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Reconstructing Architecture: Critical Discourses and Social Practices

Thomas A. Dutton
Lian Hurst Mann
Volume: 5
Copyright Date: 1996
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttmg1
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  • Book Info
    Reconstructing Architecture
    Book Description:

    The contributors to this volume question architecture’s complicity with the status quo, moving beyond critique to outline the part architects are playing in building radical social movements and challenging dominant forms of power. Contributors: Sherry Ahrentzen, U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Bradford C. Grant, California Polytechnic State U, San Luis Obispo; Richard Ingersoll, Rice U; Margaret Soltan, George Washington U; Anthony Ward, U of Auckland, New Zealand.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8743-5
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION Modernism, Postmodernism, and Architecture’s Social Project
    (pp. 1-26)
    Thomas A. Dutton and Lian Hurst Mann

    Today, as the world teeters on the edge of a new millennium, saddled with unprecedented technological capability as well as untold human suffering, architects concerned with the global transformations of civil society wrestle with the problems of how to theorize and practice politically progressive architecture. Given that architecture—practice and discourse—is always social, the central questions we address in this book are these: What constitutes “the social project” of architecture in the current historical context? What critical discourses and social practices advance such a project? Can architecture be reconstituted in terms of a new social project? Addressing these questions,...

  5. One The Suppression of the Social in Design: Architecture as War
    (pp. 27-70)
    Anthony Ward

    Architecture is said to be “the Mother of the Arts”, the quintessential social art, indeed as nothingbutsocial—it is produced to shelter human activity and to express its significance; it is the backdrop against which the drama of everyday life unavoidably played out, constraining and shaping possible social interactions. What is calledsocialarchitecture is the practice of architecture as an instrument progressive social change. It foregrounds the moral imperative to increase human dignity and reduce human suffering. The fact that architecture’s very character is social has not meant historically that its specific social impact in particular moments...

  6. Two The F Word in Architecture: Feminist Analyses in/of/for Architecture
    (pp. 71-118)
    Sherry Ahrentzen

    The F word in architecture.

    If that word is “Frank,” it’s glorified, debated, canonized, and meticulously studied. Constantly. There are more than one hundred publications on Frank Lloyd Wright alone.¹

    But there’s another F word in architecture, one that is rarely spoken, sometimes whispered or snickered, and that word is “feminism.” As Edward Ball notes, “Architecture imagines itself to be the most asexual of occupations. What could gender have to do with decorated sheds andgrands projets?”²

    Why the overt neglect or naive attitude of feminism in the profession, practice, and discipline of architecture? Certainly the male-dominated canon and population...

  7. Three Second Nature: On the Social Bond of Ecology and Architecture
    (pp. 119-157)
    Richard Ingersoll

    Ecology and architecture make strange, but star-crossed, bedfellows. The former is the study of how all things in the natural world are related to each other, while the latter is in its essentials the reaction of the human imagination to nature’s inhospitality to dwelling. By extension, the production of buildings, cities, and regional infrastructures has directly and indirectly provided the impetus for technological and industrial transformations that have thoroughly transformed the natural world. Because the impact of human interventions during the last two centuries has been so pervasive, it is difficult to claim that such a thing as “nature” still...

  8. Four Cultural Studies and Critical Pedagogy: Cultural Pedagogy and Architecture
    (pp. 158-201)
    Thomas A. Dutton

    The last fifteen to twenty years have witnessed extensive change in architectural expression and discourse. Architecture has exploded into a throng of aesthetic styles and preferences, each striving for visibility. Such distinguishes the postmodern in architecture, where the command of a visual dominant is neutralized the sheer volume of competing fashions that simultaneously (and contradictorily) stand independent and incorporate each other. As Jim Collins puts it: “Post-Modernism departs from its predecessors in that as a textual practice it actually incorporates the heterogeneity of those conflicting styles, rather than simply asserting itself as the newest radical alternative seeking to render all...

  9. Five Accommodation and Resistance: The Buiut Environment and the African American Experience
    (pp. 202-233)
    Bradford C. Grant

    American architecture, the design and planning of the environment, has rarely studied through the lens of race, let alone its association with culture and class. “Race” has always remained invisible in environmental design. As with most aspects of our society, race and culture are in part architecturally constructed, just architecture can be racially and culturally deconstructed. In his bookRace Matters,cultural critic Cornel West examines how social conditions are intimately tied race. He makes the point that race is, indeed, a fundamental feature of our history and society and that Black people are a major element of our life...

  10. Six Deconstruction and Architecture
    (pp. 234-258)
    Margaret Soltan

    Four long city blocks from my house on Capitol Hill, the wide diagonal of Pennsylvania Avenue marks a supremely important American site: “Main Street, U.S.A.,” the tour guides call it, reminding visitors of famous inaugural, funeral, and protest marches from the Capitol to the White House. Along with well-established monumental buildings like the National Gallery of Art, the Justice Department, and the IRS, Pennsylvania Avenue has more recently acquired a good number of modernist and (stretching the term) postmodern structures, and it is busy acquiring more. A group called the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) has been working to lend...

  11. Seven Subverting the Avant-Garde: Critical Theory’s Real Strategy
    (pp. 259-318)
    Lian Hurst Mann

    As fascist ideology moves once again from veiled menace to bold contender throughout a newly recapitalized Europe and across the United States, as Mafia henchmen rule the streets of Moscow, as the People’s Republic of China offers neither democracy nor socialism, the reexamination of European Marxist theory is one productive study to undertake as it impacts present debates about architecture and the built environment.² I sayonebecause, by its own self-critical definition, critical social theory as identified with European Marxism has many limits: it has not integrated the significant contributions of Third World-centered revolutionary theory from Du Bois to...

  12. Contributors
    (pp. 319-320)
  13. Index
    (pp. 321-329)