"[A] very helpful synthetic overview of the principal positions in critical theory's arguments over modernity." South Carolina Review " Architecture and Modernity traces some of the most important momentsof the discourse on the 'crisis' of architecture brought about by thechanges of modernity." Beatriz Colomina , School of Architecture, Princeton University
Critical theories such as those of the Frankfurt School of the 1920s and 1930s gave rise to complex and sophisticated critique of modernity and modernism. The history and theory of 20th-century architecture, which developed rather independently of this rich tradition, appear naive and unbalanced in comparison. In this exploration of the relationship between modernity, dwelling and architecture, Hilde Heynen attempts to bridge this gap between the discourse of the modern movement and cultural theories of modernity. On one hand, she discusses architecture from the perspective of critical theory, and on the other she modifies positions within the critical theory by linking them with architecture. She assesses architecture as a cultural field that structures daily life and that embodies major contradictions inherent in modernity, arguing that architecture nonetheless has certain capacity to adopt a critical stance vis-a-vis modernity. Besides presenting a theoretical discussion of the relation between architecture, modernity and dwelling, the book provides architectural students with an introduction to the discourse of critical theory.
The subchapters on Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno, and the Venice School (Tafuri, Dal Co, Cacciari) can be studied independently.