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ERIC Number: EJ962258
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Architecture and the Ethics of Authenticity
Spector, Tom
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v45 n4 p23-33 Win 2011
Across most of Oklahoma's gently rolling prairie countryside these artistically uninformed structures often provide the only vertical punctuation to a landscape otherwise made of mostly horizontal lines. One of the pleasures of teaching architecture is to participate in the intellectual progress of students--many of whom hail from rural areas and have traveled little--as they eventually come to regard these structures with much the same admiration expressed for them some eighty years ago by Le Corbusier in his rallying polemic against the arbitrariness of nineteenth-century architecture: "Vers Une Architecture." Like Le Corbusier, many of the author's students would have their work emulate these structures' unselfconscious formal muscularity, frank materiality, and technological pragmatism--aesthetic qualities that emerge indirectly from having only usefulness in mind. The yearnings of today's students to capture the authority of unselfconscious design emerge from a different, and more radical, sense of the arbitrary than Le Corbusier confronted. In place of what in hindsight appears to be the relatively narrow problem of the arbitrariness of the prevailing style and the backwardness of taste, they experience aesthetic pursuit itself as arbitrary. In this article, the author talks about architecture and the ethics of authenticity. He describes the declining fortunes of authenticity and proposes a different approach to authenticity. (Contains 19 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oklahoma