The cultural burden of architecture
Journal of Architectural Education
Taylor & Francis
19 - 27
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Contemporary architectural discourse mostly assumes an unmediated link between architecture and culture. This is a historical assumption, however, rooted in colonial encounters when the notion of cultural difference first entered the architectural scene. In the first part of my article, I focus on a statement by Vitruvius that provides ways of thinking about architecture outside cultural identity categories. In the second part, I analyze two nineteenth-century texts to show both the cultural inscriptions of architectural discourse and their breaking points. Finally, I argue that recognizing the historicity of the relationship between architecture and culture involves problematizing architecture as an identity category as much as questioning culture as an architectural category.