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The Manifesto & the Hammer. A Review on How Contemporary Architecture Theories are being built

Journal: Athens Journal of Architecture (Vol.2, No. 4)

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Authors : ;

Page : 271-282

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When Panayotis Tournikiotis wrote Historiography of Modern Architecture in 1999 it started to be obvious the strategies the theorists of architecture have followed to present the words of the so-called pioneers of the Modernity as a kind of consistent discourse that eventually never existed. On top of that, if we see the original writings of those architects we will find that, in most cases, they use the format of a Manifesto - probably influenced by the Avant-Garde artistic movements from the beginning or past century- to express those ideas. Based on Tournikiotis book and comparing his theory to the original Manifestoes it is clear how theorists of Modern architecture used these texts, that were just expressing immediate ideas on one particular matter, as small pieces in their own historical puzzle to build a theory capable of explaining the evolution of architecture since the Industrial Revolution. From the publication of the “gentle manifesto” Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (Robert Venturi, 1966), according to some American authors like Charles Jencks the definition of an architect started to be dependent on his relationship with Modernity. In this way, Piano and Rogers are defined as Late-Modern architects because of their refusal to condemn Modernity (as Venturi and the Post-Moderns did) even though they considered themselves followers, such as Isozaki, Hertzberger or Foster. According to Piano and Roger´s Manifesto of 1975, Declaration, could be interpreted as an attempt to make Modern architecture more contemporary by defending the idea of using the technique in a way the Pioneers never could, just because technology was not developed enough at the moment. At the same time other architects like Eisenman were somehow claiming a revolution from the basis of modernity, going beyond the question of style that Postmodernity had put on the table with its article-manifesto Post Functionalism (published by the magazine Oppositions in 1976), using two exhibitions of the MOMA to reinterpret the world according to the latest philosophical theories, introducing the idea of mixing disciplines to get a more contemporary (complex) result. In sight of this process the aim of this work is to show how this process has evolved in the latest years, in a way that nowadays the Manifestoes tend to be built to fit their place in the puzzle of the theory of architecture exactly and to secure the position of the architects in the line of argument of the contemporary theorist, necessary accomplice in this process.

Last modified: 2016-09-23 22:26:36