The aim of this paper is to achieve a better understanding of why modern buildings do not easily harmonize with one another. After proposing, and defending, an analysis of the concept of architectural harmony, the paper turns to three possible views on whether we can expect more harmony from modern architecture in the future.
This edited volume, aimed at both students and researchers in philosophy, mathematics and history of science, highlights leading developments in the overlapping areas of philosophy and the history of modern mathematics. It is a coherent, wide ranging account of how a number of topics in the philosophy of mathematics must be reconsidered in the light of the latest historical research and how a number of historical accounts can be deepened by embracing philosophical questions.
Using theories by Pierre Bourdieu and the Frankfurt School that causally link art to class interests, this article examines the differential development of modern architecture in the United States and central Europe during the early 20th century. Modern architecture was the aesthetic expression of technocracy, a movement of the new class of professionals, managers and engineers to place itself at the center of rationalized capitalism. The aesthetic of modernism, which glorified technology and instrumental reason, was weak and undeveloped (...) in the US, because this class defined by its cultural capital was quickly integrated into modernizing corporations, where it was compelled to cater to the emerging mass market and drop its distinctive aesthetic. Modern architecture emerged mainly in interwar central Europe, because here industrial modernization was blocked, forcing the new class to pursue an alliance with state managers pushing modernization. Thus unencumbered by the demands of the mass market, modern architects were free to express their machine aesthetic in state-financed housing projects. (shrink)
We, the residents of modernity, live in an unquiet house.This essay examines the relationship between human subjects and their built environment, but it does so less by focusing on architecture than on what one might call ‘architecture once removed'. It is less concerned with the built environment itself than with a prevalent image of that environment in ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture, in literature, in film and painting. It is my contention that a particular unsettling image of buildings has gained increasing (...) currency in the modern epoch. I will attempt to show that such an image — and a concomitant anxiety — exists, and to offer an explanation for its provenance. (shrink)
A discussion of "postmodern" architecture in the sense in which the term was used in the late 1980s, namely, the introduction of historical substantive content and reference into architecture, disrupting the supposedly ahistorical purity of modernist architecture. Argues that postmodern use of history is really another version of the modern distance from history.
Wagner is thought to be one of the first Modern Architects, yet a number of writers have argued that his most famous Modern building, the “Postsparkasse,” violates the most basic principles of Modern Architecture; principles that Wagner himself helped develop. This essay develops a new interpretation of this building by placing it in the context of fin de sicle Viennese culture. This interpretation shows that the “Postsparkasse” is a Modern building, but it also shows that the (...) common understanding of “Modern Architecture” needs to be revised. It also suggests a new role for architecture in the contemporary world. (shrink)
Thomas Holden presents a fascinating study of theories of matter in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These theories were plagued by a complex of interrelated problems concerning matter's divisibility, composition, and internal architecture. Is any material body infinitely divisible? Must we posit atoms or elemental minima from which bodies are ultimately composed? Are the parts of material bodies themselves material concreta? Or are they merely potentialities or possible existents? Questions such as these -- and the press of subtler questions hidden (...) in their amibiguities -- deeply unsettled philosophers of the early modern period. They seemed to expose serious paradoxes in the new world view pioneered by Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. The new science's account of a fundamentally geometrical Creation, mathematicizable and intelligible to the human inquirer, seemed to be under threat. This was a great scandal, and the philosophers of the period accordingly made various attempts to disarm the paradoxes. All the great figures address the issue: most famously Leibniz and Kant, but also Galileo, Hobbes, Newton, Hume, and Reid, in addition to a crowd of lesser figures. Thomas Holden offers a brilliant synthesis of these discussions and presents his own overarching interpretation of the controversy, locating the underlying problem in the tension between the early moderns' account of material parts on the one hand and the program of the geometrization of nature on the other. (shrink)
Ontology of Construction explores theories of construction in modern architecture, with a particular focus on the relationship between nihilism of technology and architecture. Providing an historical context to the concept of making, the essays collected in this volume articulate the implications of technology in works by such architects as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Adolf Loos, and Mies van der Rohe. Also provided is an interpretation of Gottfried Semper's discourse on the Tectonic and the relationship between architecture and other (...) crafts. Emphasising 'fabrication' as a critical theme for contemporary architectural theory and practice, Ontology of Construction is a provocative contribution to the current debate in these areas. (shrink)
