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Why Architecture History Matters

The influence of history on Architecture is unquestionably significant. The word commonly used as “History” in western civilization stems from a Greek word meaning – inquiry, to look into things. As a scholarly pursuit in American education, History often inherits a polemically Western perspective inherited from the academic recognition of Herodotus and his Histories (one of the earliest secular records of antecedent man). In consideration of the stories of the past, we endeavor to recollect advents or moments in human history, draw upon their significance, and even discern their cross-contextual understandings. Whereas a written record would be, simply put, the stories of the day, the built artifacts of History embody a tangible scope to the stories of mankind. Moreover, the history of buildings presents an opportunity for exegetic authenticity as it is distilled by rigorous scrutiny and intense contemplation. This history of architecture anchors a timebound narrative of billions of people and satisfies a desire to "know" that resonate across cultures, continents, and centuries. Architecture History is further evaluated by the desire of both patrons and practitioners to know a craft well, ancestors well, and ourselves. So then, to study Architecture History, is to engage introspection, retrospection, and to linger for one reason or another, on the ephemeral works of precious persons and places anchored to this planet full of wonders. What is great, informing, telling, even meaningful about Architecture History is intertwined with the issues of Modernity.

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