Kenneth Frampton‘s lecture “A Genealogy of Modern Architecture” at NYIT School of Architecture & Design, New York.
Kenneth Frampton presented “A Genealogy of Modern Architecture” on Feb. 15, 2017 to the NYIT community at the Auditorium on Broadway. This sold out event was followed by a reception and book signing.
Kenneth Frampton is a British architect, critic, historian and the Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, New York. He has been a permanent resident of the USA since the mid-1980s. Frampton is regarded as one of the world’s leading architecture historians of modernist architecture.
Frampton is especially well known for his writing on twentieth-century architecture, and for his central role in the development of architectural phenomenology. His books include Modern Architecture: A Critical History (1980; revised 1985, 1992 and 2007) and Studies in Tectonic Culture (1995). Frampton achieved great prominence (and influence) in architectural education with his essay “Towards a Critical Regionalism” (1983) — though the term had already been coined by Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre. Also, Frampton’s essay was included in a book The Anti-Aesthetic. Essays on Postmodern Culture, edited by Hal Foster, though Frampton is critical of postmodernism. Frampton’s own position attempts to defend a version of modernism that looks to either critical regionalism or a ‘momentary’ understanding of the autonomy of architectural practice in terms of its own concerns with form and tectonics which cannot be reduced to economics (whilst conversely retaining a Leftist viewpoint regarding the social responsibility of architecture). He summed up his critical stance towards postmodernist architecture and its advocates’ belief in the primacy of architecture as a language as follows:
“It seems to me that we cannot escape from two aspects of architecture which I tried to identify… as ontological tectonic and representational tectonic. Representation certainly cannot be removed from architecture any more that it can be removed from other discourses. (…) In my opinion it is of the utmost importance that the ontological and representational aspects of architecture be maintained as a dialogical interaction. I think that the attempt to isolate atomized elements such as morphemes is in the end a kind of reductive pseudo-scientific project, which just leaves you with the banality of pieces such as ‘a door is a sign of a door’ rather than with any notion as to the socio-cultural, complex desire of the species-being to realise itself, collectively.”
In 2002 a collection of Frampton’s writings over a period of 35 years was collated and published under the title Labour, Work and Architecture.
School of Architecture & Design:
The design process, defined as an intellectual exercise as well as an art form, is the primary focus of the academic program at NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design. The character and curriculum of each of our four degree programs is shaped around this premise. The school maintains that this emphasis on design within the curricula best prepares the student for effective participation in the profession and for rendering service in the public interest. With this being said, the intentions of the program for every student are summarized as follows: 1. stimulate artistic sensitivity, creative power, and personal self-confidence; 2. strengthen intellectual ability as it is applied to the making of solutions to architectural and design problems; 3. acquire the technical skills needed for the practice of architecture and the related design fields.