Vitruviana 2014 has come and gone. We loved this year’s theme – Civic Order: The Legacy of Classicism in Charleston’s Public Realm. It was a wonderful event where we met many lovely people, heard interesting lectures, and got the chance to offer our own thoughts on the legacy of Classicism in our lecture, “Practical Lessons in Classicism from Charleston’s Earliest Sources: Pre-Revolutionary Architecture Books at the Charlestown Library Society.”
As we see it, the legacy of Classicism is its ongoing practice. Old buildings are legacies from previous generations, to be sure, but they are not legacies of Classicism in the sense that Classicism has died and left them as relics. Relics are dead remains of formerly living entities. Old buildings are not dead remains but rather living models with much to teach about architectural principles. These principles can and do inform practice today. No matter how well built, buildings cannot last forever. If we are to ensure the legacy of Classicism for future generations, it will only be through its ongoing practice. Vitruviana 2014 was a great opportunity to discuss how this collection of books might have assisted in transmitting principles of Classicism to pre-revolutionary Charleston and to share a few instances when we have applied similar lessons in our own modern Classical designs.