Kenneth Frampton publica "Towards a Critical Regionalism". The restrictions jointly imposed by automotive distribution and the volatile play of land speculation serve to limit the scope of urban design to such a degree that any intervention tends to be reduced either to the manipulation of elements predetermined by the imperatives of production, or to a kind of superficial masking which modern development requires for the facilitation of marketing and the maintenance of social control. In the first place, it has to "deconstruct" the overall spectrum of world culture which it inevitably inherits; in the second place, it has to achieve, through synthetic contradiction, a manifest critique of universal civilization. Towards a Critical Regionalism: six points for an architecture of resistance. The anti-aesthetic: essays on Postmodern culture. Seattle: Bay Press,
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Courtesy Yudi Ela. And while the year-old scholar has been transferring his archives to the Canadian Centre for Architecture CCA , Frampton has not stopped teaching or writing: An updated edition of his book Modern Architecture: A Critical History —a classic—is in the works, with a new chapter that casts a brighter light on architecture practices outside the West.
Zachary Edelson: Before you came to the U. How did that experience shape you? Kenneth Frampton: I was trained as an architect, I worked as an architect. That was my basic formation. I was also technical editor of the British magazine Architectural Design for two and a half years before coming to the States.
I was invited to Princeton as a visiting professor by Peter Eisenman. Then I began to teach history, theory, and also design at the same time—more intensely than I ever had before.
But this formation as an architect influenced all my academic work and my writing. Your second built project was Marcus Garvey Park Village, a low-income, low-rise housing development in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Looking back, what do you make of that project?
But maybe the last regret would be that this was the last housing built under the so-called d 3 federal legislation, where developers would be subsidized to build affordable housing with low interest rates. That whole program was canceled by Nixon; that was the end of a great deal of public housing in the United States.
The whole of Brownsville was and still is ripe for a certain amount of redevelopment. In a different kind of society, what was produced for Brownsville by the institute and the UDC could be seen as a prototype. Early in his career, Frampton practiced architecture, first in London, where he built an eight-story apartment building, and later in New York, where he has resided since the s. His only built work in his adopted city is Marcus Garvey Park Village, a low-income public housing complex in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Seen here is a rendering of the project. Courtesy Craig Hodgetts. KF: The institute was an unbelievable place. It was incredibly alive, very productive. Then, of course, eventually working on Marcus Garvey Park Village—all of that happened over a relatively short period of time.
I introduced a certain thematic to the magazine. The two main Le Corbusier—themed issues were directly edited by me. Certain political or cultural political themes were developed by me, partly Marxist and partly the opposite Heideggerian tradition. How did it come about? KF: They are definitely the source of the term.
I knew the Greek architects who they are alluding to in that essay of theirs, Dimitris Pikionis and Aris Konstantinidis. They exemplified, at the time they wrote the article, the idea of critical regionalism. That distinction between culture and civilization was a key to the article on critical regionalism.
Critical regionalism, in that sense, was accepting the Postmodern condition but not the Postmodern semiographic stylistic game. ZE: Some would say that critical regionalism was your most singular contribution. KF: It does seem to have had a very wide impact.
That almost speaks for itself, in a way. The answer would be yes, I suppose. I still think that that has a certain validity. The United States is simply altogether too big, and the Electoral College system produces very demagogic results. Some measure of direct democracy could be more beneficial to the species. ZE: Faced with the rise of ethnic nationalism in America today, do architects have a role in responding to that?
KF: All education really should have that dimension of training to it. The student should be able to practice a profession, craft, or skill that is of use to society.
Besides providing a concrete way of earning a living, it should have that other dimension. Is that true? KF: Yes, rather absurdly. I spent more or less the length of a sabbatical in that office.
That was very much a kind of a second midlife crisis, which I still have. I never did quite overcome the nostalgia for working as an architect. Are there any contemporary practices whose work you find particularly promising? KF: There are many, many contemporary practices that are promising. The tendency is for places like New York to suffer from the illusion that they are the center of the world. What exactly is in the archive, and how do you hope it will be used? KF: What exactly is in the archive is the most difficult part of that question.
I suppose at some point it could be used if anyone ever wants to write a more detached history of the IAUS, for example. Courtesy the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Then Mirko Zardini, who is the director of the CCA, developed an interest in it, so it was a two-way decision.
KF: I am. My approach is, in all the non-Eurocentric cases, to discuss the beginning of the Modern movement in each of these places and then pass from a discussion of that to evidence of the continuation of the movement in the recent past. ZE: Do you have any other thoughts about the direction of architectural theory or scholarship today? As you know, Columbia acquired the Frank Lloyd Wright archive.
The irony is that recently second-year students were taken to Chicago on a trip lasting one week and organized by the faculty of this school [GSAPP]. A visit to any work by Wright was completely absent. That strikes me as very perverse.
Scholarship, criticism, and theory need to focus on the material legacy. Zachary Edelson ,. March 2, Show Caption Hide Caption. Categories: Architecture , Ideas. The World's Best Design Cities
Kenneth Frampton Isn’t Done Changing Architecture
Courtesy Yudi Ela. And while the year-old scholar has been transferring his archives to the Canadian Centre for Architecture CCA , Frampton has not stopped teaching or writing: An updated edition of his book Modern Architecture: A Critical History —a classic—is in the works, with a new chapter that casts a brighter light on architecture practices outside the West. Zachary Edelson: Before you came to the U. How did that experience shape you? Kenneth Frampton: I was trained as an architect, I worked as an architect. That was my basic formation.
For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser. Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser. Kenneth Frampton coined the phrase Critical Regionalism to define the elements of topography, climate, light and tectonics fundamental to the art of building — these are equally valid today. There are many reasons for diving into old archives, dusty closets and faded smelly books. But what could it mean to reactivate a text which, it seems, never really died in the first place? Architects are no exception and several practices currently position themselves in response to the age of transition that is ours.
Critical Regionalism for our time
Critical regionalism is an approach to architecture that strives to counter the placelessness and lack of identity of the International Style , but also rejects the whimsical individualism and ornamentation of Postmodern architecture. The stylings of critical regionalism seek to provide an architecture rooted in the modern tradition, but tied to geographical and cultural context. Critical regionalism is not simply regionalism in the sense of vernacular architecture. It is a progressive approach to design that seeks to mediate between the global and the local languages of architecture. Sri Lankan Architect Minnette De Silva was one of the pioneers in practicing this architecture style in the s and termed it 'Regional Modernism'. Critical Regionalists thus hold that both modern and post-modern architecture are "deeply problematic".