Bart Lootsma describes a recent research trip to clarify economic, social and density issues in the Netherlands by studying current conditions in major cities in Asia. He reviews the historic role of socialism in the Netherlands and the effects of deregulation on housing. He describes the sudden arrival of modernity to Asia. Lootsma describes his methodology and documentation process.
Video Archive | Modernity (8)
Following his lecture, Rem Koolhaas answers several questions concerning his years in America and explains why he eventually moved back to Europe. He also discusses the organization of the Parc de la Villette entry along the Parisian freeway system as a way to exploit truths about the urban condition. At one point, he finds himself defending the notion that his entry was more a capitalist shopping mall than it was, as Koolhaas sees it, an architectural theme park. He ends the session by discussing the difference of typological and programmatic sensibilities and flexibilities between Europe and America.
The concluding 13 minutes of Libeskind’s lecture. He finds most of contemporary architecture misguided. On the other hand, he claims that many architects of his generation are rethinking assumptions, and rethinking the nature of architecture. He quickly displays some of his models and drawings to show how his work tries to deal with the themes of his lecture.
Charles Jencks tracks the evolution of Russian constructivism as a way of bridging the gap between cubism, modernism, and the prevalent International Style. Jencks describes the 1905 and 1917 revolutions and how designers approached both. He cites Lenin and Marx on the role of government in
regulating style through the early half of the twentieth century. He breaks down the architectural evolution of the movement from before Tatlin’s Tower through its spread to other Communist countries like Poland and China, and finally, the eventual decline of the movement in favor of the International Style.
Shelly Kappe introduces Charles Jencks through a summary of his accomplishments and publications. Jencks begins by summarizing his main points. These points include demonstrating how Russian constructivism began, matured and evolved from the 1905 Russian Revolution, through the October Revolution of 1917, and through to the late 1930s. He argues constructivism is the missing link between cubism and modernity by pointing to influences and architecture from the movement.
Charles Jencks wraps up his lecture on Russian constructivism by describing the ways Stalin projected the style to other countries outside the USSR, including Mao’s China, and Eastern Europe. He shows examples of the late evolution of the movement including civic architecture, infrastructure, and transportation. Lastly, Jencks describes how the International Style infects Russian architects and degrades the constructivist aesthetic.
As a preface to his lecture, Banham presents a Super 8 short of an Archigram megastructure model in flames. Banham characterizes his topic as the association and development of meanings and forms connected to machine age architecture. He reveals that the lecture was, in part, inspired by an article Colin Rowe wrote about Banham’s views of modernity. He also describes twentieth century architecture’s obsession with keeping in step with technology, and how myths and meanings become associated with forms and styles.
Reyner Banham concludes his
lecture by discussing his differences and similarities with Colin Rowe regarding the forms and meanings associated with modernity. Banham stresses the evolution of all tools and machines as being, “designed by one thousand hands,” over the course of time. He also stresses that each evolutionary step kept consistent with the ideas of economy, simplicity, and efficiency. He ends by discussing whether the meanings of modernity should be associated with their forms, bringing up more current themes being dealt with by groups like the New York Five.