Architecture and Modernity: A Critique / Edition 1

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Heynen (architecture, Catholic Univ., Leuven, Belgium) explores the philosophical idea of modernity--the conditions of living imposed by the socioeconomic process of mechanization--and its intersection with examples of modern architecture. Her central question is whether modernity is a "temporary aberration," as Christopher Alexander suggests, or an accurate reflection of the essential human condition. The methodology of the book moves in three directions: examining how architecture relates to modernity, drawing a conclusion to that examination by citing major representatives of the modern movement, and referring to theories in opposition to the modern movement. The chapters are built around key figures in philosophy (Martin Heidegger, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin) as well as figures in architectural theory (Christian Norberg-Schulz, Sigfried Giedion). The point is best illustrated by an excellent analysis of Adolf Loos's Moller House and his technique of the Raumplan. The illustrations are few but judiciously chosen. Recommended for philosophy collections and advanced students in architectural theory.--Paul Glassman, New York Sch. of Interior Design Lib. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262581899
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 2
Architecture Facing of Modernity
Concepts of Modernity 6
Dwelling Fades into the Distance 14
The Dilemmas of Architecture 18
Constructing the Modern Movement
An Architectural Avant-Garde? 26
Sigfried Giedion: A Programmatic View of Modernity 29
Das Neue Frankfurt: The Search for a Unified Culture 43
Reflections in a Mirror
The Experience of Rupture 72
Adolf Loos: The Broken Continuation of Tradition 75
Walter Benjamin: The Dream of a Classless Society 95
Building on Hollow Space: Ernst Bloch's Criticism of Modern Architecture 118
The Venice School, or the Diagnosis of Negative Thought 128
Architecture as Critique of Modernity
Avant-Garde versus Modernism 148
New Babylon: The Antinomies of Utopia 151
No Way Out: Adorno's Aesthetic Theory 174
Mimesis in Architecture 192
Afterword: Dwelling, Mimesis, Culture 220
Notes 226
Index 260
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