Competing Visions: Aesthetic Invention and Social Imagination in Central European Architecture, 1867-1918
The Habsburg monarchy and its successor states played a significant role in thedevelopment of modern culture. Although scholars have recognized the contributions of Vienneseintellectuals, they have all but ignored those of other centers such as Budapest, Prague, Brno,Cracow, Zagreb, and Ljubljana. Historical research in Central Europe still emphasizes national andregional differences rather than common issues and developments.In this book Ákos Moravánszkypresents the first comparative study of the architecture of the countries that defined theAustro-Hungarian monarchy from 1867 to 1918. He discusses the aesthetic innovations of CentralEuropean architects by analyzing key buildings and by studying the crucial debates about modernity,national identity, tectonic form, and the social role of the architect. As a reflection of thiscomplexity, the issue-centered chapters explore architectural history in clusters, rather thanthrough a linear development toward a monolithic modern form.Central European intellectualsrecognized that real change cannot be introduced merely by changing the political and economicsystem; human consciousness itself must be transformed. Artists and architects played a leading rolein this transformation as they explored the limits of their freedom. Although their socialenvironment contained many feudal elements, their cultural heritage offered more artistic freedomthan did other historical regions of Europe. This book unfolds the wide spectrum of problems thatCentral European artists and architects faced in the first decades of the century. It also examinesthe changing interpretation of architecture by the critics of the time.Published with the assistanceof the Getty Grant Program.