​Architect: The evolving story of a profession


Eleanor Jolliffe and Paul Crosby’s new book makes an important contribution to the profession’s awareness of its own history, writes Neal Shasore

Curiously, RIBA Publishing chose a plate from Ernst Haeckel’s ‘Art Forms of Nature’ for the cover of Eleanor Jolliffe and Paul Crosby’s book, Architect: The Evolving Story of a Profession (RIBA Publishing, 2023). It depicts a variety of phaedoria – essentially marine amoeba that excreted silicon skeletons – which are lifted from lithographs by Adolf Giltsch produced in the late nineteenth century. Haeckel was the great continental champion of Darwinist evolutionary theory, powered by a Romantic sensibility that produced the exquisite and highly aestheticized forms used on the cover. I suppose the link is evolution, promising a book that charts the protean development of the architect, and perhaps implying both a survival of the fittest and the strength of the professional selfish gene.

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