What is Modern? The sensibility engendered as a response to the technological, artistic, cultural upheaval that is the 20th century. This class is for the period roughly from 1800 to 1945. What is the significance of these dates?
What is Modern? Definition of Modernization - In the 20th century, the social processes that bring this maelstrom into being, and keep it in a state of perpetual becoming, have come to be called "modernization". Definition of Modernism - These processes have nourished an amazing variety of visions and ideas that aim to make men and women the subjects as well as the objects of modernization, to give them the power to change the world that is changing them, to make their way through the maelstrom and make it their own. Over the past century, these visions and values have come to be loosely grouped together under the name of MODERNISM. (from ALL THAT IS SOLD MELTS INTO AIR. Berman)
The Mechanical Paradise In 1913, the French writer Charles Peguy remarked that “the world has changed less since the time of Jesus Christ than it has in the last thirty years.” What has our culture lost that the AVANT-GARDE had in 1890? Ebullience, idealism, confidence, the belief that there was plenty of territory to explore, and above all the sense that ART could find the necessary metaphors by which a radically changing culture could be explained to its inhabitants.
The Machine in 1889 The machine was thought of as good, strong, stupid, and obedient. They thought of it as a giant slave, controlled by REASON in a world of infinite resources. Only very exceptional sights, such as a rocket launch can give us anything resembling the emotion with which our ancestors contemplated heavy machinery. More and more people were living in a machine-formed environment. THE CITY. The TRAIN. Fast Travel of a Machine on Wheels.
Impressionism The founders of impressionism were Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frederic Bazille. The movement lasted from 1867 to 1886 and was thought to have started the modern period of art. Impressionists painted outdoors (en plein-air). This was made possible by the invention of collapsible tin tubes of paint.
Karl Marx observations "The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and with them the relations of production, and with them all the relations of society ... constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social relations, everlasting uncertainty and agitation, distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones." He goes on ... "All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. (building programs change before the building is even designed). ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR. , all that is holy is profaned, and men at last are forced to face ... the real conditions of their lives and their relations with their fellow men. "
“Will to Change” A common thread (of texts relevant to Modernity) is that the protagonists are all motivated by a WILL TO CHANGE. - to TRANSFORM both themselves and their world – and by a terror of disintegration and disorientation, of life falling apart. They all know the thrill and the dread of a world in which “all that is solid melts into air”. - Marshall Berman.
Authenticity As man’s control of the natural world through technology intensifies, AUTHENTICITY becomes more and more of an issue for modern man. It takes on an ethical imperative. For all of us MODERNISM IS REALISM (Berman). This is the world we are living in, like it or not. “ZEITGEIST” = Spirit of the Age.
Contradictions and Complexity Modern life is inherently plagued by CONTRADICTIONS – Marx. Hence COMPLEXITY. One of the impulses of early modern architecture was to try to conceal these contradictory forces. Robert Venturi. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture.
From the Introduction Paul Klee. “Angelus Novus” Painting.
Some Ideas from Introduction Definitive split between architecture and engineering disciplines which is sometimes dated to the foundation in Paris of the Ecole des Ponts et Chausees, the first Engineering School in 1747. The history of modern architecture is as much about consciousness and polemical intent as it is about buildings themselves. Dark side of the Enlightenment (from a Marxist perspective): Modern man is just as alienated from his own production (works) (the built environment) as he is from the natural world. “Bourgeois culture has oscillated between the extremes of totally planned and industrialized utopias on the one hand, and, on the other, a denial of the actual historical reality of machine production.” “Increasingly subject to the imperatives of a continuously expanding CONSUMER ECONOMY, the city has largely lost its capacity to maintain its significance as a whole.”
Chapter 1 – Cultural Transformations NeoClassical Architecture 1750-1900 Two different but related developments radically TRANSFORMED the relationship between MAN and NATURE. First, was the sudden increase in man’s capacity to exercise control over nature. (Technology). Second, a shift in nature of human consciousness, which gave birth to a new culture that was equally appropriate to the life styles of the declining aristocracy and the rising bourgeoisie. … this yielded new categories of knowledge and a historicist mode of thought that … questioned its own identity. Led to the emergence of humanist disciplines of the Enlightenment, including the pioneer works of modern SOCIOLOGY, AESTHETICS, HISTORY, and ARCHAEOLOGY. ---- The OVER-ELABORATION of architectural language in the ROCOCO interiors … compelled the architects of the 18th century, aware of the EMERGENT and UNSTABLE nature of their age to search for a TRUE STYLE through a PRECISE reappraisal of HISTORY.
ROCOCO Fragonard. “The Swing”. Rococo Painting.
ROCOCO Rococo Interior.
Progression of Thought (Theory) leading for formulation of Theory of Types. Claude Perrault Abbe de Cordemoy Jacques – Francois Blondel “.. All the different kinds of production which belong to architecture should carry the imprint of the particular intention of each building, each should possess a character which determines the general form and which declares the building for what it is” - Blondel J.N.L. Durand (student of Blondel) Durand was also a student of Boullee. Quatremere de Quincy - first formal explication of TYPE (1825)
Cordemoy Ornamentation had to be subject to propriety. Argued that many buildings required no ornament at all. Adolf Loos – “ornament is crime”.
Abbe Laugier / Soufflot Abbe Laugier Reinterpreted Cordemoy to posit a universal “natural” architecture. (Romanticism) The primordial “Primitive Hut” He asserted this primal form as the basis for a sort of classicized Gothic architecture in which there would be neither arches nor pilasters nor pedestals, and where interstices between columns would be as fully glazed as possible. Soufflot realized this vision in his church of Ste Genevieve in Paris (now called Pantheon).
3 Visionary Architects – Ledoux, Boullee, LequeuPalaces for the People