CIAM (Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne), founded in Switzerland in 1928, was an avant-garde association of architects intended to advance both modernism and internationalism in architecture. CIAM saw itself as an elite group revolutionizing architecture to serve the interests of society. Its members included some of the best-known architects of the twentieth century, such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Richard Neutra, but also hundreds of others who looked to it for doctrines on how to shape the urban environment in a rapidly changing world.
Most histories of twentieth-century architecture cite Peter Behrens' influence on three of his protégés—Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier—and mention the turbine factory and arc lamp he designed for the German electrical firm AEG. Now Behrens' full contribution to the history of twentieth-century architecture is finally told, in Stanford Anderson's indispensable guide to one of the great designers of our century.
Karel Teige (1900-1951), one of the most important figures of avant-garde modernism of the 1920s and 1930s, influenced virtually every area of art, design, and urban thinking in his native Czechoslovakia. His Minimum Dwelling, originally published in Czech in 1932, and appearing now for the first time in English, is one of the landmark architectural books of the twentieth century.
A fundamental tenet of the historiography of modern architecture holds that cubism forged a vital link between avant-garde practices in early twentieth-century painting and architecture. This collection of essays, commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, takes a close look at that widely accepted but little scrutinized belief.
Although both are central to architecture, siting and construction are often treated as separate domains. In Uncommon Ground, David Leatherbarrow illuminates their relationship, focusing on the years between 1930 and 1960, when utopian ideas about the role of technology in building gave way to an awareness of its disruptive impact on cities and culture. He examines the work of three architects, Richard Neutra, Antonin Raymond, and Aris Konstantinidis, who practiced in the United States, Japan, and Greece respectively.
Kenneth Frampton's long-awaited follow-up to his classic A Critical History of Modern Architecture is certain to influence any future debate on the evolution of modern architecture. Studies in Tectonic Culture is nothing less than a rethinking of the entire modern architectural tradition. The notion of tectonics as employed by Frampton—the focus on architecture as a constructional craft—constitutes a direct challenge to current mainstream thinking on the artistic limits of postmodernism, and suggests a convincing alternative.
In a daring revisionist history of modern architecture, Mark Wigley opens up a new understanding of the historical avant-garde. He explores the most obvious, but least discussed, feature of modern architecture: white walls. Although the white wall exemplifies the stripping away of the decorative masquerade costumes worn by nineteenth-century buildings, Wigley argues that modern buildings are not naked. The white wall is itself a form of clothing—the newly athletic body of the building, like that of its occupants, wears a new kind of garment and these garments are meant to match.
In How Architecture Got Its Hump, Roger Connah explores the "interference" of other disciplines with and within contemporary architecture. He asks whether photography, film, drawing, philosophy, and language are merely fashionable props for architectural hallucinations or alibis for revisions of history. Or, are they a means for widening the site of architecture? Connah shows how these disciplines have not only contributed to new developments in architectural theory and practice, but have begun to insinuate new possibilities of space.