In Stephen Houlgate (ed.), Hegel and the Arts. Northwestern University Press (2007)

David Kolb
Bates College
"The first of the particular arts . . . is architecture." (A 13.116/1.83)1 For Hegel, architecture stands at several beginnings. It is the art closest to raw nature. It is the beginning art in a progressive spiritualization that will culminate in poetry and music. The drive for art is spirit's drive to become fully itself by encountering itself; art makes spirit's essential reality present as an outer sensible work of its own powers.2 (A 13.453/1.351) If Hegel's narrative of the arts creates a hierarchy, architecture stands lowest, yet it nonetheless plays a unique and necessary role in spirit's development. In this essay I first describe Hegel's views on the nature of architecture and its three stages (symbolic, classical, romantic). Then I indicate some problems with Hegel's narrative. Finally I raise the question whether Hegel's theories might be adapted to our present architectural situation.
Keywords Hegel  aesthetics  architecture
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