Arindam Dutta

Arindam Dutta is Associate Professor of Architectural History and directs the Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) Program in MIT's Department of Architecture. He is the author of The Bureaucracy of Beauty: Design in the Age of its Global Reproducibility.

  • A Second Modernism

    A Second Modernism

    MIT, Architecture, and the 'Techno-Social' Moment

    Arindam Dutta

    An account of architecture's postwar ambition to transform itself into a research-oriented and technologically complex discipline of design expertise.

    After World War II, a second modernism emerged in architecture—an attempt, in architectural scholar Joan Ockman's words, “to transform architecture from a 'soft' aesthetic discipline into a 'hard,' objectively verifiable field of design expertise.” Architectural thought was influenced by linguistic, behavioral, computational, mediatic, cybernetic, and other urban and behavioral models, as well as systems-based and artificial intelligence theories. This nearly 1,000-page book examines the “techno-social” turn in architecture, taking MIT's School of Architecture and Planning as its exemplar.

    In essays and interviews, prominent architectural historians and educators examine the postwar “research-industrial” complex, its attendant cult of expertise, and its influence on life and letters both in America and abroad. Paying particular attention to the ways that technological thought affected the culture of the humanities, the social sciences, and architectural design, the book traces this shift toward complexity as it unfolded, from classroom practices to committee deliberations, from the challenges of research to the vicissitudes of funding. Looking closely at the ways that funded research drew academics towards a “problem-solving” and relevance-seeking mentality and away from the imported Bauhaus model of intuition and aesthetics, the book reveals how linguistics, information sciences, operations research, computer technology, and systems theory became part of architecture's expanded toolkit.

    This is a history not just of a school of architecture but of the research-oriented era itself. It offers a thoroughgoing exploration of the ways that policies, politics, and pedagogy transformed themselves in accord with the exponential growth of institutional power.

    • Hardcover $69.95 £54.00

Contributor

  • Perspecta 40 "Monster"

    Perspecta 40 "Monster"

    The Yale Architectural Journal

    Marc Guberman, Jacob Reidel, and Frida Rosenberg

    A monster is in our midst, and its name is Architecture.

    Contemporary architecture is in many ways a monstrous thing. It is bigger, more broadly defined, increasingly complicated, more costly, and stylistically and formally heterogeneous—if not downright unhinged. Not only is the scale of the built environment expanding, but so is the territory of the architectural profession itself. A perfect storm of history, technology, economics, politics, and pedagogy has generated a moment in time in which anything seems possible. The results have been at times strange and even frightening.

    Long ago, the birth of an abnormal creature was interpreted as a sign of looming trouble. These monstra—from the Latin monere, “to warn” and monstrare, “to show”—were viewed with both fear and fascination. This fortieth issue of Perspecta—the oldest and most distinguished student-edited architectural journal in America—examines architecture past and present through the lens of the monster. The contributors—a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, and artists—embrace the multitude of meanings this term carries in an attempt to understand how architecture arrived at its present situation and where it may be going. Perspecta 40 represents in itself a kind of monster—a hybrid, jumbled, conflicting amalgamation of work and ideas that looks at the past in new ways and tells of things to come.

    Contributors Philip Bernstein, Mario Carpo, Arindam Dutta, Ed Eigen, Mark Gage, Gensler, Marcelyn Gow and Ulrika Karlsson (servo), Catherine Ingraham, Mark Jarzombek, Terry Kirk, Leon Krier, Greg Lynn, John May, John McMorrough, Colin Montgomery, Guy Nordenson, Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Emmanuel Petit, Kevin Roche, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) and Ryuji Fujimura, Michael Weinstock, Claire Zimmerman

    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00