Histories of the Immediate Present

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-06-30
  • Publisher: Mit Pr
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Architecture, at least since the beginning of the twentieth century, has suspended historical references in favor of universalized abstraction.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. In Histories of the Immediate Present, Anthony Vidler examines the work of four historians of architectural modernism and the ways in which their histories were constructed as more or less overt programs for the theory and practice of design in a contemporary context. Vidler looks at the historical approaches of Emil Kaufmann, Colin Rowe, Reyner Banham, and Manfredo Tafuri, and the specific versions of modernism advanced by their historical narratives. Vidler shows that the modernism conceived by Kaufmann was, like the late Enlightenment projects he revered, one of pure, geometrical forms and elemental composition; that of Rowe saw mannerist ambiguity and complexity in contemporary design; Banham's modernism took its cue from the aspirations of the futurists; and the "Renaissance modernism" of Tafuri found its source in the division between the technical experimentation of Brunelleschi and the cultural nostalgia of Alberti. Vidler's investigation demonstrates the inevitable collusion between history and design that pervades all modern architectural discourse--and has given rise to some of the most interesting architectural experiments of the postwar period.

Table of Contents

Foreword: [Bracket]Ing Historyp. vii
Prefacep. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Neoclassical Modernism: Emil Kaufmannp. 17
Autonomyp. 17
Neoclassicism and Autonomyp. 21
From Kant to Le Corbusierp. 32
Structural Analysisp. 41
From Kaufmann to Johnson and Rossip. 52
Autonomy Revivedp. 58
Mannerist Modernism: Colin Rowep. 61
An English Palladiop. 64
Modern Palladianismp. 68
Diagramming Palladiop. 73
Mathematicsp. 78
Inventing Modernismp. 82
Mannerism Modernp. 87
The End of Modernismp. 97
Modernist Mannerism: Stirlingp. 98
Futurist Modernism: Reyner Banhamp. 107
Modern Picturesquep. 108
Historicism versus Functionalismp. 114
Functionalist Modernismp. 116
Futurism Reduxp. 120
Theories and Designp. 122
Program, Science, and Historyp. 125
"Une Architecture Autre"p. 133
Beyond Architecture: Banham in L Ap. 140
Renaissance Modernism: Manfredo Tafurip. 157
Architect and Historianp. 159
Revising Historyp. 165
The Eclipse and Rise of Historyp. 168
Ideology and Utopiap. 177
Anxietyp. 180
Disenchantmentsp. 184
Postmodern or Posthistoire?p. 191
Notesp. 201
Indexp. 233
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