Once we accept a theory of proportions as the basis of an architectural aesthetic in general, we come immediately to the question of whether we talk about the proportions of a building or about the proportions perceived in a building. This question is also closely related to the question, What is the aesthetic object of architecture-the building, or an idea of a building, or a project, a set of drawings, or some other entity? Answering this question means not only offering an answer to the question, What is architectural history actually about? but also- as some disputes on the interpretation of Palladio's Quattro libri show-suggesting a justification of a theory of proportions in modern times. The idea of this text is to discuss this problem within the framework of Kant's theory of space-not so much in order to see what Kant would say on the topic, but much more in order to show that an epistemology like Kant's, which pretends to be a full catalogue of cognitive processes, must allow space for positing ideal architectural objects.
- Copyright 1993 The Society of Architectural Historians