The Weimar-Republic, and the modernist architecture and planning that was born there, is still a contested place, from whence liberals, reactionaries and Marxists can all trace their lineage. Sabine Hake’s Topographies of Class attempts to clarify this contestation, through an interdisciplinary study of the modernist geography of the interwar-capital, Berlin. The book offers many new insights into the Weimar-era city, countering a tendency on the Left to reject the twentieth-century city in favour of the romanticised ‘capitals of the nineteenth century’, (...) with their insurgent proletariat and their lushly ornamented boulevards. Topographies of Class is a reminder that, irrespective of the era’s rejection of ornament and romanticism, it was a site of class-struggle as intense as that of the Paris of the 1870s. However, Hake’s study is dominated by a conception of class as an ‘identity’, akin to the identity-politics of race or gender, leading to an argument centred on the suppression or expression of ‘class-difference’ rather than class-struggle. In the process, her reading of the city’s modernism becomes overly one-sided, as a period of tension between labour and capital is read, under the influence of Manfredo Tafuri and Italian post-Marxist architectural theory, as being governed almost solely by the logic of Fordist capital. (shrink)
This article analyzes the formative role of medieval theology and aesthetics in the development of postwar American architecture by focusing on the architectural theory and practice of Mies van der Rohe and Jean Labatut, both of whom became actively interested in Neo-Thomism from the late 1940s. More specifically, a closer look at their reliance on the work of Jacques Maritain, the preeminent promotor of Neo-Thomism, sheds light on the transmission and circulation of old and new concepts within twentieth-century architectural theory. (...) By revealing how Maritain’s ideas helped to codify the latter and thus exposed the premodern ideas at the heart of modern architecture, I argue that modernist aesthetics should be re-evaluated with regards to its definition of “the new” and its emphasis on the breakdown or mutation of premodern frames of reference. (shrink)
What is a singular object? An idea, a building, a color, a sentiment, a human being. Each in turn comes under scrutiny in this exhilarating dialogue between two of the most interesting thinkers working in philosophy and architecture today. From such singular objects, Jean Baudrillard and Jean Nouvel move on to fundamental problems of politics, identity, and aesthetics as their exchange becomes an imaginative exploration of the possibilities of modern architecture and the future of modern life. Among the (...) topics the two speakers take up are the city of tomorrow and the ideal of transparency, the gentrification of New York City and Frank Gehry’s surprising Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. As Nouvel prompts Baudrillard to reflect on some of his signature concepts, the confrontation between such philosophical concerns and the specificity of architecture gives rise to novel and striking formulations—and a new way of establishing and understanding the connections between the practitioner and the philosopher, the object and the idea. This wide-ranging conversation builds a bridge between the fields of architecture and philosophy. At the same time it offers readers an intimate view of the meeting of objects and ideas in which the imagined, constructed, and inhabited environment is endlessly changing, forever evolving. Jean Baudrillard is one of the most influential thinkers of his generation and author of _The Vital Illusion_. Jean Nouvel has designed buildings throughout the world, including the new Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and is a recipient of France’s Grand Prix d’Architecture. Robert Bononno, a translator and teacher, lives in New York City. (shrink)
This paper examines the planning process and architecture of two public psychiatric institutions built around 1900 in Trieste and Lower Austria. From 1864, the building of new asylums was the responsibility of Crown land governments, which by the end of the nineteenth century had emerged as sites of power and self-presentation by minority groups and new political parties. At the same time, the area of asylum planning was establishing itself as a branch of asylum psychiatry and promoting the idea of (...) the asylum as model settlement, contributing to social reform. I analyse the interaction of psychiatrists, architects and government officials involved in planning the two institutions in the context of Crown land governments’ self-positioning within the empire and internationally . The Trieste asylum planners were working for a government controlled by Italian nationalists, but their desire for a ‘modern’ asylum turned them towards German models. The Christian Social government in Lower Austria sought to supplant Germany as the leader in this branch of science. The spatial arrangement and visual articulation of the two asylums is interpreted in the context of the interaction of psychiatry and the politics of regional autonomy. (shrink)
A landmark study in the field of political science, The Changing Architecture of Politics charts the profound structural changes taking place in the late twentieth-century state. Looking at both theory and practice, Cerny argues that political structures--states in the broadest sense--are the key to understanding both the history and the future of modern politics. Included for discussion are such salient topics as the problem of locating institutional and structural theory within political and social science, how to describe and classify (...) the main elements of political structures, and a penetrating analysis of the structured action field that lies at the crossroads of political structuration. In addition, he explores several core areas in practice, including how states will operate in the next century and how states will interact with the manifold changes in social and economic processes--at both the domestic and international levels. Through his masterly portrayal of the architecture of contemporary politics, Cerny lays the foundations for an understanding of new political structures that are needed if the pursuit of human values is to continue into the next century. As such, this fascinating volume will appeal to all those interested in the paradigms of political and social science, whether from a purely theoretical or from a more empirical standpoint. "This is the best introduction available in English to contemporary academic discussions about the purpose and prospects of applying the comparative method to political science. Cerny's book is comprehensive in scope and accomplishes three, quite rare tasks: it brings together material on North America, Western Europe, and Japan; it combines theories of comparative politics and international relations; it pays equal attention to systems of party competition and of interest intermediation, although its primary focus is upon the state. Philip Cerny has produced a tour de force, an intelligent, erudite, and comprehensive text that cuts decisively through artificial barriers within the discipline." --Political Science Quarterly. (shrink)
