Architecture and Modernity

Architecture and Modernity

A Critique

By Hilde Heynen

Bridges the gap between the history and theory of twentieth-century architecture and cultural theories of modernity.





Bridges the gap between the history and theory of twentieth-century architecture and cultural theories of modernity.

In this exploration of the relationship between modernity, dwelling, and architecture, Hilde Heynen attempts to bridge the gap between the discourse of the modern movement and cultural theories of modernity. On one hand, she discusses architecture from the perspective of critical theory, and on the other, she modifies positions within critical theory by linking them with architecture. She assesses architecture as a cultural field that structures daily life and that embodies major contradictions inherent in modernity, arguing that architecture nonetheless has a certain capacity to adopt a critical stance vis-à-vis modernity.

Besides presenting a theoretical discussion of the relation between architecture, modernity, and dwelling, the book provides architectural students with an introduction to the discourse of critical theory. The subchapters on Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno, and the Venice School (Tafuri, Dal Co, Cacciari) can be studied independently for this purpose.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262082648 276 pp. | 7 in x 10 in


$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262581899 276 pp. | 7 in x 10 in


  • [A] very helpful synthetic overview of the principal positions in critical theory's arguments over modernity.

    South Carolina Review

  • This book's great cirtue is its effectiveness in reframing a set of critical ideas about cultural modernity that have come to be of crucial importance in contemporary architectural discourse. Hilde Heynen's rereadings of selected philosophical texts and episodes of architectural history are consistently clarifying and discriminating.

    Joan Ockman

    Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University

  • Beginning with the irreducible homelessness of the post-industrial world and discriminating en route in a revealing way between the 'pastoral' and the 'impastoral' modern architectural ideology, Hilde Heynen has written an exceptionally lucid and seminal text that should be read and re-read, not only by every architectural student but also by anyone else who happens to be involved in the field, by they architect, critic or client. Focusing with exceptional clarity upon the vicissitudes of twentieth century critical thought. The author covers an enormous but selective trajectory which enables one to trace the line that runs however imperceptibly between Ernst May on the one hand and Rem Koolhaas on the other.

    Kenneth Frampton

    Columbia University

  • At a moment of startling intensity, centered around the late-1920s, both architects and critical theorists were grappling with the conceptual problems of modernity, yet each group remained largely unaware of the efforts of the other. Through careful readings of both the architectural projects and the critical texts, Hilde Heynen now weaves together the concepts and categories, as well as searing critiques and radical recommendations, that emerged from that situation. Architecture's deep engagement with the construction and the critique of modernity—its liberating potential as well as crushing limitations—was never more vividly narrated.

    K. Michael Hays

    Professor of Architectural Theory, Harvard University

  • This book traces some of the most important moments of the discourse on the crisis of architecture in the face of modernity. From a Frankfurt School perspective, it carefully reconsiders famous arguments while adding welcome surprises like Constant's New Babylon. A good introduction to the dilemmas of the last century.

    Beatriz Colomina

    Professor of Architecture, Princeton University

  • Architecture and Modernity traces some of the most important momentsof the discourse on the 'crisis' of architecture brought about by thechanges of modernity.

    Beatriz Colomina

    School of Architecture, Princeton University