Future - Visions


Posted by carinasong1990 on May 27, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Years ago when I read about Koolhass' statement of ' in this age of communication, I insist on....' I wasn't quite sure about what he's on about that ' communication.'

Here is an essay by Charle Jencks the death of modern architecture, the language of post modern architecture, that to some extend makes it clear to me what is that communication.

By the start of the essay, Charles illustrates that modern architecture has undergone 3 phases of development from private to public to developer. At the first stage, design is customized specially for users and there are strong links between designers and users, meaning and form when architectural production is at small scale that's easily to be controlled . Later when architecture was high-rised, bureaucratized, capitalized, gigantisied and the industry was controlled by developers, the work is becoming too big to be controlled by one person. Clichéd buildings are produced for profits . From the above observations, Charles states 2 causes for the crisis of modern architecture:

1,modern architecture has limited architecture on the level of form

2, modern architecture suffers from the level of content that is it's not clear of its social goals for which is actually built.

In other words, from my understanding, is that architects built aimlessly by focusing on small pits of a large project that is beyond the control of one single person. There is weak connection between the designers and users, that architects build boxes without a second thinking of whether this is what the users wanted and why they are building in this way.  What if we reside in an office building while the office building must be constructed in steel. 

Also inregards to the first question he pointed out. It resonates another essay by Frampton in Towards a critical regionalism : 6 points for an architecture of resistance.

Several conflictions between modern urban form/architecture and their prime forms were proposed by Frampton as


1.modern building is now universally conditioned and the focus of architecture design is shifted into either 'high tech' which is limited by products or 'facade' that covers the universal condition that is behind it.

2, civilizations and culture can no longer afford to control the shape of the urban fabric when urban fabrics are overlaid by two symbolic instruments of megalpolitan development- the freeway and high-rise building, and the possibilities of creating unique urban fabrics is restricted by the universal modern development. Now any struggles to make a change of urban form is limited to meeting the needs of production and maintenance of social control.

Frampton quoted Paul Ricoeur's concerns about the predicament generated between universalization and the deconstruction of the ethical and mythical nucleus of human civilization that has been built in the past. By the time when human steps into a consumer culture, a modern civilization, we are abandoning our whole culture past in scientific technical political rationality level. 'how to become modern and to return to sources when the ground when the nucleus of a society is rooted has been eroded by the rapacity of development ?' asked both by Frampton and Ricoeur.  Frampton finally in his essay proposed the solution that critical regionalism with the jointly play of tactile and tectonic will have the ability to transcend the mere appearance of technical in modern architecture so as to create a place-form to resist the onslaught of global modernization on architecture and urban design.


Back to Jenck, he points out that the mis-communication between popular and elite groups can be seen in examples of Mies, Aldo Rossi, Peter Smithson: Steel, I beams, brick walls, the use of patterns are all categorizing the function of the building, while architect like Aldo Rossi was trying to revive classical architecture tradition without any historical references, it cannot escape the fate of being criticized as recalling the image of palace of Italian civilization. Also seen in Smithson's Robin Hood Garden, where Smithson argues for a sense of 'place, identity, personality, home coming' but the truth is that the space is not used as how the architect's imagines. The contradictions between statement and result is significant in modern architecture. This implies a gap between the readings of form and the function that form was supposed to suggest. If modern architecture is limted to the level of form, then the misunderstanding problem can be significantly severe.

Based on this observations, Charles states that we need to establish a system of architectural language that could be understood and communicated universally in both group of elites and public.

Peter Eisenman also argues that architecture should be understood as a system of language. But do they bear the same ideas in regard to the ' language system' and ' communication idea'?

This post is just trying to detangle the thoughts on communication ideology in the post modernism era.



[note: After a chronological analysis of the two stances of avant-garde architects from Enlightenment to post modernism, Frampton states that architecture can only be sustained today as in a arriere-garde position that neither trusts in the optimization of advanced technology nor regressing into nostalgic historicism. It is only the arriere-agarde that are able to build an identity-giving culture while being selected to universal techniques. He qualified arriere-garde as something that is often associated with populism and regionalism that holds both individuals and local values in architectonic features. It is against universal influences but involves critical self consciousness. It has to deconstruct the world culture in order to withdraw itself from being universal and at the same time borrowing the universal techniques. In terms of urban design, critical regionalism addresses itself to provide a place- form that strengthen the density of architecture of resistance. Frampton also argues that the play of light and topography can exerts significant effects on making a sense of place so as to reduce the placeless practice and give back the aura of a work. While later he argues that the autonomy in architecture resides in the tectonic rather than the secnographic which is directly revealed in the form of the structure which explicitly illustrated the action of gravity on the structure. Here he opens up a potential to play with architecture's bone structure instead of just focusing on presenting facades and high tech products. Also with Alva Aalto's example, he states that 'critical regionalism seeks to complement our normative visual experiences by readdressing the tactile range of human perceptions.']

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