Conservation or Change for Works of the Modern Movement


  • James Dunnett




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


The Modern Movement in architecture, in so far as any such movement can be defined, was predicated on the idea that architecture had to change to reflect the radical technological advances that had occurred during the century preceding its formulation, and also to reflect the changing social needs that those advances had generated. Architecture, it was felt, had ossified and lost vitality as a result of not recognizing those changes. A century has now passed since the Modern Movement first formulated this program, and technical advances and the social changes they induce have of course by no means ceased, rather they have accelerated. So, it seems legitimate to say that a technologically – and socially – determined architecture should reflect these further advances and changes. The evolution continues. But does that mean that each Modern Movement building created at a particular point in that evolution has in itself to continue to change in order to “catch up” with the evolution subsequent to its creation? It is a question that has importance when it comes to considering the conservation of Modern Movement architecture. It is an assertion that would ignore the formal element in architecture.

How to Cite

Dunnett, J. (2018). Conservation or Change for Works of the Modern Movement . Docomomo Journal, (58), 86–87.





Documentation Issues


Author Biography

James Dunnett

Architect, who worked for Ernö Goldfinger (1973-5) and for the London Borough of Camden. In 1983 he set up his own practice, James Dunnett Architects. He mounted a comprehensive exhibition at the Architectural Association of the work of Ernö Goldfinger, while collaborating on a publication about him with the late Professor Gavin Stamp: Ernö Goldfinger (London, Architectural Association Publications, 1983). He is the former chair of docomomo UK. He has taught and lectured at a number of universities and continues to practice architecture.