(I was going to start this thread in the student section but thought it may not be bad to have a Palladian thread in the World Architecture section)
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As this is architecture, I think the best criticism is more architecture, in this case I would compare and contrast with an example of "anti-palladin" architecture, ie (and bearing in mind I am using a very broad brush) would look at baroque and po-mo; for example 16th C French architecture, where the public architecture was concerned with palladian ideas, but the private realm was baroque inflenced.
Also good sources might be historical documents, pieces written by architect who would have practiced at the time and just after neo-palladianism in England and the inevitable backlash, and reaction against any prevelant style. Perhaps Robert Adams might have had some thoughts on the matter.
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I think that an interesting thesis on palladio are the 'lies' he told in the drawings of his buildings that he included in the 4 books. To take Villa rotunda as an example he published a perfect square plan, and gave no information on the relationship with the landscape. The building however is much richer, sitting asymetrically on a brick plinth that is carved to create ancillary acomodation. The plan of the house is tweaked to give a hierarchy to the internal axes.... I could go on but there is something in the removal of complexity and contradition to produce an easily dissiminable polemic that echoes continually throughout architecture. (corbusier anyone?) perhaps this could be a way to take his study forward.
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