IN THE MOOD FOR ARCHITECTURE_

©Wasmuth Verlag

Planned Book Launch & Signing Events:

The book ‘In the Mood for Architecture, Tradition, Modernism and Serendipity’ endeavors bridging over entrenched positions on Tradition versus Modernity, and Modernism versus Classicism, and hopes offering a theoretical ‘esquisse’, or at least a meditative fragment, addressing a contemporary architecture which is not afraid of acknowledging both tradition and modernity, embraces newness, originality, but also defers to imitation and convention.

“It’s interesting and providential that my book “In the Mood for Architecture” (Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, Tubingen, 2018) happens exactly 30 years after the AD publication addressing Traditional Architecture published in 1988 (which I guest-edited at Academy Editions, London). I follow up on many of the same arguments but thought it essential to review thoroughly and rethink many of the philosophical and theoretical assumptions of both modernism & traditionalism. I thought that the reassessment of the dialectics of ‘Genius Loci’ – ‘Zeitgeist’ as well as issues of tectonics, political and social and deontological ethics, etc., as well as the rehabilitation of emotional versus rational approaches to architecture were among some of the more relevant topics I enjoyed addressing.”e reassessment of the dialectics of ‘Genius Loci’ – ‘Zeitgeist’ as well as issues of tectonics, political and social and deontological issues, and also collateral cultural ethics, etc., but also, and above all the rehabilitation of emotional versus rational approaches to architecture were among some of the more relevant topics I enjoyed addressing… I know not everybody will like this!e reassessment of the dialectics of ‘Genius Loci’ – ‘Zeitgeist’ as well as issues of tectonics, political and social and deontological issues, and also collateral cultural ethics, etc., but also, and above all the rehabilitation of emotional versus rational approaches to architecture were among some of the more relevant topics I enjoyed addressing… I know not everybody will like this!e reassessment of the dialectics of ‘Genius Loci’ – ‘Zeitgeist’ as well as issues of tectonics, political and social and deontological issues, and also collateral cultural ethics, etc., but also, and above all the rehabilitation of emotional versus rational approaches to architecture were among some of the more relevant topics I enjoyed addressing… I know not everybody will like this!

FOREWORD Leon Krier

INTRODUCTION Alireza Sagharchi

Chapter I Tradition & Modernity: A Perpetual Becoming
This chapter discusses the nature of tradition as a selective and evolutionary process, which accepts and fosters positive change in a perpetual process of ‘becoming’, rather than as a static ‘being’.

Chapter II The Contemporary: Time and Place
Discusses the issues of ‘Contemporaneity’ and ‘Modernity’ as unavoidable and necessary ‘existential’, and metaphysical challenges, not conflictual with ‘tradition’, but opportunities of emulation, of ‘new excellence’, of creative ‘symbiosis’.  It highlights the relevance of ‘originality’ in tradition reclaiming it as its ‘essence’, as its ‘nature’.

Chapter III Tradition and the Creative Genius
This chapter discusses a number of critical shortcomings in contemporary modernity where the drama of ‘creativity’ has reached a level of hysteric exaltation. It analyzes the unprecedented claim for an infinite realm of personal ego worth of ‘stardom’ and the limitless ambition of inventiveness which characterize the contemporary and modernist quest for creative ‘genius’. It proposes ‘normality’ and also the humility of the traditional craftsman and anonymous builder as an antidote for vainglorious ‘hubris’. It argues that the traditional use of ‘imitation’ is a most efficient method of architectural ‘invention’ and continuous excellence

Chapter IV On Imitation and Originality
This chapter discusses ‘imitation’ as a process of re-thinking, re-learning and re-creating, allowing to achieve true ‘originality’ and contemporary relevance, and by emulating the ‘original’ historic models, become ‘originals’ themselves, and models for imitation.

Chapter V On Cities and Homes: Contemporary Projects
Illustrated by Projects of Leon Krier, Scott Merrill, Luigi Del Sordo, Michael Imber, Christopher Doyle, Donald Gray, Uwe Schroeder, Nicolas Duru, Alireza Sagharchi, Mulhern & Steil, etc.

Chapter VI A Critique of Towers
This chapter compares the relevance of ‘high’ structures, monuments, landmarks, etc. in the traditional city, to high-rise developments in contemporary cities. It analyzes the skyscraper as a building type in the context of ‘starchitecture’, and elaborates on its proliferation in traditional cities and the global world.

Chapter VII Destruction, Reconstruction and Commemoration
Discusses how traditional cities, even though destroyed many times by natural and human action, have always been reconstructed as perfected and corrected paradigms of the previous ones, rather than as theoretical experimentations and socio-aesthetical utopias. Though every reconstruction aimed at the ‘Ideal City’, or the ‘Citta Felice’, they were all grounded in the time-tested principles of traditional city-building, building types and tectonics. They were all consonant with the ‘contemporary’ and the ‘spirit of time’, as well as with the memory of place. This essay refers to major reconstruction endeavors with a special focus on the WTC reconstruction in New York. It then elaborates upon, and discusses commemoration as an essential human need for reconstruction in the aftermath of tragic destruction and grief. It proposes to elevate the memory of tragic events beyond the mere mimetic or analogic illustration of the tragedy. Rather than celebrating destruction, commemoration is considered here as a healing act as it endeavors building a better world in the perfected image of the one which has been destroyed and lost.

Chapter VIII A Critique of Tradition
This chapter was originally supposed to be the introduction with a thorough autobiographical thread describing the author’s commitment to both tradition and modernity.

Epilogue Maurice Culot

Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, Tubingen (Germany)

15th February 2018, Seaside Awards & Sundog Bookstore, Seaside Florida, USA

22nd March 2018 at ‘Fondation Valentiny’, Remerschen, Luxembourg

May, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, USA

June 2018, Institute of Classical Architecture, San Antonio, Texas

2nd July 2018, Traditional Architects’ Group, RIBA, London

October 2019, Notre Dame Rome Gateway, Rome

 

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