Ears to see, Eyes to touch, Hands to talk, Mouth to hear

Detail of Philibert de l’Orme’s image of the bad architect, from Le Premier Tome de l’Architecture (1567).

Image of the good architect.

Excerpt from Design and Their Consequences: Architecture and Aesthetics by Richard Hill

“In his treatise on architecture published in 1567, Philibert de l’Orme illustrates the qualities of the good and the bad architect. The bad architect is depicted without eyes, hands, ears, and nose to show that he cannot perceive truth, can execute nothing, cannot listen to the advice of others and cannot even sense what is good. He does have a mouth, however, ‘with which he can babble and speak evil’. The good architect has three eyes, four ears, and four hands. The multiple eyes and ears are so that he can contemplate the past, present and future and the four ears show that he must listen more than he must speak. The image derives from earlier Classical representations of Wisdom: the four hands are so that the architect can study more effectively and control the project more effectively. The image fleshes out the Albertian conception of the architect, and those multiple hands remind us the onerous responsibilities that the architect can acquire in order to control the details of work on site. But the hands are for devising and controlling, not for building.”

+Architects see the entire world as a source of inspiration

-Our faculties through senses limit us to devising, controlling, and building


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