In Defense of Modernist Architecture

Owen Hatherley presents his case for a revival of modernism, particularly in its original intent as a social reform movement, in his new book, Militant Modernism.

"In this sparky, polemical and ferociously learned book, Hatherley - an icon contributor - makes his case for a modernist reformation by eulogising some of its less-appreciated past glories. Modernism, far from being just another chapter in the history of architecture or the interior decorator's sourcebook, is nothing if it is not a comprehensive, utopian social programme. As such, it is a potentially useful "index of ideas" for progressives. As you might have guessed, Hatherley is writing from a position firmly on the left - he suggests that modernism provides a blueprint for a radical left-wing alternative to the existing world, a positive proposal for a political persuasion at the moment fixated on protest and rejection.

Militant Modernism breaks into four sections, each tackling a maligned aspect of modernism head-on: brutalism, totalitarianism, sexual politics and alienation. Hatherley is at his best in the architectural tours of the first two of these chapters, which look at Britain's experiments with brutalism and the Soviet Union's flirtation with the architectural avant-garde before the Stalinist freeze."

Full Story: Review: Militant Modernism




sounds pretty nostalgic to me. so many of these social objectives has been widely discredited and work even less now than when they were first discredited 35 years ago. i can see 80 years ago being starry eyed at speeding cars and airplanes, mechanization and assembly lines but today these bring about no excitement and rather a sense of horror. instead the interest today is in the natural world and all things organic. last i checked this was also where the progressive thought was.

the aesthetic aspects of modernism are certainly alive and well and have been for the last 20 years.

re: modernity

As the old saying goes: modernity isn't what it used to be.

Charles Siegel

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