation would still help us to make sense of both.
© MVRDV / The Why Factory. ImageA spread from The Why Factory’s 2017 book, Copy Paste showing similarities between apparently “unique” buildings
For at the end of the day that is the whole point. It doesn’t matter that some history is good, and some ain’t. What matters is that the global history of architecture is an almost unlimited repository of precedents, which we can plunder at will if we have some notion of what’s out there. But that is only the start. History never repeats itself identically, so identical copies, as a rule, won’t serve any practical purpose. Ignorance of precedent is bad enough; photocopying, the zero degree of historicism, is possibly even worse. Cut and paste is a very dumb way of learning from precedent.
Courtesy of Wikimedia
Mario Carpo是伦敦大学学院（UCL）巴特莱特建筑学院建筑历史与理论的Reyner Banham教授，其最新的作品“第二次数字转变：超越智商的设计（The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence）”近期由麻省理工出版社出版。
Mario Carpo is the Reyner Banham Professor of Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett, UCL, London. His latest monograph, The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence, has just been published by the MIT Press.