Over the past century, luxury has been increasingly celebrated in the sense that it is no longer a privilege (or attitude) of the European elite or America's leisure class. It has become more ubiquitous and now, practically everyone can experience luxury, even luxury in architecture. Focusing on various contexts within Western Europe, Latin America and the United States, this book traces the myths and application of luxury within architecture, interiors and designed landscapes. Spanning from antiquity to the modern era, it sets out six historical categories of luxury - Sybaritic, Lucullan, architectural excess, rustic, neo-European and modern - and relates these to the built and unbuilt environment, taking different cultural contexts and historical periods into consideration. It studies some of the ethical questions raised by the nature of luxury in architecture and discusses whether architectural luxury is an unqualified benefit or something which should only be present within strict limits. The author argues how the ideas of permissible and impermissible luxury have informed architecture and how these notions of ethical approval have changed from one context to another. Providing voluptuous settings for the nobles and the leisure class, luxury took the form of not only grand palaces, but also follies, country and suburban houses, private or public entertainment venues and ornate skyscrapers with fast lifts. The Architecture of Luxury proposes that in Western societies, the growth of the leisure classes and their desire for various settings for pleasure resulted in a constantly increasing level of 'luxury' sought within everyday architecture.
Eamonn Canniffe leads the Architecture Research Centre and the MA in Architecture + Urbanism at the Manchester School of Architecture. He was educated in Architecture at Cambridge and Harvard Universities. In 1996 he held a Rome Scholarship in the Fine Arts at the British School at Rome. Between 1986 and 1998 he taught at the University of Manchester School of Architecture, and between 1998 and 2006 at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. He is the author of Urban Ethic: Design in the Contemporary City (Routledge 2006) (Chinese edition 城市伦理--当代城市设计 2013) and The Politics of the Piazza: the history and meaning of the Italian square (Ashgate 2008). He is co-author (with Tom Jefferies) of Manchester Architecture Guide (1999) and (with Peter Blundell Jones) of Modern Architecture through Case Studies 1945-1990 (Architectural Press 2007), (Chinese edition 现代建筑的演变 1945--1990年 2009) (Spanish edition Modelos de la Arquitectura Moderna -Volumen II 1945-1990 2013). For a number of years he has served as Architecture Series Editor for Ashgate Publishing.