18 May 2018

The origins of architectural practice in the Low Countries in the fifteenth century

Architecture as profession

Fifteenth-century Florence is generally considered the cradle of the modern architect. However, in Architecture as profession. The origins of architectural practice in the Low Countries in the fifteenth century Dr Merlijn Hurx (Art History) argues that transformations in building organisation in fifteenth century Northern Europe laid the foundations for modern architecture.

Builder and designer

In Florence, for the first time since Antiquity, the Vitruvian concept which distinguishes between builder and designer was recognised in architectural theory, causing a fundamental rupture in architectural practice. In this well-established narrative Northern Europe only followed a century later when, along with the diffusion of Italian treatises and the introduction of the all’antica style, a new type of architect began to replace traditional gothic masters.

Dr. Merlijn Hurx
Dr. Merlijn Hurx

Northern European transformations in building organisation

However, historiography has largely overlooked the important transformations in building organisation that laid the foundations for our modern architectural production, such as the advent of affluent contractors, public tenders, and specialised architectural designers, all of which happened in fifteenth-century Northern Europe.

Alternative interpretation

Drawing on a wealth of new source material from the Low Countries, this book offers a new approach to the transition from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period by providing an alternative interpretation to the predominantly Italo-centric perspective of the current literature, and its concomitant focus on style and on Vitruvian theory. 

 

  • Title: Architecture as profession. The origins of architectural practice in the Low Countries in the fifteenth century
  • Author: Merlijn Hurx
  • ISBN: 9782503568256
  • Publisher: Brepols Publishers