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Mademoiselle Sculpsit:
A Backstory
Rebecca Williamson
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No image is more common in surveys of architectural theory than the frontispiece of the second edition of Laugier’s Essai sur l’architecture. In lecture courses that race through centuries in the space of a semester, the image serves to illustrate the ideal of a “primitive” architecture tied to “nature,” a product of an era of “enlightenment,” and a harbinger of “neoclassicism.” The frontispiece is familiar to North American readers as part of a collage drawing by Michele Saie on the cover of Wolfgang and Anni Herrman’s 1977 translation. There are no other images included with the translation text.

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