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Thesis or dissertation

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This paper was part of the 2012-2013 Penn Humanities Forum on Peripheries. Find out more at


The villa is more than a farmhouse in the country. According to James Ackerman, the villa is the most articulate architectural typology of the ideologies of its makers. For at least three millennia, its anthropological role has changed very little, serving as a periodic rural residence for urban élites who seek to escape from the city and engage in agriculture and contemplation. While in residence, the patron reflects on the virtue and beauty of the landscape and becomes aware of the wonders of dwelling within it. Villa builders try to construct a terrestrial paradise—an ideal place that expresses fundamental consonance with nature and the cosmos. The villa, then, becomes an expression of its makers apotheosis. How and where do the makers of villas give form to that aspiration, and what conditions are required for its realization? Through examinations of the built villas of Andrea Palladio and others, we can begin to read the villa as the architectural means best suited to express the philosophical dreams of its patrons.





Date Posted: 17 November 2016