Undisciplinary is the personal wiki of Martin Zemlicka.

Critical Subjects – What's modern about modern architecture?

15.07.2014 – Zaha Hadid Architects, London

Part of the Critical Subjects summer school series of debates, lectures and panel discussions.


Robert Adam

Robert is an architect, frequently called a classicist.

  1. The word modern has become interchangeable with modernism, much thanks to H.R. Hitchcock and his 1948 travels. For example in some parts of the world, the word functionalism is the more preferred version of referring to the same thing.
  2. If we say we have to be modern, we must constantly destroy the past and strive to be innovative.

Dickon Robinson

Robert is associated with Living Architecture and RIBA.

  1. Not much. After a visit to Chicago, he noticed that nothing seems to have changed in the past couple of decades.
  2. In terms of material, it is shocking to what degree architects now use exactly the same technology as 100 years ago.
  3. materials have not kept pace with digital innovations, especially when compared with disciplines like engineering and design.
  4. quotes William Gibson, ‘The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.’
  5. “artists could be what architects need, but only if they are included conceptually from the beginning.”
  6. We now have a «modernist tradition», as oxymoronic as it is.

Penny Lewis

Penny teaches history and theory at an architecture school.

  1. Talks about the futurists, using them to ask where we stand in relation to the past and the future.
  2. Marinetti wanted to not think about the past, he wanted to go back to infancy, to building things anew.
  3. Corbusier and MvdR were very good at innovating both programme (what’s it for) and construction (how to build it).
  4. Feels that now the debate about what is modern is divided, but nobody is bringing programme and construction together.