In this engaging series of lectures, Carroll William Westfall, the University of Notre Dame's Frank Montana Professor of Architecture, delves into the classical principles of Western architecture. Exploring features such as ornamentation, decoration, and innovation, Professor Westfall shows how architecture is derived from the very principles that form the cornerstones of our civilization - and, with scholarly precision, he also demonstrates how this field of endeavor is rooted in nature itself.
©2012 Carroll William Westfall (P)2012 Crescite Group, LLC
In this short series of lectures, Professor Westfall brilliantly underscores the value of tradition in the fields of architecture and city building. His points of view have clearly been polished by years of consideration and he integrates a variety of fields in his discussions: philosophy, history, political science, etc.
He succeeds in speaking of architecture without any illustrations. Thus, though he largely shares the same positions, he comes out as the complement of Léon Krier who often expresses himself with drawings and very little text.
It must be pointed out that Professor Westfall, though critical of modernism, is not at all closed to modernity.
This is awful. For the first few minutes I thought these lectures would be beneficial. Professor Carroll William Westfall delivers at a sensible pace and his way of teaching is articulate and his thoughts work through a logical process... That is, until you reach five minutes into the first lecture (which is 40 minutes long), which quickly turns into a rambunctious polemic on the differences between man and beast. He speaks with great authority that man has a soul while animals do not. Whether you believe this or not, I see it totally irrelevant to architecture. Talk about man, yes, fine. Just please do away with the comparisons to all other animals. I do not care to listen to stories about your grandfather shooting squirrels out of the tree with a 22 calibre shotgun! He spends most of the 40 minutes trying to describe why we're different from dogs. Or whales. I disagree with his views.
What started off as a fairly eloquent approach--a philosophical approach--turns into rather uncomfortable listening of the prescriptive variety; a diatribe bordering on the religious, and worse yet, fed to us as though we are ten years old and in need of countless metaphorical illustrations in order to grasp his ideas. I haven't the patience nor the will to indulge him further. For all I know, the bits actually about architecture might be ok, but based on the method and style he adopts early on, I'd rather put that time to better use and read something by Juhani Pallasmaa or Paul Goldberger.
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