Architecture is commonly considered the most public of the arts, as if inherently, even though the concept of the public only began to acquire its modern form in the course of the eighteenth century. Paradoxically, architecture itself promoted this assumption by helping to construct the public sphere during the same period. Architectural theory played a leading role in this negotiation-as a material product embedded in the publishing industry and in particular reading practices, and as a conceptual apparatus circulating in a new discursive realm. In the following essay, a text by Quatremère de Quincy that explicitly addressed the needs of a public in-the-making will serve as a vehicle for the examination of these larger issues.
- Copyright 1994 The Society of Architectural Historians