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Towards Authenticity: Greece in Modern Architecture since 1900

Journal: Athens Journal of Architecture (Vol.3, No. 1)

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Authors : ;

Page : 7-20

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In his Modern Architecture since 1900 (1982) William J.R. Curtis attempts to present a “balanced, readable overall view of the development of modern architecture from its beginning until the recent past” and to include the architecture of the non-western world, a subject overlooked by previous histories of modern architecture. Curtis places authenticity at the core of his research and uses it as the criterion to assess the historicity of modern architecture. While the second edition (1987) of Curtis' book appeared with just an addendum, for the third edition (1996) he undertook a full revision, expansion and reorganization of the content. This paper proposes that Curtis presented a more ‘authentic' account of the development of modern architecture in other parts of the world with the third edition of his book. In the first edition of Modern Architecture since 1900, Greece appears only as inspiration to the work of Le Corbusier: the Acropolis is regarded as having made the greatest impression in the memory of the modern master. It is not until the third edition that Curtis discusses Greek modern architecture, embodied in the work of Dimitris Pikionis in the late 1930s and later on in the 1950s. It is also not until the 1996 edition that Greece is ‘authentically' addressed in terms of ‘national identity', ‘universalism' or ‘regionalism'. Between the first and the third editions of the book, regionalism in architecture was debated and framed in seminal essays and conferences by Curtis himself, Paul Rudolph and Kenneth Frampton. Focusing the attention on the example of Greek architecture, this paper will seek to discern developments in Curtis' discourse on regionalism between all of Modern Architecture since 1900 from inspiration to authenticity.

Last modified: 2016-12-07 22:50:15