The Intertwinement of Modernism and Colonialism: a Theoretical Perspective

Authors

Downloads

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.52200/48.A.1KTV3PAE

Keywords:

Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing

Abstract

Post–colonial theory, following the lead of Edward Said’s Orientalism, holds that the discourse that justified colonialism was not marginal to European culture, but that it formed a core ingredient of European thinking about Modernity and Modernism. This thought–provoking argument has not yet been thoroughly processed in architectural history and theory. This article explores these issues by introducing some of Said’s thoughts and by discussing how they might be relevant for an interpretation of Modernism in architecture. It looks at primitivism in architecture as encountered in the work of Loos, Le Corbusier and Rudofsky, arguing that its colonialist bias is undeniable. The conclusion stresses how much Said’s analyses still give rise to difficult questions about our ideas and attitudes.

How to Cite

Heynen, H. (2013). The Intertwinement of Modernism and Colonialism: a Theoretical Perspective. Docomomo Journal, (48), 10–19. https://doi.org/10.52200/48.A.1KTV3PAE

Published

2013-07-01

Author Biography

Hilde Heynen, KU Leuven

Professor of architectural theory at the KU Leuven, Belgium. Her books include Architecture and Modernity. A Critique (1999) and The Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory (2012, co–edited with Greig Crysler and Stephen Cairns). She publishes in journals such as Home Cultures and The Journal of Architecture.

References

Bauer, Catherine, Modern Housing, Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1934.

Hal Foster, “The ‘Primitive’ Unconscious of Modern Art” [1985], Flam, Jack; Deutch, Miriam, ed., Primitivism and Twentieth Century Art. A Documentary History, Berkeley (California), University of California Press, 2003, 384–394.

Giedion, Sigfried, Befreites Wohnen [1929], Frankfurt, Syndikat, 1985.

Henket, Hubert–Jan; Heynen, Hilde. ed., Back from Utopia. The Challenges of the Modern Movement, Rotterdam, 010 Publishers, 2002.

Hosagrahar, Jyoti, Indigenous Modernities. Negotiating Architecture and Urbanism, London, Routledge, 2004.

Adolf Loos, “Ornament and Crime” [1908], Safran, Yehuda; Wang, Wilfried ed., The architecture of Adolf Loos. An Arts Council Exhibition, London, 1987, 100–103

Flam, Jack; Deutch, Miriam ed., Primitivism and Twentieth Century Art. A Documentary History, Berkeley (California), University of California Press, 2003.

Rudofsky, Bernard, Architecture without Architects. A Short Introduction to Non–Pedigreed Architecture, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 1964.

Said, Edward, Orientalism, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.

Vogt, Adolf Max, Le Corbusier, the Noble Savage. Towards an Archaeology of Modernism, Cambridge (Massachusetts), MIT Press, 1998.