Kenneth Frampton: Towards an agonistic architecture (December 4, 2013)

After a brief homage to Raimund Abraham, Kenneth Frampton outlines the trajectory of critical regionalism, from the first edition of Modern Architecture: a critical history (1980), through “Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance” (1983), and discusses some projects that illustrate his ideas by Álvaro Siza, Tadao Ando, and Jørn Utzon. Frampton discusses how he began to formulate his ideas on more recent architectural developments in the 1994 reprint of Modern Architecture. He emphatically rejects the Beijing CCTV Headquarters (2012) and National Stadium (2008) as irrational and unethical.

As an alternative to this kind of globalist practice, Frampton surveys contemporary projects by architects working in developing nations, including Jan Olav Jensen, Haikkinen-Komonen Architects, Hollmén-Reuter-Sandman Architects, Dick van Gameren Architecten, Richard Murphy Architects, and Siza’s Iberê Camargo Museum in Brazil (2008).

Frampton concludes by discussing Bijoy Jain and Studio Mumbai, stressing how projects such as the Palmyra house (2007) demonstrate a strategy of integrating design craft which might provide a viable path between globalist phantasmagoria and uncritical traditionalism.

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