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The Failure of Revolutionary Architecture

Conference in New York City

A rare set of architecure world luminaries will gather in New York on 7 February, 2013 to discuss the history of modern architecture's striving for socially revolutionary forms and affects in the twentieth century. The conference Ruins of Modernity: The Failure of Revolutionary Architecture in the Twentieth Century will bring Peter Eisenmann, Reinhold Martin, Joan Ockman and Bernard Tschumi to discuss the fallout of the modernist project to respond to the rapidly changing conditions in societies across the Western world throughout the twentieth century. What happened to the goal of some revolutionary architects to commit their cannon to change - mostly with the aim of improving society? That this (sometimes) ended in miserable housing projects for the urban poor or the magazine minimalism of the suburban rich is no coincidence. This all composes a legacy that architecture, urban design and landscape architecture continue to labor under today.

The search for form that can shape society, today commonly posited as through bottom-up stakeholder-centered practice or the embrace of the vernacular can be seen as a continuation of the idealistic spirit that drove the modernist architects to posit that architecture could change the world. Who better than some of the finest commentators and theorists of the twentieth century to examine the future potential of past failures? The conference is organized by Platypus, which seeks to examine the past from the position of the American Left to gain knowledge about our current conditions and project those into the future sphere, and to explore the “possibilities of emancipatory politics today”.

Ruins of Modernity: The Failure of Revolutionary Architecture in the Twentieth Century
Thursday, 7 February 2013
7 - 10 PM

NYU Kimmel Center
Room 914
60 Washington Square Park
New York, NY


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