Architecture, at least since the beginning of the twentieth century, has suspended historical references in favor of universalized abstraction. In the decades after the Second World War, when architectural historians began to assess the legacy of the avant-gardes in order to construct a coherent narrative of modernism’s development, they were inevitably influenced by contemporary concerns.
Some may call it the first manifesto of the twenty-first century, for it lays down a new way to think about architecture. Others may think of it as the last architectural treatise, for it provides a discursive container for ideas that would otherwise be lost. Whatever genre it belongs to, SITELESS is a new kind of architecture book that seems to have come out of nowhere.
This is a book that students of architecture will want to keep in the studio and in their backpacks. It is also a book they may want to keep out of view of their professors, for it expresses in clear and simple language things that tend to be murky and abstruse in the classroom. These 101 concise lessons in design, drawing, the creative process, and presentation—from the basics of "How to Draw a Line" to the complexities of color theory—provide a much-needed primer in architectural literacy, making concrete what too often is left nebulous or open-ended in the architecture curriculum.
In Nothing Less than Literal, Mark Linder shows how minimalist art of the 1960s was infiltrated by architecture, resulting in a reconfiguration of the disciplines of both art and architecture. Linder traces the exchange of concepts and techniques between architecture and art through a reading of the work of critics Clement Greenberg, Colin Rowe, Michael Fried, and the artist-writer Robert Smithson, and then locates a recuperation of "the architecture of minimalism" in the contemporary work of John Hejduk and Frank Gehry.
For Siegfried Kracauer, the urban ornament was not just an aspect of design; it was the medium through which city dwellers interpreted the metropolis itself. In Ornaments of the Metropolis, Henrik Reeh traces variations on the theme of the ornament in Kracauer's writings on urbanism, from his early journalism in Germany between the wars to his "sociobiography" of Jacques Offenbach in Paris. Kracauer (1889-1966), often associated with the Frankfurt School and the intellectual milieu of Walter Benjamin, is best known for his writings on cinema and the philosophy of history.
The Pan Am Building and the reaction to it signaled the end of an era. Begun when the modernist aesthetic and the architectural star system ruled architectural theory and practice, the completed building became a symbol of modernism's fall from grace.
Does fame empower architecture or undermine it? Does the star power or cult status of an architect enhance the art or dilute it? This issue of Perspecta -- the oldest and most distinguished student-edited, university-based American architecture journal -- examines the inner workings of fame as it relates to architecture though media and culture. It looks at how the commodification of architecture affects the design process -- whether fame emphasizes all the wrong aspects of architecture or provides the only way an architect can produce truly ambitious projects.
The Organizational Complex is a historical and theoretical analysis of corporate architecture in the United States after the Second World War. Its title refers to the aesthetic and technological extension of the military-industrial complex, in which architecture, computers, and corporations formed a network of objects, images, and discourses that realigned social relations and transformed the postwar landscape.
The meaning of a message, says William Mitchell, depends on the context of its reception. "Shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater produces a dramatically different effect from barking the same word to a squad of soldiers with guns," he observes. In Placing Words, Mitchell looks at the ways in which urban spaces and places provide settings for communication and at how they conduct complex flows of information through the twenty-first century city.
In the 1960s, the architects of Britain's Archigram group and Archigram magazine turned away from conventional architecture to propose cities that move and houses worn like suits of clothes. In drawings inspired by pop art and psychedelia, architecture floated away, tethered by wires, gantries, tubes, and trucks.