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Minoan Architecture and UrbanismNew Perspectives on an Ancient Built Environment$
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Quentin Letesson and Carl Knappett

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793625.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans

An Archaeology of Architectural Anomalies in Bronze Age Crete

(p.31) 3 Best Laid Plans
Minoan Architecture and Urbanism

Tim Cunningham

Oxford University Press

Approaches to Minoan architecture (Graham 1962; Preziosi 1983; Hitchcock 2000; Shaw 2009, 2015; Letesson 2009; McEnroe 2010) have focused on its positive qualities, and since Evans’s excavations in the early years of the twentieth century the perceived modernity of Minoan architecture has been manifest both in scholarly discourse (Farnoux 1993; Schoep 2010: 222) and in popular representations in various media. Sophisticated, delightful, and above all planned—for while bull-leaping, labyrinths, and even kingship have all come under sceptical scrutiny, the existence of a Daedalus, at least as the personification of the creative genius of Minoan architecture, has been tacitly accepted. Any argument over the idea that Minoan architecture was designed, and furthermore designed with goals well appreciated today (e.g. maximizing light and air circulation, controlling for privacy, providing aesthetic pleasure) tends to be over the degree to which such planning can be demonstrated or proven from the existing evidence. That the goal itself, designed or planned building, was likely to have been desirable or effective is not usually questioned. Likewise, there are signs of civic or town planning, to the extent of a conceptual order imposed on the built form, implying an abstract higher level authority controlling private or lower level space, or at least the needs of the town superseding those of the individual structures within (Cunningham 2001; Buell 2014; see also chapter 9). And again, while we may disagree over the extent or penetration of such authority, or the appropriateness of the terminology, the idea that town planning might have had a deleterious effect on social bonding is rarely, if ever, considered. This is interesting, since in studies of architecture and town planning in modern times, at least since the 1960s and 1970s, it has become increasingly clear that planning towns and buildings is extremely hard and that even the best intentioned, most competent, and well-supported efforts not only often fail but regularly have the opposite effect as was intended.

Keywords:   Akrotiri, Galatas, Knossos, Lustral Basin, Malia, Phaistos, Thera, Zakros

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