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Investigating the Other Modern

A theme which Matthew Alderman and like-minded souls have been keen to explore in recent years is that of ‘The Other Modern’: advances in architecture that are evolutionary within the grand scheme of Western architecture rather than revolutionary and rejecting tradition. (c.f. Alderman’s Modernism and the Other Modern: A Cautionary Tale and other NLM posts on the subject). We’ve explored this idea ourselves, looking at the Universidad Laboral in Spain and Brasini’s unfinished church in Rome.

One of the sessions at the 2012 conference of the Association of Art Historians will “to bring together an international group of scholars to investigate architectural projects and strategies that have been eclipsed, ignored or derided in favour of an architectural historical narrative which has privileged the ideologies and outputs of Modernism”

The description ‘Modernism’s Other’ accounts for the majority of architect-designed buildings in the developed world before 1950, and a substantial quantity thereafter. While the claims of Modernism to command the intellectual and social heights of the century have been disputed, and while the 1980s saw the beginning of a reappraisal of different design strategies, recent trends in the academy have reaffirmed Modernism’s primacy.

Many questions regarding architectural projects and their interpretation invite fresh consideration. What constitutes marginal or eclipsed history, which architects might be included in this category, and how architectural theories might support or inhibit new understandings of twentieth-century work are all fertile lines of enquiry. ‘Otherist’ projects produced in the twentieth century offered a sophisticated engagement with the past, with decoration and with symbolism. To investigate, correlate and evaluate the ‘lost histories’ remains a challenge to art historians. This session therefore encourages contributions on individual designers and critics, national schools, international tendencies, urbanism, conservation and historiography, which speak directly to alternative expressions of modernity.

More information is available here at the blog of Ayla Lapine, a Canadian art & architectural historian based in London.

This post was published on Monday, February 6th, 2012 8:52 pm. It has been categorised under Architecture Errant Thoughts and been tagged under .
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