Modernity and Its Other

A Post-script to Contemporary Architecture

978-0-89096-729-4 Cloth
7 x 9.5 x 0 in
208 pp. 47 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 03/01/1997


  • Cloth $49.95 s
The modern/postmodern debate has been fueled by the appearance of a new world order. And, in the aftermath of sociopolitical events such as the May 1968 student uprising in France, the antiwar movement in the United States, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a new set of cultural thematics has emerged. Gevork Hartoonian explores how major postfunctionalist architecture has addressed themes in postmodern culture, and in so doing argues that it is an architecture that should be viewed as historical--the gestalt of social/cultural phenomena--and not merely the product of various stylistic choices. In presenting a critical position that favors the tectonic over the aesthetic in treating the development of postmodern architecture, Hartoonian undermines the dominant "isms" in architectural discourse.

Modernity and its Other provides cogent review and analysis of the historicity of post-functionalism; the project of the historical avant-garde to overturn tradition--even that of modernity itself; the historical technological shift of culture toward commodity; and the historical deconstruction of modernist logocentrism.

Hartoonian discusses post-functionalist architecture in the context of American postwar culture and its three tendencies: postmodernism, neo-rationalism, and deconstruction architecture. He reexamines the failure of the historical avant-garde and argues that the movement of technology from the technical into the cultural has opened new paths for discussion of postmodern architecture. Also included is a review of the thematics of the culture of building and an assessment of the relationship between architecture and the city.

Hartoonian's study of the modern language of architecture is offered in the context of Mies van der Rohe's body of work, as well as that of LeCorbusier and the Dom-ino concept. Also examined is the alternative to postmodernism as exhibited by the work of Tadao Ando, Louis Kahn, and Kenneth Frampton. Throughout, Hartoonian employees a wide range of philosophers and critics from various disciplines in offering this well illustrated account of architectural thought from the nineteenth century to the present.

Studies in Architecture and Culture

Published by Texas A&M University Press