late modernism

This course examines the late modernist architecture of the 1960s and 1970s. Bracketed by Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram’s building, the ultimate monument of high modernism and Philip Johnson’s AT&T building, which declared the advent of postmodernism, this period produced the vast majority of the modern architecture that surrounds us.

Tending toward large commissions for corporate and institutional clients, late modernism is not avant-garde. Nor could it be. While the heroic modernism of the 1920s and 1930s argued for an imminent, Utopian (or, in Freudian terms, oceanic) future and the high modernism of the postwar era announced its arrival, in concert with American liberal democracy, late modernism operated after modernism had begun to take damage in the court of public opinion. Unsure of its position, between high modernism and postmodernism, between Fordism and Post-Fordism, late modernism is an uncomfortable period. Faced with the stark knowledge that after the victory of modernism, the battle of the avant-garde was over, late modernists attempted to find ways of practicing in an era in which innovation had seemingly come to an end. Because of its relation to capital and post-avant-garde stance, late modernist architecture is often deeply compromised, but in those failures, there are also lessons, and—just perhaps—a key to our current condition.

Among the architects we will consider are Philip Johnson, Paul Rudolph, Kevin Roche, Marcel Breuer, Skidmore Owings, and Merrill (the Chicago Office), Minoru Yamasaki, John Portman, and Cesar Pelli. Some of the topics covered will include phenomenology, minimalism, resistance, seriality, and the appropriation of cultural forms.

The term project will be a research book, exploring one late modern project. Material should not be formulated into a traditional research paper, but rather assembled as a dossier of information that tells a story through the designed and composed sequence of images and texts lead by a narrative you have written yourself. The book will be designed simultaneously as a printed, bound object and for the NetLab web site. Design is integral to the term project.

1 Introduction

optional: Fredric Jameson, "Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," New Left Review 146 (July/August 1984), 53-92.

recommended: Ernest Mandel, Late Capitalism, (London: Verso, 1978).

2 Theoretical Context: Did Modernism Have a Theory?

Matthew Nowicki, "Origins and Trends in Modern Architecture," in Joan Ockman, ed., Architecture Culture 1943-1968 (New York: Rizzoli, 1993) 149-156.

Walter Gropius, "Eight Steps toward a Solid Architecture," and Sir John Summerson, "The Case for a Theory of Modern Architecture," in Joan Ockman, ed., Architecture Culture 1943-1968, 170-180 and 226-236; Walter Gropius, "Is There a Science of Design?" Scope of Total Architecture (New York: Collier, 1962), 30-43.

Colin Rowe, "Mannerism and Modern Architecture," Mathematics of the Ideal Villa, (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1976).

Recommended: Klaus Herdeg. The Decorated Diagram. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983).

3 Socioeconomic Context: Cold War and the End of Ideology

Daniel Bell, "The End of Ideology in the West: An Epilogue," The End Of Ideology: On The Exhaustion Of Political Ideas In The Fifties, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988), 393-407.

Richard Gid Powers, "The Cold War in the Rockies: American Ideology and the Air Force Academy Design," Art Journal, Vol. 33, No. 4. (Summer, 1974), pp. 304-313.

Henry-Russell Hitchcock, "The Architecture of Bureaucracy and the Architecture of Genius," Architectural Review 101 (January 1947), 3-6.

Mitchell Schwarzer, "Modern Architectural Ideology in Cold War America," in Martha Pollak, ed., The Education of the Architect (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press,1997), 87-109.

4 Difference and Repetition: The Legacy of Mies

Phyllis Lambert, "Mies and His Colleagues," in Phyllis Lambert, ed. Mies in America, (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001) , 564-589.

Philip Johnson, "Review of Philip Johnson: Architecture 1949-1965. By Philip Johnson," Architectural Forum 125 (October 1966): 52-53.

Colin Rowe, "Neo-‘Classicism' and Modern Architecture, I" and "Neo-‘Classicism' and Modern Architecture, II" in Mathematics of the Ideal Villa, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1976) 119-158.

Phyllis Lambert, "Stimmung at Seagram: Philip Johnson Counters Mies van der Rohe," Grey Room 20 (Summer 2005), 38-59.

Philip Johnson, "Whither Away - Non-Miesian Directions." In Robert A. M. Stern and Peter D. Eisenman, eds., Writings, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 226-40).

6 Architecture, Context, and the Transitional Object: Minoru Yamasaki's World Trade Center

D. W. Winnicott, "Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena," in Playing and Reality (London: Routledge, 1971), 1-25.

"Yamasaki's Dhahran Airport," Architectural Record, March 1963. 145-148.

Laurie Kerr, "The Mosque to Commerce. Bin Laden's Special Complaint With the World Trade Center," Slate,

Recommended: James Glanz and Eric Lipton, City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center (New York: Times Books, 2003).

7 SOM (The Chicago Office): Engineering and Field Theory

Detlef Mertins, "Interview with Bruce Graham," SOM Journal 2003, v.2, p.[152]-165.

Bruce Graham (New York: Electa).

Stanley Tigerman, G. T. Crabtree, "The Formal Generators of Structure," Leonardo 1 (January 1968): 35-39.

8 Action Architecture: Paul Rudolph and Kallmann, McKinnell, and Knowles

Paul Rudolph, "The Changing Philosophy of Architecture," Architectural Forum 101 (July 1954): 120-121.

Peter Blake, No Place Like Utopia: Modern Architecture And The Company We Kept, (New York: Knopf, 1993), 255-261.

Timothy Rohan, "Rendering the Surface," Grey Room 1 (Fall 2000), 84-107.

G. M. Kallmann, "The ‘Action' Architecture of a New Generation." Architectural Forum, October 1959, 133-37, 244.

Peter Eisenman, "Two Teachers: A Personal Reflection." in Alex Krieger, ed., The Architecture of Kallmann Mckinnell & Wood, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Graduate School of Design/Rizzoli, 1988), 95-97.

9 Counter-Currents: Late Modernism and the Neo-Avant-Garde

Ulrich Franzen. "Introduction." in Education of an Architect: A Point of View, edited by John Hejduk, (New York: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art), 1971.

Kazys Varnelis, "History of the Eye," forthcoming

10 Phenomenology: Cesar Pelli and the Los Angeles Silvers

Mario Gandelsonas, "Conditions for a Colossal Architecture," Cesar Pelli: Buildings and Projects 1965-1990 (New York: Rizzoli, 1990), 9-12.

Cesar Pelli, "Transparency-Physical and Perceptual," A+U, November 1976, 74-86.

Cesar Pelli, "Los Angeles Architects," Esther McCoy, The Second Generation, (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books, 1984), xi-xv.

"Images from a Silver Screen," Progressive Architecture, 1976, n. 10, 70-77.

11 Portman and Postmodernism

Fredric Jameson, "Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," New Left Review 146 (July/August 1984), 53-92.

Recommended: Ernest Mandel, Late Capitalism, (London: Verso, 1978).

12 The Legacy of Late Modernism

Arthur Drexler, Transformations in Modern Architecture, (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1979).

Charles Jencks, "The Rhetoric of Late Modernism-A Pictorial Essay," The New Moderns, (New York: Rizzoli, 1992), 66-91.

Gwendolyn Wright, "The Virtual Architecture of Silicon Valley," Journal of Architectural Education, Volume 54, Number 2, 88-94.