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
Robert is an architect, frequently called a classicist.
- 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
- If we say we have to be modern, we must constantly destroy the past and
strive to be innovative.
Robert is associated with Living Architecture and RIBA.
- Not much. After a visit to Chicago, he noticed that nothing seems to have
changed in the past couple of decades.
- In terms of material, it is shocking to what degree architects now use
exactly the same technology as 100 years ago.
- materials have not kept pace with digital innovations, especially when
compared with disciplines like engineering and design.
- quotes William Gibson, ‘The future is already here — it’s just not very
- “artists could be what architects need, but only if they are included
conceptually from the beginning.”
- We now have a «modernist tradition», as oxymoronic as it is.
Penny teaches history and theory at an architecture school.
- Talks about the futurists, using them to ask where we stand in relation to
the past and the future.
- Marinetti wanted to not think about the past, he wanted to go back to
infancy, to building things anew.
- Corbusier and MvdR were very good at
innovating both programme (what’s it for) and construction (how to build
- Feels that now the debate about what is modern is divided, but nobody is
bringing programme and construction together.