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John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture

Anuradha Chatterjee

Through the theoretical lenses of dress studies, gender, science, and visual studies, this volume assembles Ruskin’s theory of surface architecture, or the adorned “wall veil.” This book positions Ruskin as having proposed an unorthodox definition of architecture as surface, highlighting his major contribution to the field and an important moment in the history of architectural modernity.

John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture examines how the creative act in architecture, analogous to the divine act of creation, was viewed as a form of dressing. By adding aesthetic elements that had no use, and taking inspiration from the ‘veil’ of women’s clothing, Ruskin believed that buildings could be transformed into meaningful architecture. This volume presents a theory of textile analogy in architecture based on morality and gender that equals the power of Gottfried Semper’s historicist perspective. Ruskin’s textile analogy connects the realms of soul, dress, gender, and body in architecture.

This book would be beneficial to students and academics of architectural history and theory, gender studies and visual studies who wish to delve into the Ruskin’s theories and to further understand his capacity for thinking beyond the historical methods. The book will also be of interest to architectural practitioners who are keen to explore the beginnings of the contemporary phenomenon of surface architecture. 

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