Back from Utopia: The Challenge of the Modern Movement
Authors: Hubert-Jan Henket, Hilde HeynenHubert-Jan Henket Editors, Hilde Heynen Editor 010 Publishers, 2002 (411p.)
The Modern Movement in architecture advocated an approach that would keep pace with technological developments, do justice to the needs of the rising masses and convey an image of universality, freedom and openness. Pioneers like Le Corbusier, Gropius and Mies van der Rohe created a sober architecture free of ornament whose aesthetic appeal relied upon the play of interpenetrating volumes and effects of transparency. This architecture was bound up with a utopian impulse, in that its promoters firmly believed that the creation of a better architecture would automatically lead to a better world. Decades later we are witnessing both the positive and the negative results of this endeavour. After the all too rapid condemnation of the Modern Movement by its post-modernist critics, it is now time for a more balanced reassessment. This book brings together 42 contributions by leading voices from the world of architecture and architectural history. Authors critically discuss the values of the Modern Movement, its multiple manifestations, its connections with colonialism, the promises it did not keep and the paradoxes it gave rise to. In a variety of ways, ranging from cartoons, collages and poems to essays and scholarly texts, they comment upon the significance of the Modern Movement today.