Photographic Architecture and the Spread of German Modernism is a “picture anthropology” of modern architecture, showing how photography shaped its development, its reception, and its history in the 20th c. At first, architects used photography to promote their practices, even as they doubted its value and efficacy as a means of representation. Unlike other representations, photographs were both too real, and not real enough. Furthermore, the photographic image acted on its subject like an alchemical agent. Photography altered the material (...) that it represented, at the same time shepherding architecture from elite social representation in the nineteenth century to potential mass communicator in the twentieth. In architectural markets, technological development and public self-presentation were at least equally important, and both were affected by photography and the mass distribution of cultural information. The collateral effects of market competition in architecture in the age of printed advertising, however, produced resistance in the architectural profession, as it insisted on the inadequacy of the new medium to adequately represent built things. The book focuses on two interconnected subjects subsumed in the term, “photographic architecture”: on the one hand, architectural photography and its circulation; on the other, the impact of photography on architectural design. In this particular strain of modern architecture, the visible appearance of buildings and the modalities of photographic images overlapped in consequential ways. This book analyzes the formation and impact of such ideas and the discourses that accompanied them. (shrink)
Architecture and the architect, threatened with disappearance, capitulate before the property developer who spends the money. And best of all is finding a place to be in the early years of a better civilisation. As the articles in this special issue on the problematic of architecture and Utopia attest, the final word on the influence of Utopia on architecture, and of the veracity of claims that modern architecture in particular was utopian, is a long way off. Definitions are elusive, (...) as is any real sense of persistent or consistent clarity about what exactly is intended by nominating this or that architecture or city plan utopian. At the very least, the articles that follow are testament to the .. (shrink)
In modern evolutionary theory, selection acts on particular genes and assemblages of genes that operate through phenotypes expressed in environments. This view, however, overlooks the fact that organisms often alter their environments in pursuit of fitness needs and thus modify some environmental selection pressures. Niche construction theory introduces a reciprocal causal process that modifies natural selection relative to three general kinds of environmental components: abiota, biota, and artifacts. The ways in which niche-constructing organisms can construct or modify the components (...) differ. Modification of abiota, for example, may have different consequences from the construction of artifacts. Some changes in abiota may simply be caused by the by-products of metabolisms and activities of organisms. Alternatively, artifacts may be “extended phenotypes” that demonstrate obvious prior “design” and “construction” by organisms in the service of fitness needs. Nevertheless, adaptation should always account for the reciprocity between constructed niches and the living agents that construct them. Looking to well-adapted nature for inspiration for human-built artifacts must account for this reciprocity between phenotype and constructed environment as well as the novel features of human architecture, including frank intentionality of design and novel culturally acquired knowledge. (shrink)
The Fukushima catastrophe has led to important practical and conceptual shifts in contemporary Japanese architecture which in turn has led to a re-evaluation of the influential 1960s Japanese modern architecture movement, Metabolism. The Metabolists had the ambition to create a new Japanese society through techno-utopian city planning. The new generation of Japanese architects, after the Fukushima event, no longer seek evolutionally social change; rather, the disaster has made them re-consider what architecture is and what architects can do for people (...) who had everything snatched from them by technology and nature. Drawing on the architectural projects of Tange Kenzo and Metabolists in the 1960s and Ito Toyo’s ‘Home-for-All project’ in 2011, the paper explores this major paradigm shift in Japanese architectural theory and practices. (shrink)
The period that has begun after the last quarter of the 19th century brings an open conflict between the ‘histori- cal’ aspect of modernity and the ‘aesthetical’ one. The situation raises a question about the modern architectural shape’s dependency on architectonic function. Utility, production, profit become the keywords of the ideology; new social utopias and their reflection on the architecture- for-the masses projects emerge. This leads to the urban alienation of the modern man, in spite of the well-intended (...) architectural functionalism and mechanistic comfort, both of them ideologically uphold in order to ensure an easy livelihood for the proletariat. Thus, the late modernity is constrained to retrieve though eclecticism the very values that has denied itself, the mixing of codes that it ‘performs’ nowadays standing for a new ideology, one of “the ending of ideologies”. (shrink)
This edited collection of essays brings together the author's key writings on the cultural, technological and theoretical developments reshaping modern architecture into a responsive and diverse movement for the twenty-first century. Chris Abel approaches his subject from a wide range of knowledge, including cybernetics, philosophy, new human science and development planning, as well as his experience as a teacher and critic on four continents. The result is a unique global perspective on the changing nature of modern architecture at (...) the turn of the millennium. Including two new chapters, this revised and expanded second edition offers radical insights into such topics as: the impact of information technology on customised architectural production; the relations between tradition and innovation: prospects for a global eco-culture, and the local and global forces shaping the architecture and cities of Asia. (shrink)