Architecture's Evil Empire?: The Triumph and Tragedy of Global Modernism

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Reaktion Books, Oct 15, 2010 - Architecture - 208 pages
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From Chicago to Toronto to Shanghai, cities around the world have sprouted “iconic” buildings by celebrity architects like Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind that compete for attention both on the skyline and in the media. But in recent years, criticism of these extreme “gestural” structures, known for their often-exaggerated forms, has been growing. Miles Glendinning’s impassioned polemic, Architecture’s Evil Empire, looks at how today’s trademark architectural individualism stretches beyond the well-known works and ultimately extends to the entire built environment. Glendinning examines how the global empire of the current modernism emerged—particularly in relation to the excesses of global capitalism—and explains its key organizational and architectural features, placing its most influential theorists and designers in a broader context of history and artistic movements.

            Arguing against the excesses of iconic architecture, Glendinning advocates a vision of modern renewal that seeks to remedy the shattered and alienated look he sees in contemporary architecture. Mingling scholarship with wry humor and a genuine concern for the state of architecture, Architecture’s Evil Empire will raise many heated debates and appeal to a wide range of readers, from architects to historians, interested in the built environment.

 

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Contents

1 Architecture of Alienation
7
2 An Archaeology of Disintegration
19
3 Architectures New Modernism
52
4 Rhetoric and Reality
70
5 Metaphor versus Meaning in Contemporary Architecture
98
6 Urban Design and the Problem of Context
114
7 Joining up the Pieces
134
Epilogue
167
References
173
Index
197
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About the author (2010)

Miles Glendinning a reader in the School of Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art and director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies. He is the author and co-author of many books, including Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Clone City: Crisis and Renewal in Contemporary Scottish Architecture, The Last Icons and Modern Architect: The Life and Times of Robert Matthew.

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